The country's second-biggest radio network is planning to dump conservative commentators Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh at the end of 2013 to offset a loss in revenues, Politico reported on Sunday.
Cumulus Media, which airs the duo's shows in more than 40 markets, has allegedly been planning to replace them with some of its own talent, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) and Michael Savage, while also making overtures to radio talent agents for other prospective replacements.
While a company spokesperson told Politico that "Cumulus is not in a position to comment about negotiations with talent under contract, no matter what the rumor of the day might be," negotiations between Cumulus and Premiere Networks, have reportedly reached an impasse.
Think Progress reported that the duo has lost 240 advertisers between them since 2012, with Limbaugh in particular being targeted for a boycott over his derogatory remarks against womens' rights activist Sandra Fluke.
CEO Lew Dickey suggested in May 2013 that the campaign against Limbaugh was responsible for the company posting a loss of $2.4 million in talk radio revenue in the first quarter of the year. That same month, Limbaugh complained that despite its ratings success, Fox News was still losing out on advertising money because "the media buyers at advertising agencies are young women, fresh out of college, liberal feminists who hate conservatism."
Premiere is a division of another radio network, Clear Channel Communications, with stations in many of the same cities as Cumulus. The Week editor Peter Weber wrote on Sunday that even if Clear Channel refused to pick up the two hosts' contracts, their fanbases might follow them in a move to satellite radio, similar to the one made by former colleague Glenn Beck.