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Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity: Rumors of their demise are greatly exaggerated

UPDATE (7/30): Cumulus Media Inc. declines comment on Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity status on its radio network during an investor conference call.

ORIGINAL POST: The second-biggest radio broadcaster in the country is threatening to dump Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, but before you celebrate the demise of conservative-talk’s most polarizing voices or curse the development as some liberal-media conspiracy — depending on your political view — take a deep breath and relax. Nothing is really going to change. For once, Limbaugh and Hannity aren’t engrossed in a political imbroglio. Reports that Cumulus Media is planning to drop the pair from 40 or so of its channels is all about the money, as Cumulus is currently in negotiations with Clear Channel’s Premiere Networks, which syndicates both shows, over distribution rights and licensing fees.

Politico trumpeted the news as a “major shakeup for the radio industry,” but that overstates the impact on Limbaugh and Hannity themselves. “The political guys just love to run with this stuff,” says Michael Harrison, the editor and publisher of Talkers magazine, a trade publication that covers talk-media. “Any time any talk-show host gets into any kind of controversy or has something happen that can be spun into a setback — the ratings go down — it’s blown out of proportion for political purposes.”

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