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Limbaugh's L.A. Station Move a Blow to Liberal Radio

Limbaugh's L.A. Station Move a Blow to Liberal Radio

By Adam O'Neal - December 5, 2013

The Los Angeles talk radio market was dramatically altered Thursday when radio giant Clear Channel announced that “The Rush Limbaugh Show” would be moving from West Coast flagship station KFI-AM 640 to KTLK-AM 1150 (now renamed “The Patriot”) beginning Jan. 1.

Limbaugh, who had been on KFI for more than two decades, will be joined on the new station by Glenn Beck in the mornings and Sean Hannity in the afternoons. KTLK, which currently airs “The Stephanie Miller Show” and other liberal-oriented programs, also has plans to begin airing a new, local conservative talk program live during the afternoon drive time, RealClearPolitics has learned.

It is unclear where Miller, who broadcasts her nationally syndicated program out of KTLK’s Burbank studio, will air her show after the change.

The move is a blow to liberal talk radio, which has long struggled to build an audience. KTLK, once thought of as a potential competitor with KFI, now garners a fraction of the audience that KFI does.

Limbaugh had a lengthy history with KFI, which he has referred to as his West Coast flagship station for years. When visiting Los Angeles in the past, he would perform his syndicated show out of KFI studios.

KFI morning-drive host Bill Handel’s program will now shift one hour, airing from 6 to 10 a.m., Pacific time. Bill Carroll’s current midday program will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and a new program will air from 1 to 3 p.m. The remainder of KFI’s schedule will likely remain unchanged.

The move, though sudden, isn’t particularly surprising. KFI’s live hosts are significantly less conservative than Limbaugh -- Handel endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2008 and again in 2012, for instance -- and many have voiced annoyance about being tied to Limbaugh. In recent years, KFI has tried to brand itself as less conservative.

Clear Channel is expected to make a similar move with Limbaugh’s program in San Francisco. News broke in August that Limbaugh’s show would also be moving in New York, from Cumulus station WABC to WOR, which is owned by Clear Channel. The New York move was confirmed Thursday. 

Adam O'Neal is a political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at aoneal@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearAdam.

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