A second list is being circulated that features 31 advertisers who want their advertising moved away from Rush Limbaugh’s show.
Radioinfo.com’s TRI Newsletter reported,
TRI can report that Cumulus Media/ESPN Audio affiliates just received a list of 31 advertisers “who requested that their commercials not be scheduled in any Rush Limbaugh programs.” The memo instructs stations to “move any spots that may fall in Rush Limbaugh programs to comparably-rated time periods.
These are not the same advertisers who were on an earlier list of 98 who requested their spots be moved away be moved away from Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and other right wing radio hosts. The new list includes heavyweights, Advance Auto, Intuit Turbo Tax, John Deere and Progressive. (When tax perpetration services don’t want anything to do with you during tax season, things are really bad).
Some of Limbaugh’s smaller advertisers are coming back, but the big national advertisers are staying away. The reason they won’t come back is that they don’t want the negative publicity that comes from being associated with Rush Limbaugh. The radio industry itself is getting worried that the Limbaugh boycott may make the Fortune 500 skittish about advertising on certain programs. All of these developments represent a huge change from how the talk radio industry operated just weeks ago.
The boycott is working. If Limbaugh’s recent squealing about how the boycott doesn’t matter wasn’t enough for you, there is the fact that the Fortune 500 is staying away. In 2008, Limbaugh signed an eight year $400 million contract extension with Clear Channel. In order for that investment to be profitable, Premiere, and all the radio stations who pay out the nose to carry Limbaugh in their markets need to generate big time advertising dollars to make this arrangement profitable for all.
Rush Limbaugh’s show isn’t dying, but the boycott is changing the way the talk radio business works. This isn’t about free speech. This is all about the free market, and advertisers are learning that subsidizing hate radio hosts who court controversy will have free market consequences.
Most importantly, the American people are learning that they have the power to hold even the ratings king Rush Limbaugh accountable for his words.