The agreement will expand the reach of radio’s No. 2 talk show host on Clear Channel stations next year. Details will be announced later, and they’ll probably indicate where Sean Hannity‘s shows will be heard in markets where …
Rush Limbaugh‘s supporters and critics both claim victory a month after the radio talk-show host made incendiary comments about law student Sandra Fluke. Clear Channel’s Premiere Networks — which syndicates The Rush Limbaugh Show — says that advertisers are coming back. “Contrary to the wishful thinking of the professional special interest groups, reports of sponsors fleeing The Rush Limbaugh Show are grossly exaggerated,” the company says. “In fact, the program retains virtually all of its long-term sponsors who continue to have great success with The Rush Limbaugh Show.” Several advertisers wanted off after February 29: Many people said that Limbaugh crossed the line from acceptable commentary to unacceptable hate speech when he called Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute” following her testimony at a congressional meeting in favor of employer health plan coverage of contraceptives. He apologized for using the inflammatory words. Still, sponsors considered him so radioactive that Premiere ordered about 600 stations that carry his show to suspend national barter spots for two weeks. That period ended on Monday. Limbaugh’s defamatory comments about Fluke were “part of the normal day-to-day of talk radio,” Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman told the Associated Press this week.
Here’s the latest indication many sponsors consider him to radioactive: Clear Channel’s Premiere Networks, which syndicates Rush Limbaugh, told stations yesterday that it has suspended its national ads on his show for two weeks, according to industry trade site Radio-Info.com. ”Please replace/re-traffic any Premiere barter spots immediately,” the memo says. “Contractual requirements to run barter spots are being suspended for these two weeks only. Replace them with Lifelock and Lear Financial or a local spot of your choice.” About 140 advertisers have publicly said that they don’t want to be on Limbaugh’s show according to a tally being kept by the politically progressive group Think Progress. The latest directive, which Radio-Info characterizes as “unusual,” follows the company’s circulation last week of another memo telling stations that 98 major advertisers asked to be kept off of shows such as Limbaugh’s that are “likely to stir negative sentiment from a very small percentage of the listening public.” The controversy began
The environment is becoming chilly for commentators who traffic in incivility. Clear Channel’s syndication unit Premiere Networks gave its sales force a list of 98 companies — including major auto makers, insurance companies, and restaurant chains — that want to avoid “environments likely to stir negative sentiment from a very small percentage of the listening public,” according to a memo obtained by Radio-Info.com, a trade news site. And lest there be any doubt, the order says: “They’ve specifically asked that you schedule their commercials in dayparts or 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).” Companies asking to avoid those shows included Ford, GM, Toyota, Allstate, Geico, Prudential, State Farm, McDonald’s, and Subway.
Freelancer Cari Lynn is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of the All Things D Conference.
UPDATE, 10:30 AM: Clear Channel and Ryan Seacrest have a lot to offer each other in the investment deals announced earlier today, the radio giant’s CEO Bob Pittman says. The TV personality is now “one of our biggest stars,” Pittman told a conference sponsored by All Things D. Meanwhile, the radio company — which also has big ambitions in television and live entertainment — can provide Seacrest with marketing firepower. “We have 238M (listeners) per month, with 250 city affiliates,” Pittman says. “Why can’t we use our own advertising to cross promote (Seacrest)?” Pittman remains bullish on traditional broadcast radio. “We tried HD, commercial-free radio, and no one came. Why? They’ve already got 200 choices.” What’s more, he says that fans of Internet and satellite radio also “listen to more broadcast radio than the average user.”
PREVIOUS: 3:49 AM: This morning’s announcement involves two deals: First, Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners are putting $300M into Ryan Seacrest Media, the radio and TV personality’s investment holding company. And, second, Clear Channel — which is controlled by the investment firms — is buying a minority stake in Ryan Seacrest Productions, responsible for TV shows including Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Clear Channel chief Bob Pittman has said that he wants to expand and diversify the radio giant’s media presence. The companies didn’t disclose specific terms of their deals. Here’s the release:
Pittman’s long-time pal will lead the charge into television and live events as president of Clear Channel Entertainment Enterprises. Here’s the release:
NEW YORK– Clear Channel announced today that music, entertainment and media executive John Sykes will join the company in the newly created role of President, Clear Channel Entertainment Enterprises. He will report to Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman.
In his new position, Sykes will use the unparalleled assets of Clear Channel – including its 238 million monthly broadcast radio listeners, the 141 million people it reaches with Outdoor in the United States and the 374 million internationally, as well as the more than 75 million monthly listening hours for its digital properties – to develop new businesses for the company across a range of media, including television and live events, as well as create value for Clear Channel advertisers and key partners. Sykes’ new group will work closely with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment CEO John Hogan and his team as well as Clear Channel Outdoor, both in the United States and internationally.
Bob Pittman’s executive skills may be open for debate following his role in the AOL Time Warner debacle. But one thing’s for sure: He likes to think big, and bring PR sizzle to his businesses. The latest example? The CEO of Clear Channel Media Holdings just re-branded Clear Channel Radio — it’s now Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. The announcement follows the hot-ticket party for Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio that Pittman threw in Las Vegas at this week’s 2012 International CES.
Bob Pittman has always loved splashy events, and his planned two-day iHeartRadio Music Festival certainly qualifies. Clear Channel says it will stage “the biggest live concert festival in radio history” at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Sept …