Rush Limbaugh Signs Record Big Bucks Renewal Contract To 2016

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Attention Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama and conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh’s (many) critics. Brace yourself: Limbaugh isn’t going anywhere. Indeed, given the whopping big bucks he’ll now be getting for renewing his contract until 2016, if he does go somewhere he’ll be going in that new private jet he is reportedly buying.

PR Newswire has the story, and Drudge puts the bottom line figure ($400 million). PR Newswire.

Rather than be on the descent as the Bush era mercifully wanes, it’s now clear that it’s perceived that throughout Campaign 2008 and during the years of a possible Obama (or John McCain) presidency the man who has spawned a million dittoheads will continue to be a broadcast — and political — force to be reckoned with.

Rush Limbaugh, who’s heard weekly by nearly 20 million listeners on about 600 radio stations nationwide,renewed his contract with Premiere Radio Networks and Clear Channel Radio, continuing syndication of The Rush Limbaugh Show many years into the future. The deal also includes continued syndication of The Rush Limbaugh Morning Update, a 90-second commentary that airs Monday through Friday. Furthermore, Premiere Radio, in partnership with Mr. Limbaugh, will continue to oversee The Limbaugh Letter, a monthly newsletter with a subscriber base in the hundreds of thousands, and RushLimbaugh.com, one of the most popular broadcast media websites that incorporates Rush247.com, a subscription service.

From the standpoint of his outlets, handlers and syndication service, this is a smart move: if Democratic Senator Barack Obama wins the White House and the GOP loses more Congressional seats, Limbaugh will have tons of material over the next 8 years. Indeed, you wonder if it’s coincidental that the terms of the contract coincide with two presidential terms. If Obama wins, Limbaugh’s show will again become a rallying point for conservatives who feel on the outs. If McCain wins, Limbaugh will likely have lots of material if McCain, as expected, reaches across party lines or compromises with a stronger Democratic Congress.

Meanwhile, news of this mega-contract will increase Limbaugh’s aura as a major radio and political force — which will increase his clout a bit during Campaign 2008. He plays a major role for the GOP because his show is a rallying point for Republicans and themes he raises can set the tone of GOP debate or, in other cases, hammer home and repeat GOP talking points. He immediately influences many weblogs and when his statements are highly controversial they are pitchforked into the mainstream media.

Mr. Limbaugh stated, “This is exactly where I want to be, doing what I was born to do, with an amazing audience and phenomenal support from affiliate stations and sponsors. I’m having more fun than a human being should be allowed to have. There’s a relationship between the audience and the host here that is second to none. We’re going to continue to provide Broadcast Excellence and have a lot of fun along the way.”

Advertiser and affiliate demand is at an all-time high for Mr. Limbaugh. President of Premiere Radio Networks Charlie Rahilly stated, “The Rush Limbaugh Show enjoys an unprecedented platform of radio affiliates. Plus, advertisers harness the intensity of listener engagement — no one’s ‘word of mouth’ about a product or service delivers more impact than Mr.Limbaugh’s. The Premiere team is proud to partner with Mr. Limbaugh deep into the next decade.”

Drudge puts the figure at $400 million and breathlessly writes:

The American broadcast industry is rocked, realigned and blasted into a new orbit, yet again, by Rush Limbaugh, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

In what is being described as an unprecedented radio contract, Limbaugh will keep his syndicated show on-the-air and e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e through 2016 with CLEAR CHANNEL and PREMIERE RADIO.

Already host of the most lucrative hours since radio’s inception, Limbaugh’s total package is valued north of $400 million, according to media insiders.

Limbaugh’s critics (and I have been critical of him) will shake their heads, but the bottom line is this: as a broadcaster who knows how to do a fast-paced show, pack it with (opinionated) content and be highly entertaining, Limbaugh is one of the most talented broadcasters ever.

He knows how to attract an audience and keep it tuning in. Which IS the name of the game in broadcasting — not winning elections for a party or candidate or being the anti-so-and-so in countering and answering another talk show’s broadcasts. Many of Air America’s early shows (and some local progressive talk radio hosts) seem to lose sight of this fact. The name of the game is attracting, maintaining and delivering a demographic audience to advertisers.

And you can place money in Vegas that Limbaugh is rubbing his hands with glee as he anticipates what the end of the Bush era will mean to him in terms of material once Obama or even a not-entirely-traditional-GOP John McCain takes over the Oval Office.

         

23 Comments

  1. I truly love watching the gymnastics “critics” of Rush contort themselves into in order to explain his popularity while avoiding the truth, and its even more humorous to watch them believe their own spin, such as happens in this piece. One can spin Rush's success any way one wishes. The fact is, he sticks to his principles and millions of people agree with Rush's principles. It is the same for Sean Hannity and even Glenn Beck. These commentators are distilling and succinctly reflecting what the majority of the listeners believe; end of story. The fact that Rush is entertaining is of course what makes him the best of the best, but the true fact of the matter is, millions of people agree with him and his argument. Now, feel free to go back to the land of denial, you have many friends there, including many from “Air America”.

  2. “Air America” [sic] hardly has done as well as Limbaugh. So much for a counterweight.

  3. Long ago Rush discovered there was a market ripe for pandering to non-critical thinkers. The market has grown.

  4. According to the Pew Reseach Center study, Rush listeners are better informed than those of NPR or any other television or radio program, along with all magazine readers except for U.S. News & World Report.

    With the signing bonus, Rush now makes over 50.5 million/year from this Premier/Clear Channel deal. On top of that, he still owns 5 minutes per hour of advertising time, which at retail rates would bring in another 20 to 40 million each year. Merchandise, the Limbaugh Letter (400,000 subscribers), best selling books and other income producing ventures increase the total.

    Liberal talk shows fail because the hosts can't sustain a logic argument and resort to spewing bile in lunatic rants ala Randy Rhodes.

  5. The market value for hate mongering keeps on gpoing up.
    As a measure of American culture and its values, this country looks more and more like the last days of the Roman Empire.

    Some people blather on about this being a Christian nation and then tune in to Rush to get their decrepitude fix for the day.

    Another sign of our times: the adult pornography industry reports boon business as a result of the economic stimulus package.

  6. “Rush listeners are better informed than those of NPR or any other television or radio program, “
    =================

    Im sure they're better informed, in a self-seving way, because they want to know what to smear, what to hate, and what to willfully remain totally uninformed about.

    That kind of 'informed' is a dead end street, because it doesn't requie comprehension. It requires living in an insular echo chamber, where they're happy knowing a lot of factoids but understanding nothing.

    It's the kind of informed that leads to teaching creationism in Louisiana schools.
    It's the kind of 'informend' that leads to pseudo science.
    It's the kind of 'informed' which leads to unnecessary wars and economic devastation.

    It's the kind of 'informed' that keeps America stupid.
    Actually, It's a form of extreme dependency, like children who are afraid of the dark.
    They need daddy Rush to keep them safe from the dangers lurking in free thought.

  7. “It's the kind of 'informed' that keeps America stupid.”

    No, what keeps America stupid is Democrats who would rather have the teacher’s union vote than educate minority children.

    Why? Because when minorities become educated, they vote with more independence. When they are deliberately left poor and ignorant, they vote reliably democrat.

    I’m sure you want the best for all people. That’s why I’m sure that one day, when you realize what you’ve been an accomplice to all these years, you will spend the balance of your life apologizing to everyone you meet.

  8. jwest, “Liberal talk shows fail because the hosts can't sustain a logic argument and resort to spewing bile in lunatic rants ala Randy Rhodes.”

    I've watched some conservative talk shows and the hosts tend to talk over the “liberal” and not let the “liberal” have their say while allowing the conservative time to talk.

    rjspeleton, “These commentators are distilling and succinctly reflecting what the majority of the listeners believe; end of story.” No, it's not the end of the story because the listeners, thankfully, don't represent the views of all of America. You may be right that the shows reflect the views of the listeners, but that doesn't make the shows logical, fair, balanced or even right. Thankfully more Americans are against these shows, which do absolutely nothing to further real and beneficial political discourse in the this country, than Americans who watch them.

    So the most that can be said about your “end of story” comment is that it is exactly that attitude which many people exhibit when they see an issue one way and they don't want to invite other viewpoints to either affirm or challenge their beliefs. And when people don't want to take the time to think critically on important events/ideas then we get into trouble as a country.

  9. If Rush's listeners are so well-informed why are they called “Dittoheads”? Not what I would call an intelligent person who thinks for themselves!

    Similarly, Sean's listeners brag about how they have been “Hannitized”.

    Neither of these “personalities” seems to cope well when dealing with opposing viewpoints, preferring the callers who fawn all over them and refer to them as “Great Americans” before mimicking their viewpoints. Callers who do voice an independent point of view soon find themselves speaking to a dial tone.

  10. Kritt makes a necessary point, Rush is all about the monologue and measures his performance (since that is exactly what it is) by the admiration of his flock. His survival in a genuine give and take situation would be doubtful.

  11. Not just doubtful, whenever these conservative radio guys get a job outside of their niche markets they flame out in short order. Rush was already a sportscaster for 10 minutes which seems to be about as long as he could go without saying something ignorant and racist. His comment about people only caring about that story because the athlete was black would have played just fine on his show, but in a general audience they had to hustle his ignorant ass off the stage right away.

    If you don't already know Rush is a pandering throwback for white guys that wish it was still the 50's, nothing is going to open your eyes at this point.

  12. I agree that people like Rush need a fan club, because they couldn't really compete in a civil debate. They have nothing with which to fill in the gaps between blanket, unsubstantiated assertions and rants..

    The Left has its own personalities pretending to be founts of wisdom, but at least most left-ish viewers see them for what they are: sometimes comics, sometimes blow-hards, someitmes just mouthing the 'feel good' phrases.
    Few would turn to them for voting guidance or real, meaningful information.
    Most watch FOX, as well,to broaden perspective. They lack the tunnel vision of Rush fans; that's the last thing they want. When they say 'informed', they mean informed broadly, not selectively.

  13. “Neither of these 'personalities' seems to cope well when dealing with opposing viewpoints”

    Even the louder-mouthed Hannity or Beck is better than Randi Rhodes (who behaves as if she is psychotic) or, frequently, Al Franken, or the louder-mouth logic-free man (lefty poster boy, as well as well representing so many listeners) who at least used to be on the air with Garafalo, or childishly silly Stephanie Miller.

    The remarkable thing here is the risk that Limbaugh's sponsors took by paying him so much money for so long a period, when he and his program are getting old and tired (and out-shouted). I would not bet on any post-2008-Democratic-leftist-lunging controversy to give Limbaugh and his program a revitalization for many, many more years. A few months, maybe.

  14. “Long ago Rush discovered there was a market ripe for pandering to non-critical thinkers. The market has grown.”

    Actually, he appealed originally to the more educated, better-reasoning crowd so neglected (when not savaged) by the liberal media, and in so doing put AM radio back on the map along with introducing everyone to the talk radio show. Limbaugh did not join Air America and the far left radio market, which hasn't grown or thrived, but has flopped.

  15. “The market value for hate mongering keeps on gpoing up.”

    Limbaugh is certainly hated, along with others who resist the PC party line.

    And let's not even spend much time about the pathological hatred of Reagan and now Bush, on this site as well as elsewhere.

    * * *

    “Few would turn to them for voting guidance or real, meaningful information.”

    Ha. Try _voting for them_. Even when they're not innovative, but copycats.

    http://www.alfranken.com/content/splash

  16. “The remarkable thing here is the risk that Limbaugh's sponsors took by paying him so much money for so long a period, when he and his program are getting old and tired (and out-shouted). I would not bet on any post-2008-Democratic-leftist-lunging controversy to give Limbaugh and his program a revitalization for many, many more years. A few months, maybe.”

    I totally agree with you on this, DLS. It's something I've been kicking around in my head since reading Joe's post earlier…. I'm still working out a couple issues though… for instance if Obama is pres and he does a better job than Bush, will the Limbaughs of the world credit the Bush Administration for laying the groundwork? A perfect example is Iraq… if Obama pulls our troops out relatively painlessly will Rush say that it was Bush's perseverance in keeping the troops in Iraq which allowed Obama the ability to pull out? Also it will be interesting to see if/how they play up the race or Muslim card… Assuming Obama becomes prez and people realize that he's not a closet Muslim trying to convert America, then what material will they use to keep up their ratings? I'm not saying that there won't be any material, I'm just wondering what will appear…. I never underestimate the power of creativity, especially when one's livelihood is at risk.

  17. jwest, do you have a link by chance to the Pew study? I wanted to take a look at how they measure these things. My guess (but it's just a guess) is that people who listen to Rush and Hannity for hours each day will indeed know all of the names and dates that they are quizzed about — and that they have many of the exact same views on the subject with little diversity. But I could be completely wrong, so I wanted to take a look at the questions asked.

  18. DLS- I'm not claiming that the loudmouths on the left are any more tolerant of dissent than loudmouths on the right. I was responding to the earlier comment claiming that Rush's listeners were extremely well-informed. In actuality they have a rigid viewpoint that is a throwback to the '50's, which Limbaugh aptly exploits for huge ratings.

    Randi Rhodes and others like her have floundered on the air, probably because even the most rabid lefties find her foul-mouthed and intolerant. Air America was a disasterous experiment—proving to me that the far right has more of an appetite for viscious diatribe. BTW, Rush's “principles” don't seem to include sticking to factual evidence—but I guess twisting and spinning the truth to smear as many liberals as possible generates better ratings which translates into an elite position as a radio host.

  19. The fact is, he sticks to his principles and millions of people agree with Rush's principles.

    So principled that he admitted to “carrying water” for Republicans.

    He is a self admitted shill. He might as well call himself a Republican strategist. He's certainly not an intellectual.

  20. The cant & prattle of the usual leftie dullards here is condescending & assumes a superiority in the media which doesn't exist for the left. FoxNews is first because it does allow liberals on its programs, as ranters like K-O at MSNBC never do, since K-O's illogical rants don't bear any weight whatsoever.

    The Pew Study is probably correct, as I began listening a year ago—the level of discourse is a lot higher than the cliche'd “CW” that passes for thinking on NPR & PBS, which I also listen to and watch. The sophistication of Rush's listeners belies the silly criticisms of guys like Vanity Fair's Wolff & other liberal class warfare nasties who think Rush is being overpaid. His audience goes way over 30 million on occasion, as opposed to 500,000 max for any lib talk show except the anodyne Alan Colmes. Hannity gets close to 20 million.

    I can remember when Bill Clinton used to gush over the “essential wisdom” of the American people. Those people listen to Rush rather than the sky-is-falling crowd on the left.

  21. “The cant & prattle of the usual leftie dullards here is condescending “
    —————–
    Condescendig? Thank heaven for condescension.
    It takes discrimination and taste to be condescending.

    That's why Air America failed. By and large the Left is condescending toward hate-mongerers and blow-hards on the left as well as the right. They don't allly themselves with destructive forces just becasue they are on the left.

    Did someone mention principles and Rush in the same sentence?
    I suppose you could say that, but then, you'd also have to admit that binLaden is sticking to his pronciples. BinLaden doesn't even have a multi millinon dollar contract. to help him do it. He is sticking to his principles at great economic cost, risk to his safety and the sacrifice of personal comfort. .

    If sticking to principles is the measure, then Rush loses to even the likes of Osama bin Laden.. .

  22. daveinboca— how can we come off as more condescending than

    “The cant & prattle of the usual leftie dullards here is condescending “???????

  23. Rush sold his principles out years ago for the big bucks he gets paid. The Republican party counts on him to carry water for them, and he was invited to the Bush WH on several occasions so that he could help them disseminate their anti-liberal message. He is a shill for the RNC, which has become largely a shill for corporate America.

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