Will local advertisers rush away from Limbaugh?
The Good Hands People dropped him like a hot potato, and he was even re-jected by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But will the swirl of controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh -- the most listened to radio talker in America -- and his recent remarks calling a female law student and activist a "slut" -- cause local advertisers to abandon ship here in Philadelphia, where he airs on 1210-WPHT weekdays at noon?
And could Limbaugh actually leave the airwaves in the City of Brotherly Love -- as happened with his fellow conservative yakkers Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity some 14 months ago?
At least one major local firm -- Penn Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania's massive health system -- which aired a commercial during the Limbaugh show yesterday on WPHT told the Daily News it was "concerned" about Limbaugh comments and would be checking first thing tomorrow morning to see if more spots are scheduled.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System purchases advertising segments based on number of listeners and not based on a specific show or personality," said Susan E. Phillips, senior vice president of Penn Medicine. "Mr. Limbaugh's recent controversial comments are of concern to us and we are reviewing the situation with respect to our advertising."
Katherine E. Blodgett, vice president of the Philadelphia Orchestra, which also aired a commercial on Limbaugh's program, said "we don't buy ads specifically on the Rush Limbaugh show but rather buy a certain number of ads" -- on CBSPhilly, which owns several local stations -- "that will air throughout a 24 hour period.
Nationally, at least 12 major advertisers have yanked their ads from Limbaugh since Friday, including Allstate Insurance, AOL, Sears, The Sleep Train, Sleep Number, Citrix, LegalZoom, QuickenLoans and Carbonite. The speedy corporate response is a testament to the power and speed of social media, as advertisers were beseiged on Twitter and activists raced to organize boycotts on Twitter.
Two radio stations, in Hilo, Hawaii and Pittsfield, Mass., cancelled Limbaugh today. The Hilo station called his comments about the law student Sandra Fluke "egregious." The veterans' group VotyeVets was lobbyiing last night to get the right-wing icon yanked from Armed Forces Radio. Quicken Loans CEO Dan Gilbert not only pulled that firms ads but took ads for the NBA's Cavaliers, which he also owns, off the Cleveland affiliate.
In Philadelphia, WPHT also carries Phillies baseball and there's heavy cross-promotion of those broadcasts with Limbaugh.