The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

02 July 2008

Rush Limbaugh In Sunday NYT Cover Story, Big New Radio Deal


Rush In NYT Cover Story, Stunning Contract Renewal



Venturing deep into enemy territory, Rush Limbaugh has given the New York Times unprecedented access to his election year sentiments. Can the talk titan trust his longtime foe to represent him honestly and accurately?

In an 8000- word piece written by Zev Chafets, the New York Times Sunday Magazine probes El Rushbo's thoughts on Obama, McCain and others, with perspectives we apparently haven't heard on the show.

Though the text of Rush's interview has been kept under wraps for now (update: see it here), Time Magazine's Mark Halperin has managed to obtain a couple of quotes:

On McCain: “If your team isn’t in it, you root for the team you hate less. That’s McCain.”

On Obama: “He’s a liberal. I oppose liberals. That’s all that’s involved here.”

Meanwhile, a key industry source confirms speculation that Limbaugh has signed a stunning mega contract renewal deal with Premiere Radio Networks and parent company Clear Channel Communications.

Said to be Limbaugh's most lucrative deal ever by far, the new agreement runs through 2016 and includes a previously unheard-of nine figure signing bonus. For those of you in Rio Linda, that means more than $100 million, upfront.

With that kind of bread, will he purchase Rio Linda outright?

This news follows our recent scoop on the lucrative new deal signed by Sean Hannity, a three- way agreement that includes Citadel-ABC and Premiere.

Beyond infuriating the left, that staggering sum is sure to reinforce the widespread industry belief that talk represents one of broadcast radio's only remaining bright spots. While several other major outfits are struggling to survive, Limbaugh and Premiere have provided a steady revenue stream for Clear Channel.

In fact, while advertisers have begun to abandon music radio for the Internet and other media, Limbaugh has recently added sponsors.

Expect Rush's massive renewal deal to spark a fresh round of hand- wringing from the left, where their own "progressive" talk radio format remains stalled.

UPDATE: Premiere has confirmed our report and issued a statement. Note the correct figure of 20 million listeners, not 14 million as often reported by his detractors:

LOS ANGELES, July 2, 2008 – Rush Limbaugh, who’s heard weekly by nearly 20 million listeners on about 600 radio stations nationwide, renewed his contract with Premiere Radio Networks and Clear Channel Radio, continuing syndication of The Rush Limbaugh Show many years into the future. The deal also includes continued syndication of The Rush Limbaugh Morning Update, a 90-second commentary that airs Monday through Friday. Furthermore, Premiere Radio, in partnership with Mr. Limbaugh, will continue to oversee The Limbaugh Letter, a monthly newsletter with a subscriber base in the hundreds of thousands, and, one of the most popular broadcast media websites that incorporates, a subscription service.

Mr. Limbaugh stated, “This is exactly where I want to be, doing what I was born to do, with an amazing audience and phenomenal support from affiliate stations and sponsors. I’m having more fun than a human being should be allowed to have. There’s a relationship between the audience and the host here that is second to none. We’re going to continue to provide Broadcast Excellence and have a lot of fun along the way.”

SPECIAL THANKS TO Hot Air, Instapundit, Memeorandum, Kathryn Jean Lopez, Red State, Gawker, Lucianne, TVNewser, Conservative Grapevine and others for linking to this piece today, especially those who properly credited this site for the scoop.

UPDATE: a quick excerpt from the NYT cover story:

“It’s just that we aren’t used to seeing reporters here,” said a woman named Dawn. She is a stenographer whom Limbaugh hired in 2001, after he went deaf. These days he has a cochlear implant that enables him to hear callers, but Dawn sends him real-time transcripts of on-air conversations, just in case.

“The media doesn’t know about this place,” she said. “They don’t know where we are. During Rush’s big drug story they staked out the whole town, even his house, but they never found us here.”

For the next hour I sat behind the glass panel of the control booth and watched Limbaugh at work in front of the “golden E.I.B. microphone.” Unlike Howard Stern or Don Imus, he has no sidekicks with him in the room. He does, however, keep up a running conversation with an unheard voice. I always assumed that this was just imaginary radio shtick. Now I saw that the voice was attached to a human interlocutor, Snerdly, who banters with and occasionally badgers Limbaugh via an internal talk-back circuit.

After the broadcast, Limbaugh waved me into the studio and offered me a seat directly across from him. The room’s acoustics make it relatively easy for him to hear, but he also reads lips.

I had come to talk to Limbaugh about his role in Republican Party politics. During the primaries he assailed John McCain as a phony conservative and apostate Reaganite. Despite Limbaugh’s best efforts, it now appeared that the Arizona senator would be the nominee. There was speculation that Limbaugh would not support him in November.

“I’ve never even met the man, never spoken to him,” Limbaugh said. “I’m sure there are things about him I’d like if we meet. This isn’t personal.” He then delivered a litany of the presumptive nominee’s personal failings — too old, too intense, too opportunistic, too liberal. But, he assured me, he would be with McCain in the fall. “It’s like the Super Bowl,” he told me. “If your team isn’t in it, you root for the team you hate less. That’s McCain.”

FOR New England regional talk radio updates, see our other site. NEW THERE: Pops makes a bad investment, Massachusetts gives cigarette smugglers an early Christmas

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  • This contract puts a nail in the wacko-left comments that Rush has problems in attracting advertisers.

    This mega deal confirms the power of the EIB Network.

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 02 July, 2008 01:23  

  • I wonder if Rush will finally be making as much as Howard Stern's making??

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 02:26  


    America needs Rush now, more than ever!


    North of 50 in Ohio

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 05:38  

  • Question,
    What happens to this deal if the Fairness Doctrine is reimposed and Rush is essentially shut down?

    By Blogger Evilned, at 02 July, 2008 06:29  

  • Majority Leader Pissloser will use this for a call to support the fairness doctrine. Capitalism must be equally opposed with socialism!

    By Blogger BostonVernon, at 02 July, 2008 06:40  

  • To put this in perspective, Air America would have to loot 122 Boys and Girls Clubs to pay a similar-sized signing bonus.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 07:59  

  • Rush has become very boring.
    For myself I would rather listen
    to Michael Savage. Yes Savage
    is over the top at times. But
    he can be funny as well as \
    Hannity and Rush offer nothing
    new except hot air.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 08:18  

  • And the thing is, I'd still buy him a drink if I saw him in a bar.

    By Blogger Nasty, Brutish & Short, at 02 July, 2008 08:57  

  • Personally, I think Rush should buy out Half-baked Moon Bay before Rio Linda, but that's just me.

    Now, if only libertarian-conservatives could find someone to do the internet as well as Rush does radio.

    By Blogger Hucbald, at 02 July, 2008 09:10  

  • Premiere I suppose feel that his 80+ year old demographics are worth 9 figures. Do his listeners even operate without a life support machine attached to them?

    I once ran a campaign on the Rush "enemy of America, enemy of freedom" pill-poppimg, hooker soliciting Limbaugh program. The esponse was horrible, worst wast of $500,000 ever. Are the people at premiere on heroin?

    Seriously sho listens to this filthy degenerate? Benson? that appears to be all. Radio is a dead medium. I hope premiere goes 100% bankrupt and Limbaugh deserves to have a stroke. The worst enemy of America.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 09:34  

  • Go, Rush!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 09:35  

  • I'm happy for Rush. He's a very hard working and charitable man. I just hope that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid don't shut him down with their "Fairness Doctrine".

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 09:49  

  • Do you want to see some of the hateful comments coming from the left on this?

    Normally I would approve them without hesitation, but these are so horrible, I'm not sure they should be posted.

    Check back later to see what we end up doing with them.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 02 July, 2008 09:51  

  • If the fairness doctrine is tried to be reimposed, Rush isn't going to go quietly. Neither is Clear Channel.

    By Blogger 10ksnooker, at 02 July, 2008 09:53  

  • If Clear Channel is putting up 400 million to hire him, think about how much they are willing to pay to keep him on the air.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 10:00  

    limbaugh should be flipping burgers or making Kansas ribs.

    why are illiterate people given 9 figure jobs.

    Rush , the enemy of thinking

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 10:07  

  • I wouldn't bother, Brian. Great job scooping Drudge on this, by the way!

    One question: Does this begin a turnaround on Rush's terrestrial-only policy? I think we now know that satellite isn't the downfall of the AM dial. His buddies, Hannity and Levin, are on both XM and Sirius. Why can't Limbaugh now?

    I say this because my local AM talk channel is switching to Oldies only starting Friday.

    By Blogger Dan, at 02 July, 2008 10:12  

  • "Normally I would approve them without hesitation, but these are so horrible, I'm not sure they should be posted"

    Rush is a horrible person, Brian. Anyone with decency would hate him. He is one of the few people I find acceptable to want dead. Limbaugh and Bin Laden. Nothing wrong with wanting him to drop dead, praying for him to drop dead either. I think when he overdoses, you will see a world wide celebration. I personally would urinate on his grave on a daily basis. I would move next door to where he is buried, and piss on his grave over and over and over.

    If Clear Channel pays this man 9 figures, they need to be shuit down, immediatly. It is time to shut down any group that backs Anti-people propaganda, Rush is an enemy of the people. Clear Channel, should be surrounded with armed citizens, and the executives of Clear channel assasinated, one by one.

    limbaugh and his enablers are terrorists. I think it's time Americans terrorize them back

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 10:13  

  • "leadforcons" gives us a taste of the hatred out there, but there are far worse comments not yet posted.

    Let me know how strong of a stomach you have for this kind of thing.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 02 July, 2008 10:17  

  • Waaa!! Don't hate Rush. Absolutly pathetic. Brian, most of the nation hates his guts. This is why he has a job. Very few people like Rush and take him seriously. Hate of Limbaugh is why his show exists. Thre are no "ditto-heads", he has an audnece of people who hate him so much they have to listen

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 10:17  

  • We want More!!! Rush is hated by patriots, worldwide, Im a patriot

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 10:19  

  • Brian:

    Show us what these mean, deranged liberals are like. Post the frothing, mad-dog responses so the readers can understand how sick and deranged these people are, and what we can look forward to if their Messiah is elected.

    Even though sometimes Rush paints with a broad brush, he does know liberals and proves that the truth about liberals delivered with humor is both effective and entertaining.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 10:42  

  • First things first -- thanks Brian for posting this report. Informative indeed.

    Goodness! I think that there are more than a few people out there with Golden EIB Microphone salary envy. ;-)

    There are more than a few people out there with Limbaugh Derangement Syndrome, and they can't handle 1) success and successful people; 2) articulate people right of center with a strong podium; and 3) anyone having a good time.

    For those wishing ill of Rush and his audiences, I have to openly wonder what other dark thoughts consume their souls. But not to worry, I won't waste too much time dwelling on that as life is way too short to do so.

    I'm a fan of Rush's show, and am all too happy to say so. Congrats to the big guy for his continuing success.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 10:51  

  • I think the comments you've already allowed through speak for themselves. Fortunately, there is not yet a Fairness Doctrine for comments.

    But if you think about it, a lot of this hatred is a complement.

    Obviously people hate Rush because he's effective.

    Just as they hate George W Bush.

    And Ronald Reagan

    And any conservative leader who has any impact.


    By Blogger David H Dennis, at 02 July, 2008 10:58  

  • Haha, I love it. "Enemy of the people" - that's not Stalinist or anything, not at all :) Somehow I doubt 20 million listeners are all masochists. So funny, good post

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 10:59  

  • Personally, I'm more of a Dennis Prager fan, but I respect Rush for his accomplishments and his determination.

    Something that is made obvious by this deal - Rush makes a lot of money for Clear Channel. He must be a huge earner for them to even consider paying this amount up front.

    By Blogger PunditJoe, at 02 July, 2008 11:01  

  • On a prior topic: Someone get Laura Ingraham back on radio. She's a TERRIBLE TV host (talks over everyone, which works on radio but not on TV).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 11:05  

  • Reagan, destroyed unions, raised the A.M.T on the Middle class, destroyed manufacturing in America.

    effective? at damaging middle class America. Conservatism is an ideology for the rich. 20 million rich people listen to Rush? Nope, 20 million brainwashed idiots listen to Rush.

    The good thing is 21% of the entire nation are registered Republicans!! America has rejected conservatism wholeheartedly. It is amazing.
    Let Rush have his show, he makes conservatives look stupid and riles up the left. Maybe he is a double agent. Limbaugh's intention after all might be to make conservatives look stupid.

    A poster above still thinks Reagan was a good presidnt and Bush was effectve!!! I love it. Limbaugh is working for the vast majority of Americans, for they are rejecting Reagan conservatism and bush conservatism in droves.

    Obama the worst possible candidate is handing it to the conservatives all over America, turning "red" states blue everywhere.

    and thanks to Rush, liberals are on the radio again. I love Rush, keep it up, he is creating oppositon to conservatism and turning people off to conservatism

    Reagan was the worst enemy of the Middle Class. The largest tax increase EVER on the Middle Class, was done by Reagan

    Dennis. you are a 21%er. Your ideology has been rejected by the Middle Class.

    when georgia is too close to call and alasksa is too close to call, you know Republicans are DONE and conservatism has been rejected!

    pay the pig man a billion dollars, if it keeps going like this.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 11:22  

  • This thread is great! There's nothing like the sound of crying liberals in the morning! Thanks for including these hateful kook's comments out here.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 12:07  

  • Brian, go ahead and post the filty ravings of the left. Some of them are right out of Hell--honestly, could beelzebub be any more malignant?
    Good for Rush, I hope he makes billions.

    By Blogger gonetoworkbbackin5min, at 02 July, 2008 12:27  

  • The funniest thing about all of this liberal hate of course is that liberals are too cowardly to do anything like they claim. That's why they support socialism, because they want the government to carry out all of the murders and oppression they're too chicken to do themselves.

    And as always it's hysterical to hear the panderers of 'tolerance' show that tolerance is the very last thing they believe in!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 12:35  

  • thanks

    I am a small business owner in the nearly destroyed New Orleans. I was broke 7 years ago and have built up a small biz. I can't afford more taxes or more regulation or less freedom.

    It is a global economy now. If we go back to the Carter Tax system, all profitable companies will move operations to Dubai, Kuwait, Singapore, or other "Grow your company tax free" regions.

    Here is the USA, the middle class will never have a chance to rise up with corporate taxes, cell phone taxes, gas tax 50% of the total imputed cost of gasoline, cable tv tax, internet use tax, 60 dollars on an any airline ticket tax, beer tax, tobacco tax, fica, futa, county tax, ad valorom tax, etc. The average union worker is in the 40% tax bracket if you add it all up. Your average doctor who treats your kids is in a 60% bracket when you add it all up.

    Conservatives traditionally want more freedom, less roadblocks to creating small business, less regulation and red tape.

    If you get your wish, we will all be competing for the same government job....... like in France.

    Last year, they decided to drill in North Dakota, and they have hit it big and Oil is FLOWING...... 1 Freaking Year.....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 13:31  

  • Thanks to a link from Lucianne I found this place. I cannot believe the vitriol from the left. What small minded vicious people on the left. IF this is an example of who they are it is imperative that Republicans and Conservatives stand up and fight for our freedoms and to return this country to what was intended by the Founding Fathers. I need Rush every day and it appears more than 20 million think the same way. Rush says what we think and says it with humour and zings right in on THE issues. I agree with him on McCain. My team is not in the field so I go with the team ( McCain) that is because these dems and the rabid left absolutely NEED to be defeated everywhere. Especially in Congress. It is clear that Obama is a front man for socialistic and communistic aims that the dems intend to implement as soon as they get him elected. If we KNEW Obama at all ( thanks to Rush and Hannity and Fox for even DISCUSSING Obama's connections and failings) he would not be the nominee now. Not that Hillary would be any better, except she would be easier to beat in November!!
    Thanks to Rush, who informs and articulates our own thoughts, we are able to get through the political season with our sanity.
    Obvious by some comments here that the left have left sanity far , far behind.
    What McCain does is want to compromise with libs. I am with Rush who does NOT want compromise.
    He believes Conservatism IS the answer to our problems in this country and I agree with him every day. I wish our Republican leaders would do the same. Somebody bring back DeLay or find somebody in the Republican party who speaks as Rush does and he or she will be in like flint!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 14:42  

  • Sorry Anon.

    conservatism has destroyed America, America gets it. Limbaugh can scram 'lib lib lib lib lib lib lib' until he is blue in the face, America has wholeheartedly 100% rejected Bush conservatism, America has rejected Reagan conservatism. The middle clas understands conservatism is the enemy of the worker and friend of the elitist. The old tricks, no longer work, America hates Bush conservatism, hence they picked McCain a more moderate candidate. Deal with it ditto-heads, 90% of us earn a paycheck and conservatives do not legislate for us 90%ers

    After all the largest tax hike EVER on the working Class was done by a conservative.

    All the lies have caught up with the right

    21% of the country are registered Republicans, IT IS OVER.

    if obama legislates for the rich , he will be rejected as well. America is on it's death knees thanks to conservatism.
    Americans are not saving
    Americans are earning less




    REAGAN IS DEAD HIS POLICIES LIVE ON, BUT WE ARE DOING SOMETHING ABOUT THAT AS WELL (Remember when that filthy degenate freak Rush said that about FDR). Of cousre Limbaugh hated the G.I Bill and the New Deal, anything that benefits the worker, the conservatives HATE.

    Luckily America has woken up

    we are moving to the worker based left, the socialist based left, we will become a social democracy, like every other free nation on the globe. Conservatism turns nations into 3rd world countries.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 16:25  



    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2008 17:23  

  • Hey Brian,

    I know you love both Rush and O'Reilly. What do you think of Rush comparing Bill to Ted Baxter? I happen to agree. Do you?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 03 July, 2008 09:23  

  • Regarding the Fairness Doctrine:

    Over-the-air digital radio is already here, with its multiple channels. Station groups often own several stations in one city.

    So if the Fairness Doctrine requires the station owners to make available views to balance Limbaugh, they will be able to include Air America or whatever on the digital substations .2 or .3 on one of their stations in town.

    For the required "fairness" programming, the stations might ramp down the bandwidth for the required balance programming so it is in mono with just telephone sound quality.

    Chromium (formerly Missouri Show Me)

    By Blogger Chromium, at 03 July, 2008 17:50  

  • Congratulations to Rush on his new contract. You don't get 14 million regular listeners, let alone 20 million, by being boring or false. I still remember from last November his story of the first Thanksgiving, and what it really represented - how the original pilgrims initially tried socialism/communism for their first few months, and it resulted in universal hunger, and half the colony starving to death after the first few months, and recorded complaints from the more able colonists who considered it unfair that they had to do extra work to support somebody else's family without compensation (the essence of slavery). Then the pilgrims abandoned the socialist/communist experiment, gave every colonist his own piece of property to work for his own benefit, and once everyone was working for himself, food was abundant, nobody was starving anymore, they had enough food to trade some of it, and celebrated the abundance brought on by private property and capitalism. Rush has become so popular with his listeners in part because they know what he says is TRUE, whether it dovetails with what they know from experience, from history, or in their own hearts as human nature.

    I would recommend going ahead and showing the vitriolic comments by the wanna-be-tyrants so everyone can get a good look at how they are still every bit the hateful, intolerant, murder-hungry Nazis/communists/fascists that their predecessors who shared their attitudes were, although perhaps putting the more vile comments behind a separate link that those with the stomach to read them would have to click to see.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 03 July, 2008 20:22  

  • Great piece. Post all the deranged comments. Evil must be seen and faced.

    I got so jazzed by the screaming headlines yesterday that I renewed my Rush 24/7 and Letter subscription for not 1 but 2 years. I hope he goes another 20! I've only been listening to him for 10; before that I was also one of the deranged Rush-haters who NEVER LISTENED TO HIM. A lot of us Rush-lovers are recovered far-lefty loons. ;-)

    Well, Bush is almost out of office and they've gotta hate someone. They hate so much they are consuming themselves with their own bile.

    By Blogger Peg C., at 03 July, 2008 21:04  

  • RUSH, PLEASE BUY SEEBS! Then clean out their closets and fire their hopeless liberals. I'd settle for your buying the NBC liberal hotbed as well.

    Then buy the SF 49ers and drive a stake into the heart of liberal California.


    You go, SimoneRUSHdee!

    The truth shall set America free.

    By Blogger SEMissourian, at 29 July, 2008 20:32  

  • hope rush is one of the first put into the fema camps when it all comes down....he can be the leader inside LOL

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 April, 2009 23:10  

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