Could a Rush Limbaugh Shakeup Be on Horizon At Cumulus Media Over Sandra Fluke Comments?

Rush Limbaugh Cartoon by Ian D. Marsden of mar...

Could Rush Limbaugh Shakeup Be on Horizon As Cumulus Media’s Revenues Continue to Plunge? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Grab a bowl of popcorn and pull up a chair, two news reports surfaced this weekend pointing to Rush Limbaugh’s deal with Cumulus in jeopardy, possibly leading to the biggest shakeup in talk radio history. We wrote about Rush Limbaugh causing the company’s revenues to plunge from fallout after he called Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a “slut.”

Rush Limbaugh insists it’s not his fault that ad revenue has dropped at his flagship WABC radio station — and if his boss keeps saying it is, Rush just may pack up his megadittoes and leave…

Lew Dickey, the CEO of WABC parent company Cumulus, has said Limbaugh’s controversial comments have diminished ad revenue for the past year — and the slump remains a “residual hangover” for the station.

The timing of the Cumulus-Limbaugh dogfight is damning:

Cumulus Media, which has a contract with Limbaugh through 2013, declined to comment for this report: “Cumulus owns the premier talk radio distribution platform in the United States and doesn’t comment on negotiations with talent under contract,” Davidson Goldin, a Cumulus spokesman, told POLITICO. Clear Channel, which distributes the Rush Limbaugh Program through its Premiere Radio division, also declined to comment.

The news of Limbaugh’s possible departure comes one day ahead of Cumulus’s Tuesday earnings call, at which Dickey Is once again likely to address the impact the Fluke controversy has had on advertising. The source close to the show described Dickey’s remarks about advertising revenue as unjustified, and said such “criticism” of Limbaugh had resulted in the consideration to leave the company.

Um, I don’t think too many people will feel much sorrow if this right wingnut is dropped by Cumulus. There comes a point when the company realizes that the backlash over Rush Limbaugh’s comments isn’t worth watching its bottomline disappear into thin air. If true, I can only say echo Miss Sofia from “The Color Purple,” who said, “I know’d there is a God. I know’d there is a God!”

Enhanced by Zemanta

Rush Limbaugh Effect: Cumulus Media Stock Plunges, Dial Global Voluntarily De-Listed from NASDAQ After Sandra Fluke Backlash

Rush Limbaugh booking photo from his arrest in...

Rush Limbaugh Effect: Cumulus Media Stock Plunges, Dial Global Voluntarily De-Listed from NASDAQ After Sandra Fluke Backlash. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Rush Limbaugh effect is very real and the backlash from his attack on Sandra Fluke has seen his first place position evaporate and his audience decrease by nearly 50 percent, according to the Daily Kos. The Rush Limbaugh Show is syndicated by privately-held Premiere Networks, which is owned by Clear Channel (connected to Mitt Romney via Bain Capital). Equally important and bears some attention is the fact that Cumulus Media and Dial Global, which play a role in distributing the show to 600 radio stations, are both slowly imploding, possibly as a result of the backlash against Limbaugh. Dial Global took an enormous financial hit on Friday, November 16, 2012, when it voluntarily de-listed from NASDAQ. The stock price nose-dived nearly 77 percent. Dial Global identified three causes for its headaches, including “advertisers’ response to the controversial statements by a certain nationally syndicated talk radio personality March 2012″ contributed to financial troubles that raise “substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.” Fill in the blanks. You know exactly who they are referring to — Rush Limbaugh.

Dial Global Rush Limbaugh backlash

Dial Global voluntarily de-lists from NASDAQ

Deadline Hollywood:  But Limbaugh appears to be the least of Dial’s problems: Its stock is down nearly 77% today, to about 47 cents, after it said that it may not be able to meet its debt covenants and will voluntarily leave NASDAQ to just trade over the counter. The company reported a Q3 net loss of $71.2M, up from a $5.2M loss in the period last year, on revenues of $58.2M, +132.7%. In addition to the Limbaugh controversy, Dial attributes its losses to late cancellations of ad buys (which it says were due to “the election and renewed economic uncertainty”), and growing competition from digital ad platforms and major radio companies.

Cumulus seems to be a dire straits too and has publicly blamed Rush Limbaugh for its woes. The company had been outperforming the S&P 500 prior to Rush Limbaugh’s disgusting attack on Sandra Fluke after she appeared on Capitol Hill to testify about contraceptive rights, calling her a slut. The advertiser backlash was fierce and swift. Cumulus has underperformed ever since:

Morning Star: Cumulus Media is the eighth-largest terrestrial radio operator in the United States by revenue and the second-largest in terms of number of stations owned. The company operates 314 stations in 59 markets, primarily in small to midsize cities. Through its private-equity partnership, the company operates an additional 33 stations in larger cities such as Atlanta and San Francisco. Local and regional advertising accounts for 90% of company revenue. 

Here’s Cumulus stock chart from March 1, 2012 to November 16, 2012. It shows a steady and steep decline over nine months:

cumulus media stock nose dives

Cumulus Media stock nose-dives on Rush Limbaugh advertiser backlash over calling Sandra Fluke a “slut.” (Chart source: Yahoo Finance)

The company received more bad news when it was downgraded by Moody’s Investor Service, though it received some favorable news on this 3rd Quarter:

Moody’s Investor Service:  Moody’s Investors Service likes a lot of what Cumulus is doing to reduce leverage, but says uncertainties associated with the radio business as a whole and the acknowledged difficulties the company is encountering turning around 10 key stations are cause for caution, and a downgrade.Moody’s Investors Service changed the rating outlook of Cumulus Media Inc. (“Cumulus”) to negative from stable following the company’s 3rd quarter 2012 earnings call. The negative outlook reflects the potential for delays in achieving the collective turnaround of 10 underperforming stations and weakened liquidity given limited access to its revolver facility. Moody’s affirmed the B1 Corporate Family Rating and Probability of Default Rating, but downgraded the Speculative Grade Liquidity (SGL) Rating to SGL — 3 from SGL — 2 to reflect reduced liquidity.

Clear Channel, which is the parent company of Premiere Networks is $21 billion in debt and quietly trimming its staff. Here’s an excerpt from the Toledo Blade:

Clear Channel has been strategically firing employees in small numbers so it doesn’t appear that the company is undergoing large-scale layoffs, he said, adding that it would have looked bad for Mr. Romney if his former company fired Clear Channel’s workers en masse.

It’s not clear how much money Premiere Networks lost in revenue as a result of the advertising backlash, but one thing is clear, there is strength in numbers when people let their voices be heard. The same grassroots movement can force companies threatening to cut their employees’ hours and impose a surcharge on diners as in the case of Denny’s, to rethink their positions.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Mother Jones: In 1985 Video Mitt Romney Said Goal of Bain Capital was to “Harvest” Companies for Profit

Mitt Romney

Mother Jones:  In 1985 Video Mitt Romney Said Goal of Bain Capital was to “Harvest” Companies for Profit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mother Jones found a video in which Mitt Romney saying the goal of Bain Capital was to identify potential and hidden value in companies, buy significant stakes in these businesses, and then “harvest them at a significant profit” within five to eight years. Um, that’s not what he’s saying on the campaign trail. He’s branding himself as a job-creator.

Andrew Sullivan: “This is not the ’47 percent’ bombshell. It just shows what Bain Capital was about: rewarding its shareholders by “harvesting” companies. That word is clinical. And look: there’s nothing evil or wrong about Bain. It did what it does, it has had some successes and failures, and it’s not a crime to make money this way. But it isn’t business, as Romney concedes, so much as finance.”

Watch the video:

Enhanced by Zemanta

Mitt Romney Caught on Hidden Camera Talking About Investing in Chinese Factory at Fundraiser

A hidden camera video shows Mitt Romney talking at a fundraiser about investing in a Chinese factory that he described as surrounded by barbed wire and packed with 12 women per dormitory room. What Romney was getting at was that”95% of life is settled if you’re born in America.”

Here’s the video:

AP Fact-Check Finds Mitt Romney Remained Involved with Bain Capital Through 2001

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts,...

AP Fact-Check Finds Mitt Romney Remained Involved with Bain Capital Through 2001 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Surprise, suprise, the Associated Press has new information on GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s disputed departure from Bain Capital, with several sources confirming that he remained an active participant in Bain business dealings through the spring of 2001. Of course, Mitt Romney will say that’s a lie. Here’s an excerpt from the Associated Press:

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he had no active role in Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded, after he exited in February 1999 to take over Salt Lake City’s Winter Olympics bid. But according to Bain associates and others familiar with Romney’s actions at the time, he stayed in regular contact with his partners over the following months, tending to his partnership interests and negotiating his separation from the company.

Those familiar with Romney’s discussions with his Bain partners said the contacts included several meetings in Boston, the company’s home base, but were limited to matters that did not affect the firm’s investments or other management decisions. Yet Romney continued to oversee his partnership stakes even as he disengaged from the firm, personally signing or approving a series of corporate and legal documents through the spring of 2001, according to financial reports reviewed by The Associated Press.

I am no fan of the Democratic Party and have had some issues with some of President Obama’s positions, but I won’t cast my vote for Mitt Romney because there are more questions than answers with just about every item he says qualifies him for the White House, add the fact that he refuses to release more years of tax returns and his continued race-baiting.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Obama Campaign Ridicules Mitt Romney Retention of Ownership in Bain Though Retroactively Retired

OBAMA CAMPAIGN RIDICULES MITT ROMNEY:  The Obama campaign keeps hitting Mitt Romney with the gift that keeps on giving — Bain Capital — in a new web video. The video incorporates vox populi, with individuals on the street asked to read Romney’s explanation for his retention of ownership of Bain between 1999 and 2002 while incredulously playing no role in the management operations of the firm.

The attacks on President Obama from the Romney campaign are now playing on “birther” fears. Well, this had disastrous results in 2008 and will have similar results in 2012. Um, it seems that Mitt Romney is on a mission to snatch defeat hands-down in this election.

Obama Campaign Press Secretary Ben Labolt Says No Apologies for “Felony” Comment

The Obama campaign is digging in and not apologizing to Mitt Romney for the “felony” comment made by a staffer in regards to his departure date from Bain Capital and the SEC filings his name continued to appear on in 2000 to 2001. Obama campaign press secretary Ben Labolt appeared on the Ed Schultz Show and said they would not be issuing an apology to Romney, saying “he needs to release his tax returns and clear up the questions about his finances.” Amen. If he has nothing to hide, then do the honorable and decent thing like his father George Romney did when he ran for the presidency.

Labolt told Schultz that Romney was trying to have it both ways on Bain: claiming credit for jobs created by the company, but not “accept[ing] responsibility” for business transactions and financial decisions made by the company. Labolt brought up a recent development tonight showing that in Romney’s own 2002 testimony, he admitted that he “regularly traveled back to Massachusetts” for business trips and board meetings. Source:  Mediaite

Mitt Romney has a serious problem with this Bain Capital mess. If he was attending board meetings, wouldn’t they have discussed some of the deals he claims he has no knowledge of? Was he taking business trips on behalf of Bain Capital? What? There are more questions than answers. Instead of crying woe is me, why not address the questions and release the tax returns? As Sen. Harry Reid rightly said, Mitt Romney couldn’t be confirmed as a cabinet member not showing his tax returns.

Republicans Worried as Obama Campaign Succeeding in Defining Mitt Romney as Shady

Mitt Romney in 2007 in Washington, DC at the V...

Republicans Worried as Obama Campaign Succeeding in Defining Mitt Romney as Shady (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Republicans should be rightly worried about the onslaught of negative news about Mitt Romney and his stint at Bain Capital. There is too much doubt about his claims and that weakens him as a candidate. That’s exactly what the Obama campaign wants and I am sure the kitchen sink will land in Romney’s campaign headquarters at any minute. You see, no matter who he picks as a running mate, he or she won’t be able to stem the bleeding. If he picks Condoleezza Rice, the Obama campaign will pull George W. Bush out of its back pocket. Instead of crying that the Obama campaign has gone negative, why not find compelling answers to refute their claims? Don’t come across as a crybaby. Karma is a bitch. Look what Mitt Romney did to Newt Gingrich during the primaries.

Yesterday, the Boston Globe and Mother Jones released two pretty damning reports about Mitt Romney’s stint at Bain. While the Boston Globe article had nothing new, it was still damaging because it raised the question about when did Romney really sever ties with Bain Capital — 1999 or thereafter. He was still pulling in a salary, $100,000 to be exact, and his name still appeared on SEC filing documents. You can’t tell me that we live in the greatest country in the world and it takes a year or more to get a CEO’s name off a document if  he has left the company. The reality is that whether he had no dealings with the company after 1999 or not, the facts don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. It’s all human nature. The nugget of doubt has been planted in the minds of many. You will recall then-candidate Barack Obama said repeatedly that he was a Christian and not a Muslim. Um, people still think he’s a Muslim.

A senior Romney strategist said Thursday that the campaign had a plan and wouldn’t be distracted from implementing it, despite pressure from outsiders. The strategist called the new charges part of an old line of attack that had already been thoroughly aired.

“We went through this in the primary,” the adviser said. “You have a lot of people inside the Beltway, who like to sit back and be armchair quarterbacks, strategists who talk to you and don’t go on the record. We have a plan. We know what the plan is, and we’re going to implement the plan.”

The adviser added: “We aren’t reacting to what the Obama campaign does. … We aren’t reacting to what Republican strategists do. We’ve got a plan to win. We know what it takes and that’s what we’re going to do. All of this hew and cry, you know, from the bedwetters who get to sit on the sidelines, aren’t going to affect what we’re going to do and our plan.”

In many ways, the Globe story didn’t break a lot of new ground, as several truth squad reports pointed out. It simply renewed focus on the fact that Romney has always stated that he technically left Bain in 1999 to run the Salt Lake City Olympics, while maintaining legal and financial ties to the company that didn’t include actively managing its affairs or investments. Source: Politico

Romney and his team haven’t found a compelling way to respond to this mess, that continues to grow and intensify daily. What does that say about the stature of this candidate? You see, the Obama campaign is winning at defining Mitt Romney on its terms.  Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich painted Mitt Romney in a box and the Obama campaign is taking up where they left off. Bain Capital, his offshore bank accounts, his tax returns and Romneycare will continue to be fodder for the Obama campaign to attack and chip away at him. Sorry, next to George W. Bush, Mitt Romney comes across as the bumbling idiot. I guess Seamus on the top of his station wagon is the least of his worries.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Cory Booker Throws Communications Director Anne Torres Under Bus for His “Nauseating” Slam Over Obama Reelection Tactics

Cory Booker just pulled a Shirley Sherrod and threw his communications director, Anne Torres, under a bus, following his “nauseating” slam against Obama reelection tactics on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” according to PolitickerNJ.

You will recall Cory Booker said, he found the attack ads about Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital as “nauseating” and that he felt the same way about the attacks from the right about President Obama’s former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Of course, Booker pulled a Michael Steele and apologized for his remarks and reaffirmed his support of Obama. I would have preferred that Cory Booker stood on principle and stuck to his comments about the nauseating turn both campaigns have taken.

“Effective today, I am resigning from my position as Communications Director,” Torres said in a statement. “It has been a pleasure to serve in this Administration for six years, and as a Newarker, there is no greater reward than to work for the city that you love. I’ve had the opportunity to work with an amazing team, and wish the Mayor the best.” Source: PolitickerNJ

Now Anne Torres is being thrown under a bus for his words. According to PolitickerNJ, “Sources say [Torres’] resignation comes amid internal administration strife in the aftermath of Booker’s appearance on Meet the Press.” My respect for Cory Booker just went down 10 notches and he’s nothing more than a typical and hypocritical politician.

Here’s Anne Torres’ tweet about resignation:

Um, really? Then what’s this about? Did Anne Torres just decide to resign on a whim?