Smerconish is the smart move. He's more moderate, which has more appeal with Philly listeners, and costs much, much less than Rush. Even if they sell fewer local avails on Smerconish (and that's unlikely considering how hard it is to sell Rush nowadays) they'll still come out in the black on the deal because they won't have to pay Rush's ridiculous clearance fees.
This is a dumb move both for Merlin and for Premiere.
How much does Rush's clearance cost in Philly? PHT didn't drop Rush, though they may have been courting Premiere to take it or leave it after dropping Beck and Hannity.
What are Smerconish's ratings? All the word-on-the-street says they're abysmal. Did he acquire enough new listeners to replace the ones who abandoned him when he changed his act to "moderate" in order to get syndicated? Does he really have more appeal to political talk listeners?
Are Rush's fees really 'ridiculous' when nearly all of his affiliates re-up at the end of each contract? Or did cheap CBS lose a bet that no one else would pick up Limbaugh? Remember what signaled the end of WWDB (handing Rush to CBS)?
Ever listen to the shows that fill the PHT schedule after Beckand Hannity were pulled? Not veteran Dom Giordano, or non-local Smerconish Act II, but the nighttime crew that shares time with baseball most of the year? Do you really think people are going to keep listening to this snoozefest given a choice of professional entertainment on FM? (This assuming that Merlin picks up some more choice syndicated fare or hires someone local based on competence over being a friend-of-Randy like the soap-opera remainders from NJ-101.5 and the dysfunctional morning situation)?
How would this possibly be a bad move for Premiere? They get clearances for two top shows in Philadelphia they didn't have and several weekend programs as well as Rush on FM. And Merlin gets to ease into the market and try to figure out a format that they can make work after expensive miscalculations in New York and Chicago.
Can you cite some sources to support your allegations or are you just making this comfy stuff up as you go along?