Limbaugh Soars in August Radio Ratings, But When Will MSM Catch On?

Brian Maloney at The Radio Equalizer blog noticed a development over the summer that seems to have escaped much of the news media: In a whole bunch of major radio markets -- from New York City to San Diego, with St. Louis in between -- Rush Limbaugh's listenership has surged: “As frustration with Obama's policies reached a boiling point during August, Americans clearly turned to Rush for help,” but “the state-run media has yet to take notice.”

Specifically, for KFI-AM in Los Angeles, Arbitron reported Limbaugh “gained a full share point overall, from 5.9 to 6.9 to take first place with a weekly cume of 635,700 listeners. With men 35-64, the jump was from 4.7 to 5.6. In the 11am hour, Rush pulled in a mammoth 6.3.” Yet, Maloney observed:
Judging by the coverage in the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register and Los Angeles Business Journal, this feat was somehow accomplished without the help of the medium's star performer, Rush Limbaugh. In covering the achievement, the latter two publications didn't even mention Rush, while the Times noted Limbaugh only in passing deep into one story and left him out of another entirely.
The numbers from some other large cities:
♦ In San Francisco, it was another big gain on KSFO, from 4.9 to 5.6 and a second-place ranking overall and 332,400 total listeners. In Nancy Pelosi's backyard, that's quite an achievement.

♦ In New York City, Limbaugh's audience share grew from 4.7 to 5.4, ranking fourth overall and with 653,500 listeners.

♦ Taking second overall in Chicago on WLS, the program moves from 5.0 to 5.3 to rank second with 319,700 tuning in. With men 35-64, it's a 5.7 to 6.0 gain.

♦ Houston delivers huge numbers for Limbaugh, with a 7.2 to 7.4 share gain and 337,300 listeners. With men 35-64, it's a staggering 9.8, up from 9.4 in July.

♦ In St Louis, it's an even bigger victory, with first place and a 10.8 share, up from 9.1 last month, logging 204,400 weekly listeners.

♦ Once again, Rush is number on in Detroit with 7.1 share overall, up from 6.2, 245,600 is the head count.

♦ In Seattle, Rush is number one in his time slot with a whopping 10.1 share on KTTH versus 9.3 in July. Audience is 159,500 in the Puget Sound Area.

♦ Phoenix outdoes even Seattle's tally with an 11.0 share, up from 10.5, good for first place. Head count: 245,600.

♦ San Diego provides another first place finish with a 7.7 share and 134,000 total audience.
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