Mountains, Mole Hills, Rush, and Hannity
Liberals in the press are soiling themselves in excitement that Cumulus might drop Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, the nation’s most popular and second most popular radio programs. “Sandra Fluke’s revenge,” they claim giddily.That’s nonsense and what is actually happening is quite simple.Cumulus made some business mistakes and some large acquisitions that have both affected its bottom line. Premiere charges a lot for Rush and Sean’s shows because they are the two most listened to shows on radio. Cumulus wants to pay less. So they are fighting. This is the radio equivalent of CBS and Time Warner fighting over subscriber fees — nothing more, nothing less.The only added angle to this is Cumulus took a gamble that it could produce in house talk radio shows to compete against Limbaugh, Hannity, and others. The listeners have not thought as highly of many of those shows as Cumulus did. Cumulus presumed it could force its listeners to listen to those shows because of, in some markets, its virtual monopoly on news/talk stations. Listeners decided otherwise. Being in one of those markets myself, the only time I listen to the local Cumulus station anymore is when the clock his 12pm and Rush comes on. Otherwise it’s back to XM, including for Hannity and Levin starting at 3pm.All the hemming and hawing and yelling over Rush Limbaugh and advertising and liberals and boycotts is negotiating posture. Dish vs. AMC; CBS vs. Time Warner — this is just what it looks like when radio does it. Only the liberals in the press, who don’t understand their own business, let alone radio, have decided to spin a yarn instead of just trying to understand what’s actually happening.