By Lori Spechler, Senior Editor, CNBC NEW YORK ( CNBC) --With advertisers on the run, should satellite radio step in and grab Rush Limbaugh? The latest wrinkle in the ongoing controversy is the cancellation of all national commercials during "The Rush Limbaugh Show" by its syndicator, Premiere Networks. This comes after nearly a hundred national advertisers and dozens more have dropped Limbaugh and other conservative commentators like a political hot potato.
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"The competition we are facing today, terrestrial radio, is not investing in new content. They're not going to get bigger. On the I.P. side of the house, don't know who is going to win. I think that you know, today we are the number one radio revenue company," Karmazin said. Whether you love him or hate him, there is little disagreement that Rush is a major franchise that would take major bucks to secure. Ignoring current contracts and other minor issues, here is what a few of the analysts are saying: Brett Harriss, Gabelli & Co. "Would be fantastic for Sirius if they could get Rush. They have plenty of capacity to add content to their offerings". Mattew Harrigan, Wunderlich Securities "When you get people to pay, you have to have people passionate about the program." And in this case, "even if it's a small percentage of the population, the economics might work. I'm not saying they would do it, but they would have to take a cursory look at it" Doug Anmuth, JP Morgan ( JPM), doesn't expect Pandora to get into talk radio anytime soon and writes: "It's early in their
Pandora's business model and they are inherently about music customization." And while the company has "6-percent of the overall radio market ... they're focused on monetizing that explosive growth in hours through advertising." Martin Pyykkonen, Wedge Partners agrees that Pandora isn't a serious option, though he does think Sirius XM could be: "SIRI might consider a Rush Limbaugh program -- they haven't shied away from controversy as seen with Howard Stern, although Limbaugh represents a higher level of controversy. SIRI's business model and outlook, however, includes programming costs coming down or at least staying flat as a percentage of revenue -- adding Limbaugh could drive programming costs up quite a lot...". Sirius XM and Premier Radio, the syndication arm of privately held Clear Channel ( CCO) have not yet responded to requests for comment. --Written by Lori Spechler at CNBC.