In what’s described as a major shakeup for the radio industry, the country’s second-largest radio broadcaster will drop conservative hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity from its stations by year-end, reports Politico.
Cumulus Media won’t renew the contracts for either host, meaning that their voices will disappear from the company’s 40 channels in top markets, the story reports, citing an industry source.
"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," the piece reports.
The story adds: "As industry insiders caution, Cumulus and Clear Channel have come to the brink before during contract negotiations only to resume talks. But the source told Politico that Clear Channel was unlikely to reduce the cost for distribution rights to a level that would satisfy Cumulus."
Cumulus has been reaching out to radio talent agencies and political insiders to find new hosts to fill airtime, the story says. Some established radio talent, such as Mike Huckabee, may be moved into one of the open slots, the piece notes.
Cumulus declined to comment on the report.