Tag Archives: Radio
Rumor is a statistician is about to release an accurate report of Rush Limbaugh’s national radio ratings over the past five years, compiled from the confirmable local ratings of stations around the country. The upshot: Rush is now under a million per week in regular listeners, much less than the 20 million he claims, and he’s been losing ground since 2004. Wonder what this will do to the ad rates on Limbaugh’s shows? Oh, yeah, and Clear Channel, the media corporation that’s paying Limbaugh $400 million dollars over the next eight years, is slowly going under. Who’s going to pay Limbaugh’s contract off if they go bankrupt? Perhaps they’ll ask for a government bailout to buy off Rush with the excuse that he’s too big to fail.
“The astronomical worth of Limbaugh’s eight-year pact: $400 million. The amount of money Clear Channel execs have been trying to scrimp and save this year as they lay off thousands from the struggling company: $400 million. Ironic, don’t you think?”
“Context: Clear Channel now pays Limbaugh more than NBC pays late-night ratings king Jay Leno. Who thinks Limbaugh brings in more ad revenue for Clear Channel than Leno does for NBC? FYI, The Tonight Show generates approximately $200 million annually for NBC.”
— Eric Boehlert, “Limbaugh’s Living Large While Radio Boss Clear Channel Implodes,” Media Matters, May 5, 2009.
“But during all this growth I havent lost any audience. Ive never had financially a down year. Theres supposedly a recession, but weve got — what is this May? Back in February we already had 102% of 2008 overbooked for 2009. So I always believed that if were going to have a recession, just dont participate.”
— Rush Limbaugh, “Limbaugh Mocks Recession During Speech to Wealthy Right-Wing Donors,” Think Progress, May 5, 2009.
The Right-Wing Media Frankenstein is Pushing Its Republican Political Prisoners to Electoral Doom
You have shown me a strange image, and they are strange prisoners.
— Glaucon, from Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave,” Book VII, “The Republic.”
Out in the formerly sunny Kal-i-forn-yuh, now the province of the disastrous ‘leadership’ of Republican Gov. Arnold “Worse Than Gray Davis” Schwarzenegger, GOP lawmakers are resisting a sensible bill that will save the state from bankruptcy and collapse. Why? Because it contains necessary tax increases to balance the state budget and the California Republicans are under threat from right-wing radio talkers that if they vote for the bill, they will be targeted for removal from office and their political careers ended.
Similarly, national Republicans in Congress have also gotten the message from Rush Limbaugh and his braying ilk: vote against even the most reasonable spending bills that would help Americans enmeshed in Bush’s new Great Depression and hope Obama fails or else.
Democrats have been rightly criticized for leaving their spines in a lockbox in the conduct of national business, but this is an exhibition of cowardice unparalleled in US political history: Not only are the chickenhawk Republicans afraid to risk their dainty flesh in the nation’s interest, now they are trembling in fear at the thought that obtuse gasbags like Limbaugh might attack them for voting the wrong way. (One, a featherweight embarrassment named Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia, blubberingly apologized and begged forgiveness on Limbaugh’s radio show recently for veering from Rush’s notion of conservative orthodoxy.)
The irony here is as thick as Rush Hudson Limbaugh III’s porcine jowls; the two ‘new’ political ideas hatched from the dank cellar of Nixon’s presidency were appealing via code words to white bigots the infamous ‘Southern Strategy’ and mobilizing fringe right Christians, formerly opposed to political involvement, to take up the GOP banner in the name of fighting abortion rights after Roe v. Wade was ruled on by the Supreme Court in 1973. The third ‘new’ idea, which really hearkened back to the broadcast rants of Father Charles Coughlin in the 1930s, was the inception of right-wing talk radio infesting those AM bands that had been all but deserted in the rush to FM in the 1970s, pioneered by the unlikely success of post-Fairness Doctrine Rush Limbaugh in 1988. In the early days, the Mighty Wurlitzer of conservative talk radio served the interests of the Republican Party, helping to elect Newt Gingrich’s ‘Contract with America’ Congress in 1994, and took their marching orders from the Republican National Committee, or GOP political operatives like Ed Rollins, Lee Atwater or, later, Karl Rove. The concept was simple: take all of the rage that was building in the nation from working class poor and blue-collar whites who were being consistently reamed by corporations owned by wealthy Republicans and their GOP political puppets and turn it on liberals, Hollywood, Democrats, feminists, scientists, gays, college professors, Barbra Streisand, welfare queens, ‘elites’ or anyone else not providing money or faxed talking points to the host, then urge them to support whatever jive pinhead the Republican Party dredged up to run against it all.
That the promulgators of this fictional universe, donning imaginary overalls during airtime and portraying themselves as straight-talking ‘average Americans,’ themselves were making millions of dollars (Limbaugh himself just signed a deal worth $400 million) and living the most elite lives possible off air was carefully hidden from the office-bound rubes and factory-floor yokels of the new GOP diaspora, strangers in their own land and eternally the patriotic put-upon victims of some liberal outrage, smart-ass scientist, gay celebrity or urban welfare recipient who had no other thought in life but to retire early with their new Cadillac and color TV bought on the downtrodden white man’s hard-earned dime.
For a time, the right-wing media prevailed with this fantasy of misdirected ire and ratings boomed, especially during the ’90s when they had Bill and Hillary Clinton to vilify for all that’s wrong with the world, and it reached it’s influential zenith with the election of the dullest knife in the drawer, the malaprop-prone black sheep alcoholic son of a politically-prominent family, a failure at everything he had ever tried, shoehorned into the Texas governor’s mansion by the slimy machinations of Karl Rove, and illegally appointed to the presidency by Daddy’s friends on the US Supreme Court — George W. Bush. The Limbaugh’s and Hannity’s celebrated they had catapulted one of their own into the highest office in the land; but that was also the beginning of their downfall, concurrent with the nosedive of Bush and the GOP, and the concomitant blossoming of their blind arrogance that is on track to reduce the Republicans to a small regional party, grasping for votes from the unlearned, unteachable and plain dumb. This media Frankenstein, stitched together haphazardly to assist the GOP, now bullies the party to work against its own interests, just as they have been doing to their misbegotten audience for decades, an audience diminishing in the harsh light of economic reality.
Rumors Slipped Under the Doorway:
— Word is billionaire George Soros, with additional backing from fellow moneybags Warren Buffett, is going to cause heads to explode in the right-wing media universe as he’s supposedly planning to spend mega-millions to buy Air America Radio, along with failing radio stations across the land, and start a well-financed alternative to Clear Channel’s network of conservative talkers. He’s also looking at purchasing some regional small-and medium-market TV stations that are down on their luck to compete with the typically GOP-friendly mumbo jumbo broadcast in those areas. Soros and Buffett aren’t doing this strictly for altruistic reasons they’ve studied buying patterns in the current depressed economy and it’s clear: the better-educated listeners of progressive talk radio have more disposable income than the downtrodden audience of right-wing media. While many advertisers have been shy to buy time on liberal radio, the trend is turning the other way now, what with the general unpopularity of the Republican Party and George W. Bush in particular. Will they be able to get the deal past the GOP-dominated FCC? Stay tuned
— Speaking of which, Rupert Murdoch is said to be quietly seeking a buyer for the Fox television network, including the Fox News channel. Revenues and ratings are down at Fox in general and Fox News in particular, and some of the news channel’s nameplates, like Bill O’Reilly, are retiring soon or have become public punchlines, such as Sean Hannity and Steve Doocy. Bloomberg is rumored to have cast the top bid so far.
— Look for rattled Republicans sensing electoral disaster to campaign this year without any reference to the party in their media advertising. Moreover, watch for them to campaign AGAINST some of the GOP agenda of the last eight years. “Appear to be independent,” is the private advice that went out from the RNC, according to rumor. Deflating the prospects of some GOP incumbents and first-timers is word from on high that the national party’s cupboards are bare and not to expect financial help even in tight ‘safe’ districts, only millionaires willing to spend their own cash need apply.
— Hot on the heels of the success of ‘Reel Time with Bill Maher,’ HBO is allegedly on the verge of offering radio host Randi Rhodes her own weekly ‘no-holds-barred’ hour, featuring a free-wheeling stand-up/panel format similar to Maher’s show. With her rumored MSNBC deal scotched after her controversial separation from Air America Radio, HBO sees an opening for Rhodes’ savagely funny, profanity-laden style. Word is, the pay-cable channel wants to have her up and running by late summer, if she’ll sign on.
— Meanwhile, speaking of MSNBC, Rachel Maddow keeps expanding her television orbit, regularly appearing on at least three of the ‘Place for Politics’ programs and as part of their election coverage, but the cable news channel’s execs continue to dither over giving Maddow her own show. They’d better act fast the dull and snarky Campbell Brown is gasping like a carnival goldfish over at CNN and they’ve been sizing up Rachel’s class act as a sharp and satirical and more youthful — addition to their political coverage including taking over Brown’s low-ball primetime hour, opposite MSNBC ratings star Keith Olbermann. It’s no secret that Olbermann and Maddow are good friends and simpatico politically would she mount a challenge in his time slot? All’s fair in love and TV, they say, so we’ll have to see how this plays out, but word is the Air America Radio talker is a little weary of parrying with the likes of ‘Uncle Fudd’ Pat Buchanan and his precious pup Michael Smerconish at MSNBC.