Cumulus CEO: Limbaugh's Attacks On Sandra Fluke Still Hurting Talk Radio

Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

The CEO of Cumulus Media, a talk radio syndicator and radio station operator, said that Rush Limbaugh's series of vicious attacks on Sandra Fluke more than a year ago are still negatively affecting his radio business.

Rush Limbaugh began a three-day smear of Sandra Fluke, who was then a law student, on February 29, 2012. He eventually launched a total of 46 personal attacks on her over those three days, and eventually apologized for only two of the words he used.

Limbaugh's attacks generated such widespread outrage that advertisers began to flee not only Limbaugh's show, but conservative talk radio in general. His actions negatively affected talk radio companies to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars throughout 2012.

On the March 20 edition of the radio industry newsletter Tom Taylor Now, Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey explained how Limbaugh's attacks were still harming his business:

As cheerful as Lew Dickey is about his CBS Sports Radio Network partnership, he's the other way about what the Harry Potter books might call "He Who Must Not Be Named" - Rush Limbaugh. Rush is Clear Channel's property, through Premiere Networks, but his year-ago comments about Sandra Fluke are still causing problems, says station owner and syndicator Lew Dickey. He tells this week's call "Clearly, it's been well documented that the talk side has been challenged. Most of that due to some of the issues that happened a year ago and so there has been residual hangover on the talk side in terms of advertisers sitting out and not placing there." What started with Media Matters focusing on Rush widened out to talk radio in general. Dickey, owner of such big talk stations and Rush affiliates as WABC, New York (770) and WLS, Chicago (890) says "Clearly that's had an impact not only on our network business [at Cumulus Media Networks], but it's had an impact on some of the news talk stations that we own."

Limbaugh continues to exhibit sexist behavior on his radio show. On March 19, he demeaned a female caller by asking if she spent her time in high school baking or studying home economics. And on March 8 -- recognized as International Women's Day -- Limbaugh defended his use of the term "Feminazi," his trademark slur against women. He explained that the term applies to a woman who wants a career.

Rush Limbaugh
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