Ipsos at Daily Kos has an analysis of how the money flows in talk radio. Ipsos argues that the best way to exercise your free, unsponsored speech is with your local station.
As I’ve been telling you (here, for instance, a week ago), Rush makes money for Premiere Radio Networks (aka Clear Channel, half-owned by Bain Capital) in two ways. Premiere sells four minutes of national ads during each hour of Rush’s show, 12 minutes a day in all, to national advertisers, and it charges radio stations to carry the show, giving them 10 minutes of ad time in each hour to sell to local advertisers.
To make Rush’s huge salary (probably not the $56 million a year Forbes claims, but surely in the tens of millions of dollars) pay, Premiere has to charge premium prices for those 12 minutes a day in the show.
If those minutes aren’t filled, or if they’re filled with advertisers getting the show at a discount, Premiere loses money on the deal.
For Premiere to essentially give up 120 minutes of Rush ad time (12 minutes a day over the next two weeks) in hopes that this will all blow over suggests that they’re more worried than they’ve let on until now. They were almost sure that this would blow over by now, and it just keeps going. That’s bad news.
Remember what that judge said about pornography, ‘I can’t define it but I know it when I see it.’ Opinion is one thing, verbal targeting and incitement is another. Anyone who thinks that branding a private citizen a ‘slut’ for attempting to testify in Congress is not declaring open season never went to junior high.
Rush Limbaugh is very good at what he does, a great deal of his communication is by context and tone. I still remember during Sen. John Kerry’s presidential race, the way Limbaugh would say the words, ‘Jewish grandfather’, as if this was a terrible, concealed shame, just found out and gleefully exposed.
It’s not censorship to take the microphone back from one voice that is distributed by a media monopoly. It’s a time to question the manipulation of the law that allowed a few big players to stifle local programming. Let’s start now.