Rush to the Bank

At lunch today I was reading The New York Times business section. On the front page of that section there’s a big photo of Rush Limbaugh (not available online) and an article that reveals his newly negotiated income. I don’t mind saying it grossed me out.
rush_limbaugh.jpg
Limbaugh, who has 20 million listeners a week on 600 stations, signed a new eight-year contract for $400 million. His $50 million a year paycheck represents a raise of about $14.4 million a year over his current contract.
Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, conservative mouthpieces number two and three, respectively, also make insane salaries. It’s not the money that bothers me. It’s just hard for me to understand how their brand of conservative vitriol is so attractive to a mass audience, and thus to advertisers.

About David Burn

Fired up to write it down. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. Chief storyteller at Bonehook, a guide service and bait shop for brands.

  • veedub

    one thing the bush era has taught me is that there is a good 25% of this country (ie, bush’s current approval rating) that simply doesn’t have any critical faculties, doesn’t want to think and confuses a collection cranky half-baked simple-minded theories with having a political ideology.
    that’s who listens to rush et al. the sheep. he tells them what to think. it’s baaaad.

  • copyace

    Is this an ad blog, or a cheap shot political blog? I’m a Creative Director in Chicago who is far from a moron, identify myself as a libertarian, and I happen to listen to Rush and watch Glenn on TV (OK, Hannity is over the top for me). And I’ll bet that you haven’t — looks like your just parroting the liberal company line. So I’m dropping my subscription to your blog, and I imagine I’m not the only person who likes my advertising news straight, no editorializing.

  • http://www.adpulp.com Danny G.

    Copyace,
    Anyone who’s read our blog for any length of time knows we do our share of editorializing. This is not, and has never been, a source of “advertising news straight.”

  • veedub

    copyace,
    not sure what you’re talking about. david merely enquired who the audience is for right wing vitriol. and that is what rush and hannity peddle: vitriol. i’ve listened to them. it’s blatantly obvious what their shtick is. the fact that you listen to them and like them doesn’t elevate or alter what they do in the slightest.
    i listen to howard stern. he peddles puerile smut and innuendo. that i like him doesn’t change what he does or make it any more noble.
    PS: being a creative director in chicago and being a moron are by no means mutually exclusive. believe me, i know. ;-)

  • http://blog.operator-speaking.com/ Operator

    Any political group is ultimately striving for the minds (and wallets) of constituents, so it’s no surprise the right wing’s media front men rake it in.
    This item of information has its place on an advertising blog and thoroughly deserves the attached commentary.
    Net subscriber change: 0

  • http://makethelogobigger.blogspot.com bg

    The business of talk radio/evening cable is hate, and right now, business is good. I listen to and watch both sides, be it Keith Olbermann or the Fox line-up, and neither tends to be fair and balanced. (Russert was one of the few who was.)
    To David’s original question, Rush’s show doesn’t exactly draw top brands based on the ones I’ve actually heard. Granted, they may run different spots during his breaks depending on what region you live in, but I’m in the NYC listening area, and most of the ads are for financial advisors, security systems and brands I never heard of.
    The kind of stuff even Howard Stern wouldn’t do a live read of. Still, I have to think that their costs are next to nothing if he’s broadcasting out of his home studio. Ads, even lousy ones, must be gravy for his network when you consider an audience of 20 million listeners.

  • http://360self.blogspot.com/ Tim

    David, I agree. Yeah, as a far right conservative Rush and his buddies have the freedom to say what they want. But their divisive nature is the thing that is most scary to me. Obama or another Democrat could find a cure for cancer and Rush Limbaugh would be on his butt for not doing something right. I wish he would marry Ann Coulter and they would live happily ever after on a deserted island.
    Tim

  • veedub

    it took me this long to realize that we got rove-rolled here, or rush-rolled if you prefer.
    this whole comment was cookie cutter. it stank of the republican party machine at its blandest. and they can be pretty bland! read on…
    >>>Is this an ad blog, or a cheap shot political blog? I’m a Creative Director in Chicago who is far from a moron, identify myself as a libertarian, and I happen to listen to Rush and watch Glenn on TV (OK, Hannity is over the top for me). And I’ll bet that you haven’t — looks like your just parroting the liberal company line. So I’m dropping my subscription to your blog, and I imagine I’m not the only person who likes my advertising news straight, no editorializing.>>>
    First of all, even the name was lame. even by chicago creative director standards: copyace. please!
    and i love how it was intended to sound reasonable: ” i identify myself as a libertarian” . like it’s his ambiguous sexual preference or something. oh that makes everything cool! but no mention of Republican party. because they know that’s a big buzzkill. so they just adopt the libertarian flag of convenience.
    but my favorite has to be: (OK, Hannity is over the top for me).
    see that? the human touch. they are human too. even they understand that hannity is an over-excited altarboy who would last exactly seven seconds in iraq. HANNABOOOOOM!!!
    but my favorite has to be:
    So I’m dropping my subscription to your blog, and I imagine I’m not the only person who likes my advertising news straight, no editorializing.
    end with a threat. and then tell you how to do your job. how charming. how un-american. nice work work on the fourth of july. doing your best to choke free speech in america. whoo-hoo!
    funny, there never was a reply comment from “copyace”. hmmm….could he be a robot? (rubs chin)

  • http://multicultclassics.blogspot.com HighJive

    I don’t know, veedub. I’d hate to think the Republican machine is so well orchestrated, especially in the digital space where they traditionally look pretty prehistoric. I mean, dropping comments on ad blogs? We’re not that influential (no offense, David, Danny and crew). I think you may be giving too much credit to the Chicago ad community. There are plenty of creative directors there who fit the profile of copyace, right down to having the lack the self-respect required to assume the e-name. But it will be interesting to see if copyace returns—although he did claim to be dropping his subscription.

  • veedub

    HJ,
    i’m not overestimating the ad community’s importance but the busybody Rush regiment is famous for trolling the net in support of their fearless leader. a simple Google news alert is all it takes. and the adoption of a superficial generic name (copyace? really! ). and if you look at the substance of the comment it could be dropped into any blog with the slightest of alterations.
    self-righteous anger masked with faux outrage at an imagined slight. it’s the kind of classic rovian tactic that takes advantage of americans’ natural instinct not to want to cause a fuss.

  • http://adpulp.com David Burn

    Speaking of making a fuss, have you heard James McMurtry’s new song, “Cheney’s Toy”?
    It’s blistering in its assessment of the executive branch.
    “You’re no longer daddy’s boy
    You’re the man
    That they’re all afraid of
    But you’re only Cheney’s toy”

  • http://multicultclassics.blogspot.com HighJive

    veedub,
    Yeah, you’re probably be right. I’ve definitely seen other types of organizations do similar moves (e.g., write a post about the fast food industry’s contribution to the obesity epidemic, and you’ll get robotic comments insisting it’s all a personal choice issue—and these things are written by pr people employed by the food industry). Although I do think there are plenty of creative directors in the Chicago ad community capable of the sentiments expressed by copyace.
    To be honest, my comment was partly an attempt to draw copyace back by insulting his limited intelligence. If he were real, he likely would have returned by now to challenge both of our comments. Cheers.

  • veedub

    agreed HJ,
    i actually read the ny times article today. rush, like howard, seems to have painted himself into a very lucraticve corner. he’s got an act and he’s sticking with it. and he loves the french, apparently.
    both of them are consistently criticized for pandering to the lowest common denominator. but when you’re trying to appeal to the biggest possible audience, isn’t that the only smart strategy. and both are masters of the medium.

  • http://www.toadstoolblog.com alan Wolk (The Toad Stool)

    @veedub, HJ, DBurn et al:
    As Mecken once noted “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.”
    And as you’ve wisely noted, many people– from Limbaugh to Stern– are not going broke.

  • Mike

    Politics makes people act like idiots with a superiority complex. I second the notion that it would be nice to leave politics and religious views out of this incredible blog.

  • http://adpulp.com David Burn

    If you think about it, politics, like advertising, is the art of persuasion. Politics sells a world view, whereas advertising sells products and services (and sometimes a world view). I see no reason to shy away from a topic this central to the American experience, especially in a political season like this.
    We don’t bludgeon our readers with any particular point of view. Nor do we refrain from making our opinions known. You can’t please all the people all the time, and we don’t attempt to do so.

  • http://www.adpulp.com Danny G

    I agree with David. And as I’ve written before, both politics and religion have lots in common with marketing and advertising, although they’re not daily topics on this blog.

  • veedub

    the great thing about blogs is that you can choose to either engage in a conversation or not to. and if you find something objectionable you have the ability to put your arguments forth. and have them tested by others.
    politics and religion are huge issues in this society. if anything, there isn’t enough discussion about them.

  • http://adpulp.com Rev. Jeremiah Wright

    I wholeheartedly agree with veedub!

  • Rev. John Hagee

    i too am in complete agreeement with veedub.
    Unless of course he’s a satan-worshipping idolatrous Roman Catholic.

  • John McCain

    I am in complete agreement with Rev. Hagee!