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Wednesday, March 7, 2012
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The Rush to Respond is Just Starting

For a very long time, reading about the radio industry in anything but radio trade publications was something that rarely happened.

We had that short bout around the turn of the century when satellite radio was making noise and the print media started calling it the "next big thing." Other than that, there hasn't been much to write about, save a Stern move to Sirius, or an Imus dangling participle.

Then along came Rush Limbaugh and suddenly radio was in the spotlight again - for all the wrong reasons.

"Rush Limbaugh offended a large segment of radio industry personnel and audience with his rants. Worse, his target was a 30-year-old woman with tens of millions of peers..." The story is well-known by now. We won't get into the details. What I want to explore today are a couple of items that I knew were coming down the pike, but didn't quite know when (or in what form). That's now changed.

I thought it important to point this out to many radio industry folks who are still trying to grasp new media. In particular, just who is it that carries weight with those who don't listen to Rush?

First, Rush Limbaugh's worst nightmare came true Monday night. The person who's been dubbed "the most credible news anchor on television" ran a 9-minute segment on this problem; for the record, that person is comedian Jon Stewart. If you've never watched his program, I urge you to tune in because he is truly one of the most brilliant comics of our day.

Stewart is widely respected for his tell-it-like-it-is approach to unveiling hypocrisy. He pulled no punches for Rush. View it here.

Immediately following "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," the second most respected comedian of our day - Steven Colbert - hit the airwaves with his report on Limbaugh's antics. If you've not seen what "The Colbert Report" offers, settle into your easy chair and prepare to laugh. He too specializes in bloviating the bloviated rhetoric used by politicians and celebrities today. Rush Limbaugh didn't stand a chance.

In all my years of watching these two, laughing nearly every second that I wasn't shaking my head in agreement or clapping at the brilliance displayed, I have never witnessed such a takedown of a pompous figure.

It's very important that our older radio industry executives realize tens of millions of youth were introduced to Rush Limbaugh for the first time that evening. It wasn't long after that when social media's part of this pie started to grow.

It's with a nod of thanks to Tom Taylor at Radio-Info we get this nugget: A Democratic state legislator in Ohio starts a petition asking Youngstown’s WKBN (570) to drop Rush. What are the chances that a Clear Channel-owned talk station would drop him? (Insert your own measure of skepticism here...) Nonetheless, the Vindicator says State Rep. Robert Hagan has picked up 650 signatures for his online petition. The Cleveland Board of is talking about it. (I live within WKBN's signal, and will keep you updated on what happens.)

I don't know when Tom wrote the above, but there were over 1,800 signatures by the time I checked at 5:20am this morning. By 9:50am, they reached the requested 2,000 names.

As a radio broadcaster you may not anticipate just how much response will be generated, but let me try to put this in perspective. Rush Limbaugh offended a large segment of radio industry personnel and audience with his rants. Worse, his target was a 30-year-old woman with tens of millions of peers who view what he said as disgusting. They will respond, too - not through traditional media, but with social media to rally the troops. You've witnessed how fast this happened in the many political uprisings across the far-East.

I can't say to what degree Dittoheads will tune out. They all are staunch supporters of not only Rush, but of traditional media. I will predict, though, now that Stewart and Colbert have gotten behind this cause and that the first step has been taken to have petitions signed for removing Rush Limbaugh from the air (plus this drive is seeing support from an across-the-board segment of society via social media), that this race car has just had a new set of tires put on it.

Fred Jacobs has an insightful blog today. It's titled "No One Gets Humiliated," and it's a must-read if you wish to understand how the masses' view of "entertainment" has shifted.

Meanwhile, if you want to grasp just how powerful new media has become - and how little sway the radio industry holds in trying to hold down a swelling of anger - keep your eyes on what happens over the next few weeks with Rush Limbaugh.

We are either going to see him take a vacation, or face outright dismissal because his ability to generate advertising dollars has been severely curtailed. That is, unless, the "Voice on Loan from God" begins to pray real hard for donations. Then perhaps we'll see enough money come in to support his vile approach.

Advertisers no longer want to be part of a program that uses this form of communications as a crutch. That fact is about to be proven to all.

As a quick side note: When President Bush was preparing to invade Iraq, Rush Limbaugh stated (paraphrased) that, regardless of your beliefs, he was our President and it was an American's responsibility to support him in this venture. What happend to that line of thought now that we have a new Democratic President leading the country?

Again, we see the double-standard this man has used for too many years. It's time to stop Rush Limbaugh. (Don't even bother to see if "" is available - it's not. His employer, Premiere Radio Networks, owns it.)

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