With Rush Limbaugh soon to depart Entercom’s 680 WRKO Boston after the company and Premiere Radio Networks failed to reach agreeable terms, Daly XXL Communications has said that it too has passed on picking up the show for its Conservative Talk 1510 WMEX.
Daly XXL co-owner Mary Catherine Remmer, who is currently leasing WMEX from Blackstrap Broadcasting, tells the Boston Globe that “He’s been offered to us four times, and we’ve said no.” WMEX has been revamping its lineup with local hosts from 6am to 6pm including YouTuber Joe Ligotti in mornings and former 96.9 WTKK host Michelle McPhee in afternoons.
As Fybush.com editor Scott Fybush told the Globe, there are really no good options left in the Boston market for Limbaugh. None of the four large group owners have a logical fit in the market. Entercom is dumping Limbaugh, iHeartMedia has already failed with “Rush Radio 1200” WXKS, Greater Media exited Conservative Talk with the demise of 96.9 WTKK a few years ago, and CBS has no station that would pick him up. That eliminates all of the full market commercial FM’s and quality AM signals.
When afternoon host Howie Carr briefly exited WRKO for WMEX last November, he utilized a network of suburban stations to fill in coverage holes. Limbaugh may be stuck with a station like WCAP Lowell as his only carriage option in the market with little to no coverage in the city itself.
When Emmis’ 93.1 WIBC Indianapolis announced its plans to drop Limbaugh this coming July 3, Premiere Radio Networks issued a statement stating “We look forward to announcing a new home for ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show’ in Indianapolis soon.” Over six weeks have passed and there has been no word on where Limbaugh will land in Indianapolis.
Then what happens next year when Rush’s contract with Premiere Radio Networks expires? Limbaugh’s 8 year/$400 million contract with the iHeartMedia owned syndicator will come to an end next summer. If he exits iHeart, what incentive will any of their stations have to keep Limbaugh on the air? Will Rush’s ego allow him to take a paycut or loss of distribution? Who would even want someone whose audience is aging and is considered toxic to many advertisers?
Limbaugh still has brand value for a radio station or media company if used properly. It’s a very narrow tightrope for that company to walk, but for a startup Conservative web platform looking for someone to produce podcasts or commentaries there could still be some value to be in the Rush Limbaugh business.