Two of the biggest names in talk radio (one of whom also happens to be a big name in TV news) may be losing distribution on hundreds of radio stations. According to Politico’s Dylan Byers, Cumulus Media plans to drop Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity at the end of this year, after failing to come to terms on new contracts with the hosts.
The decision comes after negotiations between Cumulus and Premiere Networks, the division of Clear Channel that distributes Limbaugh and Hannity’s shows, broke down due to disagreements over the cost of the distribution rights, the source said. Cumulus is known to drive a hard bargain on costs, and Clear Channel is known to seek top dollar for big names.
A source in the agent community tells TVNewser that “this is a public negotiating tactic, it’s about sending a message.” In other words, don’t be surprised if Limbaugh, Hannity or both men remain on Cumulus.
That said, Cumulus has reached out to other hosts, and has indicated that it would replace the two programs with others hosted by people like Mike Huckabee, Mark Levin and Michael Savage. At the very least it wants to give the appearance that it is serious about its plans.