The question is, who's going to listen to Huck? The right wingers want to be served raw meat daily. The upside: Mike Huckabee
is a known, bonafide commodity in conservative circles. He's been on the national stage, so moderates and progressives know him. But Rush is better known. In head-to-head comptetition, Rush wins. What may happen in three two five years if Huck develops and Rush checks out is not and issue. As George Allen once said, "the future is now."
As for stations trading in Rush for Huck. I think they'd rather pay "confiscatory" rights fees for a known commodity than roll the dice on a bartered show with a lesser talent. Let's put it this way, I don't see WBEN dropping Rush for Huckabee. And WABC isn't going to drop Rush because there are indeed other stations in Market #1 that would snatch him up. Huck, unlike Hannity, Rush or Savge (Weiner) isn't the kind of guy who says things just to get noticed. His show might fit well on rimshot talkers and secondary talk stations in large or major markets. .
A critical component will be the willingness of advertisers to "buy in" to the show. Local advertisers might like to buy in to a show that's not as brusque as Rush. Nationals might look at him more favorably. Still, it seems to be another talk show that will appeal primarily to Men, 50+. If Huck doesn't deliver an audience in one year (maybe even less in PPM markets), he may become yet another syndicated national show that tried
to take on Limbaugh and failed. More will be told when we find out which Cumulus talk stations and markets opt to take Huckabee's show.
From a programmer's perspective, the only way to air this show is in real time, live. There needs to be a strong show before and after Huckabee's slot. If local talkers run mish-mash of This Old Plumber
or Colon Blow Deluxe
before Huck's show, all bets are off.
A smart PD running a rimshot or secondary against Rush on the Big Talker, would take Huckabee live, build around him, heavily promote him and supported his show with a strong local news-(traffic)-weather presence. As with any syndicated talk show, if it runs on life support, it'll do about as well as Ed Schultz. Fail. Abort. Retry.