The advertiser boycott of Rush Limbaugh appears to be cracking, and Rush’s move to Twitter has boycott organizers worried.

Behind the scenes, anecdotal evidence suggests that advertising either never really was impacted at the local level, or to the extent it was it has returned to normal.  Via Macsmind:

Today listening to the Rush Limbaugh I heard seven commercials from companies that Media Matters claimed were no longer advertising on the show.   I’m a friend, and a former employee of the manager of the local radio station that carries the Rush Limbaugh show.

I asked him just how bad was this boycott on the show was, that is how much of a big deal was it?    I might ad that my friend is a liberal.

“Not much at all” he said.  “Actually we haven’t had too many advertisers specifically ask that their ads don’t run on during the show”.    But he added, “Things this week have seemed to died down.”   In what way I asked.

“Well three of the advertisers that asked to be removed from the shows airing time have now asked that we begin placing their ads again”.  One of these whom I heard for myself was a Proflowers that ran midway through the show.

I’m not going to get specific about the other two, but I continued to ask why would these companies return.

“It’s simple, our greatest ad revenue time is during the 3pm to 11pm slot when Rush, Hannity, and Levin run.”   “There is simply too many listeners for advertisers not to place their ads.

And for all the talk of a couple of stations which dropped Rush, others are adding him, like KRWK-FM in Fargo-Moorehead which just revealed that it is going all talk, which includes Limbaugh, via Talkers:

James Ingstad’s Radio Fargo Moorhead group in the Fargo-Moorhead market turns classic rock KRWK-FM into “101.9 Talk FM” The Talk of Fargo Moorhead on March 19.  Talk radio pro Tom Becka – most recently with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KFAB, Omaha as PM drive host – is named program director for the station and will host the morning drive show.  Syndicated programs will include Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade, Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

Michael Smerconish makes the point that advertiser capitulation to the boycott would not be enough, and that forcing Rush off the air “would require a different type of acquiescence, namely on the part of program directors, not advertisers.”

Talkers makes a good point why broadcast stations are unlikely to go this route:

But, the talk radio industry is being invaded by political special interest groups and their hard-nosed tactics and it appears some broadcasters are playing along.  Broadcasters – and radio stations more specifically – have traditionally competed with each other intensely on many levels.  But going after each other’s advertisers with threats of guilt-by-association in order to hurt the other’s business is something in which they have rarely engaged.  The reason is simple: It pollutes the same body of water from which all broadcasters drink.  If one day your programming is poison to sponsors, who’s to say my programming won’t be tainted next week.

The boycott movement has relied on Twitter bombing advertisers.  I’ll have more tomorrow on the tactics behind the boycott, but the people behind the boycott are worried about Rush’s move onto Twitter, and are directing supporters to these posted instructions for how boycott supporters should react on Twitter:

Two related things happened today [March 15] that reinforce how successful the Boycott Rush public pressure campaign has actually been:  Rush Limbaugh hired a crisis management team, and Rush Limbaugh is now on Twitter.  And its probably not a coincidence that the two things happened at the same time.  As a platform for a social pressure campaign, Twitter just can’t be beat, and that’s why Rush and his minions are trying to fight back on Twitter.  Now that the pro-Rush pushback is starting, there are a number of things you can do to help keep momentum going.  Immediately below is a quick list of things you can do to help the boycott effort, with links to more detailed information below.

  • Follow @StopRush @shoq and @krystalball1 on Twitter for more boycott info.
  • Read popular Twitter hashtags like #StopRush and #BoycottRush for more boycott info.
  • Don’t get distracted, focus on contacting Rush sponsors and local stations!
  • Tweet negative remarks re Rush Limbaugh frequently! (more info)
  • Compile lists of the ads that run on your local Rush broadcast (more info)
  • Retweet others’ tweets and ask for a retweet yourself! (more info)
  • Report back results of your contacts with Rush sponsors (more info)

The Macsmind post linked above offers a good suggestion how to fight back which is applicable whenever these advertiser boycott campaigns are organized against conservatives:

I sent a message that basically said, “Did you know that you responded to pressure not by consumers but by democrat operatives?”

Sounds like a plan.  You might start by sending advertisers, via Twitter or otherwise, this blog post.

Update:  If LukeHandCool can move onto Twitter and become part of the solution, so can you.

Update 3-19-2012: I discuss the Limbaugh boycott on Pundit Review Radio: