Radio broadcasting shifted from AM to FM in the late 1970s because of the opportunity to broadcast music in stereo with better fidelity. Limbaugh’s show was first nationally syndicated in August 1988, in a later stage of AM’s decline. Limbaugh’s popularity paved the way for other conservative talk radio programming to become commonplace on AM radio. In March 2006, WBAL in Baltimore became the first major market radio station in the country to drop Limbaugh’s nationally syndicated radio program. In 2007, Talkers magazine again named him No. 1 in its “Heavy Hundred” most important talk show hosts.
Limbaugh frequently mentions the EIB (Excellence In Broadcasting) Network, trademarked in 1990. In the beginning, his show was co-owned and first syndicated by Edward F. McLaughlin, former president of ABC, who founded EFM Media in 1988, with Limbaugh’s show as his first product. In 1997, McLaughlin sold EFM to Jacor Communications, which was ultimately bought up by Clear Channel Communications. Today, Limbaugh owns a majority of the show, which is syndicated by the Premiere Radio Networks.
According to a 2001 article in U.S. News & World Report, Limbaugh had an eight-year contract, at the rate of $31.25 million a year. In 2007, Limbaugh earned $33 million. A November 2008 poll by Zogby International found that Rush Limbaugh was the most trusted news personality in the nation, garnering 12.5 percent of poll responses.
Limbaugh signed a $400 million, eight-year contract in 2008 with what was then Clear Channel Communications making him the highest paid broadcaster on terrestrial radio. On August 2, 2016, Limbaugh signed a four-year extension of the 2008 contract. At the announcement of the extension, Premiere Radio Networks and iHeartMedia announced that his show experienced audience growth with 18% growth in adults 25-54, 27% growth with 25-54 women, and ad revenue growth of 20% year over year