Few people I know are Rush Limbaugh fans, so how is he so wildly popular? TV and radio critic Bill Mann says he knows why, and he shares the news at Huffington Post:
Rush’s show was, and presumably still is, given away for free to many local radio stations.
This shocker is because of a little-known practice in broadcast syndication called a “barter deal.” … Here’s how [it] works: To launch the show, Limbaugh’s syndicator, Premiere Radio Networks — the same folks who syndicate wingnut du jour Glen Beck — gave Limbaugh’s three hours away — that’s right, no cash — to local radio stations, mostly in medium and smaller markets, back in the early 1990’s.
So, a local talk station got Rush’s show for zilch. In exchange, Premiere took for itself much of the local station’s available advertising time (roughly 15 minutes an hour) and packed the show with national ads it had already pre-sold.
Think Gold Bond Medicated Powder.
It’s a very sweet deal for local radio station owners, explained Bill Exline a respected radio broker (he helped people buy and sell local stations). “Not only does the local station get three hours of free programming,” Exline explained, “but that’s one less local talk-show host on staff they need. It makes small- and medium-market radio properties more profitable and attractive by cutting down staff expenses.”
Shocking, isn’t it, that Limbaugh would allow jobs to be cut to advance his dubious career? Not to mention helping to make small radio stations far less local?