Limbaugh lost millions for Cumulus
Posted in the Robbinsdale Forum
#1 May 8, 2013
Cumulus Media today reported a $2.4 million first-quarter decline in revenue related to talk programming, a loss that CEO Lew Dickey attributed, indirectly, to Limbaugh's controversial remarks about Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke.
The earnings call came one day after POLITICO reported that Limbaugh was considering ending his affiliation agreement with Cumulus because he was frustrated with Dickey for blaming him for advertising losses.
Yet when asked about the Limbaugh on today's earnings call, Dickey again suggested that Limbaugh's remarks about Fluke played a significant role in the company's revenue decline.
"We've had a tough go of it the last year," Dickey said. "The facts are indisputable regarding the impact certain things have had on ad dollars."
Dickey did not comment on Limbaugh's future at Cumulus, nor on Limbaugh's threat to leave the company when his contract ends at the end of this year.
Cumulus carries Limbaugh's show on 40 stations around the country, including stations in key markets like New York, Chicago, Washington and Dallas. Should Limbaugh leave Cumulus, it is likely that his syndicator, Clear Channel, will look to put the show on competitor stations in those markets.
Limbaugh is credited with causing the loss of millions of dollars in advertising revenue after he called Fluke "a slut" and "a prostitute" in Feb. 2012. In an August 2012 earnings call, Dickey said Cumulus's top three stations had lost $5.5 million, in part because of an advertising boycott against Limbaugh. In a March 2013 earnings call, Dickey said the company's talk radio side had "been challenged... due to some of the issues that happened a year ago."
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