There is some good news today:
Rush Limbaugh took a significant ratings hit in some key radio markets last month in the wake of the Sandra Fluke controversy.
The conservative radio host’s ratings fell 27 percent in the key 25-54 demo in New York City, 31 percent in Houston-Galveston, 40 percent in Seattle-Tacoma, and 35 percent in Jacksonville, according to a selection of the March 29-April 25 Arbitron ratings provided by an industry source.
Limbaugh’s detractors attribute the losses to a rejection of the show following his controversial comments about the Georgetown law student.
“Clearly Sandra Fluke isn’t the only one who didn’t like Rush calling her a ‘slut’ given how many viewers that comment incinerated,” one radio insider said.
And, of course, in the case of Rush Limbaugh every thing he says, does or happens to him is explained away by those who love or profit from him. It’s always really a happy, successful day with Rush, no matter what the rest of the world thinks or says. And sooooooooo:
But defenders say that what looks like a decline actually represents a leveling out following increased attention from the controversy. In late March, Limbaugh boasted that his ratings had increased by as much as 60 percent in the month since he had called Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” on air.
“On the range of all 600 radio stations, our ratings are up anywhere from 10 percent to 60 percent, depending on the station,” he said.
“The most likely reason for these shifts is that Limbaugh talked about Sandra Fluke at the beginning of March, so it brought in a lot of non-regular listeners,” one radio insider told me. “Now that the issue has more or less passed, those people aren’t listening anymore.”
And then there’s this:
A spokesperson for Limbaugh declined to comment.
As I’ve noted many times before, anyone in the news biz or who has been in the news biz knows that when a source declines to comment on a story that doesn’t make them look good its because a)they think if they don’t comment the story will die or editors won’t play it up b)the story is in fact true c)they’re buying more time to come up with some spin control answer. Sources are happy to talk on stories that are true or to defend themselves if information a news outlet has is inaccurate.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.