Local firms joining flight of Limbaugh advertisers

Dick Uliano, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Local companies have joined national advertisers pulling their ads from Rush Limbaugh’s radio talk show, after the conservative host used insulting words to describe a Georgetown University law student.

Hadeed Oriental Rug Cleaning, Thompson Creek Windows and northern-Virginia based AOL are the latest firms to withdraw their business.

Limbaugh apologized this weekend for calling student, Sandra Fluke, a “slut” and a “prostitute” after the student testified to Congress that she favors health care plans that provide coverage for birth control.

Limbaugh’s hurtful words prompted President Obama to telephone Fluke to offer his support.

But even after the talk show host posted an apology on his web site this weekend, advertisers on his show including ProFlowers continued to pull their ads.

Mike Carberry, a former New York ad executive and currently in residence at American University’s Kogod School of Business says he doesn’t expect the controversy to last.

“I expect it to blow over,” Carberry said.

However, he said social media is a wild card that could prolong the flight of Limbaugh’s advertisers.

“As long as there are people out to fan the flames then it’s going to continue,” Carberry said.

Efforts to persuade firms to pull their ads from Limbaugh’s show have popped up on Facebook and Twitter. A Twitter account @RushWMALadvertisers was created to support “local businesses that say no to supporting Rush Limbaugh on WMAL.”

Carberry believes Limbaugh’s audience ratings are likely to rise amid the controversy, dealing an irony to advertisers abandoning the show.

“From a reach and frequency standpoint it’s probably the wrong time to get out,” he said.

But Carberry said advertisers have made the decision to pull out to preserve their images, “they’re not willing to live with the problems.”

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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