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.That is, except for the stations for which the ratings are down.
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.
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.
He's not picking up advertisers to make up for the ones who have fled for the exits, either, says Inside Radio.
Some advertisers may’ve pulled out of his show, but Rush Limbaugh says Premiere Radio Networks has signed three new sponsors for his show that will start later this month. Two others that canceled have asked to return according to Limbaugh, who tells listeners, “One of them is practically begging to come back.” And Limbaugh says many of the companies who say they won’t buy his show weren’t advertisers in the first place.It doesn't help Rush that likeable hardline rightwinger Mike Huckabee is going head to head with Rush, competing for the same listeners.
More than 30 advertisers have come forward to say they’ll either no longer buy time on Limbaugh’s radio show, or they’ve instructed their agencies to make sure run-of-schedule spots don’t end up on his program following his controversial remarks about a Georgetown University grad student. Despite written and on-air apologies, marketers are still being flooded with complaints via social media.
The no-buy dictates are causing some other network to remind affiliate to be careful where they place their spots. In a note to stations, Dial Global says none of its advertisers “are to air in or adjacent to Rush Limbaugh’s program.”
If there was some good news for Limbaugh it was that no more stations have dropped the program. So far only two stations have canceled the show out of a base of more than 600 affiliates.