Limbaugh's Ratings Surge Coincides with White House Attacks

Just as the White House attacks on him got underway, Rush Limbaugh's ratings began soaring in February, Brian Maloney revealed this afternoon on his Radio Eqaulizer blog:
A combination of several powerful forces has resulted in explosive talk radio ratings growth, with indications of much more to come in the months ahead. Primary factor driving the upward move? You guessed it: Rush Limbaugh....

With Limbaugh at the top of his game, with a more deeply loyal audience than ever, the numbers were already expected to be strong. The beginning of the Obamist Era, combined with a direct White House campaign targeting the talk titan, however, provided rocket fuel for El Rushbo's ratings.
Some city-by-city specifics from Radio Equalizer:
♦ In New York City, WABC has experienced huge gains during Rush's noon- 3pm timeslot: from 4.6 to 6.7 overall (12 and older) share, good for first place overall in the nation's largest market. Rush's Big Apple listenership is now estimated at 693,000.

♦ In the second-largest market, Los Angeles, KFI-AM has surged into the number one position (all listeners 12 and older) from 9am to noon, with 618,000 listeners, a 4.6 to 6.0 audience share increase over three months and an even bigger males 35-64 (4.6 to 6.3) move, to take first place there as well.

♦ Chicago, saw another huge move, with Rush affiliate WLS also taking first place during his timeslot (12 and older), from 5.2 share to 6.9 and a total local listenership of 396,700 in the third-largest market.

♦ In Dallas - Fort Worth, 4.8 to 6.4 men 35-64 and fourth overall (12+), 3.5 to 4.5. Cumulative audience: 250,000.

♦ Houston's results were truly blockbuster: 6.0 to 9.8 overall, ranking number one with a bullet and audience of 382,300. Men 35-64: number one again, from 8.6 to 12.2 over three months. Adults 25-54: first place, 4.6 to 8.7. Women 25-54: 3.7 to 8.3 again good for a top ranking.

♦ DC's WMAL also saw Rush-related growth: 4.1 to 6.7, good for third overall and an audience of 155,300. Men 35-64: number one with a staggering 6.4 to 13.4 move.
Maloney wondered: “Given this blockbuster data, will the White House think twice before targeting Rush again?”

Another factor in the jump in the listener count: “Implementation of the new, far more accurate electronic Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings system has benefited talk radio, as the diary-based 'phantom cume' problems of the past disappear. For years, programmers complained that the old system cost them listenership and they are now armed with the proof they'd long sought.”
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center