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Have Rush Limbaugh's ratings really "doubled," as the WashPost claims?

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:06 AM
Original message
Have Rush Limbaugh's ratings really "doubled," as the WashPost claims?
Have Rush Limbaugh's ratings really "doubled," as the WashPost claims?

Published Fri, Mar 6, 2009 3:40pm ET by Eric Boehlert



Here's what Howard Kurtz writes today:

By one measure, Rush Limbaugh is a clear winner this week: His ratings have nearly doubled since his feud with the White House burst into the media limelight.

Wow, Limbaugh's ratings are up almost 100 percent since January; since Limbaugh first announced he hoped Obama failed.


I don't buy it.

And please note that the Post provides no facts to back up the assertion; no ratings numbers. No nothing to substantiate the claim. How does the Post know Limbaugh's nationwide ratings have "doubled" in the last month? Readers have no idea.

I'm especially curious how the Post knows so much about Limbaugh's ratings success because even people in the world of syndicated radio don't know since they don't have comprehensive rating numbers for February yet. And in terms of truly national rating numbers (as opposed to just the top markets), that information is only gathered quarterly, I believe. Meaning, it would be impossible to tell if Limbaugh's up nearly 100 percent nationwide since January.

Also keep in mind that when the ratings numbers are collected, they're not made public. The only way reporters can get ratings information for syndicated talkers is if their syndication companies want to release it. (Or via advertiser.) In other words, the only way we'd know if Limbaugh's ratings have "doubled" would be if Limbaugh's company said so.

Seems to me if Kurtz at the Post is going to stroke Limbaugh in print and make the sweeping claim that Limbaugh's ratings have "doubled" nationwide, the newspaper ought to back that claim up with independently verifiable information.

UPDATE: It appears that not even Limbaugh knows if his ratings have doubled. Today, Byron York at the Washington Examiner asked the turbo talker about his ratings. This was Limbaugh's response, in full:

The latest numbers I have are for January, well before this kerfuffle began, and they are through the roof -- six shares in NY, for example. There are daily ratings taken now in about the top 15 markets but I have not seen them yet. All I can tell you is that as of January, we booked 80 percent of all our 2008 revenue and we'll be over 2008 by the end of this month.


Limbaugh himself hasn't even seen ratings more recent than January. Yet the Post claims Limbaugh's ratings have nearly doubled since January. What does the Post know that Rush does not?
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BuyingThyme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:17 AM
Response to Original message
1. They are lying. But I don't doubt it's the truth.
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maseman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 07:15 PM
Response to Reply #1
20. Can I set everyone straight on this???
Edited on Sat Mar-07-09 07:32 PM by maseman
Right now there are 14 radio markets in the US (Mostly the top ten metros) that are measured electronically with the Arbitron meters. That data does not come out daily as Limbaugh asserted above. The data is released to markets on a monthly basis.

First, the January measurement for these 14 markets released in mid-February. The February data has not even released yet so for the Post to assert that his numbers have doubled are unfounded.

Second, for the other measured radio markets that get a Winter survey with the diary data collection (about 80 additional markets) those numbers will not be released until mid to late April for the Winter survey.

Third, there's another 200 radio markets or so that Arbitron does not even measure the January through March time period. (They measure many markets twice per year in the Spring and Fall.)

So there's no way to know if Limbaugh had an increase in ratings in the electronically measured markets, in the diary markets with Winter surveys or in these other markets that are not even measured in the Winter months.

Last, it will be hard to believe that Rush will double his audience. Like most talk shows the fall elections are the big ratings for them. There was some uptick for Rush, as expected, but it quickly dropped back down to lower levels after the election. The January survey was the Inauguration and the ratings did again grow for talk radio in general.

(ON EDIT) If the people selling ads in Rush Limbaugh's show are nearly sold out for the year then they are highly under-charging for the commercial ad time. Simple supply and demand economics.
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ErinBerin84 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:19 AM
Response to Original message
2. figured
that Kurtz wrote that. He tried to say that Brit Humes was non partisan, and got mad the other week because Vogue wrote a a "puff piece" about Michelle Obama, as if Vogue was supposed to do some heavy duty investigative journalism or something. He's a tool.
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gdizz Donating Member (1 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:27 AM
Response to Original message
3. Hope not...
If that is true, it's a very disturbing thought and statistic. I don't think it is accurate.




Red Worms
Worm Bin
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BuyingThyme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. Welcome to DU, gdizz!
:hi:
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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:28 AM
Response to Original message
4. Yeah right
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KharmaTrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:28 AM
Response to Original message
5. Olbermann Blew This Myth Apart Last Night...
First of all Whorie Kurtz is a putz...clueless and a creature of the media culture he claims to be observing. He spews what he hears at the drinkie-drinkie parties and on his telephone gossip with his beltway buddies and never bothers to investigate below the surface.

KO described something I've brought up on DU for a long time. Rushbo's numbers are a myth and, just like the rest of his shtick, a big lie.

For years, I worked with radio ratings...a booming business as if you had the access to the "numbers" you could always find something inside them to make your station or program look good. They're abstract numbers as the radio ratings system was devised in the "golden age" of the 30's and 40's when 15 minute soap operas predominated...relying on recall as a means to give "credit" to a station...then "weighting" or making an guestimate on how many people were actually listening and what type of people.

Keith pointed out that the 14 or 20 or 30 million number that is floated around is based on "cume" or the number of people ESTIMATED to tune in during a given week, not daily, but weekly. Many of those people are "repeaters"...dittoheads that tune in every day...they count 5 times if the show is heard daily...and credit was given if a person tuned in for 10 minutes or 2 hours...it all was weighted the same. It's similar to a newspaper putting out big circulation numbers...touting the number of papers on the stands vs. the number actually sold.

In my guestimates, I suggested that Rushbo's audience is not 20 million, but 1/5th of that on a daily basis. Keith takes it a step further in rightfully saying that not all those people listen to the entire show and that the ratio is more like 1/10th of that number...thus maybe 2 million at a time. A decade ago a bunch of us took a look at Rushbo's numbers (this was at the height of Monicagate) and saw he never made it into the Top 5 in any major market and his numbers in the 18-34 demographics were almost invisible. Even more telling was his "Time Spent Listening"...or the amount of time a person stayed tuned. It was attrocious...some of the highest tune out numbers of any station or daypart. It showed us that people would tune in out of curiosity more than devotion.

Radio ratings have undergone a big change in the past year. Peoplemeters are now replacing diary recall and Arbitron is now able to get "real-time" listening information, and it doesn't show well for hate radio. The recall system always benefited the most popular personalities and stations cause people remembered those things and would write them down (most diaries were completed hours or days after the actual listening), while Peoplemeters show a different story. Currently the meters are only in the largest markets but will be national...especially in the smaller markets, in the next couple years, let's see if Rushbo can claim those numbers then.
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Pab Sungenis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:54 AM
Response to Original message
6. Here's a real look at the numbers Rush is posting
and they're not as great as he would have you believe.

http://cnx.com/?p=1090
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The River Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:57 AM
Response to Original message
8. The Morbidly Curious
may have tuned in for a few minutes to see what
he was all about. Anyone with with a few brain cells
probably turned it off pretty quickly.

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cherokeeprogressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 11:04 AM
Response to Original message
9. If DU is any indication, I wouldn't be surprised.
Considering all the attention he gets here, I'd say his numbers have HAD to increase. Progressives who didn't listen to him before are now tuning in to "keep our enemies close". Others are tuning in to see what all the hullabaloo is about. The more we make an issue of him the more people tune in, if only for a few minutes. That's a few more minutes than he deserves if you ask me. If could reduce his ratings by not listening to him, writing about him, discussing him, or even THINKING about him, maybe he'd disappear from the radio waves.

I swear, between here and GDP there must be a hundred mush OP's per day. I bet he's loving every minute of it.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. He's getting deserved attention for proving he's the schmuck that
he is, and for the leaders of the GOP for accepting his reign in their party. Let there be light!
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cherokeeprogressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. I guess that should answer your question then. His ratings will remain high as long as we keep
tuning in.

I don't see the wisdom in that. I'd rather see him shrivel up and die in the darkness.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 03:24 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. You misunderstood. I do not tune in, ever.
But think of all those curious folks who might have tuned in yesterday and heard him spewing about Kennedy's death. I think it's a great way for people to get turned off by him.
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UTUSN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #9
15. We enemies of his who check on him periodically don't help his ratings
Edited on Sat Mar-07-09 05:24 PM by UTUSN
We are not Arbitron raters. And, yes, the purpose is to "keep enemies closer." It is better to KNOW than NOT to know. So when you walk into a wingnut spouting his crap, you have heard it before, have had time to think out an answer, have had time to research, and you will have a better chance of stemming a potential tide of a wrongheaded mob before it's too late. The ostrich strategy don't cut it.


But back to the o.p.'s question, I wonder how his numbers could double while OBAMA's ratings have gone UP from 60% to 63% (or is it 68%) at the same time, and presumably over the same brouhaha's rollout?!1
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blues90 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 06:44 PM
Response to Reply #9
16. No kidding , he is getting free advertisment
And it's coming from everywhere one can think of. People will tune in just to see what he's got to spew out.
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gulliver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 12:16 PM
Response to Original message
11. I certainly hope so.
He's like one of the root viral colonies of the giant wart called Republicanism. I hope they are unable to keep him out of the headlines. When the economy turns around, he'll have left the Republicans right where they belong. Caused the disease. Fought the cure.
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butterfly77 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 04:19 PM
Response to Original message
14. I know many who listen but they aren't listening ...
because they like him or agree with him...
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DemoTex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 06:47 PM
Response to Original message
17. Not his ratings .. his waist-size has doubled
Oink.
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serrano2008 Donating Member (363 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 07:05 PM
Response to Original message
18. Rush's audience figure doubles...but only if you count people from DU.
I'm guessing the majority of his audience are the "I can't believe what he just said, I wonder what he'll say next."

Reminds me of the Howard Stern movie Private Parts. At one point, Pigvomit asks for the average time people listen. People who love stern listen for an average of 45 minutes or something and people who hate him listen for an average of 3 hours. Pigvomit says, "If they hate him then why do they listen?" The lady says, "they all say they wonder what he'll say next"

Talking about Rush and how stupid he is doesn't make him a "shmuck". It makes him $$$$RICH$$$$

The only people dumber than Rush are people who hate him and still listen.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 07:12 PM
Response to Original message
19. His "fanbase" is probably the same (maybe less?)
Really it's impossible to truly "know" how many people are listeners..but judging from the poll numbers for P.Obama, the only "fans" he has, are some of the "dirty-thirty"...and some of them have even peeled off..

I don't really have any issues with Limbaugh being on the air.. He's a buffoon, and if his "people" want to pay him all that money, it's their deal...but what bothers me, and always has, is the fact that there is NO counter-balance for him..

and hour here and there, and on the web is NO equivalency..

Until the open their books and show me, I will never believe that they sell enough "products" from the lame advertisers he has, to justify the amount he's paid..
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