Cumulus Media, the second largest owner of AM and FM radio stations in the United States, plans to drop the two most highly rated voices in conservative talk radio, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, according to a report from Politico.
The decision came after a failure to negotiate about distribution rights, the details of which have not been disclosed. According to Politico, Cumulus is likely to fill the gaps with some of its other popular conservative hosts, like Mike Huckabee, Mark Levin or Michael Savage.
Back in May, a source close to Limbaugh told POLITICO that the host was considering ending his affiliation agreement with Cumulus because CEO Lew Dickey was blaming the company's advertising losses on Limbaugh's controversial remarks about Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student. On an earnings call two days later, Dickey reported a $2.4 million first-quarter decline in revenue related to talk programming, which he attributed, indirectly, to Limbaugh's remarks about Fluke.
The incident that inspired Limbaugh's remarks was Fluke's testimony at a congressional hearing on government rules requiring employer's insurance policies to cover contraception. Fluke criticized the health insurance policies of her school, arguing Georgetown's lack of contraception coverage was harmful to women.
On air, Limbaugh said her argument was a thinly veiled defense for promiscuity:
What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic] who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex – what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.
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