As reported, variously, by the LA Times and the Drudge Report, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh signed an unprecedented contract extension with Clear Channel Media and Premiere Radio that will guarantee the host remains in place behind the “golden EIB microphone” he first made famous 20 years ago, through 2016.
The size of the deal is a record for regular, terrestrial radio, checking in at over $400 million for the eight-year extension. That’ll buy a lot of luggage.
Only Howard Stern’s deal with Siruis Satellite Radio eclipses the Limbaugh deal; Stern’s contract awarded him $500 million in contract money and $225 million in stock options for a total compensation package of $725 million over only five years.
Stern and satellite radio aside, however, Limbaugh’s deal is still one of the largest ever signed by terrestrial radio, and places his compensation well ahead of the traditional news media anchors Katie Couric, Brian Williams, Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer combined.
Still, Limbaugh has done a lot of work to earn the record-breaking compensation package; he has built and maintained one of the largest radio syndication networks for his program in modern radio history, and kept it going for over two decades.
The only X-Factor in the deal for Clear Channel and Premiere comes if Obama is elected in November and the Democrats retain control of Congress; it is strongly believed that in that event, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would push to bring back the so-called “Fairness Doctrine,” redesigned to silence voices like Limbaugh, as well as other conservative hosts such as Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage and others.