Information about how advertising works and how to contact advertisers and sponsors
We feel it is vital that anyone contacting Limbaugh sponsors and advertisers on our list follow some foolproof guidelines on how to go about doing this to increase the likelihood that his advertisers will take you seriously and remove their ads. Our suggestions came to us from serveral reliable sources with experience in radio advertising and/or radio management and a few other people we agree with who sent us their suggestions. So we urge you to please read and heed this advice. This advice is even more important when contacting local advertisers, who aren't Limbaugh sponsors. The smaller local businesses deal with local stations directly who place their ads randomly on various programs. Often these local advertisers aren't even aware any of their ads ran during Rush's program. We also have real concerns about hurting any local business or local station because these businesses are vital to their communities because they contribute to these communities and employ people. Please keep in mind that in smaller communities the businesses may only have one local radio station to choose from.
If you will be collecting ads by listening to Rush's radio program on the radio, which is the only way one should be gathering his advertisers, here is a good link to use to find time clocks for when these ads will air.
Also read this excellent Daily Kos article containing very useful information and resources for contacting advertisers, how ad buys are made, finding stations, and quickly locating advertisers on Rush's program.
Here are some of our tips when contacting sponsors:
- Always be polite and respectful. Don't try to threaten them with loss of your business or make other threats. At least not initially and/or unless they attack you or treat you disrespectfully first.
- Always present a reasonable argument for why they should drop Limbaugh other than "you don't like his program" or "he's only a GOP shill" that will make sense to any reputable business. Suggestions include making them more aware of just how offensive his comments and program are to a large majority of the population and to a highly-educated population who make more money and thus would be more likely to buy their products; or that even if this current flare-up over his Sandra Fluke comments dies down, a similar flare-up will happen again because Limbaugh has a long history and pattern of making highly offensive comments on his program; or that it seems odd that any reputable company like theirs would want to associate their brand with a known prescription drug abuser who was illegally doctor-shopping for prescriptions among the many prescription mills in S. Florida. Maybe they weren't aware of these issues.
- Suggest other programs on your local radio station that you listen to regularly that are popular and not offensive to most people they might want to consider advertising on instead of Rush's program.
- Make them aware that about 140 national advertisers have already pulled their ads from Rush's program because they felt it was a good business decision NOT to have their name and brand associated with someone like him.
- Always thank advertisers if they tell you thay are dropping their advertising on Rush's program or already have done this. And then apologize if you contacted them in error.
- If you are contacting local advertisers inform them that they can contact the radio station and request that their ads not run during Rush's program. And if they should meet with any resistance when doing that to be persisten because radio stations should honor these requests.
- As for contacting several larger and national advertisers, we recommend writing a form letter that you can use to make your job easier. Just make sure you always change the name of the person being contacted and their company name to personalize it.
Here are some tips from a retired radio group VP with years of station management experience. Go after the local advertisers on his show. There are very few local advertising availabilities on Rush's show and they sell at a premium. Monitor the Rush station, make a list of the local advertisers and do the following:
- Call the advertiser, be polite.
- Write a letter to the advertiser, be polite.
- Copy the station and the FCC with the advertiser letter.
- Politely call the General Manager of the station and tell the GM what you are doing and why. Tell them you have contacted the advertiser and copied the FCC.
- If the local advertiser uses an agency, contact the agency, as well. Just ask the local business, if they use an agency.
It won't take many letters and phone calls to get their attention and remind the station that the letters need to be placed in the station's public file (the public file is an FCC requirement).
Local stations don't get many local availabilities in Rush's show and many pay a huge fee to Premier Networks to run the show. If they start losing business because of that a**hole, they will raise hell with Premier.
If KFI in LA got a hundred letters with follow up phone calls it would get their attention very quickly. The key is to put on the pressure through the local advertisers.
The local station will blink and get very nervous, very quickly.
The real power to depose Rush Limbaugh lies with Rush's radio affiliates. If people started to boycott local advertisers until they dropped the show, eventually, they would drop Rush and he would be out of business. Local advertisers are very sensitive as are the radio affiliates. If they can't make money on Rush, they can't afford to keep running the show. If enough drop him, he gets canned by Clear Channel and loses his national voice. Not easy, but doable.
Here are some things that I and my staff have done here in Houston to leave the radio station begging for mercy. - from R.J. Taylor-Hahn, Stop Rush Texas
1. Always include the phone number to the local advertiser in the tweet.
2. Encourage your followers/friends to call.
3. Email them a lot, and when you’re done; call them again.
4. If you’re worried about pissing someone off, don’t be. Their already mad as hell.
5. ‘Please’ that word should only be used as in “please call them”
6. I don’t care if Rush has a 50% stock share in a company, my staff will continue to tweet them, call them, email them. Anything to let them and the general public know what they are doing.
7. I still have people ask me “Angie’s list?” “Really?”
8. We cannot be the typical liberals of days past, this is a war; and must be treated as such.
9. I have learned, with many local Limbaugh advertisers their word is not worth shit; written statement please.
10. There are so many free apps that let you schedule tweets, and then there are the ones you can pay a small amount to. Please see the links below.
Here is another tip and insight from someone who led a similar boycott in the past of a radio program:
I led the drive to successful shut down reputable sponsors of a highly offensive radio show 20 years ago. Many of the "sponsors" didn't know that they were placed with the questionable show. The ad agencies often rotate these sponsors with different radio programs. What you need to know is that the ad network/agencies are feverishly trying to replace lost Limbaugh sponsors with others who aren't aware that they are being plugged into the Limbaugh show. Your group needs to constantly monitor and be in this for the LONG HAUL if you really want to have a significant impact. You'll know you're really making headway when Rush's main-remaining sponsors are the NRA, the heavy-equipment industry, auto-parts and repair shops, used card dealers, adult stores and strip joints. Then you'll know you've made real progress. Until the, be diligent and persistent. Best wishes.
And here are some good suggestions from someone putting together a Limbaugh advertiser list to try and concentrate all the advertiser information in one location:
- Check the latest advertiser info BEFORE contacting an advertiser. Topplebush.com maintains a list of advertisers who have stopped advertising on his program. Or better yet check the Stop Rush database by doing a sponsor search.
- Focus first on where you can have the most impact: national and local advertisers who have advertised more than once and who have not yet made a public statement.
- Low on the list should be those whose ad: Only aired once or not recently (they may have stopped without publicizing their decision); already indicated they're standing by Rush (they're not likely to change); said recently that they'll stop but their ads are still running (it may take a few days for them to resolve the issue)
- When contacting advertisers:
- BE POLITE - they may be unaware that their ads are running during Rush's show.
- Give them specific information as to when and where their ads were aired
- Ask them to make an official statement indicating that they'll permanently (not 'indefinitely') stop running their ads during his show.
- If they've already committed to dropping Rush, ask them where they made their statement (Twitter, Facebook, their site/blog, a news source, etc). Let them know you will share this information with others.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any additional information you think should be on this list.