Cumulus Media is reportedly severing ties with Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, its two most highly rated conservative radio hosts, a source told Politico
over the weekend.
The industry insider said Cumulus will not renew Limbaugh or Hannity's contracts after negotiations with Premiere Networks, the division of Clear Channel that distributes "The Rush Limbaugh Show" and "The Sean Hannity Show," broke down last week.
On Monday, Limbaugh told his listeners not to worry. He also hinted that a move away from the broadcaster could mean wider reach for his program on Clear Channel and other syndicators.
"You are gonna be able to get this radio program on as many, if not more, radio stations down the road than it's on now, and what you're being treated to is just a public business negotiation," Limbaugh said on today's program, Politico reported.
The disagreement is said to stem from the cost of distribution rights, according to Politico.
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"Cumulus and Clear Channel have come to the brink before during contract negotiations only to resume talks," Dylan Byers wrote. "But the source told Politico that Clear Channel was unlikely to reduce the cost for distribution rights to a level that would satisfy Cumulus."
Cumulus, the second-largest radio broadcaster in the country, has reportedly been quietly shopping around for talent to replace Limbaugh and Hannity, and is also considering bumping existing hosts Mike Huckbee, Mark Levin, or Michael Savage up to fill the airtime.
"Cumulus is not in a position to comment about negotiations with talent under contract, no matter what the rumor of the day might be," a company spokesperson told Politico.
Limbaugh clashed with Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey back in May after the exec blamed the network's advertising losses on the radio personality's disparaging comments about Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student who pushed for health insurance plans to cover the cost of birth control.
Politico's report kicked off a firestorm of debate on Twitter.
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