Cumulus Radio, the second largest operator of radio stations in the United States, will be dropping popular conservative talkers Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity at the end of the year, Politico reports.
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.
Premiere Networks, a division of Clear Channel which distributes both shows, was unable to reach an agreement with Cumulus on price, Politico reported Sunday night, citing an industry source.
Neither Premier nor Cumulus commented, and Limbaugh and Hannity did not return calls to Politico for comment.
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A total of 40 Cumulus stations would drop the show, according to the report. Limbaugh is syndicated on more than 600 stations, Hannity on more than 500. Premiere is expected to air the shows in many of the markets where Cumulus plans to drop them, and Cumulus has been looking for other shows to fill in the positions of Limbaugh and Hannity on its own stations. That might include moving Cumulus' own Mark Levin or others to the slots.
named Limbaugh No. 1 and Hannity No. 2 on its "2013 Talkers Heavy Hundred" list, making it likely the shows will find a home in all the markets where they currently air on Cumulus stations.
Cumulus and Clear Channel have come close to falling apart on deals before, only to reach an agreement. But industry insiders tell Politico the two appear too far apart this time.
A source close to Limbaugh told Politico
in May that he was considering ending his affiliation with Cumulus anyway because Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey had blamed the company's loss in advertising on Limbaugh after he made controversial remarks about Sandra Fluke.
Fluke was a 30-year-old Georgetown law student who testified before Democratic members of Congress in favor of requiring her Catholic University to include contraception in its health care plan.
Limbaugh denied being responsible for Cumulus' advertising woes.
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