But defenders say that what looks like a decline actually represents a leveling out following increased attention from the controversy. In late March, Limbaugh boasted that his ratings had increased by as much as 60 percent in the month since he had called Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" on air.
"On the range of all 600 radio stations, our ratings are up anywhere from 10 percent to 60 percent, depending on the station," he said.
"The most likely reason for these shifts is that Limbaugh talked about Sandra Fluke at the beginning of March, so it brought in a lot of non-regular listeners," one radio insider told me. "Now that the issue has more or less passed, those people aren't listening anymore."