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Conservative Talk Radio Icon Rush Limbaugh Has Passed Away

“The radio icon has passed away at the age of 70. He learned he had Stage IV lung cancer in January 2020.”

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Rush Limbaugh has passed away at the age of 70 following complications from lung cancer, his wife Kathryn announced on his radio show. “Losing a loved one is terribly difficult, even more so when that loved one is larger than life,” Mrs. Limbaugh said. Rush will forever be the greatest of all time.”

The radio icon learned he had Stage IV lung cancer in January 2020 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Trump at the State of the Union address days later. First lady Melania Trump then presented America’s highest civilian honor to Limbaugh in an emotional moment on the heels of his devastating cancer diagnosis.

Limbaugh is considered one of the most influential media figures in American history, playing a consequential role in conservative politics since “The Rush Limbaugh Show” began airing in 1988.

As Fox News pointed out, Limbaugh’s program which began 33 years ago on national syndication with only 56 radio stations grew to become the most listened-to radio show in the United States, airing on more than 600 stations, according to the show’s website.

In his final radio broadcast of 2020, Limbaugh thanked his listeners and supporters, sharing that despite the odds, he had outlived his prognosis.

“I wasn’t expected to be alive today,” he said. “I wasn’t expected to make it to October, and then to November, and then to December. And yet, here I am, and today, got some problems, but I’m feeling pretty good today.”

In 2003, Limbaugh checked himself into a treatment facility after becoming addicted to pain medication that he was prescribed following back surgery. Also in 2003, Limbaugh resigned from a brief role as ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” after making controversial comments about the-Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who the broadcasting legend said was overrated by media members who wanted to see a Black quarterback thrive.

Born in 1951 in Cape Girardeau, MO, Limbaugh broke into the radio business in 1967 at just 16 years old. He learned how to become a disc jockey in high school, working at a small station nearly 100 miles south of St. Louis. He would then go on to pursue local radio opportunities in Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Sacramento, and New York City before changing the industry with the launch of his national program “The Rush Limbaugh Show”.

Limbaugh’s longtime radio partner Premiere Networks sent out a note earlier today to affiliate stations to confirm the passing of the talk radio legend, and share details of how the network will operate in the interim following the loss of one of the nation’s most dominant voices. You can read the letter by clicking here.

Limbaugh is survived by his wife, Kathryn. Further details regarding his funeral are not available at this time.

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Winterble, Daugherty Discuss Dr. Seuss, Cancel Culture

“We lost a battle for sure,” Daugherty said. “Did we lose the war? I don’t know. I hope to heck not.”

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Photo by Evelyn Giggles CC BY 2.0.

After moving from the San Diego to Charlotte market last year, radio host Brett Winterble has quickly learned that the best way to attract listeners in the Tar Heel state is to forge a connection with college basketball. That’s why former North Carolina Tar Heel basketball coach Matt Daugherty is a frequent quest on The Brett Wintertble Show which airs on WBT AM in Charlotte. Daugherty was in studio again on Thursday, and while the pair did touch on sports topics, the main part of their conversation was devoted to Dr. Seuss and cancel culture in general.

”You look like a guy who read Dr. Seuss as a kid,” Winterble said to Daughtery. “My favorites growing up were, One Fish, Two Fish and of course the classic, Green Eggs and Ham. I read them and my kids read them, but now all of a sudden, they are too dangerous. Dr. Seuss has been banned. Our glorious monarch, King Joe Biden I has decreed that Dr. Seuss cannot be read at a celebration of Dr. Seuss Day. Five weeks ago they were just fine, but now they are too dangerous to even be sold on Ebay? What in the world is going on? Have we as conservatives lost the war?”

Winterble’s comments come after six of Theodor Geisel’s works are no longer going to be published due to racial stereotypes. Geisel wrote more than 60 other books under his popular pseudonym Dr. Seuss which will still remain in print, but that does not stop Winterble and Daugherty from claiming Dr. Seuss is a victim of cancel culture.

“We lost a battle for sure,” Daugherty said. “Did we lose the war? I don’t know. I hope to heck not.”

Winterble makes the comparison to other items sold on Ebay, but yet six Dr. Seuss books are banned.

“You can go on there and buy a poster of a certain political leader that ruled Germany in the 30’s and 40’s (Hitler), but Dr. Seuss is too dangerous? You can go on there and buy polyurethane items that should only be used in the hushed tones of the bedroom and yet people find Dr. Seuss objectionable? What’s next?”

Daugherty worries that cancel culture will eventually cross over into the world of sports.

“I think we will eventually start erasing players from the Hall of Fames,” he said. “Now of course, there were some scoundrels, particularly in baseball, but you can’t just erase that history. You can learn from it, but you can’t remove it.”

“I love working with young people,” Daugherty continued. “I always tell them to stand up for what you believe in, but to be a good leader, you also have to be able to listen. It seems we have lost that art of debate. We see plenty of argument, but people rarely make a point and then take the time to listen to the other side. If you can do that, you learn something. A lot of it has to do with dialogue happening over social media instead of face-to-face. 50 percent of communication is body language. You can’t see that on Twitter. It’s so much easier to cancel someone or throw out zingers if you can’t look them in the eye and see how much it hurts them.”

Winterble agrees and also urges open discussion if something is considered offensive or harmful.

“People have their identity so wrapped up in whatever issue it is, that when someone attacks the issue, it feels like they are attacking the person. There is some value in all of these things (like the Dr. Seuss controversy), but the default position should not be to rage quit and erase everything.”

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Rush Limbaugh Officially Laid to Rest in Small, Private Ceremony

The ceremony took place at Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis on Feb 24.

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Photo by Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0.
Photo by Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0.

Conservative talk icon Rush Limbaugh was laid to rest during a small, intimate ceremony last month. His widow Kathryn Limbaugh shared some of the details with his listening audience during a brief appearance on the radio this week. 

The ceremony took place at Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis on Feb 24.

Mrs. Limbaugh told guest host Todd Herman that her recovery from the loss of her husband has come with tremendous challenges. She credited the thousands of people that have reached out to her following Rush’s death. 

“I really, truly feel we are all going through this process together, and it’s very much a process,” said Limbaugh. “I think it helps us to all be together and grieve in a sense and keep our Rush with us in that way.”

Limbaugh died on Feb. 17 after a year-long battle with lung cancer. He learned he had stage 4 lung cancer in January 2020 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then-President Trump at the State of the Union address.

“Obviously, it came a lot sooner than we would have hoped and liked, but we did have a plan in place. “The only problem was we had hoped to invite a lot of Rush’s friends, a lot of colleagues, and a lot of the listening audience. But due to COVID, we could not do that,” she said.

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Stay Out of the Swamp and Focus on Local Stories Worth Telling

If push comes to shove, we can leave the latest Biden gaffe to our syndicated friends, and superserve our market in a way that they will remember well beyond the word “COVID”.

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As many talk radio hosts around the country settle into a new role as the pushback against a new administration in charge in Washington D.C., it is important to not get caught up in the “swamp-talk” on a daily basis. 

Donald Trump provided four years of daily, dramatic content for local and national hosts. And for many it worked, because it’s what people wanted to talk about around the water cooler. Despite all of Joe Biden’s policy failures thus far, he’s not nearly as compelling an individual to cover. Heck, he hasn’t even done a press conference with the media since Inauguration Day. 

Meantime, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic the issues our listeners are facing in our backyard have become all the more pressing. And no issue appears to be hitting home more for my audience than the inability of too many schools to not fully re-open. 

Despite study after study showing that there is very minimal transmission of COVID-19 in classrooms, too many students have been held hostage by the teacher’s unions, local school boards and, yes, the new administration.

But so much of this issue is local to a city or a region because of how each district is handling things differently. For the last several weeks, I have been updating my audience in Kansas City as to the latest around what schools are doing, how they’re planning, and if/when they will be opening back up. 

Every day it feels like I could do a four-hour show on opening up our schools with the amount of phone/text/tweet traffic we get when discussing this topic. Parents have had enough and they are seeing through the charade. 

But rather than simply listening to parents complain all morning, which certainly has its purpose, but can get repetitive, I’ve taken the approach of doing our best to find new angles to this issue each day. Both Missouri and Kansas are advancing bills through the legislature to provide more school choice for parents. This is becoming more and more popular in urban, suburban and rural settings. Where do these bills stand and what do they accomplish? 

It might seem wonky, but with how desperate so many parents are to get their kids back to learning in the short term, and then wondering how to remedy their own situation in the long term, this is when the show can stand out in sharing information, entertaining, opinion, analysis and reaction.

That’s led to conversations with the lawmakers in both states to discuss where their bills are in the process and where they’re headed. 

It also helped create a segment that became our most listened to interview of the past week. It was an interview with a Kansas City, Missouri school board member who is opposed to opening in-person learning. It was a strong conversation with a bantering back and forth of ideas and perspective, never getting nasty, which led to a segment that received a ton of feedback.

So as we continue to navigate a new administration in Washington D.C., playing “watch dog” is an important part of the job that the listeners expect.

But the unique nature of the moment with COVID-19 provides us with so much original content that is frustrating our listeners, who are parents (oh, and likely in-demo listeners I might add!), holding back communities and doing short and long-term damage. So if push comes to shove, we can leave the latest Biden gaffe to our syndicated friends, and superserve our market in a way that they will remember well beyond the word “COVID”. At least I sure hope so.

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