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.