Last week, The BRAD BLOG reported on an effort by notorious right-wing radio conglomerate Salem Media to bring Rush Limbaugh back onto the public airwaves in Boston, after Entercom-owned WRKO-AM decided to discontinue its decades-long relationship with the ratings-challenged reactionary.
As it turns out, it appears that it will be a different wingnut-friendly radio conglomerate --- iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel), which owns Premiere Networks, the entity that syndicates Limbaugh's loathe-a-thon --- which will return Rush to our public airwaves in a radio market whose listeners no longer wish to have anything to do with him...
Radio Insight reports:
Based on the domain registration of Talk1430.com, iHeart will soon dump the Spanish Variety “Mia 1430” programming on WKOX Everett in order to enable Rush to hold an affiliate in market #10. WKOX is currently one of three Spanish language music station in the Boston market, but the only one subscribing to Nielsen Audio. It registered a 0.6 share in the May 2015 PPM ratings...
WKOX is iHeartMedia’s weakest station in its Boston cluster...Just like moves in recent years in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Indianapolis, iHeart would merely be placing Limbaugh and fellow Conservative Talkers on WKOX to ensure distribution in a top market for national sales purposes. With the lack of options for gaining syndication revenue from another broadcaster, dumping the extraneous 1430 format becomes the only clear option for the company.
(The Boston Globe notes that iHeartMedia infamously forced progressive radio programming off this station in late-2006; at the time, Massachusetts-based progressive blogger Lynne Lupien noted that iHeartMedia "appears to never have wanted it to really succeed in the first place. Why do I believe this? Because they never did much advertising about their presence on the Boston radio scene. I can’t tell you the number of solidly progressive friends who even now look at me funny when I ask them if they ever listen to [the station]. They had never heard of it. We have progressive talk in the Boston area? The station was badly managed by [iHeartMedia], because I believe if they had done the requisite get-out-the-word ads to possible listeners, they would have had three times or more the audience, and growing.")
Think about it. Nearly thirty years after the Reagan administration destroyed the Fairness Doctrine, our public airwaves are now being used as vehicles to ensure that profoundly unpopular programming backed by powerful corporate interests is imposed upon a major radio market "for national sales purposes."
While the abuse of our public airwaves in this highly partisan, blatantly greedy fashion is far from funny--especially because it once again demonstrates iHeartMedia's shameless disregard for the Supreme Court's ruling in the United States v. Paramount case--the desperation of Limbaugh's corporate ally certainly is.
Seven years ago, when iHeartMedia signed Limbaugh to an eight-year contract worth an estimated $400 million, the company obviously did not anticipate United States moving towards what Brad Friedman describes as a progressive age. As evidenced by the lingering controversy over Limbaugh's character assassination of Sandra Fluke, part of this new progressive age involves the abandonment of reactionary media figures by listeners who once casually enjoyed those figures.
Like the fossil fuels he has shamelessly shilled for will soon become, Limbaugh himself has become a stranded asset. The only question is: will iHeartMedia divest from Limbaugh when his contract is up in 2016? Stay tuned...just not to Rush...
D.R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based freelance writer and a former contributor to the conservative website Human Events Online. He has also written for the Washington Monthly, Huffington Post, the Boston Herald, the Boston Globe Magazine, ClimateCrocks.com and FrumForum.com, among others. In addition, he hosted a Blog Talk Radio program, The Notes, from August 2009 to June, 2010, and served as a co-host of On the Green Front with Betsy Rosenberg on the Progressive Radio Network from August 2011 to March 2014. Currently, he is a contributor to the Climate Minute and Climate Notes podcasts for the Massachusetts Climate Action Network. You can follow him on Twitter here: @DRTucker.