Statistics Show The End is Near For Rush Limbaugh forums forums Portland Radio Statistics Show The End is Near For Rush Limbaugh

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    Andy Brown

    Sixteen radio stations in Oregon may be looking for a three hour block of programming for 9 – 12 AM soon.

    Limbaugh’s troubles boil down to simple business principles: his audience is getting older, and new generations aren’t buying his hate speech. How long will the iHeartRadio CFO watch his sales tank and stock crumble to save the Great White Male, Rush Limbaugh?

    Every large company that purchases national advertising contracts walked away from Rush Limbaugh. They understand they need to appeal to all age demographics, and can’t afford to alienate their customers. Inside every one of these companies is a C-level executive in charge of marketing, and they look at charts like these:

    Rush appeals to a mostly white, male audience, many of whom will not be in the market to purchase anything at all in 20 years.So if you have a business, you have to ask yourself this question: would you risk alienating your customers for the next 50 years? And would you risk alientating your brand with their kids, too? The answer is obvious.

    Even before the news leaked about WLS dropping Rush in the near future, Rupert Murdoch’s own Wall Street Journal reported on February 4 of this year it seems the biggest problem in talk radio today is hate monger Rush Limbaugh. The WSJ wrote:

    Talk and news stations combined generated $1.5 billion in revenue in 2013, down from $1.6 billion in 2011, according to the latest numbers from media research firm BIA/Kelsey. Pure talk-station revenue fell to $205 million, from $217 million. The number of talk stations shrank to 510 from 546 over that time period, while the number of news stations increased by 150 to total 1,524. The shift reflects more than younger listeners flocking to digital media.Radio executives said the erosion of ad dollars from talk stations was driven in part by a series of organized social-media campaigns by liberal activists in early 2012 that scared away advertisers.

    A year ago, iHeartMedia—formerly known as Clear Channel —moved Mr. Limbaugh’s show from its flagship Los Angeles talk station, KFI, to another of its Los Angeles stations, KTLK. KFI’s revenue had fallen to $39 million in 2013, from $48.1 million in 2011, according to Bia/Kelsey. An iHeartMedia spokeswoman declined to comment.

    So when the Wall Street Journal numbers prove social media activism is kicking the ass of Rush Limbaugh and hate radio, I’d say the boycotting consumers, as well as the activists, are doing something very right. So much for Rush Limbaugh’s new PR team trying to ridiculously claim StopRush is made up of a handful of ‘bullies’. That’s called desperation. This is a clear victory for the people in this country who value free speech, and who have chosen to take action, rather than sitting around bitching about Rush Limbaugh. They want to see the end of hate speech on our public radio airways, and according to WSJ numbers, they are being heard.

    Wall Street Journal
    Daily Kos
    Quantcast Network!demo


    I remember tuning into KGO late one night when Ray was on the air, years ago and Ray was talking about Rush. I had never heard of the guy. Apparently this was years before he went national and was on KFBK Sacramento CA (I think) and apparently Rush had heard Ray’s show and was badmouthing him. That may have been back in the 80s. Rush has gotten in a lot of trouble through the years and some advertisers have left his show. Anyway, I do not care for any talk show that spouts hate. We can disagree, but once the name calling or other things start, I tune out. Talk shows on the radio peaked some years ago and stations just are not making the big bucks with advertisers and the audience is no longer there. One exception may be Coast to Coast, as they always had a large audience. Now it seems, Sport’s talk has caught on more and more.
    If someone wants a huge variety of radio, get a wifi radio. You can find about any format you want as most stations stream. It is really nice, as I can pick a country, state, and then the city, and go up and down the dial, just like I lived there. It is fun to hear what is on nationwide.


    Limbaugh’s tombstone:

    Rush Hudson Limbaugh III

    Born: Jan. 1951

    Flushed: August 2015


    I feel really, really sorry for people who obsess over the same thing year after year after year after year…


    >>The End is Near
    It’s near for everything and everyone…
    What’s your plan for eternity?


    One cultural shift that I think is driving statistics like these is that the Millennial generation tends to trust governmental institutions. The “government is incompetent,” “government is always corrupt,” and “limited government is the best way” rhetoric that seems to be the cornerstone of contemporary talk radio played relatively well with Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers, but it does not work on Millennials.

    To draw a personal parallel, I trust the scientific method, and I trust mainstream medicine. Although I don’t blindly believe that every doctor and every scientist is always right, I believe that the overall system works. When somebody comes along and says something like, “I don’t care what those paleontologists say; the earth is 6000 years old,” or “those doctors are just in cahoots with the drug companies; they’re not telling the truth about health and nutrition,” I consider that person to have a few screws loose. Millennials, I believe, have the same attitudes toward people who say things like, “trust government to screw it up,” “public schools are ineffective,” or “Child Protective Services interferes with parents’ rights to raise their children as they see fit.”


    >> people who obsess over the same
    what’s good for the goose is good for the gander—


    Broadway: “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”

    Of course, you’re talking about yourself. You’ve an obsession with randomly quoting the Bible and shoving it down people’s throats as fact.


    While I’m not a fan of Rush, (please see earlier posts on his continual banting with an off-air charecter), he is not going to go away quietly. The primary reason is that most affiliates don’t have anything better. Really. What do you replace him with? Some inventive stations, like KONA Tri-Cities have moved to local programming, but believe me that is the exception.


    What do you replace Rush with? A format change. That seems to be the quickest way in this day. That is what happens all of the time.


    A format change to what? If you’re in a top ten market, 50KW and have been doing it for three or four decades, All News works pretty well. Sports pulls in advertisers, whether anyone listens or not but there has to be an end to that somewhere! Ethnic programming can work if there’s significant ethnic population. Before Talk Radio moved into the one sided, opinionated arena that exists today, it was attracting mostly upper demos. Anything I’ve heard suggested would seem to return it to that time with similar results. There isn’t much time left. The clock is ticking.


    I remember when talk radio was both local, and centrist. The problems with talk now are that it’s centralized, corporate, and like the country in general lacking a pragmatic center.

    I seem to remember a few decades ago, when Lars Larson actually made sense. Sigh …

    There were also syndicated national shows I would look forward to with talk on non-partisan stuff. Finance for one, I think one name was Bruce Williams?

    Replace all the extreme national shows with less partisan local shows and there would be something to listen to. Of course this goes hand in hand with local ownership. Sigh.



    And I mean oldies (a la ex-KKSN), not that weird 80s Hits format that Crap Channel is trying to pass off as “oldies” on 106.7.” ” Lots of people like that stuff.” Lots of people over 60 like that stuff and that’s pushing it. “Oldies” as a commercial format was over and done ten years ago. I’m surprised that it hasn’t shown up more often as a noncomm though.

    Andy Brown

    If “lots” of people liked that crap, the corporate world would still be using it. They aren’t because it’s appeal eventually diminished beyond utility.

    Oldies have a 1.4 share, about the same as Spanish Hot AC and classical music. All news barely beats that with a 1.5 share. Well over 90% of commercial radio stations are competing with one of the top five formats which are:

    Country 14.8 share
    News/Talk 11.3
    Pop CHR 8.0
    AC 7.3
    Classic Hits 5.5

    Classic Rock 5.2

    If you’ve got a regional AM signal (25 – 50 kW), you can’t afford to pay the power bill without competing in that top group of formats. If you are a small AM owned by a wealthy individual that doesn’t have to show a profit, you can play oldies. Or if you are a non profit that is well funded by a small group of wealthy folks that are willing to support bubble gum. Case and point is KISN-LP’s fund raiser. They only managed about 45 backers at an average just under $110 each after a month.
    ( ) XRAY on the other hand, had over $8,000 raised in a week. Kickstarters do relate to future underwriting. Obtaining underwriting is not easy. It’s more difficult then just selling advertising on a commercial station because you most often do not have a ratings book to brag about how well you’re doing in some demographic that could appeal to some specific advertiser. Only the largest stations can just sell time to the big agencies representing McDonalds and Coke, and those agencies often spread their ad money across the top stations in the ratings and only in the medium and large markets. Everybody else has to hustle to find advertisers.

    Note: Audience share numbers are in the 2014 report reflecting 2013. The new Nielsen Audio 2015 report is out but you have to download it. The 2014 can be linked to. I doubt the numbers are much different. The format breakout is down at the bottom.


    Both “Oldies” and “Nostalgia” formats have changed over the last 30 years to keep the demographics from becoming too old.

    Nostalgia in the 1980s covered roughly 1940 to 1955. The sound of the format was characterized by big band music, swing, and references to WWII era pop culture. Music from the Rock&Roll/Top-40 era was not part of the format.

    Nostalgia today covers roughly the late 1950s to the present. This sound is what was once called MOR (middle of the road).

    Oldies in the 1980s was made up of Top-40 hits spanning from the birth of that format to the early 1970s, just before the advent of Disco.

    Oldies today covers the late 1960s to the early 1980s. This appears to be a strategy to appeal to the young end of the Baby Boom generation and the old end of Gen-X.

    I think that Oldies has actually been a bit conservative in chronologically modifying its playlists. If the format had stayed as one that plays songs from 15-30 years ago, we would now be hearing 1990s pop there.

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