CENTRAL NEW YORK -- Dozens of national-level advertisers and two radio stations -- one in Hawaii and one in Massachusetts -- have severed ties with The Rush Limbaugh Show, over some well-publicized remarks Limbaugh made on-air recently. But when it comes to affiliates in the three markets covered by CNYRadio.com, it appears Limbaugh's future is secure.
Last week, Limbaugh referred to a Georgetown University law student as a "slut" and a "prostitute" while discussing a sound bite from the student's testimony before Congress. She had been criticizing the fact that Georgetown's student health coverage doesn't cover birth control. Even though Limbaugh later apologized, more than 24 sponsors have pulled their spots from the syndicated show.
In Syracuse, FM Newsradio 106.9 and 570 WSYR general manager Joel Delmonico told the Syracuse Post-Standard he hasn't lost any local advertisers as a result of the controversy. He told reporter John Mariani there hasn't even been any discussion about removing Limbaugh from the lineup. That's not necessarily a shocker, considering WSYR's parent company, Clear Channel, also owns Limbaugh's syndicator, Premiere Radio Networks. The company has already issued a statement in support of Limbaugh's freedom to speak his opinion, while including the disclaimer that Limbaugh's opinion's don't necessarily represent the company's official stance.
Utica affiliate WIBX 950 is owned by Townsquare Media, which is not controlled by Clear Channel. Program Director Jeff Monaski tells CNYRadio.com "generally, no, we have not" experienced any kind of "backlash" from sponsors or listeners. He admits the station has received, "a handful of emails from people who have asked us to reconsider airing Rush." Regarding the messages, he hinted that some of the messages may have come from out-of-towners banding together to contact all of Limbaugh's affiliates, remarking that "a few seemed original while others appeared to be bulk/chain-type emails using very similar language."
CNYRadio.com also reached out to Ithaca's News Talk 870 and 95.9 WHCU, owned by Saga Communications. PD Geoff Dunn referred our questions to GM Susan Johnston this morning, but we did not receive a response by the end of the business day. Limbaugh is still included on the programming schedule on the station's web site as of Wednesday evening.
In 2008, Premiere Radio Networks gave Limbaugh an 8-year contract extension worth $400 million.