Rush to SiriusXM a solution, say some

By on Mar, 23 2012 with Comments 9

Rush LimbaughShould Rush move to Sirius XM or online? It’s certainly been a solution for Howard Stern and others. With advertisers bailing on El Rushbo, reports have been circulating that he may end up doing just that.

Not long after nearly 100 national advertisers and dozens more have dropped Limbaugh, post-Sandra Fluke, Limbaugh syndicator Premiere Radio Networks suspended the requirement to “run barter spots for two weeks, March 12th and March 19th, for our News/Talk affiliates only,” according to an internal memo from Premiere. The suspension includes Limbaugh’s and other talk shows.”

It was a nice relief valve for the advertisers who were literally under attack. But was it enough? Probably not. The idea that the controversy could actually become “the end of talk radio” is a comment from Rush himself. This is affecting advertising on other controversial talkers as well as even network news.

A new campaign — with the Twitter hash tag #BulliedbyRush — spearheaded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem, founders of the “Women’s Media Center” wants him off the air entirely. In an op-ed the three call on the FCC to take action saying that it’s time to “take back our broadcast resources” and get what they call “toxic, hate inciting speech” off the public airwaves.

Could this be an opportunity for SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Pandora, RadioIO or others?

Here is what a few of the analysts are saying, as reported by CNBC:

Brett Harriss, Gabelli & Co. :”Would be fantastic for Sirius if they could get Rush. They have plenty of capacity to add content to their offerings”.

Mattew Harrigan, Wunderlich Securities:

“When you get people to pay, you have to have people passionate about the program.” And in this case, “even if it’s a small percentage of the population, the economics might work. I’m not saying they would do it, but they would have to take a cursory look at it”

Doug Anmuth, JP Morgan:

“It’s early in their [Pandora's] business model and they are inherently about music customization.” And while the company has “6-percent of the overall radio market … they’re focused on monetizing that explosive growth in hours through advertising.”

Martin Pyykkonen, Wedge Partners:

“SIRI might consider a Rush Limbaugh program — they haven’t shied away from controversy as seen with Howard Stern, although Limbaugh represents a higher level of controversy. SIRI’s business model and outlook, however, includes programming costs coming down or at least staying flat as a percentage of revenue — adding Limbaugh could drive programming costs up quite a lot…”

RBR-TVBR observation: SiriusXM and/or any internet site would love to get Limbaugh, as they would charge listeners to hear him—a premium channel for SiriusXM and/or an online subscription fee. Rush/Premiere/Clear Channel could also look at it as a major addition to the iHeartRadio offering. But wait a moment—Rush is terrestrial radio’s biggest anchor store. This would hurt the medium tremendously and do some immediate and probably permanent damage to the bottom line of his 600 affiliates. At this point, a major PR effort needs to be waged to keep him on the radio and back into the good graces of advertisers. Media Matters is not going to stop its efforts, so something more needs to be done than getting Rush on Twitter. This will eventually blow over if everyone sticks to their guns and gets the right PR firm on damage control. And yes, Rush needs to think a little more before uttering slanders such as he did with Sandra Fluke. Obviously, systems are in place to slap him down any time he makes a major fumble.

About The Author: Carl has been with RBR-TVBR since 1997 and is currently Managing Director/Senior Editor. Residing in Northern Virginia, he covers the business of broadcasting, advertising, programming, new media and engineering. He’s also done a great deal of interviews for the company and handles our ever-growing stable of bylined columnists.

  1. Really???

    Rush has over 20 MILLION FREE over the air listeners! Why would anyone kook want to silence a cume audience as large as this.

    Oh, yeah, the anti-FREE SPEECH Demo, er Commi-crats. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a Republican! I am an artist who creates commercials for successful business who use shows like Rush to sell products. These clients’ spots are A-political (that means no politics).

    As an advertiser, clients want their products and services to reach large audiences.

    Would FOX-TV send “American Idol” to HBO just so their judges and contestants can rant more F-bombs or wear see through clothing? Hell NO!

    Broadcasters and advertisers need to stay strong to protect FREE speech within context of topic on hand.

    Until NBC news, HBO and Comedy Central comedians are policed for saying “entertaining” jokes, double entredres, innuendos etc, then there is NO argument against Rush.

    Why? Because just like Howard Stern, Bill Mahr, Jay Leno and a long list of others, Rush is an “ENTERTAINER” not a politician, teacher or preacher for that matter.

    If we, the people, allow more censorship on FREE broadcast Radio and TV, then we’ll have a Soviet-style 1984-Utopia version of CRAP for entertainment.

    Shut off the boycotts and get a life already.

    • Danny Detroit Says:

      You have a couple of valid points. How about sticking to talking points instead of name calling? Wouldn’t that give you a better chance to have people listen to your view?

      It’s been a generation since I heard anyone being called a communist. That type of demonizing people you disagree with will never anyone over.
      Why don’t you try being civil?

      • HorizonScanner Says:

        Aye, that’s the point. Anita Dunn, just for an example, is a self-professed communist, as is Van Jones. The hero of the anti-Obama resistance, Rush Limbaugh, decodes and exposes what is a communist coup d’ etat, as does Glenn Beck, Jim Quinn, Gordon Liddy, Michael Savage, and growing numbers of anti-tyranny broadcasters.

        I find your consternation either naive or intentionally a riposte, a failed riposte, to be sure, but evenso an attempt to see things as they aren’t as if they are, namely, there is no communist conspiracy to destroy the American Republic. But, there is. Van Jones keeps telling us there is, as does George Soros and, even, Obama – - inter alia, of course.

    • Get over it Says:

      Censorship? You’re joking, right? This is the free market speaking, not the government.

      You folks that whine about impact on free speech need to remember how capitalism actually works.

      Yes, it’s a large market, but guess what? It’s shrinking rapidly because Rush poisoned it himself. Maybe hate speech is going the way of the buggy whip business. Adapt or disappear. Think about it.

      • HorizonScanner Says:

        I heard the broadcast.

        Fluke was/is a fraud. The poison was injected by her and her handlers (Pelosi) when they put her up in a phony press conference proposed as a legitimate congressional hearing, like the show trials in Russia.

        You are an agent of the Fluke Fifth Column, as is Jane Fonda.

  2. Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern and the like should be forced off the public airwaves and away from the center of the national debate. They do damage to others that cannot be repaired by an apology and they polarize people around their particular political ideology.
    The nation and its people needs an honest national dialogue, uninfluenced by political punditry and pressure.

    • HorizonScanner Says:

      You should be forced off the internet answer blogs for the exact same reasons you use against Stern, Rush, et al. In fact, your ability to type and to think at the same time should be called into question by government courts entitled by you to make judgements about other people.

  3. creamrises Says:

    Mel Karmazin is a brilliant businessman. As a NYC woman I detest Howard Stern, and my hunch is that Mr. Karmazin is smart enough not to add another shock jock to the equation. However, trading SIRI has been a pleasure, gives me an extra five g’s to send to Media Matters! Mel, I am a huge short on RL……

  4. “slander” ??? From dictionary.com. A malicious, false AND defamatory statement. “slut”?? From dictionary.com an immoral or dissolute woman.
    She is a single woman wanting protection from sex. She is a slut (not that that’s all bad)
    Her boyfriend is the son of a VERY wealthy Democrat Party supporter, so even though he can easily afford to “pay for play”, he wants someone else to pay for his fun.
    What Rush said may be offensive, however since it is accurate, it is not covered by the rules of slander. Since she is now a high profile political operative (thanks to the phony congressional non-hearing) she is a public figure and therefor open to attack.





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