In the note to traffic managers, Premiere Networks says the unusual two-week suspension “does not apply to in-program commercials provided by Premiere within any of its live news/talk programming.” But the suspension of the usual requirement related to the barter spots is effective immediately for news/talk stations, for the weeks of March 12 and March 19. Affiliates normally run those spots in return for the programming. Premiere does not offer a reason, and does not mention a possible connection to Rush Limbaugh. Some radio advertisers have pulled out of the Premiere-syndicated Limbaugh show itself, and others want to avoid all controversial programming. Radio-Info.com has a copy of today’s memo:
“Attention Traffic Managers of Premiere News/Talk Affiliates:
“We are suspending the requirement to run barter spots for two weeks, March 12th and March 19th, for our News/Talk affiliates only.
“Please replace/re-traffic any Premiere barter spots immediately. Contractual requirements to run barter spots are being suspended for these two weeks only. Replace them with Lifelock and Lear Financial or a local spot of your choice.
“This suspension does not apply to in-program commercial provided by Premiere within any of its live news/talk programming.”
In layman’s terms, that means that local stations running the Limbaugh show by bartering ads instead of paying the syndication fee, will get the show for free for two weeks, with the ability to run their own advertising to make up for some of the revenue they’re bleeding as national advertisers flee the coup.
Premiere issued a statement saying they’re just trying to “update our processes and services to better meet our clients’ needs,” and they said Rush himself was away on a self-imposed “one day suspension,” playing golf.
But this is, how to put it, not good. Right about now, Rush has got to be thinking real hard about the upkeep costs of that mega mansion of his in Palm Beach, and re-reading his contract to find out what Premiere’s out-clause is… (Premiere Radio Networks is owned by Clear Channel.)
BTW, this might be a good time to remind you that Rush’s flagship station in New York, WABC, is NOT a Clear Channel affiliate. It’s Cumulus. You know, the guys who will soon have their own anchor show at noon, hosted by one Mike Huckabee…