Why Only Small Market Stations Have Dropped Rush (so far)

by Norm Gregory on March 14, 2012

in Radio

This month 3 radio stations have dropped the Rush Limbaugh show. The most recent KVLI said it “had nothing to do with recent events.” The station is located in Lake Isabella, California. The other two stations are in such metropolises as Hilo, Hawaii, and Pittsfield, Mass.

Not a peep out of his New York, Los Angeles or even his Seattle station.

Big market stations rely mostly on buys from agencies who buy air time by the “book” (i.e. Arbitron ratings) and very little income is the result of direct buys from local businesses.

Small markets, such as those mentioned above, aren’t rated by Arbitron. Beside a very small slice business for regional ad agencies the vast majority of their business comes from the sales staff on the street. Thus they get an instant reading of community sentiment on most issues. If their programming is causing negative reaction in town the manager is going to hear about it at the next Kiwanis Club luncheon.

The big market stations are immune from all but huge issues in the big city since there is no way for them to get an accurate reading of the audience (outside of very expensive research projects). Phone calls to the station are not representative of how the non-active members of the audience feel.

So will Rush ever got dumped by KFI, Los Angeles, WABC, New York or KTTH, Seattle? Not right away. It all depends on his ratings. The next “book” could show a slide. But I am guessing it would take two or three bad “books” before these stations start scratching their heads and clearing their throats.

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