While the attention given to Rush Limbaugh's national advertisers have had incredible results, let us not forget that the stations that carry his program also sell ad time. Locally, Limbaugh is carried on WPGB, 104.7 FM. This is a Clear Channel station, and as Clear Channel, Limbaugh, and Premiere Radio are all interconnected, its unlikely we can get WPGB to drop Rush, but we can hit them in their wallet. I forced myself to listen to all three hours of Limbaugh today, just to find out who's advertising on the show. I think my IQ dropped 25 points an hour listening to that drivel for three hours. Now, I'm pretty sure I missed some spots, many of them are rather brief, but I think I got most of them. Here's the list of advertisers from 12 noon through 3 pm:
This list is not all inclusive, I'm pretty sure I missed a few. Nationally, Limbaugh only has a handful of clients left, so for the chains with national reach, its a pretty good bet that these are local or regional buys.
Why not let them know what you think of them advertising on WPGB in general (all hate, all the time) and on Limbaugh's program specifically? Let them know you will not patronize their businesses until they stop sponsoring hateful rhetoric, let them know how their buying time on Limbaugh's show hurts their brand image. Ask them if they want to be associated with a figure who demands that women videotape themselves having sex and then post those videos online for his prurient enjoyment.
Some will ignore us, but I bet we can get enough of them to drop their sponsorship to hurt!
Radio-Info.com reports that Premiere Networks, which syndicates the Rush Limbaugh show, told its affiliate radio stations that they are suspending national advertising for two weeks. Rush Limbaugh is normally provided to affiliates in exchange for running several minutes of national advertisements provided by Premiere each hour. These ads are called “barter spots.” These spots are how Premiere makes its money off of Rush Limbaugh and other shows it syndicates.
But without explanation, Premiere has supended these national advertisements for two weeks. Radio-Info.com calls the move “unusual.” The development suggests that Rush Limbaugh’s incessant sexist attacks on Sandra Fluke have caused severe damage to the show.
My take is that Premiere is betting that the controversy will die down over the course of a fortnight, while giving them time to line up new advertisers so when they resume running national spots, the time wont be occupied by public service announcements and dead air. If it works or not is another matter.
Its probably still too soon to tell, but so many advertisers have fled Limbaugh's program, the bulk of ad time is now consumed by non-revenue generating public service announcements. I have no idea what a thirty second spot on The Rush Limbaugh show costs, but I have to imagine that Premire Radio and Clear Channel lost thousands upon thousands of dollars over the past week by being unable to replace sponsors fleeing Limbaugh like he was an overturned and leaking container of toxic waste.
Jim Cooper, executive editor of Adweek, said that Limbaugh's comments were "so offensive" that he could have impaired his ability to attract advertisers in the long term. "He could have a problem with brands being associated with his show. They don't want to have any sort of rub off, to be associated with anyone seen as so bold or obnoxious or cruel to that woman, it is pretty off the charts."...
"It's really high profile. Not only are the ratings so huge, but this story has blown up on social media, it is all over Twitter and these brands are not stupid, they are monitoring that space, too. If this story had happened 10 years ago, it would not have had the gasoline of social media to push it. The story will not go away."
Katy Bachman, former radio reporter for MediaWeek and past editor of Radio Business Report, said the controversy might affect Limbaugh "for a while."
"Advertisers are very sensitive to where their ads are placed," Bachman said. "This might set him back for a while, the pressure should be put on Premiere and Clear Channel because they are the syndicators and the ones selling the advertising."
Asked why the ads started being pulled so soon and so quickly, Bachman replied, "They don't want their ads or their products associated with a show like this."
Limbaugh should have been excluded from polite company decades ago for the many, manyoffensive and vulgar comments he's made, but this particular controversy seems to have the legs to do some real damage to the brand.