Reports this weekend that as many as 98 major advertisers are asking not to air their ads on conservative radio shows are "totally bogus," a source close to Premiere Networks told Newsmax Sunday night.
Premiere Networks syndicates top-rated shows like those hosted by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and Glenn Beck.
This past weekend, news reports on sites like Politico and the Huffington Post are suggesting that as many as 98 major brands and major businesses are asking that their ads not run on such conservative talk programs. The reports suggest the advertisers are taking the action in the wake of comments made by Rush Limbaugh about a female Georgetown law student.
"The fact is that these advertisers, with a few exceptions, have never been advertising on Premiere's conservative shows," the source said.
It is well known that major companies and brands often shun both conservative and liberal shows and outlets, as Madison Avenue advertising firms keep "do not buy" lists of programs they believe may upset their client's customers.
"Most of these 98 firms don't air on liberal MSNBC or radio shows like Ed Schultz's. There is nothing new here," the source said.
Why the controversy then?
Last Friday, Radio-info.com published an internal Premiere memo it said offered a list of 98 companies that did not want to air on conservative talk shows.
According to Radio-info, the list of advertisers include "carmakers (Ford, GM, Toyota), insurance companies (Allstate, Geico, Prudential, State Farm) and restaurants (McDonald’s, Subway)."
"These companies for the most part never advertise on Rush, Hannity and other conservative talk shows," the source said, adding, "And they usually don't advertise on liberal shows either."
The Premiere memo being cited actually is just a reminder to stations of long-standing policy telling their ad traffic managers not to fill unsold ads in conservative talk radio programs with such brand advertisers.
"The media is trying to create the impression -- one being propagated by the liberal Media Matters -- that there is mass movement against conservative shows," the source said. "But it simply isn't true."
The source also told Newsmax that several major advertisers who have dropped Rush have already indicated to Premiere they plan to come back on his show, and other Premiere shows like Hannity and Levin have seen strong ad revenue growth.
An excerpt of the Premiere memo follows:
“To all Traffic Managers: The information below applies to your Premiere Radio Networks commercial inventory. More than 350 different advertisers sponsor the programs and services provided to your station on a barter basis. Like advertisers that purchase commercials on your radio station from your sales staff, our sponsors communicate specific rotations, daypart preferences and advertising environments they prefer… They’ve specifically asked that you schedule their commercials in dayparts or programs free of content that you know are deemed to be offensive or controversial (for example, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity). Those are defined as environments likely to stir negative sentiment from a very small percentage of the listening public.”
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