Rush Limbaugh just might pack his suitcases and leave Cumulus, a media shake-up that would leave 40 stations around the country without the voice of one of the nation's biggest names — and advertising draw — in radio history.
An unnamed source told Politico that Mr. Limbaugh is mulling the move because Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey has publicly faulted him for advertising losses due to comments about Sandra Fluke. Ms. Fluke was the Georgetown law student who teamed with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to push the need for free birth control for all women. In a February 2012 broadcast, Mr. Limbaugh referred to her as a "slut."
Mr. Dickey said Mr. Limbaugh's comments led to the company's loss of $5.5 million at three top stations, Politico reported. But the actual numbers aren't known, and Mr. Limbaugh is still tops in radio. He still pulls the highest ratings, Politico reported. And if he leaves, 40 Cumulus-owned stations would have to stop playing his show — which could then be picked up by competing stations in top markets, including New York, Chicago and Washington, Politico said.
Cumulus didn't respond to the possible move, Politico reported. But the company is set to hold a Tuesday earnings call and expectations are that Mr. Dickey will once again discuss the Fluke issue.
"It's a very serious discussion, because Dickey keeps blaming Rush for his own revenue problems," the source said, in Politico. "Trying to blame Rush for [revenues loss] is not much of a business partnership."
Another source close to the discussions told The New York Daily News that "Lew needs someone to blame, [so] he's pointing fingers instead of fixing his own sales problem."
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