Radio stations are dumping Rush Limbaugh, but not KTLK

Rush Limbaugh (left) has been demoted to smaller stations in some markets, but may be gaining listeners in the Twin Cities.

Rush Limbaugh (left) has been demoted to smaller stations in some markets, but may be gaining listeners in the Twin Cities.

For decades Rush Limbaugh has been a force in right-wing radio. When not muffled by his own foot, Limbaugh's is one of conservative America's most potent and polarizing voices, stirring the pot with at best un-P.C. statements that don't always fly in this decade.

But his soapbox could be getting smaller.

As Salon reports, the syndicated talk-show host has been taking it on the double-chin in some major markets. Last month Limbaugh's Boston station broke up with him while he was still on the rebound from his longtime Indianapolis carrier leaving him. Other rumors swirled this spring that his Chicago affiliate might can him, too.

In both Beantown and Indy the fiery Republican's voice still contaminates the airwaves, albeit through stations with fewer listeners. Some reports credit his propensity for offensive rants – like that time he called a Georgetown law student a “slut” during his war on contraception – with turning off advertisers. The “slut” bomb he dropped on Sandra Fluke, who had testified in Congress supporting mandated insurance coverage for birth control, brought Limbaugh so much heat that he eventually apologized.

The guy who once compared Minnesota's election system to Iran's can be heard in the Twin Cities from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on KTLK AM 1130, tucked between younger (but still 50-plus) conservative mouthpieces Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. Still, the station is just the third-biggest news talk station in town, behind WCCO and Minnesota Public Radio.

In the latest data available, KTLK scored a 2.2 on Nielsen's scale, compared to WCCO's 5.0 and MPR's 4.0.

Citing the station's contract with Nielsen, program director Chad Abbott says he can't dish on Rush's exact numbers. But Abbott did say the show's ratings are up from last year in a “litmus” adult demographic. “They're not skyrocketing, but they're a little bit higher than they were last year,” Abbott says.

The uptick is consistent with some other KTLK shows. When asked if he's happy with Rush's ratings, Abbott says, “I'm happy that it's improved year to year. It's encouraging that it's improved year to year.”

Still, Limbaugh's almost old enough for Medicare (that's 65, kids) and his fan base doesn't appear to be getting younger. Judging by this weirdly self-reflective Facebook post, Rush knows it.

Now that I've outgrown the 25-54 demographic, I'm no longer confident that the way I see the world is the way everybody...