After decades of spouting his brand of crass controversy on air, Rush Limbaugh's show has been dropped by WIBC, the Indianapolis radio station that has hosted the show for a long time. After 22 years, the incredibly popular conservative talk show The Rush Limbaugh Show will no longer be broadcast from Indy come July 3, reported PR Newswire.
Los Angeles-based syndicator Premiere Networks, alongside WIBC's parent company Emmis Communications, announced the end of their partnership, directly ending Limbaugh's show after its current contract runs out. Emmis allegedly pays a hefty sum to air The Rush Limbaugh Show — though the station declined to say how much — but Premiere also reportedly has control over some of the show's advertising inventory.
Emmis’ local market manager, Charlie Morgan, told The Indianapolis Business Journal that the decision to drop the show was due to the company's long-term direction, and that discussions about ending the the conservative talk show had begun some 18 months before the decision was made.
It’s not an inexpensive show to air, so there is a business element to the decision. But this has more to do with the long-term direction of the station. ... We began to discuss how we plan for long-term dominance in this format, and that’s what led us to this result.
Bustle has not yet received a response from either The Rush Limbaugh Show or Emmis Communications for comment or confirmation.
Perhaps the decision lies behind Limbaugh's trouble with advertisers, which allegedly began following his attacks on Sandra Fluke — he had called the law student who was denied the right to speak at a contraception hearing a "slut" and "prostitute" — which resulted in a revenue exodus as 140 companies dropped their advertising from The Rush Limbaugh Show. Morgan indicated that possibility to The Indianapolis Business Journal as he said that the company began notifying advertisers of the change on Monday:
We believe this could open us up to a new group of advertisers.
The fallout from Limbaugh's advertising problem seems to have spilled over into talk radio in general, as brands look to sidestep their association with potentially inflammatory programming. The social media campaigns that railed against Limbaugh's remarks on Fluke had unintentionally spooked companies from advertising on similar programs, The Wall Street Journal reported, affecting the industry even more so than it did The Rush Limbaugh Show, its intended target.
Media Matters, the liberal watchdog group that led the social media charge against Limbaugh in 2012, wrote that the right-wing host's presence in the talk radio industry is bad for business as a whole, considering his format of provocation. Perhaps the reports of WIBC pulling his show is an indication that radio shows are making a conscious effort to evade angry controversy in the hopes of winning back advertisers.
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