About Talkers Magazine
Latest Issue Front Page
Talk Radio Research Project
Heavy Hundred 2001
Week in Review
of Talk Radio 2002 Edition
at the Heritage Foundation
He is often given credit for single-handedly saving the AM band and starting
the talk radio renaissance that began in the late 1980s and flourished
during the 1990s.
Rush Limbaugh began his radio career while still in high school in his
hometown of Cape Girardeau, Missouri like so many of his generation -
spinning records. After college and a number of DJ jobs he left the business
to work in the Kansas City Royals business office.
In 1983, he got back into radio doing political commentary for KMBZ, Kansas
City. In 1984, he moved to Sacramento to begin his career as an issues
talk host on that city’s heritage AM, KFBK. He spent four years
honing his craft as a conservative, issues-oriented talk host and in 1988
began his syndicated, midday program that he continues to do today.
It was Limbaugh’s multi-faceted ability to take hold of an issue
and make it his own, to be entertaining while discussing it and to compel
listeners to tune in to his program again and again for his opinions that
attracted former ABC Radio president Ed McLaughlin to Limbaugh when he
was looking for a talent with which to launch a nationally syndicated
Indeed, it is those qualities that allowed Limbaugh, to paraphrase his
own words, to say on the radio what many people were already thinking
but were afraid to in a way that changed how issues-oriented talk radio
would be approached for a long time to come. Limbaugh’s program
also broke important new ground in that he rose to superstardom outside
of drive time and in syndication at a time when the industry mantra was
that good radio had to be local.
His unsurpassed success in these pioneering areas has made him the most
listened-to talk host in America for most of the past 10 years. Syndicated
by Premiere Radio Networks, Rush Limbaugh is the greatest radio talk show
host of all time.