With his contract up at the end of the year, Rush Limbaugh is thinking of pulling his radio show off Cumulus Media stations. More than a year after he called law student and activist Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute,” the host is sick of being blamed by company CEO Lew Dickey for the Cumulus’ declining ad revenue, says Politico. On 40 Cumulus stations across the country, Limbaugh believes the real reason ad revenue is down is underperformance by the company’s outlets. The possible talk radio shift comes just ahead of a quarterly earning call tomorrow with Dickey. Last August, Dickey said Limbaugh’s February 2012 remarks calling Georgetown law student Fluke a “slut” cost the company’s top trio of stations about $5.5 million in ad revenue. This March, he referred to the company as revenue “challenged” by the fallout from Limbaugh’s remarks. Year to date, Cumulus’ stock is up 38.6% and up 14.6% over the past 12 months.
The top-rated radio host lashed out at Fluke on February 29 on his show because of her efforts to have Congress ensure that birth control was covered by health insurance. A boycott call led to Sears, Neflix, Capitol One, John Deere and other companies pulling their ads. The host later apologized. A month after the incident, Limbaugh’s show and Clear Channel Premiere Network, which syndicates it, insisted that the boycott had a minimal effect and “virtually all of its long-term sponsors” had stuck with them. The live Rush Limbaugh Show is on Cumulus stations three hours a day in major markets such as NY, Dallas, Chicago and Washington D.C. A move by Limbaugh off Cumulus and on to new outlets in those markets would see New York’s WABC and others face a very tough new competitor in the talk-radio game.
Deadline's Dominic Patten - tip him here.