March 6th, 2012
09:46 AM ET
11 years ago

Stations, advertisers drop Limbaugh

(CNN) – A second radio station said it was dropping Rush Limbaugh's radio program Tuesday, calling the conservative host's incendiary comments last week about a law student "unacceptable."

Pittsfield, Massachusetts radio station 1420 AM WBEC, one of hundreds of stations nationwide that carry "The Rush Limbaugh Show," dropped the program from its lineup, according to station general manager Peter Barry. He said the decision was made Monday, and was based upon comments Limbaugh made last week regarding Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, "which we found unacceptable."

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Outcry over Limbaugh's comments began last week after he suggested Fluke was a "slut" and a "prostitute" for advocating broad health care coverage for contraception at a hearing on Capitol Hill

Limbaugh made the original comments Wednesday, in which he also suggested Fluke wanted taxpayers to pay for her to have sex.

On Monday, KPUA, a radio station in Hilo, Hawaii announced it would no longer carry the radio program, effective immediately.

"We are strong believers in the first amendment and have recognized Mr. Limbaugh's right to express opinions that often times differ from our own, but it has never been our goal to allow our station to be used for personal attacks and intolerance. The most recent incident has crossed a line of decency and a standard that we expect of programming on KPUA," Chris Leonard, President and General Manager of New West Broadcasting said in a statement.

The stations' decisions come as advertisers continue to drop their support of Limbaugh's program.

On Monday, AOL joined a number of other companies in announcing they were removing ads from "The Rush Limbaugh Show," which is the most listened to talk radio show in the United States.

"At AOL one of our core values is that we act with integrity," the company wrote in a post on their corporate Facebook page. "We have monitored the unfolding events and have determined that Mr. Limbaugh's comments are not in line with our values. As a result we have made the decision to suspend advertising on The Rush Limbaugh Radio show."

Other sponsors dropping spots from Limbaugh's show include mattress companies like Sleep Number and The Sleep Train, and companies that assist small businesses like Citrix, LegalZoom and QuickenLoans.

One company, Carbonite, a data backup service, said feedback from customers led to the decision to remove advertising from Limbaugh's show. The company's CEO said Limbaugh's apology Saturday wasn't enough to put his company's ads back on the air.

"No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady," Carbonite CEO David Friend said. "Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show. We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse."

In Limbaugh's apology Saturday, he admitted his "choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir."

He added, "I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices."

Appearing on the ABC program "The View" Monday, Fluke said Limbaugh's apology was issued under pressure from advertisers.

"I don't think that a statement like this, saying that his choice of words was not the best, changes anything," Fluke said. "And especially when that statement is issued when he's under significant pressure from his sponsors who have begun to pull their support from the show."

It was not clear Monday whether other companies who suspended their advertising before Limbaugh's apology would reinstate their support following the host's apology. Calls to Sleep Number, The Sleep Train and Legal Zoom were not immediately returned.

ProFlowers, an online flower delivery service, said in a Facebook posting Sunday Limbaugh's comments were at odds with their corporate image.

"At ProFlowers, our mission is to delight our customers with fresh and long lasting flowers, and that is our singular focus each and every day," the statement read.

It continued, "Mr. Limbaugh's recent comments went beyond political discourse to a personal attack and do not reflect our values as a company. As such, ProFlowers has suspended advertising on The Rush Limbaugh radio program."

On Monday, Pentagon press secretary George Little said the Defense Department had no plans to stop broadcasting Rush Limbaugh's show to service members on the American Forces Network. Limbaugh's show is part of the Defense Department's policy to broadcast shows that "reflect a wide range" of opinion, Little said.

Little said he had "not heard" of any review of whether Limbaugh's show remains suitable for broadcast after the controversy surrounding Limbaugh. Little also said he could not immediately say what the standards are for whether certain broadcasts are considered suitable by the Defense Department., a veterans advocacy organization, released a statement from female service members calling on Defense Department to stop airing "The Rush Limbaugh Show" on the American Forces Network.

"Rush Limbaugh has a freedom of speech and can say what he wants, but in light of his horribly misogynistic comments, American Forces Radio should no longer give him a platform," the statement said. "Our entire military depends on troops respecting each other – women and men. There simply can be no place on military airwaves for sentiments that would undermine that respect."

On his radio show Monday, Limbaugh addressed the advertisers who dropped their spots from his program, telling his audience, "I'm sorry to see them go. They have profited handsomely from you. These advertisers who have split the scene have done very well from their access to you, my audience on this program."

He added, "That's a business decision and it's theirs alone to make. They've decided they don't want you or your business anymore."

CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (239 Responses)
  1. Michael

    NO to "FLUSH RUSH" the businesses that dropped you do not want you !!! They care about their customers and DO WANT these customers coming back. Another "spin" by the king of BS !!

    March 6, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  2. Just Saying

    No one with a shred of decency would listen to Rush Limbaugh. He is a cancer on American culture. Further, given that he advocates things that are contrary to our constitution and the values of our founding fathers, he is the farthest thing possible from being a true patriot.

    Just Saying

    March 6, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  3. Mike

    We all have freedom of speech, the difference between most of us and Rush Limbaugh is that Rush's speech is bought and paid for by one side of the political spectrum and delivered via a radio spectrum that is limited and now controlled by a minority of special interests. This means that if you turn on your radio in a rural area, all you will get is this limited point of view 7 days a week, often multiple times per day. If you have no access to the media- you have no real freedom of speech as proven by the fact that corporations are now very large people who resemble Rush Limbaugh.

    March 6, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. Lanoom

    "That's a business decision and it's theirs alone to make. They've decided they don't want you or your business anymore."

    And that's why the man has a PhD. in spin doctoring from P.U.

    March 6, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  5. lady bug

    The day rush totally leaves the airwaves the world will become a slightly
    better place.

    March 6, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  6. steve

    AOL: Adios Old Limbo.

    March 6, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  7. Bill

    I think all radio stations should drop rush hes nothing but a trouble maker

    March 6, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  8. Sorensen

    Some responsible news organization should publish the names, addresses, telephone, websites. etc. and the names,
    addresses, telephone, etc. of all the CEO's of all sponsors, brand names, raio-stations carrying Limbaughs garbage.
    Public humiliation and ridicule always work.

    March 6, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  9. MikeINTn

    Someone should publish contact information for the radio stations that carry his vulgar program so that all of the people this idiot has offended can complain directly to them as well as to the sponsors.

    March 6, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  10. JP

    Rush Wind-bag..... What an arrogant idiot !

    March 6, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  11. Jim

    Meanwhile, this is great for Obama. Anything to take the focus off the economy. Rush is a liberals best friend, he may single handily help them win the election.

    March 6, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  12. kebo72

    He added, "That's a business decision and it's theirs alone to make. They've decided they don't want you or your business anymore."
    No rush, they want the support from their customers. They don't want to be associated with you any longer. Really not sure what took them so long. Rush is and always has been a bigot.

    March 6, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  13. Fair is Fair

    Pittsfield, MA. Wow. Stop the presses. Rush just lost 16... check that, 17... listeners.

    March 6, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  14. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    Bear in mind that Limbaugh panders to a niche market. Unfortunately, haters are a rather large niche.He gets in trouble when the mainstream media reports what he says outside his niche. Even if his show were taken off the air, haters would just find someone else to pander to them.

    March 6, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  15. Chris S.

    This isn't news...Pittsfield, Mass. is in the middle of nowhere...not enough people listen to make a difference. This will be news when some top 20 US market radio stations drop the show.

    March 6, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  16. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    As usual, leftists targeting conservatives in an effort to shut them down and censor or stop conservative free speech. What Limbaugh said was rather stupid but the left using it to attack his livelyhood is over the top. In the long run, I doubt it will make any difference to Limbaugh as new advertisers and stations replace the ones that leave. And Limbaugh's users will need to decide if THEY wish to stop doing business with these businesses that succumb to this type of political pressure from the left. Not only the businesses can vote with their money.

    March 6, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  17. jacksonian2012

    Arrogant to the end. Rush is a quack and always has been. He has the right to a microphone, but we need to choose not to listen to extremists like him.

    March 6, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  18. Erin

    Good. The days of far right or far left winged political "entertainers" being able to spout off whatever they want to say – no matter if it's truthful or not, needs to end. The political discourse in this country has gone steadily downhill over the past 10 years.. and the likes of Limbaugh as well as the Olbermans of the airwaves bear a large brunt of the responsibilty. Disagreeing with people on issues is healthy.. but being bullys and assasinating someones character for ratings needs to end. Now.

    March 6, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  19. Lizzie

    I'm not defending Rushes stupidity, but where have the righteous democrats and liberals been, when conservative women have been called sluts and every name in the book. Hypocrite's.

    March 6, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  20. TheFatherofLies

    Rush sounds like some solemn, pouting, spoiled child that was told by the other neighborhood kids that they don't want to play by his rules anymore. It's easy to imagine Rush standing up in the sandbox, kicking over a sand castle, grabbing his toys and saying, "Fine, I'm taking my stuff and going home."

    March 6, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  21. Eldridge

    keep it coming Rush, I knew it would be just a matter of time before you hung your self with your own rope.

    March 6, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  22. Steve in texas

    Stupidity is rewarded. He'll get 10 more advertisers and 2 more stations and his fans will admire him even more. Depressing.

    March 6, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. Jason

    We have witnessed Mr. Limbaugh's pride; now we will witness his fall. And not a moment too soon. Have a nice retirement, you self-absorbed, egotistical, blow-hard!

    March 6, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  24. Michael Golden

    Bravo! They all should.

    March 6, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. Joe G


    March 6, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
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