The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Social Media and seekers of what's right team-up: Rush Limbaugh and Cumulus Media, Inc. felt the sting!

As America’s second largest operator of radio stations, Cumulus provides high-impact local marketing solutions in 68 metropolitan areas.  We introduce businesses of all sizes to our communities of 14 million listeners via radio, digital media, targeted e-mail, and on-site promotions.  These solutions help our customers build strong brands and tap into over $400 Billion of spending power.

The photograph, caption and verbiage above are not the work of this writer.  The verbiage and graphics are as they appear on Cumulus Media Inc.'s web site. The page includes other photographs with associated linked captions, to be fair.  A click of the linked "ADVERTISE" navigates to a web page that included all Cumulus Power Radio stations. The list represents numerous revenue sources which have been diminished by the "Shock and Awe" antics and hard core misogyny of Darrell Issa (R) California and the former "Cash Cow" and master right-wing demagogue, Rush Limbaugh.

Yahoo Answers responded to the following question in March of this year.
How many advertisers have left Rush Limbaugh so far? - Yahoo! Answers  
Top answer: 32 sounds about right and 2 stations have dropped him.

The impact of Limbaugh's "SLUT" and "PROSTITUTE", remarks  against Ms. Sandra Fluke, relatively speaking, is comparable to the ill-fated decisions of Susan B. Komen's CEO's to discontinue her organization's funding support to Planned Parenthood. Both organizations have significantly reduced their opportunity to earn revenue (the one basic requirement for all organizations) as a result of a common connection of conservatism and its designs on America.  Of course, the quiet conservative CEO of Komen does not compare to the long-term and exorbitantly contracted actions of Limbaugh, but ultimately their common confederation with conservatism and degrees of dogma have impacted their organization's ability to perform that business lifeline: earn revenue. Earlier this week Cumulus CEO stated the following. (emphasis The Progressive Influence)

.......Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey said the advertiser boycott cost his company “a couple million” dollars in ad revenue in the first quarter and “a couple million” in the second quarter. He said things look like they will be back to normal in June. Cumulus carries Rush Limbaugh 38 markets and blames 1% of the 3.5% drop in revenue for the quarter on the Rush boycott. Dickey said Cumulus was “hit pretty hard by this.”

SFGate  Dot Com's Joe Garofoli reports.

Cumulus owns just 38 of the 600 stations that air the Rush Limbaugh Show, which is nationally syndicated by Cumulus’s competitor, Clear Channel Media
A quick review of Cumulus Q1 reporting compared to Q1 2011. Detailed statements.

Cumulus Media, Inc. 

Financial highlights are as follows (in thousands, except per share data and percentages)  

Quarter Ended March 31,  

As ReportedPro Forma (1)% ChangeAs Reported% Change

Net revenues$245,316$254,244-3.5%$57,858324.0%

Unaudited Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations
(Dollars in thousands) 

Quarter Ended March 31,

As ReportedPro Forma$%
Net revenues$245,316$254,244(A)(8,928)-3.5%

Quarter Ended March 31,

As ReportedPro FormaAs Reported
Net (loss) income$(12,130)$(3,094)$16,119

Dickey's  comments read as a lament for decisions made and testimony on the ills that continue exist and metastasize on Far-Right and hard-core conservative America (inclusive of many libertarians). I have yet to read about or hear comment from a libertarian who was not a conservative. 

Media Matters reported on May 7, about Dickey's intent to review Cumulus performance in June.  Angela Carusone's analysis of Cumulus's 'weathering the storm' includes quite a few poignant points.  
That said, I want to unpackage this news a bit to: 1) explain how this impacts the marketability of Limbaugh's show; and 2) address Cumulus' remark that business should return to normal in June.
In terms of impact...Cumulus confirmed that advertiser exits from Limbaugh's show result in lost revenue. This is important when you consider what this means for the overall marketability of Limbaugh's show. 
Rush Limbaugh's show is syndicated by Clear Channel's Premiere Radio Networks. Limbaugh is broadcast on approximately 600 stations. Clear Channel carries Limbaugh on some, but the bulk of Limbaugh's platform comes from affiliates. 
Cumulus is but one of many affiliates carrying Limbaugh's program. If they're losing money due to advertiser losses, other affiliates are likely also losing money. If carrying Limbaugh on 38 stations results in millions in advertiser losses over the course of two months, then when you factor in all the other affiliates as well as Premiere's own advertiser interests, the scale of lost revenue associated with Limbaugh's show is likely quite significant. 
Further, Cumulus (like some other affiliates) pays a hefty price to broadcast Limbaugh in certain markets. So, not only are affiliates directly losing money because they made the business decision to keep Limbaugh, but they're also paying Premiere for the pleasure of losing money. This certainly helps mitigate some of Premiere's losses, but I doubt it compensates for the overall damage that has been done to the business health and marketability of Limbaugh's show.
In terms of business returning to normal in June...Talkers Magazine reported that Cumulus CEO "Dickey says everything seems pretty much back to normal for June."
I suspect this comment raises some questions, so I want to quickly address it. 
First, I'd note that this remark was made by the CEO of a public company after reporting millions in lost revenue. He had to address the losses and provide some assurances to investors that the losses will be addressed. In other words, I think it's extremely unlikely that he would get up there and admit that they have lost a lot of money and continue to keep on losing money in the future. 
Second, we haven't seen any evidence of a massive return of advertisers.  At this point, it seems like the advertisers that left are unlikely to return. And, we continue to see advertisers leaving the program. This no doubt has a lasting impact on the long-term marketability of Limbaugh's show.  That said, perhaps Cumulus has done a better job of managing their ad traffic and mitigating the damage associated with continually running ads in error. 
Third, perhaps Cumulus is operating under the assumption that individuals and organizations will stop engaging on this issue. This is a false assumption. We continue to see evidence of individuals across the country digging in, organizing and contacting their local advertisers. Additionally, the National Organization for Women announced an Enough Rush campaign, which will formally kick off in mid-May. So, it certainly seems that individuals and organizations will keep working toward accountability. 
Fourth, Limbaugh continues to make things worse for his intersecting business interests and affiliates. He continues to refuse to issue a full apology to Sandra Fluke, let alone even acknowledge the full scale of his attacks. He's taken to publicly attacking former advertisers lately.  And, finally, he continues the same recklessness that put his show in this position in the first place.
Limbaugh as The Right's mouthpiece and ideological leader hit his employer where it hurts most: business performance.  Cumulus, Premiere Networks and other networks ignored Limbaugh's guttural demagoguery for many years.  Their ignoring the disgust of Limbaugh effectively urged him on like the big high school bully from our past. Limbaugh's attacks on all things progressive, liberal and moderate conservative constitutes acts of bullying much like Mitt Romney and his jock friends restraining a horrified classmate and forcibly cutting his hair.

The  business relationships of radio networks and channels who contributed to the eventual onslaught on Ms. Fluke and 99% the women of America, are secondary to the millions who have 'dittoed" Limbaugh into the stratosphere of media contracts. 

This past March, Bloomberg reported the success of what it calls a Social Media "accountability campaign" in holding Limbaugh's up for scrutiny and review. Media Matters, primarily, and thousands across social media for have responded to Limbaugh and by association many in the GOP just as was intended by the Crafters of the US Constitution.  

The US continental "Press" evolved to media via electronic inventions.  Radio and Television has pushed print media to the point of "second read".  As I was taught in Journalism classes that evolution was productive and served well for decades.  The relationship while symbiotic and still somewhat effective is now influenced by Big Business, Big Politics, and a growing American Oligarchy.  

Example, the Washington Post decision to handle the Mitt Romney 'bullying' exclusive via their web page vs. their more 'storied' news print division.  CNN's Anderson Cooper stated tonight, CNN decided not to run the story yesterday based on their perceptions of running a story that dates back to a presidential candidates high school years.  Really, CNN?

Bloomberg nailed one clear benefit of Social Media,. People have opportunity for information, people communicate, and power can also reside in numbers.

I often quote something I learned late last Fall.  During a visit to the Frederick Douglass House, a US Parks National museum, I viewed a video about Douglass's life from birth to death. The 25 minute movie ended with a young black male visitor to the porch of the Douglass House. He appeared to be waiting for Douglass to return home, as he sit patiently on the home front steps. As Douglass returned and approach the house, the gleeful young man ran up to the by then elderly Douglass and ask a poignant question. "Mr. Douglass, if you would tell me one thing I can do to shape my life as you shaped your life (paraphrased), what would you tell me, sir?"

Douglass paused for long time, lowered his head, held the pause even longer. After he slowly raised his head to the young man's anxiously awaiting eyes, he said, "AGITATE, AGITATE".  He walked pass the young man and just before entering his front door, looked back and said, "AGITATE".

My companion asked me, "What do you think he meant?"

I could only respond.  "Don't simply accept that which is wrong, for simple sake of making life easier and comfortable. There are times when the person must speak-up, express one's self, and take action against wrongs".  

Ghandi, Martin Luther king, Jr., Medgar Evers, Congressman John Lewis, John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and others "AGITATED".  I must be honest and frank, so did, Roy Wilkins, James Baldwin, W.E.B DuBois, the original Black Panther Party for Self Defense, Malcolm X (as converted to the short lived Malik Shabazz) and millions during the 1960 Peace/Anti-War Movement in America.

Limbaugh, ALEC, and other "wrongs' have been exposed and effectively revealed by Social Media and guiding/monitoring entities like Media Matters and The Color of Change.

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