Thursday, May 09, 2013

Rushing to Obsolescence: The Limbaugh Story

Yeah, I use to listen to Rush Limbaugh. 

It was back in the early to mid-1990s, when my traveling sales job took me to exciting metropolises like Salina, Kansas; Joplin, Missouri; Sioux City, Iowa; Columbus, Nebraska; and Grand Forks North Dakota.

This was before satellite radio was added to rental cars, so, often, there was little or no selection on the AM or FM dials after leaving the broadcasting range of the stations in some of the larger Midwestern and Southern cities I once visited.

So Rush, unlike his liberal counterparts, was often the only game on the dial. 

He was pretty funny back then.  And let’s face it, in Bill Clinton, he had a lot material to work with.

(I’ve come to miss the Clinton years; he was a capable president, with an uncanny ability to keep the extremists in both parties at bay.)

I haven’t spent any time listening to Rush since 1996, when my full-time business travels ended, so I’m not sure what he sounds like anymore or even what does on the air.

But I worry when anyone attempts to censor anyone else.  I’m not a registered with any political party, but there should always be a full airing of all views, even the ones that are bothersome, irritable, naïve or disagreeable. 

Besides, if we live in the progressive society we think we do, then we need to act like one and not support anyone’s censorship efforts against any one else.  Your favorite radio station or television host, columnist or book author could be targeted next.

Censorship efforts are also risky.  They can provide sympathy for the target.

In other words, Rush’s is in the news today because someone is telling Dairy Queen they’re not buying Blizzards anymore until their ads are off his show.  Someone – who may not hold Rush’s views – is hearing this and thinking it’s unfair.

So what to do about Rush?

He’s on the verge of collapse.  He’s been on the air for more than 20 years, had a good run and is likely repeating himself, which happens to many in the media world.

If his opinions were that unique or his arguments that good, he would be on many more stations, especially given that a Democrat is back in the White House.

The market is judging him – harshly.  He’s on fewer than 600 radio stations (he peaked at just over 600 stations in the mid-1990s) and if you study his list of stations (it can be found here:, you’ll notice his show sometimes carried on two radio stations in the same city simultaneously. 

In other words, add it all up and he’s not as effective as he once was.

No radio sales manager – regardless of their own political affiliation – will want to keep the Rush show if he’s not delivering the audience merchants demand.

Rush will spin out of control by himself.  He doesn’t need your help.

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