Given the role of conservative talk radio in rallying the Republican base and disseminating the party’s message of the day, it’s imperative for the right that its leading voices reach as large an audience as possible. With this in mind, Politico’s Dylan Byers reported on a significant media shake-up overnight.
In a major shakeup for the radio industry, Cumulus Media, the second-biggest broadcaster in the country, is planning to drop both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity from its stations at the end of the year, an industry source told POLITICO on Sunday.
Cumulus has decided that it will not renew its contracts with either host, the source said, a move that would remove the two most highly rated conservative talk personalities from more than 40 Cumulus channels in major markets.
I’d recommend at least some caution here. For one thing, it looks as if the Politico is largely based on one source, and while I’m sure he or she is reliable enough for Byers to run with this, we don’t know his or her full motivations. This may well be part of a negotiating tactic as talks continue.
That said, the same report added some strong supporting details: “[I]n recent weeks, Cumulus has been quietly reaching out to radio talent agents and political insiders about new local and regional station hosts to fill some of the airtime that will be left vacant by Limbaugh and Hannity, industry sources said. Cumulus is also expected to move some of its existing talent – which includes Mike Huckabee, Mark Levin, and Michael Savage – into one of the slots.”
If the report proves accurate, it would have a real impact – as Judd Legum noted, Cumulus Media is the second-biggest operator of radio stations in the nation, and if Limbaugh and Hannity are dropped from its stations, the Republican hosts will find it that much more difficult to find advertisers eager to support hosts whose audiences are shrinking and who won’t be aired in some of the country’s largest media markets.