CINCINNATI (TDB) -- "The average market cap of terrestrial radio companies has declined by a staggering 80% over the last five years." That was the word from MSNBCs Jim Cramer, who considers the radio stocks "dead air." Rush Limbaugh's employer, Clear Channel Communications, has been in a downward spiral during the Bush years like a comet being sucked into the sun (see chart above). It has seriously underperformed the benchmark S&P Index. Clear Channel is such a big loser on Wall Street that it is going private.
Bizzyblog's Tom Blumer, who doesn't mention radio's serious troubles, says Rush's riches mean the rightwing talker is on the opposite trajectory of the newspaper industry. He cites an industry analyst who noted, "Wall Street's intensifying repudiation of the [newspaper] industry means that the companies in the group have lost a cumulative $49.7 billion in market capitalization in 31/2 years, vaporizing 51% of shareholder value since Dec. 31, 2004."
Those are grim numbers indeed. They show Wall Street's disgust with print media stocks nearly equals its disgust with radio broadcasters. But the reality is that Rush hasn't saved radio, and he hasn't made Clear Channel's investors much money over the past five years. Rush is $400 million richer, and investors seem to be left holding the bag.