Advertisers and radio stations seeking an alternative to the increasingly toxic Rush Limbaugh may soon have a ready alternative: Fox News host Mike Huckabee's forthcoming radio show.
April 2 marks the premiere of The Mike Huckabee Show, which will be broadcast live in the noon to 3 p.m. Eastern time slot and is reportedly being positioned by its syndicator as "as an alternative to Rush Limbaugh's program, which runs at the same time and reigns over the talk-radio landscape."
That syndicator, Cumulus Media Networks, has a built-in asset in its efforts to supplant Limbaugh's decades of dominance: its parent company, Cumulus Media, owns or operates hundreds of radio stations across the country. Notably, 35 stations* that currently air Limbaugh's program are owned by Cumulus, including WABC in New York, WLS in Chicago, WMAL in Washington, DC, and WJR in Detroit.
The launch of Huckabee's program comes as dozens of advertisers and at least two radio stations have fled from Limbaugh in the wake of his series of misogynistic attacks on Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student who testified before members of Congress recently about the problems caused when women lack access to contraception.
Huckabee drew widespread criticism a year ago for radio appearances in which he claimed that President Obama grew up "in Kenya" and attacked actress Natalie Portman for supposedly glamorizing "out of wedlock" births. But with Limbaugh engulfed in a media firestorm over his comments about Fluke, Huckabee's new show may represent a lifeboat for advertisers and radio stations eager to dissociate themselves from the radio giant and replace him with someone promising "Less Confrontation."
Cumulus Media Networks did not respond to requests for comment.
*We cross-referenced the list of stations broadcasting Limbaugh posted on his website with both the list of stations owned by Cumulus posted on its website and the stations listed on the website of Citadel Broadcasting, which was acquired by Cumulus in September 2011.