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.
Per an article found at WorldNet Daily, "Sponsors Are Practically Begging" to come back, left out of all these stories is there's a long line of folks more than happy to advertise with Rush Limbaugh.
Quote, "There have been reports among some news agencies that at least 40 advertisers have abandoned Limbaugh’s top-rated program since the furor involving Sandra Fluke’s push for insurance-covered birth control erupted last week, but Limbaugh said those news outlets are not being honest.
“Because they lie, and because they don’t understand how it works,” he [Limbaugh] said. “Everything is fine on the business side. Everything is cool. There is not a thing to worry about. Whatever you’re seeing on television about this program and sponsors and advertisers is just incorrect.”
The article further notes it's standard practice for sponsors to have their ads withheld when a controversey breaks out - they haven't cancelled their ads or stopped sponsorship, just choose not to run their ads during a particular program, so no one is losing any ad revenue.
As for the stations dropping Rush, good luck with that.
And on the controversey itself, without going into great detail, the words may have been coarse but the description was apt. I have no issue with it.