Yes It's Over
Sources close to Sean Hannity confirm there is no way the number two most-listened-to Talk Radio host in America will sign another contract with Cumulus. Sources for both camps confirm there is nothing left to negotiate, with both sides claiming they ended this marriage. What is known now is that Hannity and Cumulus are preparing for change in 2014.
Savage, syndicated by Cumulus, tried to get out in front of the story by stating on his show he would be replacing Hannity who's "time has come and gone." That statement may be a bit of an exaggeration by Savage who will soon get his chance to compete against Hannity and try to prove his statements.
Sean Hannity's camp says the Savage statement was written by Cumulus and this relationship ended two weeks before Michael Savage went on the air to claim he was the heir apparent. According to several sources close to Sean Hannity, Cumulus reached out two weeks ago to negotiate a deal but Hannity had a real concern with the way the company runs its radio stations and told them no thank you. Specifically, Hannity is concerned about local talent losing their jobs and he's been preparing for this change for years. Sean Hannity is syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks, which is owned by Clear Channel. In 2014, Hannity may wind up on stations owned by Clear Channel, such as WOR in New York City. Clear Channel has also been cutting back on talent in local markets for several years.
When Hannity leaves Cumulus, the real question will be how advertisers accept Savage, compared to Hannity, if that's who Cumulus chooses to replace him. Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey has been openly critical of his talk stations, even calling out Rush Limbaugh, calling them "code red" stations and blaming them for revenue shortfalls. While there's no debating that Sean Hannity is conservative, Savage's views are even further to the right.
This change will result in major changes in five out of the top seven markets. Sean Hanity is heard on Cumulus owned WABC in New York (market #1), KABC in L.A. (market#2), WLS in Chicago (market#3), KSFO in San Francisco (market #4), and WMAL in Washington D.C.(market #7). Hannity sources tell Radio Ink that, of the 40 stations in which Cumulus now carries Hannity, 80 percent of them would be replaced on day one. The other 10 stations they plan to work very hard to replace. The contract between Cumulus and Sean Hannity expires at the end of 2013.
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