Today former Arkansas governor and previous Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will launch a three-hour radio program on almost 200 stations across the country with one singular goal in mind: eliminate Rush Limbaugh from the airwaves.
Cumulus Media, which owns and operates Huckabee’s new show, is pitching him to both listeners and advertisers as the “safe alternative” to Limbaugh. Huckabee’s show is slated to compete directly with Limbaugh, airing in the noon-to-3 p.m. time slot Monday through Friday.
In fact, Huckabee’s team is quite direct that Limbaugh is the target. John Dickey, the co-COO of Cumulus Media said “[T]his is going to be safer from a commercial standpoint, and more respectful from a listener’s perspective. I think that environment has been sorely lacking in talk radio.”
Limbaugh’s team doesn’t seem too worried. Clear Channel and its syndicator Premier Networks agree that Huckabee will be a “safer” alternative, but laughed off the idea that Huckabee poses any serious threat to Limbaugh. “There is no alternative to Rush Limbaugh — he is an original,” said Julie Talbott, Premiere’s president of Content and Affiliate Relations. “He has maintained his success through his unique brand of talk radio [that is] compelling, thought-provoking, and strikes an emotional cord. Historically, lukewarm, ‘safer’ content isn’t what attracts and retains audiences.”
Huckabee won’t be the first conservative to try and de-throne Limbaugh. But he is the first to try since the conservative blowhard did significant damage to his brand by going after Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke.
Will audiences warm up to the kinder, gentler sexism and racism peddled by Huckabee? Or Limbaugh’s real appeal the fact that he says out loud the things his audience wouldn’t dare? I guess we’ll have to stay tuned to find out!
Photo from gageskidmore via flickr.