The day after Clinton’s election, I sat on hold for the Rush Limbaugh show. I was calling to thank him for the election of the guy I think is one of our best Presidents. My theory at the time was that Rush—who was really the only conservative talk radio guy on the air here at the time—had been so over-the-top ridiculous and obnoxious about Clinton, that he energized people to vote for him on the theory that if the right wing was losing its mind over Clinton then there had to be something good about him.
Yeah, I know, the logic is inverted, much like when I agree with something Ann Coulter says, it makes me seriously question my sanity. Her sanity—or lack thereof—is not in question to me.
That was a long time ago. Almost 20 years and I can only hope that at some point we return to the level of non-civility that bothered me then.
When I moved to Tulsa, news radio meant KRMG. The guy who hosted the morning show, John Ehrling, was incredible, and after listening to him for 20 years, I still couldn’t tell his politics from his on air persona. And his show was outlandish and fun, covering just about everything that could be imagined.
I remember when he introduced Rushie to Tulsa. John seemed skeptical, but was doing what his employer wanted.
The afternoon drive show was hosted by Ann Williams. When she lost an hour to the expansion of Limbaugh, I sensed the demise of quality talk radio, at least in Tulsa. Before long, she was gone altogether.
It took until 2005 for Ehrling to hang it up. Within 5 minutes of listening to the new guy, it was obvious that Rush might be too liberal for him.
Now, the station starts with Ehrling’s replacement, followed in order by Neal Boortz, Limbaugh, Hannity, and, until very recently, Michael Savage, who was dropped when they put a local guy back on the air from 5 – 6 followed by Clark Howard.
And now, Limbaugh has lost 141 advertisers and many of those are instructing radio stations that their ads are not to be placed in the same time slot as the conservative talk show hosts.
I hate what happened to Ms. Fluke, but if it means the death of right wing hate radio, then, if I were she, I would be happy. Maybe, we can return to the civility of days gone by, when we could disagree agreeably, when politicians didn’t turn on each other like a wounded shark—Santorum is now going on (what else) talk radio and calling Romney a socialist, a term of disendearment usually reserved for President Obama.
I hope the death spiral is fast and the airwaves are cleaned up. This country wavers between the right and the left, and when things go too far in one direction, it recenters itself, and when a public figure goes too far or messes up too badly, they are not long for the public arena.
The only thing I wonder is what will happen top all stations that are dependent on hate talk for the majority of their programming?