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Talk Radio Made Today’s Republican Party

Original Article

Posted By: M2, 8/21/2019 7:24:39 AM

No one set out to turn the airwaves into a political weapon—much less deputize talk-radio hosts as the ideological enforcers of a major American political party. Instead the story of how the GOP establishment lost its power over the Republican message—and eventually the party itself—begins with frantic AM radio executives and a former Top 40 disc jockey, Rush Limbaugh. In the late 1980s, AM radio was desperate for new content. Listeners had migrated to FM because music sounded better on there, and advertising dollars had followed. Talk-radio formats offered a lifeline—unique programming that FM didn’t have. And on August 1, 1988, Limbaugh debuted nationally. At the outset, Limbaugh wasn’t

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Reply 1 - Posted by: globalwarmer 8/21/2019 7:32:03 AM (No. 157846)
Talk Radio simply validated what I already thought.
66 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: TexaTucky 8/21/2019 7:34:32 AM (No. 157850)
Sure, and the mirror made you look like that.
24 people like this.

Reply 3 - Posted by: Toby Ten Bears 8/21/2019 7:52:09 AM (No. 157861)
Well gee... Am I supposed to care what you think?
8 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: on fire 8/21/2019 7:52:35 AM (No. 157862)
Author thinks Boehner was a conservative!
22 people like this.

Reply 5 - Posted by: Chabis 8/21/2019 7:54:04 AM (No. 157863)
Does the Atlantic know (or care) anything at all about the history of out nation? About the parts that tracts by supposed nobodies with nothing but well expressed ideas directed to the 'everyman' had had? Thomas Paine for instance? No, of course not. They might as well be writing for King George.
19 people like this.

Reply 6 - Posted by: Judy W. 8/21/2019 7:59:14 AM (No. 157867)
I have never read an article about talk radio in a mainstream publication that showed any understanding of conservative talk radio. These liberal and leftist writers simply cannot understand that there are millions upon millions of conservatives in America. I remember when Rush first started his show and many of the callers said something like "I always thought these things but nobody ever said them before." People were falling all over themselves with gratitude for someone who represented them in the media.
58 people like this.

Reply 7 - Posted by: Redwing57 8/21/2019 8:07:05 AM (No. 157876)
#1 makes the exact point these people always miss. The critics, competitors, analysts never seem to understand that. Ask one of them to define what it means when a caller says "ditto" on Rush's show. They'll never understand the reality that the popularity of these hosts, their message, is not driving the audience; it reflects the audience. The audience was always there, and was terribly grateful that finally someone was saying the things they were thinking already! I think that's what scares the leftists the most.
33 people like this.

Reply 8 - Posted by: Upright2 8/21/2019 8:11:41 AM (No. 157880)
Talking. Yes and without fear of intimidation.. then. Now, thinking. let alone talking. is being threatened.
15 people like this.

Reply 9 - Posted by: ZeldaFitzg 8/21/2019 8:19:08 AM (No. 157888)
Talk radio in the early 1970s in Dallas AM was entertaining with cooking (was it James Beard?) and general homemaking shows. I was a young (very young) mother then, and talk radio kept my many hours in the kitchen survivable. Ditto the hot as fire political commentary shows with audience call-ins. (Long time listener ---- first time caller. Anybody remember Dixie Liber?) I did those interminable Texas college commutes back then as both a student and a graduate teaching assistant, and talk radio kept my mind going during those commutes, some middle of the night. Bobby Wygant comes to mind; James Beard, Kevin McCarthy also, but there were many others on WRR, WBAP, and KLIF AM radio in those days. Many of us kept the radio on all day. This was long before Rush Limbaugh.
14 people like this.

Reply 10 - Posted by: Newtsche 8/21/2019 8:24:09 AM (No. 157896)
For some reason, 'The Atlantic' has been showing up here quite often lately. The fever swamp seems to be boiling over there.
17 people like this.

Reply 11 - Posted by: LesUNo 8/21/2019 8:24:11 AM (No. 157897)
The writer has it completely backwards. Conservatives made talk radio. They finally found a voice and enthusiastically endorsed the commentator.
38 people like this.

Reply 12 - Posted by: BarryNo 8/21/2019 8:26:52 AM (No. 157902)
The Atlantic seems to miss the fact that any deal moderates made with Democrats only implemented the Liberals agenda. They missed the fact that Liberals have always been libelous, slanderous hedonists, blaming all the world's ills, most of which they caused, on others. That is why the Republicans are where they are now. We the People, demanded it!
15 people like this.

Reply 13 - Posted by: Clinger 8/21/2019 8:29:04 AM (No. 157905)
Talk radio tapped into a vast underserved market, that market has made conservative talk radio what it is, our desire for a voice. The Republican Party drifted away from us, the mainstream media of the time turned on us, and Rush and others gave us a voice in pushing back. It serves the market for our views that the mainstream suppresses, it does not create our views. Here’s a swing and a miss FTA: “Hosts never loved moderates, and never hesitated to criticize them for actions out of step with hosts’ vision for the country….” By the time talk radio became relevant politically, the definition of “moderate” had been redefined by the dominant leftist media to mean anyone not in as big of a hurry to transform to socialism as the democrats. Of course they avoided the word until recently. It is our, every day American conservative‘s vision for the republic and our radio market force that so called moderates do not fit. This statement alone explains the entire talk radio phenomenon: “Many on the left surmised that the hosts were puppets, plugging whichever policies Gingrich and others wanted them to.” That projection defines the puppet and master relationship between media and democrat party that we were and continue to be fed up with which gave rise to the demand for the voice provided by talk radio. There you have it.
12 people like this.

Reply 14 - Posted by: Lawsy0 8/21/2019 8:30:51 AM (No. 157908)
Limbaugh saved AM radio and no other media will admit it. The AM dial was where you could hear the preachers who didn't aim to be funny but were; there was a little country music, if you think WSM is little, and there were endless call in shows about Aunt Milly's cat. As others above state, who cares what Atlantic thinks. I only read it because I like things OP posts.
14 people like this.

Reply 15 - Posted by: GO3 8/21/2019 8:51:01 AM (No. 157931)
My recollection is that AM radio was the place you went for pop and rock music in the 50s, 60s, and into the early 70s, at least in the medium sized markets. FM was making in-roads starting in the late 60s especially for rock music which didn't make it in the AM realm. IIRC, talk shows usually were broadcast on AM pop stations early on Sunday morning.
3 people like this.

Reply 16 - Posted by: smcchk 8/21/2019 9:01:10 AM (No. 157944)
Before Rush, I would listen to Paul Harvey’s news broadcast at noon. I called it “my 15 minutes of sanity.” Then Rush came along and conservatives knew they were not alone!
17 people like this.

Reply 17 - Posted by: montwoodcliff 8/21/2019 9:04:54 AM (No. 157947)
I don’t know where to begin. Please read replies from No’s. 1 and 6. They cover everything! The author forgets about Algore's liberal network. I also remember the media talking about how great the talk show with this liberal Texas boob, Jim Hightower. Does anybody remember him besides me? But for those who live in the NYC area, who could forget the show hosted by Mario the Pious! It was embarrassing! As you know, those programs didn’t last very long. These writers still denigrate Rush as an entertainer, but refuse to recognize that he gets his point across...and isn’t that the point! See No’s. 1 and 6 again!
10 people like this.

Reply 18 - Posted by: berthabutt 8/21/2019 9:25:42 AM (No. 157988)
AF life put us in OKC assigned to Tinker in the 90's. Listened to Mike McConnell on KTOK, some Rush, G. Gordon Liddy & Ken Hamblin, The Black Avenger. What a breath of fresh air they were! The Atlantic takes a swing at El Rushbo & Co. and wiffs it. plop.
7 people like this.

Reply 19 - Posted by: Avikingman 8/21/2019 9:51:23 AM (No. 158019)
Bob Grant, a long time New York talk show host, deserves at least a mention here. He was a valid conservative, and delighted in taking on Mario Cuomo with an appropriate phrase in Italian.
7 people like this.

Reply 20 - Posted by: Strike3 8/21/2019 10:00:27 AM (No. 158038)
Talk Radio received its first huge boost when Bill Clinton, who was not mentioned in the article at all, turned the presidency into an embarrassing criminal enterprise and his shrew of a wife was equally helpful in stirring up hatred in Republican voters, she still is. By the author's definition, the GOP are all moderates since they were not in favor of electing nor do they openly support the best conservative president that we have ever had. Rush Limbaugh has risen to the top of the heap and has his finger on the pulse much better than the rest of them.
8 people like this.

Reply 21 - Posted by: LadyHen 8/21/2019 10:01:06 AM (No. 158039)
They just don't get it. Is anyone suprised?
6 people like this.

Reply 22 - Posted by: BluesClues 8/21/2019 10:21:19 AM (No. 158073)
Way back in the late 70's out of Washington DC there was an AM talk show called "Braden and Buchannan". Buchannan is the infamous Pat. I loved that show and consistently sided with Buchannan. This predates Limbaugh by 5 years.
3 people like this.

Reply 23 - Posted by: Maggie2u 8/21/2019 10:35:36 AM (No. 158094)
I still remember the first time I listened to Rush. He had been on a local station here in Seattle for a few months but I thought he was one of those 'shock' jocks who did nothing but scream so I wasn't interested. One day, in the summer of '92, my brother called and told me I had to listen to Limbaugh. He told me what station he was on and what time so I did. Rush was still broadcasting from New York back then and at that time the 'rats were having their convention there. Rush and some of his aides were passing kool-aid out to the delegates. I've been hooked ever since. Oh, BTW...couldn't someone say that soros has made the democrat party what it is today?
9 people like this.

Reply 24 - Posted by: DVC 8/21/2019 10:47:38 AM (No. 158110)
Talk radio was a REFLECTION of it's listeners, not a creator of them. The piece starts out sort of OK, but by the time this idiot got to "Sherwood Boehlert, a true Republican moderate, quipped to me in an interview that “McCain is no more moderate than I am a Communist.”, I was done wasting my time on this BS. Anyone who can not and could not see thru McCain as the TOTALLY fake "conservative", only a conservative during the campaigns, is just blind, or has no idea what "being a conservative" actually is about. McCain was NOT it, a least for the last 20+ years.
9 people like this.

Reply 25 - Posted by: konocti95 8/21/2019 12:00:09 PM (No. 158224)
Conservatives listen to the radio on their way to/from work, school, kids events, etc. Liberals, on the other hand, watch TV as they sit at home with nothing to do. Compare and contrast the different program content between Rush and Oprah.
4 people like this.

Reply 26 - Posted by: gramma b 8/21/2019 1:54:39 PM (No. 158335)
I'll never forget the palpable feeling of relief that flooded over me the first time I heard Rush Limbaugh in the early 90's. A friend from law school, from which we had graduated a couple of years before, called me at the office and said, "You've got to listen to this guy." I did, and I was so happy to learn that I wasn't alone in thinking that our culture was drifting to the Left with no one to try to stop it. I was so sick of hearing Leftist drivel on the television. Limbaugh gave me courage.
5 people like this.

Reply 27 - Posted by: Smart11344 8/21/2019 2:18:04 PM (No. 158368)
Rush Limbaugh single handedly got AM radio of of life support. He's still going strong.
3 people like this.

Reply 28 - Posted by: columba 8/21/2019 4:03:08 PM (No. 158462)
Oh, goodie! Am I gonna read more about how awful Rush is? No thanks.
0 people like this.

Reply 29 - Posted by: tom7 8/21/2019 8:10:46 PM (No. 158625)
The Atlantic is still totally oblivious to the real world.
1 person likes this.

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