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Rush Limbaugh, Conservative Talk Radio Spotlighted in New Doc

It will highlight the power of radio and how Republican politicians embraced the larger-than-life figures hoping to capitalize on their popularity and large audience

Eduardo Razo

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Rush Limbaugh’s story is about to be told in a feature documentary. Deadline reports that Fremantle’s Original Productions, Deep Cut, and creative agency Anchor Entertainment have teamed up to produce “Titans of Talk.”

The Limbaugh documentary is based on Brian Rosenwald’s book “Talk Radio’s America” will look at how in the 39 years since the late radio host began broadcasting, America’s conservative talk radio hosts ascended to evolve into political power brokers. 

“Original Productions has always been about bringing the biggest, boldest personalities to light, and there simply isn’t a louder, more persuasive and polarizing group of individuals than America’s right-wing talk radio hosts,” Original Productions’ Jeff Hasler Hasler said. 

“We’re confident that both sides of the political spectrum will appreciate this dynamic story of a rise to power over the airwaves.”

Furthermore, it will highlight the power of radio and how Republican politicians embraced the larger-than-life figures hoping to capitalize on their popularity and large audience, following the ups and downs of these influential radio personalities. 

The documentary adds that conservatives longed for a champion that would stand up to what they sensed as a liberal bias in the media, which began with Limbaugh.

“When I optioned the Talk Radio’s America book, I knew right away that it would be imperative to find the right partners to help me chronicle this momentous era in history,” added James Smith, Founder of Deep Cut. “We have formed a remarkable collaboration with the teams at OP and Anchor as we take a detailed look at this dominant radio format.”

However, the documentary also touches on how the more popular these radio personalities evolved, the more evident they didn’t need the politicians to affect policy. These hosts could push their agenda and even influence the GOP on issues.

“With the death of Rush Limbaugh, we were reminded yet again of the stark contrast between two Americas; the one that believed he was a tireless devotee to American freedom, and the America that will remember him as a repugnant, racist, homophobic misogynist,” Anchor Entertainment’s Ethan Goldman said. 

“Whether you loved him or loathed him, there is no denying Limbaugh’s power and influence in transmuting American conservatism over the past three decades.”

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News Audio

Bob Pittman: iHeartMedia Won’t Be Shutting Down Broadcast Stations

“90% of Americans listen to iHeart broadcast radio stations every month. To put that in context, the biggest TV network reaches less than 40% of Americans and the big streaming music services reach less than 30%.”

Barrett News Media

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Very few large broadcasting corporations adopted digital platforms as quickly as iHeartMedia did. iHeartRadio is one of the most popular platforms for streaming content from a variety off stations. Bob Pittman says that does not mean the company does not see plenty of value in traditional broadcast radio.

Lydia Moynihan of The New York Post spoke with the iHeartMedia CEO Friday morning. She asked Pittman if he could foresee a day when the company would be done with terrestrial radio and focus solely on digital products.

“To the contrary – the strength and foundation of our company is our broadcast radio stations,” Pittman responded. “90% of Americans listen to iHeart broadcast radio stations every month. To put that in context, the biggest TV network reaches less than 40% of Americans and the big streaming music services reach less than 30%.”

He added that any success that the company has seen with podcasting or streaming is clearly linked to the success of the its radio stations. He said that is true for its live events too.

“We use that massive and unique reach of our broadcast radio to build complementary products like the iHeartRadio digital service and our major events like the iHeartRadio Music Festival, the iHeartRadio Music Awards and the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour, and it’s why we’re the #1 podcast publisher by a lot.  It all starts with using the trusted voices on our broadcast radio stations and creating demand – and with our unparalleled reach we have quite an advantage over the other audio players, regardless of their cash war chests.”

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Buffalo, Chicago, Milwaukee Top Markets for AM Radio

“The study shows thirteen markets that have at least 40% of listeners using AM radio. Ten of them are in the Midwest.”

Barrett News Media

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Nielsen has looked at information from the 2022 fall book to determine where AM radio is the most popular. The company released a list Thursday of 141 markets where at least 20% of radio listeners tune to AM radio in a given month. Cities in the Great Lakes region are all at the top of the list.

In Buffalo, 56% of radio listeners use the AM band in a month. The market’s most-listened to stations are both AM stations owned by Audacy – news/talk WBEN and sports talker WGR. Neither has an FM simulcast.

There is a tie for second place. 48% of listeners in Chicago utilize AM. Popular news stations WGN and WLS are both only available on AM as is the market’s heritage sports talk brand, 670 The Score. Milwaukee is the other market with 48% of listeners using AM radio.

AM radio remains very popular in the Midwest. The study shows thirteen markets that have at least 40% of listeners using AM radio. Ten of them are in the Midwest.

Last month, Nielsen used numbers from the 2022 Fall book to show that across the country, more than 82 million people rely on AM radio during a month. That is a third of all terrestrial radio listeners.

A hearing on Sen. Ed Markey’s AM For Every Vehicle Act is scheduled for Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

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Fox News Radio Reportedly Facing Cutbacks

“Freelance shifts still exist on the network and current freelancers have been offered other opportunities over the weekend. Staff employees were not impacted.”

Barrett News Media

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According to All Access, Fox News Radio is tightening the belt a bit. Job cuts and staff reassignments are on the way.

Most of the effected positions are filled by freelancers. Reporters and fill-in hosts could be effected.

“Fox News Audio has reduced the number of freelance shifts and adjusted its workflow on weekends,” a source told Perry Michael Simon. “Freelance shifts still exist on the network and current freelancers have been offered other opportunities over the weekend. Staff employees were not impacted.”

One full-time staffer has confirmed that he is out. News anchor Kerin McCue had been with Fox News Radio since 2012. He told All Access that he will exit some time this month. The report does not say if that is the result of these cutbacks or McCue’s own decision.

The network does have a lower-cost plan for the weekend. Some repurposed content from SiriusXM’s Fox News Headlines 24/7 will fill newscast slots.

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