Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's nasty out there, and Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck love it

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — The nastiest political climate the United States has seen in 40-plus years isn’t negative for everyone. For hosts of conservative talk shows in particular, as well as for the companies that syndicate their programs, things couldn’t be better.

“People ask me, ‘What happens when Rush [Limbaugh] says something very controversial about [President Barack] Obama?’ They say, ‘Well, people are going to tune out,’” said Len Klatt, senior vice president and director of research at Premiere Radio Networks. “No, they’re not. Because he’s talking to his people; they’re not going to tune out at all.”

Opinion Journal: The tea-party threat, Kim Strassel talks about the Democrats' new November strategy. Also, William McGurn has a take on a new film about public education.

Premiere Radio Networks, the syndicator of the top three talk-radio shows — hosted by Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck — are on pace to see advertising sales increase for those programs by 10% to 40% from last year, the company told MarketWatch.

Total 2009 ad revenues for the three shows and those of the entire company are “proprietary” and would not be disclosed, a Premiere spokeswoman said. Premiere is owned by privately held Clear Channel Communications Inc.

The ad increases are led by “a broad range of direct marketers,” pitched by the show’s hosts themselves, said Dan Metter, senior vice president and director of talk-radio sales at Premiere. These advertisers include Administaff, Carbonite, LegalZoom, LifeLock, Provide Commerce, Select Comfort and Vermont Teddy Bear.

According to Talkers magazine’s latest list of the top radio audiences, Limbaugh has more than 15 million unique listeners each week, followed by Hannity’s 14 million-plus and Beck’s more than 10 million.

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