Today, Robert Feder, the top journalist covering media in Chicago, reported that Rush Limbaugh will be dumped by Chicago radio station WLS AM-890 by the end of March. This is the one of the biggest blows to Limbaugh so far. WLS is not just a big radio station in Chicago, but its powerful signal gets Limbaugh listeners across much of the Midwest.
This is all about the money. According to Feder:
a source familiar with the decision said it was based on the show’s diminished ratings and failure to generate advertising revenue for the station, adding: “It’s impossible to sell.”Limbaugh's ratings have never been good in Chicago, but recently his ratings have dropped substantially, especially in younger target audiences. Feder reported:
The latest Nielsen Audio survey shows WLS ranked 24th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays with a 1.5 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 121,300. Among listeners between 25 and 54 — the group most sought by advertisers — WLS tied for 31st with a 0.8 share and 47,300 weekly cume. For the full year 2014, 62 percent of Limbaugh’s audience was over 55, and 34 percent was over 65, according to Nielsen Audio.Ranking 31st in the target demographic puts Limbaugh virtually at the bottom of Chicago radio stations. Although the boycotts against Limbaugh's advertisers have hurt him and probably contributed to this decision, ultimately Limbaugh is being dumped by WLS simply because no one wants to listen to him anymore. His tiny cadre of dedicated Dittoheads keeps aging and dying off.
As I noted in my 2011 book about Limbaugh, his brand of bigotry is driving away a younger cohort of conservative listeners. Limbaugh won't be going away anytime soon. WIND AM 560, a smaller all-conservative talk radio station, will probably snap him up quickly. He will have a huge audience across America as long as he wants to broadcast. But his relevance to the American political scene is fading along with his audience.
Crossposted at Daily Kos.