Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

August 22, 2013

JEFFREY McCALL: Limbaugh reaches 25 years on air, but future is uncertain

Another episode of advertiser outrage would change things.

An obscure radio an-

nouncer without a college degree was plucked from a Sacramento radio station in August 1988 and given a syndicated talk show on a 56-station network. Twenty-five years later, Rush Limbaugh is on 600 stations, reaching 15 million to 20 million listeners each week. Over the years, he has been lionized by loyal listeners who identify him as a surrogate spokesman for conservative views. He has been demonized by ideological foes on the left, keeping the liberal website Media Matters in a tizzy.

Limbaugh is the kind of personality about whom everybody has an opinion, usually an overstated one. B. Eric Rhoads, publisher of Radio Ink magazine, gushingly wrote last spring, “Rush Limbaugh saved the AM dial from extinction.” Certainly, Limbaugh’s success did generate listenership for many AM stations that developed the talk format when music formats left for FM, but other factors also helped save AM.

Political talk radio boomed in the late 1980s just after the Federal Communications Commission removed its Fairness Doctrine, which mandated balanced coverage of controversial issues. Limbaugh was among the first to exploit that new freedom to opine, but labeling him the savior of AM is too much. Sports talk also helped save AM, as did religious broadcasters and even Spanish-language stations. Besides, AM radio is not really saved. Only about 17 percent of all radio listening now is done with stations on the AM band.

President Obama also likes to talk about Limbaugh in exaggerated terms. He told GOP leaders in 2009, “You can’t listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done.” Then this year, the president said Republican politicians fear Limbaugh, contributing to “gridlock that makes people cynical about government.” While it might be a clever rhetorical gimmick to hang Limbaugh around the GOP’s neck, it is ridiculous to assert that Limbaugh has the clout to create a great political impasse.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • OPN - KT082014 - king What Fergusonsays about us Aug. 9 is a day that Americans lost sight of themselves. It is the day Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black teenager of Ferguson, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis, was shot and killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson. That evening, and for all but o

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Letters to the editor Congrats on wind farm defeat Congratulations to the citizens of Kokomo and Howard County! Your officials have done you a great favor by stopping any further considerations for construction of industrial wind turbines in your area. Now, if the fede

    August 20, 2014

  • Cleaning up voter rolls Citizens should expect the voting process for electing government representatives at all levels to be efficient and of the highest integrity. Indiana's system in recent years has at times been manipulated for political purposes -- the voter ID system

    August 20, 2014

  • House of Burgess: First Amendment assault in Ferguson Of all the outrageous and disturbing story lines emanating from Ferguson, Missouri, since unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown was shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, the targeting of journalists during the ensuing pro

    August 20, 2014

  • Moped law long overdue We’ve all seen them on the streets, and their popularity is only growing. Mopeds have coasted in a legal grey area for years in Indiana. A lack of registration, testing and licensure allowed those without other means of transport to join other vehicl

    August 19, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Craft brewers and vintners returned sprits to Indiana State Fair Brad Hawkins felt right at home hawking his beer at the Indiana State Fairgrounds last week.When Hawkins opened his Salt Creek Brewery in a converted filling station in tiny Needmore three years ago, some tee-totaling neighbors protested he was putti

    August 19, 2014

  • LETTERS: Support Connie Brown; wind agreement termination Connie Brown for county clerkConnie Brown is an excellent person to serve as county clerk. She is kind, generous, and dedicated to what she does. Having served with her on the Stonybrook Board for six years, I have come to know her and respect her ta

    August 19, 2014

  • Indiana budget woes put new focus on 'reversions' When is a budget cut not a cut? In Indiana, it’s when it’s a reversion.Budget cuts, via reversions, were at the center of a pair of big decisions last week, putting the tactic used by both Democratic and Republican governors in the spotlight.State Bu

    August 19, 2014

  • How to care for our children and their children INDIANAPOLIS – Let’s ponder “our children” and “their children.”First, Gov. Mike Pence made a wise call this past week when he ordered the Department of Child Services to begin reimbursing families who had adopted special needs children.A class actio

    August 18, 2014

  • Aug. 18: Letters to the Editor Sick of allthe wind talkI am going to rant a bit. I am sick and tired of opening up the paper and there is another letter about windmills. We have so much going on in the world. We have children getting beheaded, presidents always on vacation, an eco

    August 18, 2014

Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
US Trying to Verify Video of American's Killing FBI Director Addresses Ferguson Shooting in Utah Raw: Police at Scene of St. Louis Shooting Police: 2 Calif. Boys Planned School Shooting NOLA Police Chief Retires Amid Violent Crimes Lunch Bus Delivers Meals to Kids Out of School Water Bottles Recalled for Safety Researcher Testing On-Field Concussion Scanners Rockets Fired From Gaza, in Breach of Ceasefire Raw: Japanese Military Live Fire Exercise Police, Protesters Clash in Ferguson Independent Autopsy Reveals Michael Brown Wounds Nashville Embraces Motley Crue Obama: 'Time to Listen, Not Just Shout' Lawyer: Gov. Perry Indictment a 'Nasty Attack' Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Crosses Into Ukraine Iowa Man Builds Statue of a Golfer Out of Balls Assange Gets Cryptic About Leaving Embassy in UK Raw: Building Collapse in South Africa, 9 Dead Raw: Pope Francis Meets 'Comfort Women'
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll