Green Room

Hannity fires Cumulus?

posted at 4:56 pm on August 16, 2013 by

Worth a mention, because the buzz on this negotiation was that Cumulus was looking to dump Sean Hannity, not the other way around.  To say that there may be bad blood in play is putting it mildly, although nothing official has been announced yet:

Conservative radio superstar Sean Hannity has reportedly fired Cumulus Media, telling the network that he definitely won’t be re-signing when his contract expires.

The way Cumulus treats its employees is, apparently, one reason Hannity is leaving is Cumulus. The company treats its employees “like dirt,” sources tell Inside Music Media, to which Talkers magazine attributes a Hannity quote:

“Hannity is fed up with the Dickey Brothers and the alleged bullying culture of Cumulus Media saying privately, ‘The Dickey Brothers are the single worst operators in the history of radio.'”

Last night, Dylan Byers reported that a split was likely, but wisely cautioned readers to wait for the press releases:

In the latest plot-twist in negotiations over rights to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity’s radio programs, Cumulus now looks set to drop its affiliation with Hannity entirely while re-upping its deal with Limbaugh in virtually all markets, according to sources familiar with the contract negotiations.

POLITICO learned of the plans on Thursday night when Cumulus-syndicated radio host Michael Savage told his listeners that he anticipated taking over Hannity’s time slot later this year on Cumulus stations. …

Limbaugh and Hannity are the number-one and number-two ranked talk radio hosts in the country, respectively. To date, Cumulus carries each Limbaugh and Hannity’s shows on more than 40 stations around the country, with some overlap in certain markets.

And a cautionary note: Until you read the press release, these deals remain fluid. In late July, Cumulus was set to drop both hosts; two days later both negotiations were back on the table. What you’re reading is where things stand as of the timestamp.

Bear that last part in mind when considering how this was getting spun until this afternoon.  Some assumed Cumulus wanted to dump Hannity, supposedly over falling ad revenue.  Instead, it looks like both sides played hardball — and according to Inside Music Media, Clear Channel may be poised to scoop up Hannity and eat Cumulus’ lunch.  Or heck, Cumulus may end up coughing up a better bid, too.

Right now, it might be best to follow Byers’ advice and wait for the press releases, or at least a scorecard.

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Comment pages: 1 2

Though I can be critical of some of things Hannity does as a broadcaster, he does well as a talk host. And, obviously, the connection with his Fox News TV show doesn’t hurt, either.

But, what criticizers here don’t understand is that, in broadcasting, you always have options. When one door closes, another opens, especially if you have a track record of audience success, which Hannity has.

Could it be Hannity did dump Cumulus? Sure. Others have done similar moves with other companies. Hell, way back when in the 1950’s, TV’s “Oprah of the day”, midwestern TV talk host Ruth Lyons, fired NBC in a dispute over how her show was being handled.

So, attention those on the left: if you haven’t worked in radio, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

KFodor on August 22, 2013 at 8:20 AM

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