POLITICO: Rush Limbaugh May End Contract With Cumulus Media

Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh poses with a bust in his likeness during a secretive ceremony inducting him into the Hall of Famous Missourians on Monday, May 14, 2012, in the state Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo. Credit: AP

A Sunday night POLITICO report claims Rush Limbaugh, host of the most listened to radio program in the country, is considering a major shake-up at the end of 2013.

Sources reportedly say he is considering ending his affiliation agreement with Cumulus Media, which would mean roughly 40 Cumulus-owned radio stations across the country would no longer be able to broadcast the program.

POLITICO continues:

According to the source, Limbaugh is considering the move because Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey has blamed the company’s advertising losses on Limbaugh’s controversial remarks about Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student. In Feb. 2012, Limbaugh referred to Fluke as “a slut” because she had called on congress to mandate insurance coverage of birth control. The subsequent controversy over those remarks resulted in a significant advertising boycott.

The true extent of Limbaugh’s effect on Cumulus’s advertising revenue is not known. In an August 2012 earnings call, Dickey said Cumulus’s top three stations had lost $5.5 million, in part because of the boycott. In a March 2013 earnings call, Dickey said the company’s talk radio side had “been challenged… due to some of the issues that happened a year ago.”…

Cumulus Media, which has a contract with Limbaugh through 2013, declined to comment for this report: “Cumulus owns the premier talk radio distribution platform in the United States and doesn’t comment on negotiations with talent under contract,” Davidson Goldin, a Cumulus spokesman, told POLITICO. Clear Channel, which distributes the Rush Limbaugh Program through its Premiere Radio division, also declined to comment. [Emphasis added]

A similar report from the New York Daily News Sunday night implies Limbaugh might not be off all Cumulus-owned stations, just WABC.

The report reads:

Rush Limbaugh people are saying it’s not El Rushbo’s fault that ad sales have fallen at his flagship WABC — and he made it clear this weekend if the network’s boss keeps declaring it is, he just may pack up his megadittoes and leave.

In New York, that would very likely take him to WOR, which would create the biggest shakeup in city talk radio since WOR scooped up Bob Grant after WABC fired him in 1995.

Limbaugh’s contract with WABC expires at the end of the year.

Though it also says near the end of the article: “If Limbaugh leaves Cumulus, which now carries him on 40 stations in 36 markets, the source at [Limbaugh's] show confirms he would be looking for other stations in those markets.”

It’s very possible “El Rushbo” will address the rumors in his inimitable style when he returns to the microphone this week.