WaPo: This Rush Limbaugh boycott has pretty much fizzled, huh?

Team Boycott had an impressive run, though, no? Sure, they didn’t get Clear Channel to pull him off the air. And only two radio stations nationwide dumped his show. And he lost “fewer than five” national sponsors by Media Matters’s own admission. But hey: It’s not easy to sustain politically calculated fake outrage for weeks on end, especially after an apology for the initial offense has been issued. Perseverance.

No, seriously, though. It’s over.

On Monday, the 600 or so radio stations that air Limbaugh’s program were told by his syndicator, Premiere Radio Networks, to resume running “barter” ads during his program. Stations are required to run these ads in exchange for paying discounted fees to Premiere to air Limbaugh’s show. Premiere, which is owned by radio giant Clear Channel Communications, had suspended the “barter” requirement for two weeks in a move widely seen as a way to give advertisers a chance to lie low while Limbaugh was in the news…

Limbaugh’s advertising losses may have been less than media accounts suggested. While more than 100 advertisers told Premiere that they didn’t want to be associated with “controversial” radio programs of any kind in the wake of the flap, some of these companies weren’t regular Limbaugh sponsors in the first place.

Carusone said most of the advertiser exodus over the past month appeared to be among companies whose ads aired only in regional or local markets, he said. “Fewer than five” nationwide sponsors of the program actually pulled out, he said…

Limbaugh’s recovering fortunes may be best exemplified by what hasn’t happened. At the peak of the controversy in early March, two small stations — in western Massachusetts and Hilo, Hawaii — said that they would drop his program. Since then, no other station has said it will take him off the air, dashing the hopes of MoveOn.org, a liberal group whose ongoing petition drive seeks Limbaugh’s removal from 180 stations.

Radio-Info.com, which has been leading industry coverage of the boycott over the past month, noted the end of the “barter holiday” yesterday and declared that “the temperature of this controversy has finally fallen below the boiling point of 212 degrees Fahrenheit.” That was probably the inspiration for WaPo’s story today, although this piece published late last night by Politico surely contributed too. Quoth the CEO of Clear Channel: “Rush is the king. Rush is certainly the leader, and we’re delighted to have him.”

To wrap this up in a bow, go read Michelle’s new column on Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and local lefty radio staple John Sylvester, who goofed on her on air a month before Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke comments for supposedly having “pulled a train” and performed “fellatio on all the talk show hosts in Milwaukee.” Was there no boycott over that? Or was there one, and it simply ended up as lame as the one directed at Rush?

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