No More Rush Limbaugh on WRKO

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This topic contains 68 replies, has 20 voices, and was last updated by  Charles Everett 3 years, 10 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 69 total)
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  • #136346

    radioperson
    Participant

    Air America’s business plan was dumb: Instead of offering shows individually, they made you take the whole network 24/7 PLUS tried to actually mount a news department. Talk shows take forever to mature, and even a TV big shot like Bill O’Reilly couldn’t make it in radio straight out of the box.

    All true, but AA’s biggest problem was that they selected hosts based on their ideological celebrity rather than their ability to entertain. Al Franken may have been a known name from SNL, but he wasn’t a radio guy and his show suffered for it. Same for most of the hosts. Only Randy Rhodes had substantial radio experience, though her show, and she, eventually succumbed to other issues.

    But to Rush…

    Demos demos demos. This is what is doing him in. … It is the Red Skelton/Jackie Gleason factor. Red and Jackie were still (I believe) in the top 10 when CBS-TV let them go in the late 1960s. However, between their escalating salaries, and the escalating demos, the ROI on the shows was not good.

    And this might well be true of Rush, Hannity, Levin and others in conservative talk except that, unlike TV, AM has found no way to attract younger demos outside of sports programming, and even that fares better on FM in many markets. So even if it’s hard to sell Limbaugh and Friends due to demos and national advertisers’ self-defeating fear of ‘controversy,’ they’re still the best programming bet that most AM affiliates have.

    Takeaway: medium and small-market AM talkers need to learn to sell their loyal, long-TSL older demo audiences to local advertisers. There are few palatable alternatives (brokered programming and the sale of stick real estate where it has any value are all that come to mind, and from a radio view, they definitely aren’t palatable).

    Well, you touched on something and that is that major market AMs (except for the well-funded and well-programmed news blowtorches and sports-talkers) really have almost no choice but to go foreign language or religious or brokered. It is the small town and suburban AM stations that are in better shape because they have a local, hometown base to play to and a set of local stores and businesses to tap into who won’t (or can’t) advertize on a big city station. My local suburban 1KW is loaded with ads all morning for roofing companies and the bakery and the car dealer and you name it. Sometimes the owner of the business comes on the show and talks about a sale or special deal. It is very warm and personal. And the local high school football games….no sponsorship problem there. You can do a big city locally programmed talk (non-sports) station, but boy it is hard and you better have great talent and a lot of seed money.

    But I do think the toughest thing in radio today is to try to program a 5KW big city AM station or a tight directional higher power AM in a big city and expect to make money from ratings performance, except maybe sports-talk, but many of THOSE are going to FM, too.

    And Rush, like Skelton and Gleason on TV in the late 60s, were past their prime but still insisted on being compensated equal or MORE than their peak days. Add that to their demos getting older and older and it is a deadly combination….one that is neither good for the talent (who is slowly losing steam and becoming an old person’s act) or the station (which isn’t seeing a ROI).

    #136351

    Nathan Obral
    Participant

    And this might well be true of Rush, Hannity, Levin and others in conservative talk except that, unlike TV, AM has found no way to attract younger demos outside of sports programming, and even that fares better on FM in many markets. So even if it’s hard to sell Limbaugh and Friends due to demos and national advertisers’ self-defeating fear of ‘controversy,’ they’re still the best programming bet that most AM affiliates have.

    Takeaway: medium and small-market AM talkers need to learn to sell their loyal, long-TSL older demo audiences to local advertisers. There are few palatable alternatives (brokered programming and the sale of stick real estate where it has any value are all that come to mind, and from a radio view, they definitely aren’t palatable).

    Unfortunately, that takes effort. And when Cumulus and iHeart own the lion share of talk stations – and use them as outlets for their own syndicated product – that means that the vast majority of talk stations won’t do anything to diversify or expand their audience.

    The format is doomed to demographic oblivion. No future. No future!

    Recorded in Ultra Stereo, the ultimately superior cousin to Normal Stereo!

    #136354

    Bill Recto
    Participant

    Media Matters can also take credit for the roaring success Air America was :)

    Media matters and their Brian Williams moments.

    #136355

    Bill Recto
    Participant

    What about KKSF San Francisco its an Iheart Talk station who had Rush but had to remove him for contract reasons. KSFO the Cumulus Owned station ended up with him.

    This is a case where a 5kw Am station has to compete against a 100kw talk station like KQED-FM.

    KKSF 910 has no chance at beating a Public Talk station in the Bay Area.

    #136359

    raccoonradio
    Participant

    Rush’s last contract for Premiere was 8 years for a total of about $400 million, in 2008. Now he may wind up getting less, if he doesn’t bolt for another syndicator or satellite radio.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/2008/7/rush-limbaugh-gets-400-million-to-rant-through-2016

    A Wall Street Journal article from the same time says the contract was for $38 mil. per year for 8 years, plus a $100M signing bonus.

    WMEX’s new leaser has unveiled a new website with a lineup featuring Joe Ligotti mornings starting June 2; Herald Radio 10-noon, Hannity at 6 pm and Savage at 9 pm. Noon to 6 to be announced; maybe they pick up Rush live at noon when he’s done at RKO with the other slot going to Beck or someone else.

    Home

    #136360

    Bill Recto
    Participant

    Seriously? Rush is not as relevant as he was 20-30 years back.

    Now it comes down to the current RNC audience. What do they listen to today or do they watch only Fox News for Politics or do they only look at Tea Party apps.

    #136361

    raccoonradio
    Participant

    Rush is older as is his audience these days, and there are many options to get news, talk, etc. He still plugs away at it (how much money is enough for someone? He has to still enjoy doing the show…) and as has been said there aren’t too many options to replace him in that slot. Fewer political talk stations (more sports or other formats) but many markets still find a home for Rush. It is indeed waning though and we have to see what will happen re: contract. iHeart still has a big debt to pay off.

    #136362

    Autodyne
    Member

    Rush will probably continue on-air until his health prohibits it. He lives for the soap-box and the audience attention. And his audience is still sizable and highly devoted.

    It would seem unlikely that Premiere would renew his contract under the current terms, but you might see a Howard Stern-type deal – less pay for less work. Limbaugh could take Fridays off and they could give a possible successor the Friday slot. Frequent Rush substitute Mark Steyn might well enjoy a regular weekly berth, since he has appeared on Hugh Hewitt’s show weekly for years and other outlets with some regularity in addition to the Rush substitution gig and his writing and speaking careers.

    Perhaps some subscription internet-only content might also figure in the mix.

    If Premiere’s still willing to lose an affiliate like WRKO, albeit in a market that’s never been friendly to syndicated talk, Rush must be performing well enough overall that Premiere isn’t feeling pressured to undercut their rates in other major markets by capitulating to RKO.

    #136365

    BRW
    Participant

    Just like Imus, Rush has become a dinosaur. His time has come and gone. Successful hosts/stations today are blah blah blah blah blah…..

    600+ stations, top-rated syndicated host in the country, large dedicated listenership, keeping countless AM stations alive in an age where AM is in sunset mode. He talks about “the same thing as 25 years ago” because politics is the same as it was 25 years ago (albeit with ever-lower standards for what constitutes an electable politician, a less-informed electorate and more egregious extra-constitutional transgressions) and politics is Limbaugh’s format. Get it? He talks sports and personality, but politics is his calling card; it’s what his listeners tune in for, expect and enjoy.

    Even on stations where his draw isn’t what it used to be, most AM stations have nothing viable to replace him and his format brethren with. Top market AMs may be able to afford local hosts and pay for them with recovered spot revenue; most mid and smaller markets cannot. Watch the ratings and demos at AMers who try switching to fluff talk. RKO is replacing Rush with a conservative host who makes Limbaugh look tame by comparison. They know what their audience wants as a lead in to also-conservative Carr. They just want more revenue from it.

    For you to suggest that he ends up on one of the top performing stations in the market is completely asinine. It just makes you sound really idiotic.

    Limbaugh is on top-performing talk stations in many if not most of his markets. In Boston, it’s highly unlikely that Rush’ll show up on WBZ (he’s not their format), but if any of you has “proof” that Limbaugh isn’t being picked up by BZ, please direct me to it – that would be a statement from CBS, Premiere, or perhaps Blackstrap’s LMA partner, not your opinion. Opinions are like elbows; everybody has ’em. It’s how you use them that counts.

    The poster speculating that Rush might end up at BZ states his reasons for that speculation. You can evaluate them for what they are, yet all you do is bleat your unfounded opinion and insult the poster.

    Guess who sounds idiotic in that scenario.

    This isn’t Twitter. Let’s set the bar higher than ‘twit.’

    Your troll analysis is spot on.

    #136367

    Autodyne
    Member

    Just like Imus, Rush has become a dinosaur…. He has become completely irrelevant in today’s media universe.

    Your troll analysis is spot on.

    Thanks. So are there two BRWs here or are you dissing yourself? Or is your sense of irony so deeply embedded that it’s going over my head?

    I’ll admit, ya got me stumped. Do tell.

    If all it takes to be a troll is an on-subject, off-target observation, then we’re all trolls. Of course unsubstantiated dinosaur references and gratuitous ad hominem attacks could be construed by some to be trolling as well.

    I mean, seriously, if we were to let this kind of thing go unchallenged, people might actually start to believe that since “everybody is saying it,” that one of the guys keeping hundreds of radio stations in business is in fact a dinosaur. Then millions of listeners become dinosaurs by association. After that, things go down hill rather rapidly.

    And I think that nobody here wants that.

    #136379

    radioperson
    Participant

    Rush will probably continue on-air until his health prohibits it. He lives for the soap-box and the audience attention. And his audience is still sizable and highly devoted.

    It would seem unlikely that Premiere would renew his contract under the current terms, but you might see a Howard Stern-type deal – less pay for less work. Limbaugh could take Fridays off and they could give a possible successor the Friday slot. Frequent Rush substitute Mark Steyn might well enjoy a regular weekly berth, since he has appeared on Hugh Hewitt’s show weekly for years and other outlets with some regularity in addition to the Rush substitution gig and his writing and speaking careers.

    Perhaps some subscription internet-only content might also figure in the mix.

    If Premiere’s still willing to lose an affiliate like WRKO, albeit in a market that’s never been friendly to syndicated talk, Rush must be performing well enough overall that Premiere isn’t feeling pressured to undercut their rates in other major markets by capitulating to RKO.

    “His audience is still sizable and highly devoted”

    For the 12th time, the DEMOs are now getting too old. It does not matter if the audience is still “sizable”. If the majority is over 60 years old, you can have a billion people listening, it will not matter to major advertisers.

    Not only did WRKO drop Rush, but so did WIBC in Indianapolis after 22 years. Some years ago, WIBC switched from AM to FM, so Rush ain’t getting the younger demos even on a major FM.
    Subscription-only internet? With his demos?

    Come on.

    The truth is that more and more people — especially those under 40 — ain’t buying the “all problems are the fault of one party” B.S. anymore. And this is Rush’s whole act.

    #136381

    Autodyne
    Member

    The truth is that more and more people — especially those under 40 — ain’t buying the “all problems are the fault of one party” B.S. anymore. And this is Rush’s whole act.

    When Rush started off, the rest of the media’s act was that it was all the Republicans’ fault. This was easy since Republicans were in power at the time nationally, but it was still a lopsided equation. As it had been for awhile.

    Rush changed that by being particularly adept in the format and a ready audience connected. Times and culture change and like any generational trend, Limbaugh and his contemporaries have reached maturity. But, and if you’ve been reading the thread you should know this, they’re doing it on a radio band that has matured with them. There is no replacement for the AM talk format that is anywhere near as effective at attracting the available audience outside of sports or expensive full-service, a no-go cost-wise in most markets on AM. Reread that a few times. Some larger market stations may have a Jeff Kuhner that they can plug in to attract the same demo with the same content and keep the local spot revenue. Smaller stations do not.

    So, for what seems like about the 90th time, it doesn’t matter that Limbaugh is aging out of the demo, because so is AM radio. As long as AM wants to have a piece of the pie, they need Limbaugh and his contemporaries, which is why they’ll stick around a bit longer.

    The kids are availing themselves of numerous media. What they’ll probably consume in the largest numbers will be video, be it HBO, Netflix or whatever. Audio consumption is splintered into streaming, cloud storage and hard drives, all with fidelity comparable generally to FM and no analog interference. AM doesn’t have a chance with that demo under any circumstances. Repeat: no AM is going to snag significantly younger demos with any programming.

    Under those dire circumstances, AM will continue to go with what they have that works until it doesn’t work, a few larger stations notwithstanding. And Premiere (and Cumulus and others) will continue to profit from it. For as long as they can, they’ll hold the line on discounting product that still plays in an active marketplace.

    Subscription-only internet? With his demos?

    Yeah, cash from an over-60 year-old’s wallet is as good as that from a 25 year old’s, don’t you think? And they all use the same computers and phones.

    #136422

    Nathan Obral
    Participant

    Yeah, cash from an over-60 year-old’s wallet is as good as that from a 25 year old’s, don’t you think? And they all use the same computers and phones.

    That’s always been the MO of ad agencies. The 25-54 demo is the only one that matters. Add to that most companies refuse to advertise on conservative talk radio for political reasons, and shows like Rush now are dependent on direct-response advertisements.

    As for Rush, his $400M contract with Premiere/iHeart is up next year. There’s no way that that he will be inked to another such contract, as iHeart is $20B in debt. That alone would be enough of an impetus for Rush to jump to an online-exclusive platform. And his streaming content has been subscription-based for about 15 years now, so it would be a simple extension of that model.

    Recorded in Ultra Stereo, the ultimately superior cousin to Normal Stereo!

    #136434

    radioperson
    Participant

    When Rush started off, the rest of the media’s act was that it was all the Republicans’ fault.

    Not true.

    What do you mean by “the rest of the media when Rush started” (1984 local, 1988 national)? You must have a very limited list of media outlets.

    Even if you remove the conservative newspapers (which were still vibrant in the 1980s) like the Chicago Tribune, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, the Boston Herald, Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Dallas Morning News, and the Wall Street Journal, just to name a few, you still had broadcast commentators like William F. Buckley (by far the most famous broadcast political pundit of his day) along with Bob Grant, Alan Burke, Barry Farber not to mention Paul Harvey and several others.

    What really unleashed Rush was the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine—which had required that stations provide free air time for responses to any controversial opinions that were broadcast—by the FCC in 1987. This meant stations could broadcast commentary without having to present opposing views. Rush (and to be fair, any pundit right or left) could now make up stuff and/or be reckless with facts and suffer no consequences under the blanket of “entertainment”. If you look at the PolitiFact truth ratings for talk hosts, none (right or left) are without a sizable percentage of “false/mostly false/pants on fire” statements, which is why I can’t rely on ANY of these people to give me real information on a consistent level.

    But Limbaugh is far and away the most untruthful (84% false/mostly false/pants on fire statements!).

    As far as your comments about AM, I will point out again that WIBC, a major FM talk station in Indianapolis just cancelled Rush. FM. Note this, please.

    No, I really think that the “politics as team sport” talk show has seen its day. The fastest growing political registration is “Independent”. Younger people have now lived through a screwy Republican administration (Bush II) and a screwy Democrat administration (Obama).

    They think BOTH suck.

    Party-based talk radio is dying because younger people ain’t buying the narrative.

    #136451

    Charles Everett
    Participant

    Rush will probably continue on-air until his health prohibits it. He lives for the soap-box and the audience attention. And his audience is still sizable and highly devoted.

    Then why is Entercom dropping Limbaugh in Boston? The company has a sizable contract with the Red Sox that’s up for renewal — and Entercom wants to have enough money on hand to keep the Red Sox.

    As for that “highly devoted” audience, it hasn’t followed him (so far) in Greater New York. WOR’s recent gains in the NYC suburbs are because it has the New York Mets.

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