Cumulus Media Inc. refused to comment Tuesday on reports that it may be cutting Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity’s shows from its radio network.
The report said Cumulus has decided it will not renew contracts with either host and that it would remove the conservative talk personalities from more than 40 Cumulus channels in major markets.Online news site Politico, citing unnamed sources, reported Sunday that the broadcaster planned to drop the conservative talk show hosts from its stations at the end of the year.
Cumulus CEO and Chairman Lew Dickey was quick to address the issue Tuesday during a conference call with investors to discuss the company’s quarterly performance.
“Let me answer a question before it’s asked,” Dickey said. “While we don’t comment on individual talent negotiations, I will say that the framework we employ is straightforward and very consistent. We carefully analyze listener interest; advertiser demand, as well as opportunity cost for making our decisions. We’ll have more to say about this when the time is appropriate.”
Politico said the decision came after negotiations between Cumulus and Premiere Networks, the division of Clear Channel that distributes Limbaugh and Hannity’s shows, broke down due to disagreements over the cost of the distribution rights. Cumulus is known to drive a hard bargain on costs, and Clear Channel is known to seek top dollar for big names.
Premiere Networks said it is its policy not to comment on rumor and speculation.
The no comment came as Cumulus reported a jump in its second-quarter profit and revenue.
Cumulus earned $27.1 million, or 11 cents per share, for the quarter that ended June 30. That is up from $8.1 million, or 1 cent per share, earned in the same quarter last year. Revenue jumped to $289.7 million from $281 million.
Analysts polled by FactSet, on average, were anticipating earnings of 8 cents per share on revenue of $286.4 million for the period.
Shares of the company jumped nearly 8 percent on the better-than-expected results to $4.27 by early afternoon. The company’s stock hit $4.33 earlier in the day, a level it hasn’t hit since 2011.