Is America growing tired of the radio “superstars” on the right? According to recent PPM ratings, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh have all been losing listeners over the past year.
PPM is the new method of measuring radio market share that records actual radio waves instead of relying on the old process which consisted of filling out forms where listeners “basically choose their favorite radio hosts rather than mark what they were actually listening to”.
A look at the PPM numbers between November ’09 and November ’10 in the New York market shows that Rush Limbaugh’s ratings on WABC declined from a 5.4 to 5.0. He also went down in the key 24 to 55 demographic, from 3.7 to 2.6.
Hannity has also experienced some difficulty over the last few months. In January, he had his nationally syndicated radio show dropped from WPHT in Philadelphia, which was the second station to drop him in the past few months. He also was dropped from his syndicator in Salt Lake City, Utah. Marc Rayfield, market manager for CBS Radio in Philadelphia president, said that WPHT wants to become “more of a locally based station.”
Glenn Beck isn’t faring much better. His television show has dipped quite a bit in the ratings compared to last year. In January and February of 2010, he became a star on Fox News, drawing three million fans a night at its peak. But a year later, he is having trouble drawing even two million people each night. Through the first three weeks of January, Beck’s show has topped the two million mark only three times.
But the big shocker occurred on January 17, 2010. WOR (710 AM), one of the New York City’s two biggest talk radio stations, announced they were dropping Beck’s show, effective immediately. Even WOR program director Scott Lakefield was surprised. “The reason is ratings,” said Lakefield. “Somewhat to our surprise, the show wasn’t getting what we wanted.”
Michael Harrison from Talkers magazine doesn’t think this is reason to worry if you are a fan of one of these personalities.
I’m always asked is ‘Rush Limbaugh’s influence on politics fading?’ My answer is it doesn’t matter, he’s never had that much influence on politics anyway. We do not give them as much credit for setting the stage for the political culture in America as the politicians and the political press do.
It’ll be interesting to see how these programs do when the 2012 election is covered next year. As much as many Americans wish that Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck would disappear, I don’t think they will from radio anytime soon.