I am always reading stories about how Rush Limbaugh's demise is coming because of his politics.
And they are wrong.
It's the "left" version of the right's "War on Coal". In both cases the chattering class claims political causation when, in fact, both are just normal studies in economics.
Rush rose to success because of the economics of radio--he came on the scene when AM radio was struggling, satellite delivery made national shows easy to receive, and he was "free" to most stations. I was there "at the beginning", as one of his original affiliates, and I can tell you we didn't know nor care about his politics. He was a cheap and easy way to fill a hole.
He "saved" AM radio, reinvented talk radio, and became a giant in the industry.
But times changed, Rush changed, radio changed. He's no longer new and clever, he's no longer cheap. He's still huge-but not a giant any more. He's not done yet but he's on a decline.
Not because of Sandra Fluke, or boycotts, or political backlash.
But because of the economics of broadcasting.
The comparison to coal is strong.
While the right wants to blame politics (Obama and the War on Coal), it's just simple economics. WV coal is depleting, natural gas is overtaking, most Americans are looking seriously at cleaner fuels, Western coal is outpacing our production.
Times have changed.
"King coal"--like Rush the giant--isn't gone by a long shot. But he's going. And like those of us in talk radio, the smart folks are looking for what's NEXT after the giant.
And not trying to hold onto the glory days until they slip away completely and we fade into history.
It's the economy, stupid.