WRKO is dropping Rush Limbaugh from its Boston radio lineup after negotiations stalled with the affiliate. The radio station has now become the second major affiliate in recent weeks to drop the talk show host, according to Mediate.
“We were unable to reach agreeable terms for The Rush Limbaugh Show to continue on WRKO. A final broadcast date will be announced in the near future.”
Limbaugh was dropped by longtime Indianapolis affiliate WIBC in April. Rush was told by WIBC’s parent company that the talk show host’s absence could actually improve its advertiser prospects.
The commercial viability of the syndicated show has suffered since 2012, when advertisers began fleeing the program in the wake of his prolonged attack on then-law student Sandra Fluke. The Wall Street Journal has reported on the millions of dollars in advertising revenue stations who carry his show lose, as well as the industry-wide damage resulting from toxicity to advertisers.
Limbaugh also faced the exodus of national advertisers who played a significant part in reducing talk radio advertising rates. Rush saw revenues drop to about half of what it costs to run ads on music stations, even though the two formats have “comparable audience metrics.”
WRKO dropping Rush Limbaugh from its lineup is just the latest reminder that he is bad for business. Advertisers continue to leave and stay away thanks to a dedicated group of independent organizers in the Flush Rush and #StopRush communities.
The company said that information on the show’s final broadcast on WRKO would be announced at a later date. Premiere Networks also indicated that Limbaugh would be back on the airwaves in Boston in the future.
“Rush Limbaugh airs daily in every measured media market in America, and we look forward to announcing exciting news for our Boston listeners soon.”
Some people see this announcement as a mixed message, perhaps one that contradicts earlier reports.
In 2012, Limbaugh returned to WRKO after a two and a half year absence. Rush began to spread the Tea Party’s message by broadcasting from the Boston Tea Party ships and museum on congress street as part of a promotion, but it eventually failed a second time.
Limbaugh’s popularity with the stations that carry him and advertisers has been in a free fall for approximately three years. It started when Rush called Sandra Fluke a “slut” on air, which caused advertisers to flee.
Some of the backlash still continues today as listenership has been on a downward spiral. WRKO dropping Rush Limbaugh might be the second station, but critics say there’s more to come.