Rush: Sponsors ‘practically begging to come back’

By Joe Kovacs

PALM BEACH, Fla. – After national controversy over his calling a Georgetown University law student a “slut” and “prostitute,” radio giant Rush Limbaugh says he has brand-new sponsors lined up to advertise on his program, and some who had canceled are now asking to return.

“We have three brand-new sponsors that will be starting in the next two weeks,” Limbaugh said this afternoon, adding he was not going to identify them today.

“Two of the sponsors who have canceled have asked to return. We are being very careful about that. I’m not gonna give you any names here. One of them is practically begging to come back.”

There have been reports among some news agencies that at least 40 advertisers have abandoned Limbaugh’s top-rated program since the furor involving Sandra Fluke’s push for insurance-covered birth control erupted last week, but Limbaugh said those news outlets are not being honest.

“Because they lie, and because they don’t understand how it works,” he said. “Everything is fine on the business side. Everything is cool. There is not a thing to worry about. Whatever you’re seeing on television about this program and sponsors and advertisers is just incorrect.”

Limbaugh explained that sponsors on his program are both local and national.

“We deal with the national sponsors on this program,” he said. “We have 600-plus stations. They sell their own commercials. We don’t have anything to do with those sponsors. We don’t get paid by those sponsors. We have no idea who those sponsors are.”

Some of the national sponsors that previously announced their departure include AOL, ProFlowers, Quicken Loans, mattress retailers Sleep Train and Sleep Number, software maker Citrix Systems, data-backup service provider Carbonite and online legal document services company LegalZoom.

Limbaugh noted it’s an everyday practice for local sponsors to have their ads withheld whenever a controversy breaks out, whether it be on shows hosted by fellow radio broadcasters including Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Howard Stern.

“They put out a notice to the stations [indicating], ‘By the way, for the time being, we don’t want our commercials run when Limbaugh is on.’ But they are not canceling their advertising on the station. They’re just saying they don’t want it running in my program during the local affiliate’s commercial time, not ours.”

“These advertisers are not abandoning EIB (Excellence in Broadcasting) affiliates,” he continued. “Nobody is losing money here, including us, in all of this. And that is key for you to understand. They are not canceling the business on our stations. They’re just saying they don’t want their spots to appear in my show. We don’t get any revenue from ’em anyway.”

Limbaugh said media reports about sponsors leaving him were just part of an onslaught to convince listeners that his show was history.

“The left is so fed up, they can’t see straight,” he noted. “They thought they had me. They thought I would be off the air by now. They can’t understand why I still am. There is also another rumor going around that I’m going to be suspended for a week. It is utter B.S. I would have to suspend myself.”

Limbaugh also said with more than 600 radio stations carrying his show nationwide, and all of them having at least 30 local commercial availabilities, “There might be 18,000 different people buying advertising within this program alone.”

He says with ABC News reporting he’s lost 28 advertisers, “That’s like losing a couple of french fries out in the container when it’s delivered to you at the drive-through. You don’t even notice it.”

Limbaugh closed the subject by stressing there were no financial losses because of the uproar.

“There is only growth. There are only gains. We’re moving forward. There is good in everything that happens,” he said.

“They have not taken this program out. They have not taken me out. They’re the ones who are frustrated. They’re the ones who are angry. They’re the ones who are gonna be blowing gaskets in the next couple of weeks.”

Limbaugh has offered more than one apology for his remarks to Fluke, saying on Monday, “I acted too much like the leftists who despise me. I descended to their level using names and exaggerations to describe Sandra Fluke. It’s what we have come to know and expect from them, but it’s way beneath me. It’s wrong and that’s why I apologized, because I succumbed. I descended to their level. Don’t be mad at them or mad at her. Everybody here was being true to their nature except me. I’m the one who had the failing on this, and for that I genuinely apologize for using those words to describe Ms. Fluke.”

Fluke responded, “I don’t think that a statement like this issued, saying that his choice of words was not the best, changes anything, and especially when that statement is issued when he’s under significant pressure from his sponsors who have begun to pull their support.”

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