Archive for March 2015

2015 Heavy Hundred Stars Praise for The Right Frequency

March 28, 2015

Several of the top talk radio hosts ranked in the Heavy Hundred by industry bible Talkers Magazine also endorsed The Right Frequency.

Mark Levin, nationally syndicated conservative radio host with Cumulus Media Network ranked #6 on the Talkers list and said: “Fred Lucas not only delineates the roots of talk radio as a venue for communicating conservative political thought in the 1930s and 40s, he explains how it has become, in the 21st century, the life force for the conservative movement and the voice for conservative ideals on the current political landscape. Anyone who loves talk radio will love this book.”

Brent Bozell: The Right Frequency 'Chronicles Conservative Talk Radio Stars Over The Decades, Reminding us how They Kept the American Idea Alive'Mike Gallagher, a nationally syndicated conservative host on the Salem Radio Network, ranked #10 on the Talkers list said: ‘The Right Frequency’ is an insightful, thorough, exciting chronicle of the talk radio story. This is destined to be a classic as it perfectly captures the nature of talk radio in a way no book I’ve ever read ever has.”

Alan Colmes, a nationally syndicated liberal host on Fox News Radio, ranked #21 on the Talkers list, said during an interview with Lucas: “I enjoyed it because I’m in the business and I think you did a really good job in writing about the business including, I notice I’m in there a little bit.”

Phil Valentine, ranked #32, with Westwood One, said, “It’s a great book about conservative talk radio.”

To learn more about these and other top talk radio stars, read The Right Frequency.

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Rush vs. Bush – Again

March 28, 2015

Politico recently ran a feature on Republican presidential frontrunner Jeb Bush’s problem with talk radio. The piece mentions Laura Ingraham, who said there would be no difference between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, and called for them to run on a ticket together, “Clush 2016.” But it goes deeper into the complicated relationship that talk radio king Rush Limbaugh has with Jeb.

Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh

The Right Frequency describes the complicated relationship between Limbaugh and the Bush family. The book describes how Limbaugh endorsed Pat Buchanan’s primary challenge to George H.W. Bush in 1992. Limbaugh actually tore into Buchanan in the 1996 Republican presidential primary. In 2000, Limbaugh wholeheartedly supported George. W. Bush in the Republican primary against John McCain.

From Politico:

Bush, who’s all but officially announced he’s running for president, has said he would want to run a “joyful” campaign. He’s said he would want to have “adult conversations.” It’s phrasing that hints at his general distaste for conservative talk radio. Some Bush allies privately refer to some of the medium’s leaders as “warlords”—a description meant to convey the unreasonable, unrealistic and pugilistic agenda of those who thrive off of conflict. Bush, on the other hand, believes a winning Republican campaign a decade and a half into the 21st century must promote inclusion and optimism, not discontent and fear. People think he’s too moderate in part because Limbaugh and the Limbaugh-like are saying he is. So here, almost a year before the 2016 Iowa caucuses, the primaries have started already—the fundraising and positioning of the so-called invisible primary, but a visible one, too, or at least an audible one. Call it the Rush primary.

Every Republican politician of a certain consequence over the last quarter-century has had to make a decision about how to engage with Limbaugh and the many others who populate America’s most redward airwaves. Bush right now isn’t talking about this because (1) it’s so early in the campaign the campaign can’t even technically be called a campaign and (2) that would be unwise. Limbaugh and his imitative competitors don’t need additional oxygen. But based on conversations with strategists and advisers connected to Bush, consultants, show hosts and industry watchers—and what he’s done over the past month—Bush won’t ignore talk radio.

If there is in fact a Rush primary, Bush, headstrong and self-assured, thinks he can win that one, too.

To learn more about Limbaugh’s complicated relationship with the Bush family, read The Right Frequency.

Could the Supreme Court’s Fairness Doctrine Ruling Provide Precedent for Net Neutrality

March 22, 2015

A recent Bloomberg piece discussed the famous Red Lion case that upheld the Fairness Doctrine, and how the legal precedent could impact the Net Neutrality debate.

THE RIGHT FREQUENCY Cover

Of course, if the ISPs are in the information business, it doesn’t immediately follow that net neutrality is compelled speech. Back in 1969, the Supreme Court decided a case called Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC. In the decision, the court upheld the FCC’s “fairness doctrine,” which required broadcast networks to provide equal time for both sides of controversial political and social issues.

The court’s rationale was that bandwidth was inherently limited. The government was giving out that bandwidth through its broadcast licenses. In so doing, the government was justified in imposing certain speech on broadcasters in the service of “the right of the public to receive suitable access to social, political, esthetic, moral, and other ideas and experiences.”

With the emergence of cable television and then the Internet, the Red Lion doctrine faded almost into obsolescence. The fairness doctrine looked like a relic of the days when there were three national television networks that dominated news provision. In the era when anyone could say anything on the Internet, bandwidth no longer seemed to be limited.

The net-neutrality debate provides an occasion to revive the Red Lion decision. Does the public have a right to equal access to information on the Internet? If it does, that right must come from a combination of limited access and the right to know.

To learn more about the Red Lion case, the abuses of the Fairness Doctrine by the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and how the rule was dismantled, read The Right Frequency.

Hugh Hewitt’s Ascendency on the Right

March 22, 2015

Conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt is set to be a moderator later this year in a GOP presidential primary debate. He was recently featured in the National Journal called him the “Republican establishment’s go-to pundit.”

This is decidedly not standard conservative radio fare; but Hewitt, a professor of constitutional law who often sounds the part, isn’t a conventional right-wing talk-radio host (and he prefers the term “center-right” anyway). His program, which he has long called “National Public Radio for conservatives,” is the brainier cousin of the shout-fests that blast out of many AM stations.

On this particular afternoon, Hewitt was feeling playful; two llamas were running loose in Arizona, so the versions of the questions I got—”Have you read The Looming Llama?” and “Was Alger Hiss a Soviet llama?”—were variations on his typical theme. (My answers: “I think that was streaming over the Internet live this afternoon” and “I think he was convicted of perjury; I’m not sure about his llama status.”) But, normally, Hewitt takes these two questions quite seriously. “It’s a great reveal to me. It tells me everything I need to know,” he says later, explaining why he asks the Alger Hiss question. “I find out if somebody is knowledgeable and honest. And if someone says I know who Hiss is and I don’t know whether or not he was a spy, they are either very lazy or they’re not telling me the truth. And the reason they don’t want to tell me the truth is the Left hasn’t let go. They can’t let go of that.”

To learn more about Hugh Hewitt and his prominent role in the talk radio industry, read The Right Frequency.

Operation Chaos Mastermind Stirring up Obama, Hillary Camps Again

March 22, 2015

The Right Frequency details how in 2008, Rush Limbaugh called on his conservative listeners to vote in Democratic primaries for Hillary Clinton – at a point when it appeared evident she would lose to eventual nominee Barack Obama. The reason, Limbaugh said, was to keep the primary battle going on for as long as possible.

Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh

Rush has recently sought to stir up more heat between the two camps. He suggested that it was the Obama White House that was responsible for leaks to the New York Times about the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal.

“Maybe he’s worried that Hillary would do a better job that he’s done and wouldn’t want to have the next Democrat president end up looking better than he does,” Limbaugh said. “I think that’s entirely possible.”

To learn more about how Limbaugh interjected himself into the 2008 Democratic primary, read The Right Frequency.

So What Became of Father Coughlin’s Church?

March 22, 2015

The Little Flower Catholic Church in Royal Oak, Mich. was elevated by Pope Francis to the status of “minor basilica,” the Kansas City Star reported:

Father Charles Coughlin (Credit: SSA.gov)

Credit: SSA.gov

It was built with the proceeds of the radio ministry of Father Charles Coughlin, who broadcast from the sandstone tower, first in favor of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policies and then against. Leading the way for future televangelists, the populist Coughlin had 30 million listeners and formed a workers’ movement called the National Union for Social Justice. Coughlin supported fellow demagogue Sen. Huey Long of Louisiana until he was assassinated.

Coughlin, who spoke at the 1932 Democratic National Convention was a diehard FDR fan until he determined the New Deal didn’t go far enough. The priest was accused of being both a left wing demagogue and a right wing demagogue. To learn more about his impact on politics, FDR and the New Deal read The Right Frequency.