Rightie Radio Lumbers Toward the Tar Pits

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entertainment and popular culture, Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

Ninety-eight major advertisers are pulling all of their ads from “controversial” talk radio programs. John Avlon writes at Daily Beast:

Premiere Networks, which distributes Limbaugh as well as a host of other right-wing talkers, sent an email out to its affiliates early Friday listing 98 large corporations that have requested their ads appear only on “programs free of content that you know are deemed to be offensive or controversial (for example, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity).”

This is big. According to the radio-industry website Radio-Info.com, which first posted excerpts of the Premiere memo, among the 98 companies that have decided to no longer sponsor these programs are “carmakers (Ford, GM, Toyota), insurance companies (Allstate, Geico, Prudential, State Farm), and restaurants (McDonald’s, Subway).” Together, these talk-radio advertising staples represent millions of dollars in revenue.

Avlon suggests there’s a little more going on here than just disgust with what Rushbo said about Sandra Fluke. This is significant:

…this latest controversy comes at a particularly difficult time for right-wing talk radio. They are playing to a (sometimes literally) dying demographic. Rush & Co. rate best among old, white males. They have been steadily losing women and young listeners, who are alienated by the angry, negative, obsessive approach to political conservations. Add to that the fact that women ages 24–55 are the prize advertising demographic, and you have a perfect storm emerging after Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke comments.

One suspects that if these advertisers believed they were getting a good bang for their advertising buck on talk radio, they’d ignore the controversy. The way this episode has played out makes me think at least some of these companies were already losing interest in advertising on talk radio before Rushbo went overboard slut-shaming Sandra Fluke.

Avlon goes on to say that in the end, market forces made rightie talk radio viable, and now it’s possible market forces will kill it. Rush’s recent antics just hurried the process along a bit.

Update: See also Digby.

Update: See also Clarence Page. Like Page, I am skeptical we’re seeing the Twilight of Rushbo. If nothing else, Wingnut Welfare will kick in somehow and see to it he stays on the air. However, I wouldn’t have anticipated that so many major advertisers would suddenly decide to pull out of rightie talk radio.

Also as Page says, Limbaugh’s antics are hurting the Republican Party more than helping it. So maybe it’s OK if he stays around awhile longer.

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13 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Swami  •  Mar 10, 2012 @4:02 pm

    I predicted that Limpaugh would be able to weather the storm…I’d be more than pleased to have to eat my words, and admit my stupidity if public pressure can topple that arrogant blowhard.

  2. Felicity  •  Mar 10, 2012 @4:13 pm

    Deep Throat told Bob Woodward to “follow the money” because it’s money that is power in America. What is the’purse’ other than money.

    Which brings me to the obvious negative fall-out from the Citizens United decision. A few people, by the power of their money, will be represented in DC by those they financed, whereas the rest of us will not be. One-man-one-vote is only meaningful if that man is represented in government and as of the recent SC decision, he will not be.

  3. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 10, 2012 @6:57 pm

    It seems like some of these advertisers are starting to understand that it’s tough to wrap a positive 15, 30, 45, or 60, second spot around 5-10 minute of hate radio.

    “Those rassa-massa, sluts… and hippity-hoppity, ippity-uppity, blackity-black people… and ‘no Ingles’ brown Messicans… and Liberal scum… are all conspiring to take over this great Christian country… Let’s talk to Adolph in a compound somewhere in Wyoming… Wait, what’s that, Snurdly? Time for a break? Already? Seems like we just started shoveling the hate talk… Hold on Adolph. First, we have a word from our sponsors…”
    How will the ads sound?
    “For women, AND men – ‘Summer’s Eve refreshes. So, when your old man’s taken his V*agra, and is finally ready for you, YOU want to be ready for him – you never know when this time, is the last time…”
    “Sears – where WHITE America shops! You N*ggers, Sp*cs, Chin*ks, and G*ys, go to JC Penny!”
    “Geico – in case a pick-up full of illegal Sp*cs rear-ends you!”
    “Hi, this is Flo, the white chick face of Progressive – now “CONSERVATIVE Insurance…”

    Maybe illegal arms dealers can help, along with those “Your Cheatin’ Heart” sites for married people, in picking-up the advertising slack on “Rushba the Hut’s,” Glenn “Heart of Darkness” Beck’s, and “I’m A Real Thimple-minded Thavage’s” shows.

  4. Diane  •  Mar 10, 2012 @8:18 pm

    Even if he loses his radio show, where would he go?
    Fox news of course.

    I am encouraged that the advertisers are waking up to the fact that women are ANGRY and will not take it anymore.
    This is the second time(Susan G Komen) where women have decided they were being victimized and fought back.
    We are strong if we stay together and fight together.

  5. Doug Hughes  •  Mar 10, 2012 @8:40 pm

    I think there is a game changer, all right but nobody has named it. Over the last 6 months or so, several organizations like avaaz.org and 350.org and change.org have developed the ability to quickly circulate a petition. So has the democratic party and the AFL/CIO. Celebrities like Billie Jean King add to the appeal of adding your name. It took years(s)? to get Beck. Now that kind of power can be mobilized in days. Case in point : Komen. I wanted to do something to organize blogs to organize the liberals who frequent them but something much more simple and elegant has done the job.

    Advertisers have taken note. They protect their “brand” with a ferocity we mortals can hardly imagine. I dont know what to call these rapid response petitions (what DO you call them?) but they can link a commercial brand to a radical brand like Rush in days if not hours. To an advertising guru, the advertising benefit is not worth the risk, when you can get the same audience on country radio. Conservative shock jocks may want to investigate how to get on the endangered species list..

  6. moonbat  •  Mar 10, 2012 @9:12 pm

    I read an article on Daily Kos last night (too lazy to find it) – that tried to show that Rush, Glenn Beck, and Rupert Murdoch are all datapoints representing the same thing – right wing media figures who finally went too far. (The writer was British, where a big scandal is brewing around one of Murdoch’s papers).

    I hope that this indeed does clip their wings a bit, but the damage has been done. A few postings ago you quoted someone who naively said no one has to listen to Rush; true, but we all feel the effects of the millions of idiots who do listen to Rush, and who’ve been absorbing his sick viewpoints for several decades.

    If Rush rolled over and died, the damage has been done. Our country is so crippled from three decades of conservative misrule, aided and abetted by people like Rush, that he could retire today and congratulate himself on a job well done.

    So I guess I’m glad that advertisers are finally pulling away, but what a wreck of a country that’s left.

  7. Diana  •  Mar 10, 2012 @11:34 pm

    Remember Howard Stern? He lost his radio gig after he called a female basketball team “nappy-headed ‘hos.”

    Sirius Radio immediately hired him for over a million dollars (payable partly in stock) which meant he didn’t get a lot of it because their stock price tanked and stayed tanked. I think it’s still under $2 a share.

    Has anyone ever heard about Howard Stern again?

  8. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 11, 2012 @6:05 am

    Diana,
    That was Don Imus, who I listened to, and/or watched, every morning on WFAN sports-talk radio, or MSNBC, religiously, for over 2 decades – until that morning.
    He had flirted (or, more particularly, Bernard McGuirk – one of his producers/sidekicks) with saying stupid sh*t for decades. I gave it all a pass until that morning. But when I heard him call that women’s team that, I immediately shut-off the TV, and haven’t paid any attention to him since.
    He’s gone from WFAN, the sports radio station, and MSNBC. And rightfully so.

    He’s now been relegated to WABC, ‘All REICH-WING Radio – All Ov Ze Time,’ and the hideous FOX Business Channel – which no one watches – because, though idiots may watch FOX for “news,” no “investor” with more than a single brain-cell wants their precious financial news coming through the FOX filter of mis/dis/information.
    Stern, on the other hand, by going to satellite radio, pulled-off one of the great heists of all time. He’s made Mitt R-money money – with an ever decreasing listener-base.
    Overall, Imus was fairly benign. He wasn’t really a racist – just an aging “Shock-Jock” who said something really, really, stupid. And for which, he gave a sincere apology. AND, he met with the team – AFTER he’d already lost his gigs, to give them a personal apology. His ranch for kids with cancer, and SID’s kids (or kids related to them), does a lot of good for kids of all races and genders.
    Stern is still an asshole – and a racist and misogynistic one, in my opinion.
    One other good thing to be said for Imus – he has long been on the anti-Rush train. It may have been a case of competing ego’s – but Imus had him pegged as a racist, misogynist, xenophobe, and homophobe, long before anyone else did.
    That being said, I still don’t listen to, or watch, “The I-Man” anymore. And I wouldn’t listen to Stern if he, or anyone else, paid me.

  9. JM  •  Mar 11, 2012 @6:19 am

    That was Don Imus, not Stern

  10. erinyes  •  Mar 11, 2012 @6:52 am

    “what DO you call them?”
    How about a “Flash Bang”?
    Or a “Good old Boy-cott”.
    Hamma-jamma?

  11. Swami  •  Mar 11, 2012 @4:43 pm
  12. Heath  •  Mar 16, 2012 @5:22 pm

    I guess ol’ Rush got “Fluked”!

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