Would you follow Rush to Sirius/XM?

There it is – I’m asking the doomsday question for terrestrial radio, whether they want to admit it or not.

If Rush Limbaugh announced he was having his show added to Sirius/XM, what would the consequences be?

The reasons for pushing this question to the front burner:

  • The growing pressure from the Obama Administration that they are going to “fix” local radio and that Rush Limbaugh is a “target”
  • Clear Channel / Premiere Radio has recently been saying in more clear terms with their latest changes that they view themselves as a programming content delivery business, not an operator of Radio Stations.   Clear Channel is part owner of Sirius/XM and has the right to program some of its channels (they are music channels today).  The more they write down the value of their station licenses, the less they have to lose by walking away from Terrestrial Radio.
  • When Sirius/XM was about to default on its loans and “go under”, John Malone rushed in to rescue it.  John Malone has been a very long and loud supporter and fan of Rush Limbaugh
  • Glenn Beck (also syndicated by Premiere) recently mentioned a meeting with some unidentified important people in the radio business and deciding to proceed with a Plan B independent of radio if the Obama administration forces him off of radio or limits his ability to speak freely
  • If the Permformance Royalty Tax passes, it will probably force all of the major radio companies into bankruptcy immediately.  Premiere’s contract with Rush would go into limbo and could be broken by a bankruptcy judge

The last time the subject came up, Rush’s position on satellite radio is basically “I’m going home with the ones that brung me to the dance”.  In other words, terrestrial radio is where his heart is.  He always wanted to be a part of it, the radio industry is in his blood, and he has an extremely strong loyalty to the people who made him a success over the last 20 years.  There has always been a little wiggle room in his answer along the lines of “unless something changes” or “as long as radio wants me”.

Let’s take “worst case” scenario for terrestrial radio.  Let’s say Rush completely leaves terrestrial radio.  Who would be affected?  Rush has something around 600 affiliates – basically there isn’t a market in the entire country that doesn’t have an affiliate.   There are 174 of that group that stream his show (the only ones I can quickly add up).  It’s a safe guess that most of the rest are small town “mom and pop” radio stations in unrated markets.

| Clear Channel |     62 |
| Citadel/ABC   |     15 |
| Cumulus       |     15 |
| GAP           |      9 |
| Entercom      |      4 |
| Cox Radio     |      4 |
| CBS           |      4 |
| Other         |     61 |

I put together a poll question to evaluate whether people would spend money to keep listening to Rush. After his fans show up today, the results of that poll could be very interesting. Just how much are people willing to pay to protect free speech?

This entry was posted in Radio Business, Syndication and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Would you follow Rush to Sirius/XM?

  1. jimcavnar says:

    I would absolutely support Rush’s move to satellite. I’m already a subscriber and had been hoping for sometime he would make the move. $12 a month is more than worth it.

  2. deb says:

    I would love for him and all the gang, Glen Beck and so forth, to be on satellite radio. My husband loves talk radio and can’t always get a good public station .

  3. DB says:

    Rush SHOULD be on sirius.

  4. Char says:

    We travel a lot and can not always get Rush on the regular radio. This would give those of us who want to listen to him the opportunity to do so when we travel. The public stations when traveling through some states are scratchy and impossible to listen to. Perhaps this addition to his broadcasting would help those of us who travel. Even in my home state of Virginia the local station is not strong whether in our home or on the road. We are searching for a way to listen to him without the frustration of local networks.

    • Art Stone says:

      Cell Phone streaming is becoming a realistic option now – I carry my iPhone in the car and use it to listen to radio rather than the scratchy AM radio stations

  5. Dianne York says:

    why cant rush do both? Laura Ingraham does both.

Comments are closed.