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Monday Memo: #Rush4ever

| February 22, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — “Who can replace Rush?” Ask callers, and the unison is, “Nobody can!”

You agree, then pivot: “But somebody MUST…who SHOULD?  One, eight hundred…”

All of us in the talk radio family will always owe him. Limbaugh lead the repurposing of an AM band obsoleted after music migrated to FM.

These meantime reruns are compelling.

This will sound like a consultant: “Build share by attracting more OCCASIONS of listening, because DURATION of Occasion is tough to control.”

Said less-lab-coat: There’s little we can do to keep someone sitting in a parked car with the key on Accessories. But Rush did that, often. And these carefully chosen archival clips they’re playing are even more captivating. Poignant self-awareness, vintage Top 40 DJ airchecks, “Rush to Excellence Tour” audio…what a tribute.

THEN what?

Premiere’s polite statement explains that “we will continue with this transitional programming until the audience is prepared to say good-bye.” When PPM tells them we’re prepared, “the long-term plan will be shared with you in the upcoming weeks.”

Tip for the guest host rotation teeing-up these compelling excerpts: Less (of you) is more. Spend less airtime telling us what-he-meant-to-you and play the dang clips.

Suggestions for Premiere:

  • Short-term: Hire his brother, if only for a couple weeks. In Rush’s shadow, David Limbaugh’s first name has often been spoken in italics. But this thoughtful attorney/author is a get; and his family connection offers catharsis.
  • Long-term? Nobody I’ve suggested this to is taking me seriously, but…seriously: MyPillow guy Mike Lindell. His foghorn delivery jumps out of the speaker; and if you sat through his “Absolute Proof” video you heard red meat that would resonate with Dittoheads.

Limbaugh LIVES.

Is an opportunity staring-us-in-the-face?

WHAT IF Premiere offered the vast Rush Limbaugh Show archive as a 24/7 format?

  • Though no replacement host will command Limbaugh’s steep clearance fee, this could be half-a-loaf for the network. Go two-deep in affiliate clusters. Keep “enter the promo code ‘Rush’ alive.”
  • Pick a cluster, any cluster, especially owned iHeart clusters: There’s an AM with low-or-no ratings and revenue. Possibly airing longform network Sports Talk or other filler programming. AMs are being given-away and shut-off. As he proved decades ago, before the bigger stations stole him from early-adopter affiliates, Rush can get ratings at 1490. Heck, lots of clusters also have a robotic FM losing a local format battle.
  • Affiliates get first dibs. They can bundle the inventory of the all-Rush-all-the-time station with the big-brother station where Limbaugh has been airing.

“There will not be another Rush Limbaugh,” as life goes on.

When Larry King — the broadcasting icon I was proud to call my RT America colleague – passed away, our weeklong tribute concluded with my conversation with Michael Harrison. And with Rush then in failing health, we discussed “Talk Radio at a turning point:” https://www.portable.tv/videos/rememberingthekingoftalk

On Ash Wednesday, I did what I and Dittoheads had been doing every weekday at 1206ET: Tune-in to hear if Rush was there. And the moment his widow introduced herself, we knew. Her words were moving; but the first spot in the first commercial break – a Rush-voiced LifeLock endorsement – was a cringe-worthy “Weekend at Bernie’s” moment.

These re-runs we’re hearing are precious; and, I contend, timeless, a format.

Holland Cooke is the author of the E-book “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books (click the banner on this page). He is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet.  And HC hosts “The Big Picture” TV show Friday nights at 7ET on RT America.  Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke

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Category: Advice