Conservative hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity may be looking for a new home for their top-rated radio shows, Politico reported Sunday.
Politico reported that Cumulus Media, the second-biggest broadcaster in the country, is planning to drop both Limbaugh and Hannity from its stations at the end of the year.
Seattlepi.com explained that its negotiations with Premiere Networks— a division of Clear Channel that controls the two hosts’ programs— have apparently broken down.
If Cumulus goes through with their plans, that means the nation’s top two conservative radio personalities would be removed from more than 40 stations, Fox writes.
Since May, MSNBC reports, Limbaugh and Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey have been negotiating about his contract’s renewal after a flurry of advertisers stopped airing their content on the host’s program. After the host insulted Sandra Fluke on-air, more than 140 advertisers severed their relationship with the Limbaugh program and Dickey publicly blamed Limbaugh’s comments for driving them away.
On an earnings call two days later, according to Politico, Dickey reported a $2.4 million first-quarter decline in revenue related to talk programming, which he attributed, indirectly, to Limbaugh's remarks about Fluke.
Although reps for Hannity and Limbaugh did not respond immediately to Politico.com’s request for comment, Limbaugh, heard by 20 million listeners weekly, confronted the rumors head on at the top of his program Monday.
Per the transcript on RushLimbaugh.com:
RUSH: I want to get something out of the way here at the top. There was another Politico story that ran last night about this program and the radio stations that it is on, and is going to be on, in the future. And someday, someday I am looking so forward to being able to detail all of this for you, but suffice it to say nothing is gonna happen that you will notice. Nothing is going to change.
"But I just want to assure you, everything's cool," he added, "and, as always, what's on the table for this program is growth."
Hannity, who has the second most listened to radio talk show in America with roughly 13.5 million listeners a week, responded on Monday in a similar way.
“Business has never been better thanks to all of you out there,” Hannity said. “But let not your heart be troubled. There are forces at work here that I will explain in due course, I promise. I just can’t really explain it now. I’m not trying to be mysterious here but it’s something that is unfolding and I am frankly excited about it all and we’ll keep you up to speed as soon as I can, I promise.”
Asked for comment, Cumulus said that it "is not in a position to comment about negotiations with talent under contract, no matter what the rumor of the day might be," a rep said, according to New York Daily News.
Cumulus owns the second-largest U.S. radio network, with 580 stations, behind Clear Channel, which owns about 900 stations. Cumulus ranks as the third-largest radio company by revenue, behind Clear Channel and CBS Radio, Reuters writes.