Limbaugh talkin' big payday

Radio host will get $400 mil as part of Clear Channel extension to '16

Rush Limbaugh and Clear Channel's Premiere Radio Networks have agreed to a contract extension that will pay the conservative talk-radio pundit more than $400 million through 2016.

The eight-year extension includes a $100 million signing bonus, Limbaugh told the New York Times. The deal comes about a month before the broadcaster celebrates 20 years in syndication.

One of the highest-rated programs on radio, the daily three-hour "The Rush Limbaugh Show" reaches about 20 million listeners weekly and plays on about 600 stations nationwide.

"This is exactly where I want to be, doing what I was born to do, with an amazing audience and phenomenal support from affiliate stations and sponsors," Limbaugh said. "There's a relationship between the audience and the host here that is second to none. We're going to continue to provide broadcast excellence and have a lot of fun along the way."

Said Premiere president Charlie Rahilly: " 'The Rush Limbaugh Show' enjoys an unprecedented platform of radio affiliates. Plus, advertisers harness the intensity of listener engagement. No one's word-of-mouth about a product or service delivers more impact than Mr. Limbaugh's."

The 90-second weekday commentary "The Rush Limbaugh Morning Update," the monthly "Limbaugh Letter" and, which includes the subscription service, will continue under Premiere's purview.

Limbaugh's existing contract, which was worth $285 million over a nine-year period, was set to expire next year, the Times said. The new deal is believed to be the most expensive in radio since 2004, when Sirius Satellite Radio paid Howard Stern $500 million for five years.

Mike Stern is news/talk/sports editor at Radio & Records.