The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

26 March 2009

Rush Limbaugh, Talk Radio Experience Huge Ratings Surge


Surge As White House Campaign Began, Could Go Higher



Will the White House ever learn its lesson?

A combination of several powerful forces has resulted in explosive talk radio ratings growth, with indications of much more to come in the months ahead.

Primary factor driving the upward move? You guessed it: Rush Limbaugh. That's in contrast to declining support for Rush's arch-rival Obama.

With Limbaugh at the top of his game, including a more deeply loyal audience than ever, the numbers were expected to be strong. The beginning of the Obamist era, combined with a direct White House campaign targeting the talk titan, however, provided rocket fuel for El Rushbo's ratings. Even to seasoned industry veterans, this data should prove stunning.

Finally, implementation of the new, far more accurate electronic Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings system has benefited talk radio, as the manual diary-based "phantom cume" problems of the past disappear. For years, programmers complained that the old system cost them listenership and are now armed with the proof they'd long sought.

That may be why Obama and his supporters have fought implementation of PPM, as we originally reported in October of last year.

While these numbers reflect February's results, they could go even higher in March, as the White House anti-Rush effort was still in high gear going into this month.

Some specifics:

In New York City, WABC has experienced huge gains during Rush's noon- 3pm timeslot: from 4.6 to 6.7 overall (12 and older) share, good for first place overall in the nation's largest market. Rush's Big Apple listenership is now estimated at 693,000.

In the second-largest market, Los Angeles, KFI-AM has surged into the number one position (all listeners 12 and older) from 9am to noon, with 618,000 listeners, a 4.6 to 6.0 audience share increase over three months and an even bigger males 35-64 (4.6 to 6.3) move, to take first place there as well.

Chicago, saw another huge move, with Rush affiliate WLS also taking first place during his timeslot (12 and older), from 5.2 share to 6.9 and a total local listenership of 396,700 in the third-largest market.

KSFO / San Francisco saw similar results, despite the extreme-left bent of the Bay Area: 4.7 to 6.0 share, now ranking second overall and with men aged 35-64. Total audience: 346,000.

In Dallas - Fort Worth, 4.8 to 6.4 men 35-64 and fourth overall (12+), 3.5 to 4.5. Cumulative audience: 250,000.

Houston's results were truly blockbuster: 6.0 to 9.8 overall, ranking number one with a bullet and audience of 382,300. Men 35-64: number one again, from 8.6 to 12.2 over three months. Adults 25-54: first place, 4.6 to 8.7. Women 25-54: 3.7 to 8.3 again good for a top ranking.

DC's WMAL also saw Rush-related growth: 4.1 to 6.7, good for third overall and an audience of 155,300. Men 35-64: number one with a staggering 6.4 to 13.4 move.

In Atlanta, Rush has helped WGST fend off an enormous competitor, WSB-AM, with a similar 4.0 to 6.2 upward move, good for fifth place overall and a total audience of 473,500. The results are better in the male 35-64 demographic, surging from 5.5 to 8.0 share.

Bucking Detroit's recent Democratic voting trend, Rush's performance on WJR-AM has been more significant than ever, moving into first place with a 5.8 to 9.6 jump. Men 35-64: number one and 11.6 share. Total audience: 253,000.

Given this blockbuster data, will the White House think twice before targeting Rush again?

Keep in mind that these numbers don't even include Limbaugh's strongest markets, medium-sized cities such as Reno, Albuquerque, Boise, Fresno, Bakersfield and hundreds of others where his program dominates local radio.

UPDATE: Rush's surge has also led to overall, full-day gains at most of these stations, with WABC/ New York moving into fifth place overall, ahead of many music stations. That's its best showing in at least a year.

KSFO/ San Francisco also rose overall, grabbing sixth place, while WLS/ Chicago now ranks second, a stunning feat.

FOR New England regional talk radio updates, see our other site.

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  • Let's hope that the White House doesn't learn its lesson re talk radio. In that way, the audience for conservative talk can continue to grow, each time the president slams Rush or his fellow broadcasters.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26 March, 2009 17:40  

  • Once people listen to Rush Limbaugh for a certain amount of time they realize he is not the hate mongering, race baiter, kook the left tries to paint him. This effort by the White House may really come back to bite the Dems in the future. Talk radio had a big effect on the 2000 and 2004 election.

    Rush, being very passionate and articulate, makes bullet proof arguments about conservatism and what has made this country great. He has also paved the way for many others to stand up and speak out.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26 March, 2009 18:17  

  • They aren't capable of learning lessons...there Statists. Statists don't learn lessons. They will just continue to look for ways to impose laws on the station owners that will make doing business impossible, and they will stick it in the middle of unrated legislation and hope that it doesn't get read.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26 March, 2009 18:28  

  • This is why the Fairness Doctrine is more important than evah! We can't have people listening to a guy who makes sense. Not when we are trying to ram home our socialist agenda and change the fabric our country for the future. Opposition like this, with its logic and reasoning, is not acceptable in the New America. Help us all make sure he taken off the radio!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26 March, 2009 18:30  

  • I would recommend that Obama target some of the other radio hosts to boost their ratings as well.

    By Blogger 10ksnooker, at 26 March, 2009 18:56  

  • As a conservative who never listened to Rush due to work conflicts, I started listening after I saw his CPAC speech and could not beleive how well he stated what I beleive. It was scary how much he says that I beleive. And, obviously, I am not the only one.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26 March, 2009 19:02  

  • I spent years mocking my dad for listening to Rush. What a fool I was. I started listening a few months back. I'm addicted. The guy makes sense.

    By Blogger This person, at 26 March, 2009 19:20  

  • i guess that makes Rush the number one person in the liberal media. right?
    i spose it is easier to turn on a radio than to vote...
    you guys take radio, we'll take washington. deal?

    By Blogger Jake, at 26 March, 2009 20:05  

  • I used to listen to Rush when he first came on the scene, and I was in High school.. over time I got sick of him for no real reason other than too familiar probablay.

    I started listening again when he did his Operation Chaos and as I indepdnetly became convinced of Obama's Marxism have been listening more and more...

    Rush is a true voice of Constitutional affection and patriotism and is a must listen to.

    The idiots in the White House have no idea what they're doing to their own cause by driving people to listen to Rush. Once teh hear the ideas of our Founding Fathers , Obama's ratings can only sink.

    And they are.

    By Blogger VinceP1974, at 26 March, 2009 20:28  

  • Great site!

    You may be interested in my page THE INTERNET RADIO NETWORK...


    By Blogger commoncents, at 26 March, 2009 20:48  

  • I know plenty of centrist democrats that now listen to Rush because they feel they have more in common with him then the communists, who call themselves progressives, that took over their party.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26 March, 2009 21:27  

  • As far as I am concerned ...Rush Limbaugh is the best thing since sliced bread. My husband and I both listen to him every day and we think he is one...if not the smartest man in the world!!!! He tells it like it is and it is also exactly the way we see things. Rush is first and foremost a Conservative and that is why I like him so much. His CPAC speech was brilliant. Oh by the way, he didn't have to read it from a teleprompter!!!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26 March, 2009 21:33  

  • Apparently, The One didn't hear the story about how a runaway Congress in 2003 joined with a socialist-driven Democrat to LOSE CONGRESS in 2004. And who was the 'honorary Member of Congress??'

    It will take 15 months for the people to get a shot at changing the balance. Last Nov, every state had local trends which added up to a national trend which ended up tilting our government way, way, way farther than all but 15% were really interested in every going.

    Just shows you how important it is that you know whether or not your own Congressman is an idiot-useful idiot-complete tool.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26 March, 2009 21:37  

  • Do I read these numbers right... Rush draws more listeners in Blue New York City than Olbermann draws in the entire USA?

    By Blogger Johanna Lapp, at 26 March, 2009 22:53  

  • If someone told me 3 months ago that I would be listening to Rush Limbaugh on the radio, I would have thought they were a little crazy. I listened and I'm hooked. Thank you for your voice, Rush...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26 March, 2009 23:01  

  • Rush and homeschooling are both conservative entities whose days are numbered as far as legality is concerned.

    Rush can broadcast like Radio Free Europe from a ship beyond the country limits and parents can teach there kids what evil about the school indoctrination and 'volunteer army" they are forced to join.

    Anyone remember Jocyln Elders spilling the beans about "we want to get your kids early" before parents can contaminate them about things like masturbation etc?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 March, 2009 11:29  

  • Who's Rush Limbaugh?

    By Blogger Jerry Mander, at 27 March, 2009 12:24  

  • Rush is so ignorant,he thinks"life libery and the pursuit of happiness" is in the constitution. He said it at CPAC

    this is who you trust, n ignoramus,who does not know 5th grade history

    Limbaugh is perfect for a dumbed down, brain dead 20% base of conservative rejects

    Only conservative with brains Alex Jones

    You fools are brain dead morons
    I don't support OBama, but you conservatives are embarrassing to America.You don't even know the constitution

    You freaks deserve to be deported
    Maybe if Obama,deported all ditto-heads I would vote for himin3 years

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 March, 2009 12:39  

  • A visit to reveals that on the most recent day on which they have figures, Wednesday March 25th, Keith had 1,238,000 viewers at 8:00 EDST and 771,000 at 10:00 pm EDST...totalling slightly more than 2 million souls (wait a minute, the "soul" is an artifact of conventional religion; make that around 4 million eyeballs, considering the possibility of a certain percentage of viewers being blind in one eye. Their glasses are ready in 30 minutes).

    By Anonymous Laurence Glavin, at 27 March, 2009 16:48  

  • Who can listen to anything on AM radio, with its incessant brain-deadening commercials? There's almost as much commercial time as there is "content".

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 March, 2009 18:09  

  • Another Dumbass statement by MOP. What a surprise.

    By Blogger pf1, at 28 March, 2009 00:39  

  • The Drugster did a fabulous job with Operation Chaos, didn't he? ROFLMAO!

    Dittoheads are just authoritarian followers. See Bob Altemeyer study. lol

    By Anonymous pbrauer, at 28 March, 2009 01:30  

  • This is for those who live in areas with no access via standard AM/FM or satellite radio to Rush Limbaugh and other conservative radio talk hosts.

    If you have an internet connection and a media player, you can listen to the shows over the internet. Below are some URLS for listening to various talk show hosts using Windows Media Player and Winamp -- either player will work. (Be sure to copy the entire URL):

    Fox News Radio:
    WABC-AM (NY)

    Russ Limbaugh (12-3 PM EDT Mon-Fri)
    Sean Hannity (3-6 PM EDT Mon-Fri)
    Mark Levin (6-9 PM EDT Mon-Fri)
    WNYM-AM (NY)

    John Gibson (12-3 AM EDT Mon-Fri)
    Bill Bennett (6-9 AM EDT Mon-Fri)
    Mike Gallagher (9-11 AM EDT Mon-Fri)
    Dennis Miller (11 AM-1 PM EDT Mon-Fri)
    WWTN-FM (Nashville)

    Fred Thompson (12-1 PM CDT Mon-Fri)
    Fred Thompson (11 PM-12 AM CDT Mon-Fri)
    Michael Savage (8-11 PM - CDT Mon-Fri)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 28 March, 2009 11:55  

  • Rush may have a heavy hitting large number that continues to grow in overwhelming numbers but there are some tough subjects he won't even touch. That means there is room for others to get into radio. Especially, while talk radio is growing and more avenues are opening up to be heard.

    Anyone interested a careers in radio, broadcasting, radio news editing, radio news reporting, radio djing, radio sportscasting, voice over work, etc. check out our mentorship programs at your radio school alternative. Train on the job in a radio staion doing what you love under a real professional.

    By Anonymous Terry, at 28 March, 2009 22:09  

  • Obama's ratings are the same. What do you mean his ratings are down?

    By Blogger Progressive, at 31 March, 2009 20:16  

  • I came to this country 20years ago from Costa Rico. Found a beautiful American lady, We started a business and employ a lot of people. With this Health Care and Taxes, We will move our business back to Costa Rico. Bye Bye America we will come back every six months to get out of all the SUN.200 hundred employees can go on welfare or Obama Care.I'll also take my Gulf Stream. Thanks Rush. We will listen again.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 28 March, 2010 21:36  

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