I find the following passage from the DFW.com article interesting. It quotes Salem regional VP John Peroyea:
""The last time [Davis] was on Limbaugh was last Tuesday, and on Wednesday, a listener called Limbaugh to talk about Mark Davis," Peroyea says. "Rush sent me a copy of the air check and said, 'Use it for promos.' It was his way of honoring Mark, because the [listener] was very complimentary of Limbaugh using Mark as a replacement.""
(quote at: http://www.dfw.com/2012/05/27/629066/mark-davis-returning-to-dfw-radio.html
It is definitely an honor for Mark that Rush would do something like that. Obviously Rush has a high opinion of him - otherwise, there is no way he would allow him to be a fill in host.
But let's look at it from a different perspective as well. Rush is allowing a clip of his program to be used to promote a program that will compete directly against his own affiliate. Under normal circumstances, I would find that to be a little odd and perhaps unfair to the affiliate. But, in this case, I wonder if it is an intentional and direct slam at Cumulus. If so, Cumulus certainly deserves it given its behavior towards Rush these past several months.
I am guessing that Rush is not particularly pleased with the way that Cumulus has promoted the Huckabee program by means of attacking him - and I have zero doubt that he is thoroughly disgusted by the way Cumulus has played tag-team with Media Matters' attempt to silence Rush through its intimidation campaign against his advertisers so as to help give its Huckabee program a cheap advantage.
What I am wondering is, when WBAP's contract with Rush expires, if Rush will have already found a replacement affiliate and Cumulus/WBAP will not even get a chance to keep the program at any price. Rush has already refused to take back advertisers who had joined the boycott and subsequently begged to come back. Why would he not take a similar attitude towards Cumulus - especially given that only 38 of his 600 affiliates are on Cumulus owned stations?
Now, of course, some of those Cumulus stations are in major markets and are dominant stations. But WHY are they dominant? One of the reasons is, of course, the stations carry The Rush Limbaugh Program
. If Rush were to move his show to a rival station, that new station would immediately become a major player in the market.
If Rush pulls out of WBAP, what other program are they going to put in that time slot that will draw anywhere near the listenership? If they think Huckabee is going to be able to do it - they are out of their minds. And, not only that, Cumulus has already weakened its lead-in audience to Rush's time slot by replacing Mark with the less capable Ben Ferguson. And by the time their contract with Rush expires, whenever that is, given Cumulus's track record, it will have further weakened WBAP as its on air-talent get the same treatment that Mark did when their contracts come up for renewal.
If this were to happen tomorrow, Cumulus would probably welcome it as they apparently think that Huckabee is god's gift to broadcasting. But, over time, when the ratings of the thing have not gained traction - well, Cumulus may have a hate-on for Rush, but his program does make its affiliates a lot of money. If it didn't, others would have abandoned the show years ago given the fees Rush charges. In the end, money talks. They might not be so thrilled about losing Rush if it becomes obvious that Huckabee is not going to replace the lost revenue.
What I find interesting about the DFW.com quote is that apparently Rush knows who John Peroyea is. Perhaps Peroyea has worked with him in the past. Perhaps Rush specifically researched who Mark's new boss was going to be and initiated contact. Or could it be that Rush perhaps has already had feelers out with Peroyea about the possibility of a future move to KSKY? Would Salem even be open to such a possibility given that Rush competes against their own syndicated programing? Do any of Salem's other talk stations carry Rush?
Anyhow, just a bit of curiosity and speculation on my part. #CumulusFail
I had the same thought when I read that story. It also tells me Mark is probably closer to Rush than other fill-in hosts. I would not be surprised to see Rush leave Cumulus stations when his deal is up. In part because I think they won't pay the rights fee and partly because Rush doesn't like Cumulus.