Limbaugh’s Key to Success: Weathering Controversies – Even Old Ones
Reports surfaced this week of increased tension between the king of talk radio Rush Limbaugh and Cumulus Media, as the Sandra Fluke controversy of early 2012 apparently still rages on.
The Fluke matter and other Limbaugh controversies are detailed in The Right Frequency: The Story of the Talk Radio Giants Who Shook Up the Political and Media Establishment (History Publishing Co.), from his often messy personal life to past efforts to have him tossed off the air, such as the 2007 “phony soldier” matter that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tried and failed to use against the host.
“Limbaugh not only weathers storms, he typically comes out stronger in the end,” says Fred Lucas, author of The Right Frequency. “Cumulus is blaming the over the top comment that helped make Fluke a start last year for sagging revenue. But Limbaugh’s ratings are still strong and will remain so with another four years of an Obama administration ahead.”
Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey has made several public statements claiming the Fluke matter from February 2012 is still a drag on the company. The most immediate impact might be that Limbaugh will bolt from Cumulus’s WABC in New York to Clear Channel’s WOR as his new flagship station, according to news accounts this week. The legendary rivalry between WABC and WOR in New York is another aspect of talk radio discussed in The Right Frequency.
“Part of Limbaugh’s appeal is not just his politics, but that he keeps getting into trouble,” Lucas added. “That’s been one trait of every successful talk radio host. Cumulus definitely needs him more than he needs Cumulus. He spawned an industry, but still isn’t going to be dethroned anytime soon as the top dog. He has his choice of syndicates. That said, for Limbaugh and WABC to part ways after an association dating back to 1988 is quite significant.”