With Cumulus Media saying publicly that it plans to drop Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity at the end of the year, the pair of talkers are calmly making their pitch public. Both Hannity and Limbaugh downplayed the report on their radio programs yesterday, reassuring listeners that regardless of what happens they will be able to listen to them.
We hear that the effort by Cumulus is part of a public negotiating strategy, and the two sides have set an August 1 deadline to strike new deals. As the Time Warner Cable/CBS spat shows, deadlines can be moved.
Tonight, both Hannity and Limbaugh will have an hour each in primetime on Fox News to make their case to viewers. Hannity has his daily 9 PM program, while Limbaugh will be interviewed by Greta Van Susteren on “On the Record” for the entire 10 PM hour.
Limbaugh is an occasional — though not regular — guest on FNC. He called into “The Five” earlier this month to shoot down a story suggesting he told his listeners to stop watching Fox News. And he has been interviewed by Van Susteren in 2009 and again in 2011.
One thing is clear, as the negotiations continue, don’t be surprised if things heat up.