Another station dumps Limbaugh over Fluke comments
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A second radio station has dropped Rush Limbaugh’s talk show in reaction to his derisive comments about a Georgetown law student advocating that birth control be covered by the Jesuit university’s health care plan.
Radio station 1420 AM WBEC in Pittsfield, Mass., said Tuesday that it is no longer airing Limbaugh’s show and apologized to anyone who may have been offended by the conservative commentator’s remarks.
“While we understand the controversial nature of talk radio and encourage political discourse, we believe there are ways to do that without exceeding the bounds of civility,” the station said in a statement.
Limbaugh called Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” last week after she urged lawmakers consider the importance of contraception coverage in their discussion of national health care policy. He apologized to Fluke on Saturday in writing and discussed it on the air Monday, saying his point was that the 30-year-old was trying to “force a religious institution to abandon its principles to meet hers.”
That was too little, too late for many. A slew of advertisers have left the show and at least one other radio station, KPUA in Hilo, Hawaii, has stopped airing it.
Clear Channel, which syndicates the show, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
WBEC said that Limbaugh’s remarks about Fluke violated the standards it has for its stations and left the company with no choice but to remove him from its airwaves beginning Monday.
“We thought it was completely uncalled for,” said Peter Barry, vice president and market manager. “If one of our local on-air personalities were to refer to someone in the disparaging manner that Rush did, they would be terminated.”
The station has received phone calls all day about the move. Barry said for every one complaint, it is receiving about 50 calls in support of the decision to drop Limbaugh.
A number of anti-Limbaugh campaigns are pressuring companies to ditch Limbaugh, using Facebook, Twitter and other online forums.
The exact tally isn’t clear but has grown. Companies such as ProFlowers and Legal Zoom pulled their ads over the weekend. AOL Inc. and Tax Resolution Services Co. brought the number of advertisers fleeing the show to nine as of Monday. And a number of companies, such as Sears Holding Corp. and Capital One Financial Corp. said their ads were mistakenly run on the show and have vowed to avoid any further airings.
The Rush Limbaugh Show is heard on nearly 600 stations by up to 20 million people each week, according to Clear Channel.