In recent years, right-wing icon Rush Limbaugh has found his hate-filled bluster reaching a smaller and smaller audience as the angry old white men who were the prime target of his rhetoric of intolerance have died off. He has already lost his place of prominence in two of the three largest markets in the country, New York and Los Angeles and now it seems he is about to be relegated to obscurity in the last of the three, Chicago.
Limbaugh has been a staple on Cumulus Media-owned WLS AM 890 since it launched its talk radio format in 1989, but Chicago media blogger Robert Feder reports that “a source familiar with the decision” says that the station is planning to drop Limbaugh’s show by the end of March.
“This is not at all accurate,” a spokeswoman for Cumulus Media said. “Any report to the contrary is false.”
WLS has revamped its line-up since last November when humorist Steve Dahl replaced Roe Conn and Richard Roeper, who did a news recap with a humorous take in the afternoon. In January, Big John Howell replaced Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft in the morning. Last month Jonathon Brandmeier was hired to replace John Kass and Lauren Cohn from 9 to 11 a.m.
If Limbaugh is dropped from the station’s line-up, the revamping of the daily schedule will be complete.
Limbaugh has seen his ratings decline steadily for some time now, a fact that he has blamed on Millenials who are less inclined to share his radical right views. This may be true but he is also leaving out the fact that much of his audience has died out over the years.
In the latest Nielsen Ratings, WLS was ranked 24th in the market and Limbaugh’s show was unable to muster even a 1 share among the coveted 25-54 demographic tying for 31st with a 0.8 share. In 2014, 62 percent of his audience was over 55 with 34 percent over 65 according to Nielsen.
Of course none of this is really news — Rush has been in decline for some time now. But if he is relegated to an even lower ranking radio station in the last market where he has maintained his place, it may well be the last nail in the coffin for talk radio as he has defined it for so many years.
h/t: Robert Feder