Limbaugh added to WCBM lineup on June 1

Conservative voice bounces back from WBAL cancellation

May 24, 2006|By ROB HIAASEN | ROB HIAASEN,SUN REPORTER

He's back where he began in Baltimore radio.

Syndicated conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, canceled on WBAL-AM in March after a decade on the Baltimore station, joins WCBM-AM's talk-show lineup June 1. Limbaugh, who will still be heard on WBAL until May 31, replaces talk show host G. Gordon Liddy on WCBM in its noon-to-3 p.m. weekday time slot.

"Limbaugh is an icon. He represents conservative talk radio," said WCBM General Manager Bob Pettit, who had the challenge of programming against Limbaugh. "He's the 800-pound gorilla."

Nationally, Limbaugh is heard on nearly 600 stations by an estimated 20 million weekly listeners. He was first heard in Baltimore on WCBM in 1990. Then a 10,000-watt station, WCBM eventually lost Limbaugh's popular call-in talk show to the much-larger WBAL. In March, the station announced a renewed focus on local news and hosts and canceled Limbaugh's program. The 50,000-watt WCBM had an opening.

"We are now actually getting the opportunity to get the top names on the conservative talk side," said Pettit, who would not disclose details of Limbaugh's multiple-year contract. Limbaugh joins the station's local and syndicated lineup, which includes Tom Marr, Sean Hannity and Les Kinsolving.

This month, Limbaugh surrendered to Florida authorities on a felony charge alleging he obtained overlapping drug prescriptions. The criminal charge will be dropped if Limbaugh completes the terms of his drug diversion program, which includes submitting to random drug tests and remaining gainfully employed.

rob.hiaasen@baltsun.com

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