With Rush Limbaugh facing an advertiser exodus, the Republican radio host didn't need another round of bad news. Last night, Judd Legum presented some anyway.
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 suspended these national advertisements for two weeks. Radio-Info.com calls the move "unusual."
In the Radio-Info.com report, there's some ambiguity about what prompted the two-week suspension -- the article noted that Premier "does not offer a reason, and does not mention a possible connection to Rush Limbaugh" -- but it's certainly not what the scandal-plagued host wanted to hear under the circumstances.
David Frum, meanwhile, notes that Limbaugh's precarious standing will face a new challenge on April 2, which is just three weeks away. "That's when the new Mike Huckabee show launches on 100 stations in Limbaugh's very own noon-to-3 time slot," Frum noted. "Huckabee's competition threatens Limbaugh not only because Huckabee has already proven himself an attractive and popular TV broadcaster, but also because Huckabee is arriving on the scene at a time when Limbaugh's business model is crashing around him."
The head of Cumulus Media Networks, which will carry Huckabee's show, added yesterday that Limbaugh's difficulties have created a "real opportunity" for the former Arkansas governor.
Keep in mind, Huckabee isn't exactly a host who'll steer clear of controversy. A year ago, Huckabee falsely claimed President Obama “grew up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather.” Soon after, he endorsed “death panel” garbage. By the early summer, Huckabee was equating the national debt with the Nazi Holocaust. In August 2009, Huckabee argued that President Obama’s health care reform package would have forced Ted Kennedy to commit suicide.
In time, advertisers may find the former Republican presidential hopeful too extreme, too.
But in the short run, Limbaugh probably won't benefit from the new competition.