Now that the outrage over his comments about activist Sandra Fluke have had a few weeks to die down, it seems clear that Rush Limbaugh and his radio show are going to be okay. A two-week suspension of ads from his national syndicated network is now over and despite the long list of advertisers who said they were pulling spots from his show, most of his long-term national sponsorships are still intact. More importantly, none of the nearly 600 radio stations that carry his program are looking to get rid of him.
The Washington Post took a look at Limbaugh's current advertising situation and found that the controversy that arose after Limbaugh referred to Fluke as a "slut" for lobbying for contraception coverage in health care has mostly died down, leaving Limbaugh no worse for wear. The CEO of radio conglomerate Clear Channel says the campaign to boycott and remove Rush has had almost no impact on the company financially and industry analysts say the advertisers have mostly returned. The two-week suspension of so-called "barter ads" led to some embarrassing silence on Rush's airwaves in March, but it simply gave advertisers an opportunity to "lay low" for awhile. The ads resumed this week and no is shying away.
The fact of the matter is that outrage is tough to sustain at any single target for too long, and no one understands that better than Rush. The man has had more than his fair share of controversies over the years, but the key word is "years." You don't stay on the air for the better part of three decades without learning how to ride out a few storms. With the 2012 election going full steam and the health care debate shifting from birth control to Supreme Court arguments, the country has mostly moved on from the ugly contraception fight. But as long his ratings stay put (and they have) then the advertisers and stations aren't going anywhere either. At least until the next time Rush decides his show could use a little more attention.