Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity may lose 40-channel Cumulus deal

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Cumulus Media, the second-largest broadcast company in the nation, is poised to drop Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity from its stations before the close of 2013, an industry source said.

The move would take the No. 1 and No. 2 talk show hosts off 40 channels in some of the nation’s biggest markets, Politico reported.

The unnamed source said the decision is due to a breakdown in negotiations between Cumulus and Premiere Networks, the Clear Channel division that distributes the talk show hosts’ shows. The dispute centered on distribution rights, Politico reported. In short, Clear Channel wants top dollar for the two shows, and Cumulus wants to cut costs.

The two sides have on prior occasions very nearly cut business ties — only to reach last-minute deals, the source said. But in this case, a resolution wasn’t likely. The source said Clear Channel wasn’t going to give in and reduce rates to a level that would satisfy Cumulus demands, Politico reported.

Cumulus said only that it was “not in a position to comment about negotiations with talent under contract, no matter what the rumor of the day might be,” Politico reported.

But the company has been in quiet talks with other talent to fill slots, Politico reported. Some of the talent reportedly tapped: Michael Savage, Mark Levin and Mike Huckabee.

Premiere officials did not comment for the report, either. But the impact to Mr. Limbaugh and Mr. Hannity would be minimal, an industry analyst said, Newser reported. That’s because they’d likely just move to Clear Channel markets, for the same or even greater rate.

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