Rush Limbaugh’s conservative radio show will remain on the air as programmers and podcasters seek to fill the void


For Rush Limbaugh, the late conservative media mogul whose brash, unapologetic voice dominated talk radio for more than three decades, the show will go on.

“The Rush Limbaugh Show” will continue, using archived segments and clips, featuring mostly Mr. Limbaugh’s voice “until his audience is ready to say goodbye,” said Premiere Networks, which distributes the issue, in a note to affiliates. It will continue to air in its usual timeslot of noon to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“No one can replace Rush Limbaugh,” said Hosea Belcher, senior vice president of affiliate marketing for iHeartMedia. Inc.

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He died aged 70 from complications of lung cancer, his wife Kathryn Limbaugh announced on her radio show on Wednesday.

Even with his show continuing, Mr. Limbaugh’s passing leaves a void in the world of talk radio. Millions of loyal listeners wonder how they will spend the three hours in the middle of each weekday they devote to listening to his acerbic take on political, social and economic issues. For the podcast and radio industry, Mr. Limbaugh’s shoes are difficult, if not impossible, to fill.

His show was the most-listened to in the United States, according to Nielsen Audio, reaching more than 20 million monthly listeners across more than 650 affiliates by the end of 2020.

Mr. Limbaugh’s 30 years of audio has been archived and cataloged by topic, topic and opinion, Premiere said in its memo. The show will now address the news of the day through relevant clips. Guest hosts such as Mark Steyn, Todd Herman and Ken Matthews, who helped fill in while Mr Limbaugh underwent cancer treatment over the past year, will help guide the show from a segment to the other, the network said.


What does conservative talk radio look like after Rush Limbaugh? Join the conversation below.

As a staple of AM radio for so many decades, Mr. Limbaugh kept alive some of the radio waves that had otherwise begun to fade away as listeners turned to the internet and satellite radio. for their on-demand talk shows, podcasts and more. audio entertainment. Political news podcasts, in particular, experienced significant peaks in viewership around the election and inauguration. In November and December, conservative-leaning podcasts by Dan Bongino, Ben Shapiro, and Mark Levin consistently ranked in the top 10 news podcasts on Apple; in the weeks following Election Day, the “Dan Bongino Show” ranked #1 or #2 among all podcasts on Apple.

“I wouldn’t want to own an AM radio station,” said Chris Roberts, associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Creative Media at the University of Alabama. While radio reaches 90% of adults in the United States each week, according to Nielsen, the bulk is through FM stations.

Mr. Limbaugh was in the unique position of capturing people not only on the go or during prime time at home, but also providing the soundtrack to much of their working day.

First Lady Melania Trump presented radio personality Rush Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom during President Trump’s 2020 State of the Union address. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images (originally published February 4, 2020)

“As the radio industry has changed, it didn’t have to,” Roberts said. While there will always be an appetite for Mr Limbaugh’s style of programming, he said, it’s unlikely any other host will be able to replicate his success on radio alone – they will need to work across all media to appeal to younger audiences.

While other conservative hosts are among the most popular podcasts, right-wing media may still have a future on radio.

“Conservative talk radio is very invested in the live experience,” said Megan Liberman, manager of news, talk and entertainment programs for Sirius XM Holdings. Inc.,

pointing to an audience that likes to call and talk with on-air hosts. “These shows have a really interactive audience.”

Ms Liberman said a single character was unlikely to fill the Mr Limbaugh void, but the satellite radio giant, particularly through its SiriusXM Patriot channel, is focused on finding and developing talent more diverse on the political right, with more women’s voices. and people of color like Stacy Washington and David Webb.

Whether Mr Limbaugh fans will stick around or where they will go remains to be seen.

For Trent Smith, an avid Rush Limbaugh listener since childhood, it’s the end of an era. The 34-year-old pastor from Conroe, Texas, said he probably won’t listen to talk radio anymore and instead listen to more podcasts – he’s already a fan of Joe Rogan.

“Rush was AM radio,” Mr. Smith said. “There are probably a lot of radio stations scratching their heads wondering what we’re going to do in the middle of the day.”

Corrections & Amplifications
The wife of the late Rush Limbaugh is called Kathryn Adams Limbaugh. A previous version of this article identified her by her maiden name, Kathryn Rogers. (Corrected February 19)

Write to Anne Steele at [email protected]

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