November 24, 2015

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12/10/01 Greatness Cannot Be Silenced

When AM mono fell to the sword of FM stereo in the 1980s, there was relentless whining about the need for an AM Radio savior. Most properties on the AM dial had few listeners and even fewer advertisers. AM programmers tried everything from disco to comedy. Nothing worked. AM Radio had become a wasteland. The only thing that could save it would be a superstar as none had seen since Radio’s golden era.

Radio personalities come and go on the tide of capricious public opinion, but true superstars are a Radio rarity. These are the people who command massive followings and become household words in their own generations: Jack Benny, Orson Welles, Paul Harvey.

Closely examine the careers of those who have been admitted into this most exclusive of clubs and you'll see that no one becomes a superstar by copying the style of another. Superstars are Radio rule-breakers so innovative that they quickly become Radio breakthroughs. A rare few of these breakthrough superstars become so popular that the silencing of their voices would impact a whole generation.

Rush Limbaugh is one of those few.

Like the greats who had gone before him, Rush exploded onto the stage with a style that no one had ever heard. Even those who disagreed with his politics admitted that he was bold, entertaining and arrogant.

But superstardom is never easy.

Bravely battling resistance from small-minded managers unwilling to risk advertiser cancellations, Rush struggled, persisted and prevailed. Lunchtime became Rush-time across America as Rush-rooms sprouted in every city.

This is a man who has changed the face of Radio forever and has earned his rightful place in the Hall of Fame.

News that a rare viral disease had wiped out Rush Limbaugh’s hearing was a blow that echoed across America. Could it possibly silence the great communicator?

Those who say Rush cannot continue without his hearing underestimate the man and his audience. Rush fans are passionate about the man who embodies their truth, and their loyalty never dies. For them, he is more than an entertainer; he is an icon of the deep convictions of millions. Rush is driven by his ideals, his love for his audience and his love for Radio. He has overcome impossible odds to build his loyal audience and his brand and has become a national symbol of the Right.

Rush Limbaugh is now facing the biggest challenge of his life, but here is my prediction: Expect innovation from the man able to resurrect AM Radio from the dead.

Rush, I wish you Godspeed, and I have confidence that you will again prevail over your detractors.

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