Has it been 8 years already? Tom Taylor reminds the radio world that Rush’s 8 year, $200 million contract with Premiere Radio (iHeart/Clear Channel) ends in the next few weeks, as the company is fending off lawsuits trying to pull the company into bankruptcy or reorganization of its debt.
Rush and Glenn Beck have similar but different deals. Both produce their own shows in their own studio paying their own staff. When it comes to the Internet, Beck owns his web site and archives and the related revenue streams. For Rush, Premiere owns RushLimbaugh.com, 24×7 Rush and the Merchandising. Some portion of that revenue goes to Rush, probably as an offset to his salary or maybe with triggers for incentives. Those kinds of details are not public.
One idea apparently being floated is to turn over the intellectual property to Rush in exchange for Rush taking less money. That makes sense – if iHeart does get dragged into a financial quagmire, if Rush owns his entire product, that keeps it away from creditors.
In my far out speculation, I could see iHeart spinning off Premiere to a third party. There was a time when Premiere might have been a hot standalone IPO, but I think that time has come and gone. Rush is pushing retirement age, Glenn Beck is getting tenuous, Bob & Tom have no Bob, Kidd Kraddick is dead, Fox Sports Radio lingers on, Sean Hannity is busy counting the days until we take the country back and George Noory is busy chasing his Shadow. I don’t see anything there global bankers want to buy.