Last week, conservative talk show host Sean Hannity announced he was firing Cumulus, which will effectively end his relationship with the radio company and WABC, where he had been a fixture since the late 1990s.
But Hannity’s long-time lead-in Rush Limbaugh is taking a different approach with his Cumulus agreement. Effective Jan. 1, 2014, Limbaugh will be leaving his flagship station 770 AM WABC in New York City for its crosstown rival 710 AM WOR, but remaining on other Cumulus stations, including other large-market stations 890 AM WLS in Chicago, 820 AM/96.7 FM WBAP in Dallas, 630 AM/105.9 FM WMAL in Washington, D.C. and 760 AM WJR in Detroit.
“We’re on 600 radio stations, and the way that was going to happen was that a group owner, Cumulus Broadcasting, was going to cancel their contract with me on 35 of their radio stations, and that was going to end my career because one of those 35 was WABC in New York and WLS in Chicago and WMAL in Washington and WBAP in Dallas and WJR in Detroit and other such large markets,” Limbaugh said. “And once that happens, sayonara, I’m in everybody’s rear-view mirror.”
“This has been going on for a year,” he continued. “We have negotiations with every radio station that carries the program, every group owner. These negotiations just happened to end up in the public. But the media believed everything that was being said, because they wanted to,” he continued. “And the image, I guess, that was created was that my heyday was gone, it was over with, and if you listen to me now, you better like it while you can, because you’re not going to be able to at the end of the year because I’m going to be gone.”
Limbaugh went on to explain the situation in the New York City market, which he attributed it to his syndication partner Clear Channel wanting to do its own thing.
“On either Wednesday night or Thursday, we completed our negotiations with the Cumulus Broadcasting Company, and there will not be any changes,” Limbaugh said. “I will continue to be on their radio stations for the next three years. It was really never in doubt, but I don’t want to do my own version of negotiating here. The only change that’s going to happen is that on Jan. 1 we are going to leave WABC and move to WOR in New York. My syndication partner is Clear Channel Communications, and they own WOR, and so we’re going to go to our own radio station in New York. And this has been mutually agreed to.”
“The bottom line is, no change for you,” he said. “Wherever you’re listening to this radio show today, you’re going to be able to hear it on Jan. 2nd, 3rd, whenever I get back from the traditional Christmas break. There will be no interruption to you; there will be no change. The radio program is as strong or stronger than ever. It will be everywhere you are used to listening to it now. If you like this station, you get to keep this station.”