In the end, Citadel Broadcasting, which inherited top Talk personality Sean Hannity when it bought ABC Radio, could only hold onto Hannity through an unusual deal with Clear Channel's programming powerhouse, Premiere Radio Networks.
Hannity's new syndication contract, announced Monday (July 21), calls for his afternoon Talk program to be syndicated via ABC Radio Networks (owned by Citadel) through the end of the year. But in December, Premiere will take over syndication of the three-hour program to all non-Citadel-owned stations and lead the advertising sales.
Hannity's contract with ABC Radio Networks expired recently and rumors have been swirling every since. For Premiere, grabbing Hannity gives the radio network a blockbuster afternoon Talk block beginning with Rush Limbaugh at Noon, followed by Hannity at 3 p.m.
After paying dearly for the ABC properties, Citadel has been struggling to pay down $2 billion in debt in a historically soft radio ad environment. It needed Hannity, especially since network radio is outperforming a very soft radio market.
While Limbaugh reportedly got a $400 million contract over eight years with Premiere, Hannity's was somewhat less, about $100 million over the next five years, according to various reports. However, Hannity will also share in some of the revenue. The deal also keeps him cleared on some of the nation's largest AM Talk stations, such as Citadel's WABC-AM in New York, WLS-AM in Chicago, and WMAL-AM in Washington, D.C.
Hannity has about 500 affiliates. He is also co-host of Hannity and Colmes on Fox News Channel.