One of the first radio stations to broadcast Rush Limbaugh's talk show, WPTF AM-680, will be losing the conservative media icon after 21 years on the air.
Limbaugh's trademark in-your-face talk show will be moving to a competitor, WRDU FM-106.1, a country music station owned by media conglomerate Clear Channel Communications. Starting January 1, WRDU will switch to an all-talk format and feature a 9-hour non-stop marathon of conservative talk by Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.
Curtis Media, the Raleigh-based company that owns WPTF, will fill the three hours vacated by Limbaugh with political talk that's more centrist and moderate, said president and chief operating officer Phil Zachary. Still, losing Limbaugh is a big deal, he said.
"We were there from the beginning, which makes this more painful," Zachary said. "We were there before Rush was arguably Rush."
Premier Radio Networks, the syndicator that owns Limbaugh's program, will also pull the program from a Curtis Media station that broadcasts in Winston-Salem and Greensboro and sell the broadcast rights to Clear Channel.
Clear Channel negotiated for months with Premier to win the rights to Limbaugh, said Dick Harlow, Clear Channel's vice president and market manager for Raleigh.
"We sent a signal to Premier that we would love to have those products," Harlow said.
Curtis Media will continue broadcasting Limbaugh on radio stations in Boone and Goldsboro.