Cumulus aiming to take out Rush Limbaugh with Mike Huckabee

Rush Limbaugh isn’t just facing attacks from the left, but now he’s in a fight that could actually do some damage to his radio syndication. Cumulus Media is starting the Mike Huckabee Show to go head to head with Rush from 12-3pm. Hack is being advertised as an alternative to Rush, especially in the wake of Rush’s ‘slut’ remark – something Cumulus seems all too excited about taking advantage of.

But it isn’t just ‘healthy competition’. Cumulus seems to be planning to bump Rush Limbaugh from their stations to replace him with Huckabee, as soon as his contract is up, starting with his flagship station, WABC in New York:

WSJ – After decades as a dominant force in talk radio, Rush Limbaugh could be in for his biggest fight yet. But the threat isn’t from activist groups who dislike his conservative politics. It is from one of his own: former Republican governor of Arkansas and onetime presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee.

Starting April 9, Mr. Huckabee, a Fox News Channel commentator, will go head-to-head with Mr. Limbaugh in a syndicated radio program airing in the noon to 3 p.m. Eastern time, weekday slot.

“The Huckabee Show” will initially air on 140 stations, well short of Mr. Limbaugh’s roughly 600. But the recent drama over Mr. Limbaugh calling a Georgetown law student a “slut” for her comments about contraception insurance coverage has given Mr. Huckabee an opening. Numerous advertisers bolted from “The Rush Limbaugh Show,” and at least two stations dropped the program.

This fight isn’t really about Huckabee vs Limbaugh, but rather Cumulus vs Limbaugh:

REUTERS – Earlier this week, Cumulus Media sent out an email blast to fellow radio station owners with a photoshopped picture of former U.S. Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, promoting him as the conservative talk radio host of the future.

Though the email did not name Rush Limbaugh, the long-running, top-rated talk radio host whose program is nationally syndicated by Cumulus’ rival, Clear Channel Communications, the intent was obvious to some recipients.

They are going after Rush’s affiliates,” said one radio company executive who received Cumulus’ email and spoke on condition of anonymity. “They are positioning Huckabee as the safe, non-dangerous alternative to Rush and saying to station owners, ‘If you are looking for conservative content, we want you to consider our guy instead of theirs.‘”

“Safe, non-dangerous alternative to Rush”? Sounds like the words of a liberal who is attacking Rush the way the left has gone after him since his infamous ‘slut’ remarks.

According to WSJ, one of the stations Cumulus now owns is WABC in New York, where Rush has been broadcasting for over twenty years. And the talk is that once his contract is up, they will replace him with Mike Huckabee:

“It is serendipitous or providential, however you want to look at it,” said Cumulus Media co-Chief Operating Officer John W. Dickey of Mr. Limbaugh’s troubles.

Cumulus itself carries the Limbaugh program on 40 of its stations, including WABC in New York, the nation’s largest radio market. Radio veteran Joel Hollander, a former chief executive of CBS Radio, said “one of the big litmus tests” will be whether Cumulus pulls the Limbaugh show from WABC when its contract expires and picks up the Huckabee program.

Finding another New York home for Mr. Limbaugh might be complicated because other stations would have to change their programming formats to fit in his show. If Premiere Networks, the syndicator of Mr. Limbaugh’s show, couldn’t find another New York station, “that would be a huge chink in the armor” for Mr. Limbaugh’s ability to sell national advertising, Mr. Hollander said.

Mr. Hollander told Reuters regarding WABC and Cumulus:

“I can guarantee you that the minute Cumulus’ contract with Rush expires in New York, they will replace him with Huckabee.”

The bottom line here is that Cumulus seems to want to destroy Rush with a more moderate voice from Huckabee. They have more power than the left simply because they are a powerhouse in the radio business.

Knowing this, my advice is to not listen to Huck’s show. To borrow the words of Rush, “I hope he fails!”

Comment Policy: Please read our comment policy before making a comment. In short, please be respectful of others and do not engage in personal attacks. Otherwise we will revoke your comment privileges.