How many listeners does Rush Limbaugh have? Well, in the press there are only two numbers you'll ever see -- 20 million or 15 million. Those are large numbers, so that is why Limbaugh is taken seriously and is believed to be influential.
I've got news for you -- those numbers are a total fabrication. They're made up out of whole cloth. You want to know where the 20 million number came from? It was first printed in Billboard magazine back in 1993. Here is the quote:
"Limbaugh's show is now heard on 610 stations and reaches approximately 20 million listeners, according to [Kit] Carson."So who is Kit Carson? A guy known as Rush Limbaugh's "chief of staff." In other words, Rush's team simply made up the 20 million number and everyone believed it. He has never, ever presented any evidence to that effect.
The 15 million number comes from Michael Harrison of Talkers magazine. He is considered the leading expert on the talk radio industry. He is a good man and fights hard for his industry. You want to know where he came up with the number? Pretty much pulled it out of the sky. When Tommy Christopher of AOL News (at the time, he is now with Mediate) asked him how he arrived at the figure, here is what Harrison said:
They are only our thumbnail estimates based upon our contacts in the field, tracking of Arbitron estimates and understanding of the business. We make no claims as to "scientific" accuracy... [T]hey are not "ratings" per se.I love that -- they are not ratings, per se. In other words, those are not his ratings at all!
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