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NEW YORK – Radio talk show powerhouse Rush Limbaugh will face competition from fellow conservative Mike Huckabee, the former Republican governor of Arkansas and presidential candidate who will launch a syndicated radio show, The Huckabee Show, next month, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Starting April 9, Fox News Channel commentator Huckabee will go head-to-head with Limbaugh, who has recently faced much criticism over the Sandra Fluke controversy, in the noon to 3pm ET weekday time slot. And syndicator Cumulus Media, which owns 570 stations, has used the slogan “more conversation, less confrontation,” pitching the show as a less combative alternative to Limbaugh, the Journal said.
The show will launch on 140 radio stations, including 50 Cumulus stations, compared to Limbaugh’s about 600. But the Journal said that Limbaugh’s calling Georgetown law student Fluke a “slut” after her comments on contraception insurance coverage has given Huckabee an opening.
Cumulus itself carries the Limbaugh program on 40 of its stations, including WABC in New York. The Journal said whether Cumulus swaps Limbaugh out for Huckabee when WABC’s contract with the established talk show host contract expires will be a key test for the two shows.
Cumulus COO John Dickey said he would “honor” existing contracts with the Limbaugh program, but didn’t rule out a switch. “We are in favor of eating our own cooking,” he said.
“I’m not a person who would call anyone by names that would cause my late mother to come out of her grave and slap me to the floor,” Huckabee told the Journal. Through a representative, Limbaugh declined to comment, it said.
Clear Channel syndication arm Premiere Networks, which distributes the Limbaugh show, said it had no “official drops [in stations] due to Huckabee.” It added: “Mike Huckabee is the latest in a long line of those who have attempted to compete with Rush.”
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