most important talk show hosts

Bill O'Neill
Tue Apr 18 12:10:06 EDT 2006

Dan writes:
> I would argue that the reality of talk radio across America today has 
> been shaped in no small measure by Rush Limbaugh, which makes him the 
> most influential talk host of our time, both in terms of the issues he 
> talks about on the air, and his mere presence as part of the industry.
Can't disagree with that. Rush's market presence was a planned 
evolutionary process - by starting out as barter on flea and rim shot 
signals, he introduced himself to the market, all while a conservative 
presence was in office. Concurrent with a transition to the Clinton 
administration, local markets lost their broadcasts of Rush to major 
market signals.

Example is WCAP (980 Lowell) was one of the first Rush (barter)  
affiliates in 1989 when he was two hours, noon-two.  Within a couple of 
years, WHDH stepped up and paid the fees. (Would later move to WRKO when 
WHDH was blown up.) By the time the Clinton administration became 
active, Rush would have already positioned himself as contrarian. His 
"Rush Rooms" and "tours" would further solidify his affiliate relations 

So, the timing of the change of seasons in Washington, coupled with the 
need for AMers to cut or run, or both, worked well in Rush's favor.

Bill O'Neill

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