If a person who heard what Limbaugh said about Sandra Fluke got an emailed list of local advertisers whose commercials aired during the Limbaugh show, that person can pick up the phone and call each local or regional business on that list. They can tell them, “I will not be eating at your restaurant for as long as you advertise with that man. When you stop, I will come back. And, by the way, I am tweeting, emailing, and Facebook messaging every person I know to tell them the same thing. We’ll be listening tomorrow to see if you are still supporting him.”
Limbaugh may not care about that, but the restaurant owner sure does, even if he likes Limbaugh. If even a few people make that intention known, that owner will call the radio station and demand that his ads be pulled out of the Limbaugh show and spread elsewhere. He may even post a sign on his door expressing his support for Limbaugh, but he will eventually move his ads. In order to not lose that ad business, the station will quickly comply. Eventually, if enough advertisers bail on the program, the program gets replaced. No more Limbaugh in that town.
Limbaugh himself said it yesterday, “They’re just saying they don’t want their spots to appear in my show.” Exactly.
Limbaugh’s website says he has over 600 stations in his stable. Calls from individuals, especially people not even in the listening area, will have little effect on the decisions a station makes. But calls from the advertisers are treated like messages from God. Limbaugh maythink say that those advertisers are like a few french fries. But, the local stations do not. There are people at those stations whose job it is to beat the pavement and sell ads. They work on commission. They build relationships with those advertisers. It is in their best interests to keep those advertisers informed about where their money is best spent. If there is a huge stench around a program, local and regional advertisers will abandon it. Stations will then eventually drop it, not on principle, but out of economic necessity. And thus, the listener base dwindles. They simply won’t have it to listen to unless they subscribe online. Then, the chain effect begins. The cost of regional ads drops due to a smaller listener base. So, ad sales people have to sell more commercials to recover the lost revenue. No one wants to support a sinkhole. Eventually, the show folds.