In some eye-opening developments for conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, his contract with Cumulus Media may not be renewed due to continued fallout over Limbaugh’s controversial comments about Sandra Fluke, which lost the company millions of dollars in advertising revenue as a result.
“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.” Nevertheless, Limbaugh remains the most highly rated talk radio host in the country…
The news of Limbaugh’s possible departure comes one day ahead of Cumulus’s Tuesday earnings call, at which Dickey Is once again likely to address the impact the Fluke controversy has had on advertising. The source close to the show described Dickey’s remarks about advertising revenue as unjustified, and said such “criticism” of Limbaugh had resulted in the consideration to leave the company.”
According to Salon.com, Limbaugh rejects the accusation that he is the source of his distributor’s revenue problems, with a source close to Limbaugh telling the New York Daily News that “Lew needs someone to blame, [so] he’s pointing fingers instead of fixing his own sales problem.” The Limbaugh source also dismissed the impact of the Fluke “slut” controversy, saying that it “very minimally impacted [ad sales] in the short term.”