Rush signs deal estimated at $400 million

Striking a deal estimated to be worth $400million through 2016, talk radio host Rush Limbaugh has renewed his contract with Clear Channel Communications and its syndication subsidiary Premiere Radio Networks.

The contract renewal was announced Wednesday by the companies, and the financial details were provided by Limbaugh. He said the new contract would pay him about $38 million a year for eight years. He also said he would receive a $100 million signing bonus.

The deal, which comes a month shy of the 20th anniversary of “The Rush Limbaugh Show,” reiterates Limbaugh's position as the nation's leading purveyor of political talk radio. His new contract is thought to be the most expensive in radio since 2004, when Sirius Satellite Radio paid Howard Stern $100 million a year for five years. That deal, however, also covered the staff, production and studio costs for Stern's show.

“First and foremost I'm a businessman,” Limbaugh said. “My first goal is to attract the largest possible audience so I can charge confiscatory ad rates. I happen to have great entertainment skills, but that enables me to sell airtime.”

Limbaugh reaches an audience of nearly 20million listeners. His program is syndicated on about 600 radio stations nationwide, and the contract renewal will assure that the show continues for several years to come.

Limbaugh's existing contract, which was worth $285 million over a nine-year period, was set to expire next year.