Posted tagged ‘Conservative Talk Radio’

Why Alternative Media is Better than the Good Old Days

June 28, 2014

The rise of new media has produced too much “advocacy journalism” according to Larry Atkins a journalist and attorney.

Walter Cronkite (

Walter Cronkite (

From Huffington Post

Over the past 15 years, as newspaper circulation has declined, more and more people are turning to advocacy journalism via websites, talk radio, cable TV, and blogs to get their news. …

Advocacy journalists do not set out to inform; they set out to advance an agenda, whether it be conservative or liberal. While FOX News and conservative talk radio show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are the worst offenders, liberal television hosts like Al Sharpton and Rachel Maddow also fall into this category. They are all giving their opinion and reporting news with a goal and a biased agenda.

In light of the explosion of media outlets ranging from cable news outlets, talk radio, blogs, and websites, we need to be more savvy news consumers. As I tell my journalism students, it’s important to consider the source of the information before we make our judgments.

Atkins is both right and wrong.

Neither Rush Limbaugh nor Rachel Maddow are journalists, and have been known to omit facts to push their point of view.

However, Atkins longs for the good old days that never really existed, of The New York Times setting the agenda and Walter Cronkite telling America, “That’s the way it is.” Today we know that establishment media had their own agenda and framed debates in one way.

So the public should be more savvy news consumers and always consider the source of information. That’s always been the case. What’s better about today than Atkins’ mythical yesteryear is that an alternative media has produced multiple sources to check both politicians and media.

To learn more about how talk radio established a successful commercial model for the exploding alternative media universe of today, read The Right Frequency.


What Bill O’Reilly Thinks of the ‘Talk Radio Guys’ Now

June 28, 2014

Bill O’Reilly, the nation’s top rated cable news host for more than a decade, definitely leans right. But he often tries to project himself as nevertheless above the partisan fray. He’s often critical of conservative talk radio.

Bill O'Reilly and Rep. Sam Johnson (

Bill O’Reilly and Rep. Sam Johnson (

That’s why it was a little surprising this week when O’Reilly said talk radio was right.

From the O’Reilly Factor Talking Points Memo:

But the professional criticisms are turning out to be somewhat valid. A new CBS News/”New York Times” poll usually very generous to the president shows his administration has collapsed in the court of public opinion. Independents have joined conservatives in believing the president is not doing a good job.

The basic problem is competency. And you may remember that the radio guys pointed out that Barack Obama had little experience running anything. That he was basically a community organizer and theoretician. Well, if you examine the facts, without emotion, that seems to be accurate.

Mr. Obama’s management skill and problem-solving ability are dubious. Let me back it up with a vivid example. President Obama was quite clear, quite clear, that if elected president, he would reform the Veterans Affairs Department.  … So, what happened to that pledge? Well, the V.A. is now a scandal. There are allegations that more than 1,000 American vets have actually died because they could not access proper care. The V.A. admits that more than 120,000 vets waited far too long for doctors so see them. In addition, the Feds have paid out $845 million to settle V.A. malpractice suits.

So, to be fair, it looks like the conservative radio talk show hosts were correct in their assessment of Barack Obama’s ability to run the country.

The “talk radio guys” were quite tough on Obama from the beginning of his administration. Rush Limbaugh notably said, “I hope he fails.”

To learn more about the battle between Obama and talk radio, read Chapter 12 “Obama, Tea and Talk” of The Right Frequency.


RedState Reviews The Right Frequency

June 27, 2014

The popular blog praised The Right Frequency as “an excellent book” that is “absolutely well worth buying.”

THE RIGHT FREQUENCY CoverWhile stating some critques, the review, Jake Howard, gave it a ranking of 4 out of 5.

As of Thursday, it remains the book is #1 Bestselling book on Amazon’s listing for Radio History.

From RedState:

Fred Lucas has written an excellent book. He has researched his topic thoroughly, and it shows when you look at the bibliography. He relies extensively on primary sources to build his narrative, so you are getting to hear what the major players actually said, not some third-party account written some time after the fact. There is much to learn in this book for everyone, and I feel comfortable saying that I feel much more educated on the subject now than I did before reading the book. While some might criticize it for not being a “scholarly” history in its general, Lucas is not writing to please a small Ivory Tower clique. He is writing for the general public, and he does this job well. He writes about a subject conservatives need to know about, and he does it in a very readable and accessible way. This is no mean feat for a work of history. …

In all, this is a book that belongs on the shelf of any conservative who wants to learn about the history of talk radio, and the lessons here can easily be applied to our own time and the future. Lucas takes a subject that has not been studied much before at this length, and he chronicles it in a way that almost anyone can follow. His writing style is exciting to read, and he maintains its consistently good quality throughout the book. Whatever my criticisms of this book are, they are dwarfed by my praise for it. It is a work that is absolutely worth buying, and it has not been a consistent top seller in books on radio on for nothing.

Click here to read The Right Frequency.

O’Reilly vs. Limbaugh – What About the Facts?

June 21, 2014

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly took a swipe at Rush Limbaugh this week, actually comparing him to Al Franken – a former leftwing talk radio host now serving in the Senate.

Bill O'Reilly and Rep. Sam Johnson (

Bill O’Reilly and Rep. Sam Johnson (

Speaking at an event in New York, O’Reilly said:

“I’m not Rush Limbaugh or Al Franken, where everything has to fit into my worldview… I’m a fact-based guy. A lot of people don’t understand that.”

O’Reilly and Limbaugh have had a bit of a rivalry for a while. As The Right Frequency explains, O’Reilly – the king of cable news – tried to take on Limbaugh head to head in a Noon to 3 p.m. talk radio program. It didn’t work out so well.

To learn more about the feud with O’Reilly and Limbaugh, Sean Hannity vs. Michael Savage and other talk radio rivalries, read The Right Frequency.

What Makes Award-Winning Children’s Author Rush Limbaugh’s History Books so Offensive?

June 1, 2014

Rush Limbaugh won the Children’s Choice Book Award for author of the year. He beat out other famous children’s authors.

Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh

In an excellent op-ed about Rush Limbaugh’s two history books for children, David Deming, a professor of arts and sciences at the University of Oklahoma, explains why the left is so upset.

From the Washington Times:

What Mr. Limbaugh’s critics find intolerable is that these are children’s books. The first, “Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims,” narrates the story of the Pilgrims’ emigration to America in search of religious freedom. The second, “Rush Revere and the First Patriots,” describes the events leading up to the American Revolution, including the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party and protests against the Stamp Act.

What makes these books so offensive to progressives is that Mr. Limbaugh has the audacity to challenge them on their own turf. The great irony of the 20th century is that while the United States won the Cold War abroad, we lost the battle at home for the hearts and minds of our children. While Ronald Reagan was preoccupied with defeating the Soviet Union, the left was quietly cementing its control over American education. Public schools in this nation, from kindergarten through graduate school, are quietly but effectively destroying our country by teaching our youth to hate it.

To learn more about how Rush changed the political and historical conversation in this country, read Chapter 7 of The Right Frequency.

Sean Hannity in Trouble with Fox and Cumulus?

August 10, 2013

This past two weeks produced a whirlwind of rumors about Sean Hannity’s future, with both the Fox News Channel and Cumulus radio networks.

Earlier this month, reports surfaced that both Hannity and Rush Limbaugh would lose 40 stations if they are dropped by Cumulus. This week, more reports surfaced that Megyn Kelly would replace Hannity in the coveted 9 p.m. time slot on Fox News.

Hannity, the number two talk radio host in the nation, had a tough road to be where he is. In The Right Frequency he describes himself as “born to argue.”

Below is an excerpt on Hannity’s career from The Right Frequency.
Though he sort of came up on it by accident, Sean Hannity
managed to make a good living from what he’s just naturally done
his whole life. “I was born to argue,” he once said. “I don’t know
why. I mean, from arguing with my teachers and, on occasions, my
parents. I think I’ve mastered the art of argument at a fairly young
age.”704 He has used that gift to soar to the number two spot on both
talk radio and cable news, and has done what both Limbaugh and
Beck could not do, maintain a huge following on radio along with a
longstanding TV presence.
The Iran Contra affair may have been the low point for the otherwise
successful Reagan presidency, but it gave Hannity the opportunity
to do what he loved with an audience to listen.
When allegations that the Reagan administration had sold arms
to Iran in exchange for hostages, and used proceeds from the sales
to illegally fund the Contras in Latin America, the Senate—controlled
by Democrats after the 1986 midterms—leapt to investigate
the matter. The main witness prompting the must-see TV moment
at the time was Lt. Col. Oliver North. Hannity heard the senators
haranguing North, and routinely called into conservative talk shows
to give his two cents.
Hannity was never a fan of handouts. In the late 1980s, he was a
contractor, painting houses, because he did not want to rely on his
parents to pay for his tuition at New York University. He dropped
out and headed west to California, continuing to work in construction
to save enough money.
“I was a contractor. I was working my way in and out of college.
Didn’t want my parents to help pay for college. So, I’m, I’m running
out of money all the time. So, that’s how I was making my living and,
I’d be 40 feet up in the air on radios, calling into talk shows,”
Hannity, who grew up on Long Island and continues to live there
today, recalled in an ABC News interview.
“The things I had to say began attracting more feedback,
spurring more people to call, until sometimes I was getting bigger
response than the host,” Hannity wrote. “Before long it dawned on
me that I ought to be on the other side of a microphone as a host
rather than a caller.”
“People say, ’I want to talk to that guy that just says what he just
said, because I loved what Ollie was doing’” Hannity recalled.707
His course in life was set.
“I’d grown up listening to Bob Grant, Barry Gray, John Gambling
and Barry Farber,” Hannity wrote. “That experience taught me early
on that a passionate argument, well made, could make a difference,
even if the person was speaking as a private citizen.
He volunteered his commentary at radio station in KCSB-FM,
the station for the University of California- Santa Barbara. It was
not a good fit, as the station did not like his politics after he
expressed opposition to homosexuality at a liberal university.
Reportedly, a lesbian caller to his program said she had a baby after
being artificially inseminated and Hannity responded he felt sorry
for her child. The university fired him, or at least banned him from
volunteering, for supposedly “discriminating against gays and lesbians.”
Interestingly enough, the ACLU Foundation of Southern
California came to Hannity’s defense. The university backed down
and told Hannity he can have his airtime, but at this juncture, he
didn’t want it.
“I was too conservative, the higher ups said, and they didn’t like
the comments one guest made on the show. So much for free speech
on a college campus!” Hannity wrote. “The station was dominated
by leftwing public affairs programs, including a gay and lesbian perspective
show, a Planned Parenthood show, and multiple shows that
accused Reagan and Bush of being drug runners and drug pushers.
The leftwing management had a zero tolerance policy for conservative
points of view and I was promptly fired.”
The northeasterner left the West Coast to go south. A talk radio
show opened up at WVNN Huntsville, Alabama in 1989 for $19,000
per year that he took, “because they gave me a microphone.” He
occasionally did a local TV debate show with liberal David Pearson,
whom Hannity described as a “fierce defender of the left.”
“When I got there, the first thing I discovered was that my New
York accent—which I never even noticed—didn’t go down easy in
the south.” But he said, “I tried to connect with callers. I read everything
that I could get my hands on, scouring newspapers and magazines.”
The program took off and was a spring board to Atlanta’s
WGST-AM, a top 10 market. Hannity moved to WGST in 1992—
as talk radio was on the verge of becoming a powerful political force
—to replace the legendary Neil Boortz, who had jumped to WSBAM.
However, because of a no compete clause in Boortz’s contract,
Boortz could not go on the air for several months on WSB. Hannity
used this time to build an audience. And it worked due in part to
Boortz’s hiatus.
Hannity became the top rated show in Atlanta, and often interviewed
Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich, the House Minority
Whip. Then, the ultimate opportunity came when he got to be the
guest host for the Rush Limbaugh Show on a few occasion, giving
him his first national exposure. After that, he was brought on as a
conservative pundit for CNN’s Talk Back Live. Roger Ailes, then
head of CNBC, liked him so much he brought him on for a few
shows on that network. He also got other TV appearances on
popular 90s talk shows hosted by Phil Donohue, Sally Jesse Raphael
and Geraldo Rivera.
When Ailes took the job running the new Fox News Chanel in
1996, he hired Hannity in September of that year to do a debate
show with New York liberal radio show host Alan Colmes. It was to
be the Fox version of Cross Fire, the long time Left-Right debate
show on CNN.

Click here to order a copy of The Right Frequency.

25 Years of Rush Marks Strength of Talk Radio

August 3, 2013

Rush Limbaugh celebrated his 25th year of his game-changing nationally syndicated radio program this past week. As The Right Frequency explains, talk radio did not start with Limbaugh, but he did revolutionize it — creating a commercially successful model that spawned an industry and in turn created an alternative media. Below is an excerpt from The Right Frequency on Limbaugh, the only host to get his own chapter in the book.


Just before the 1992 presidential election, Time magazine asked Rush Limbaugh,

“You’re unabashedly for Bush and against Clinton.
Given 13 million devoted listeners, why is your guy 15 points behind?”

Limbaugh’s answer: “I don’t say that I have influence. I was totally opposed to the 1990 budget deal, and it still happened. I’m not an activist. I do not give out congressional phone numbers. I do not urge behavior. No tea bags. This is entertainment. And in strict marketing terms, does it hurt me to be the only guy not making Dan Quayle jokes?”

Rush Limbaugh has no influence. Tell that to the Democrats in 1994 who lost their seats en masse in the Republican Revolution that was dubbed the Limbaugh Congress. Tell that to the new majority swept in that year that made Limbaugh an honorary member of their freshman class. Tell that to President Bill Clinton who had public fits during his administration over Limbaugh’s commentary.
For that matter, tell it to the Obama White House who made it their strategy in early 2009 to call Limbaugh the leader of the Republican Party, a strategy that did nothing to help Obama against the GOP (which was the intent) but tremendously boosted Limbaugh’s audience and influence.

To be sure, he does not have unlimited political power. His legions of “ditto-heads” are not mind numb robots marching in lockstep. This is evident during the presidential primary season when callers, who insist they agree with Limbaugh 99 percent of the time, wanted to know why he is so down on Pat Buchanan (1996), John McCain (2000 and 2008), Mike Huckabee (2008) and Mitt Romney (2012) and other GOP hopefuls over the years. The “ditto-heads” are
in fact folks who had long sought an advocate who would not mock the views they already held. They found that in Limbaugh.
A month after Republicans faced a beating in the 1992 election, sweeping Bill Clinton into the White House, none other than former President Ronald Reagan wrote a letter to Limbaugh. “Now that I’ve retired from active politics, I don’t mind that you’ve become the number one voice for conservatism.” A remarkable statement from the politician Rush would go on to call Ronaldous Maximus.
Reagan’s December 1992 letter went on to say, “I know the liberals call you ‘the most dangerous man in America,’ but don’t worry about it, they used to say the same about me. Keep up the good work.”
While the left tries to dismiss him, the industry does not, as few people are more decorated than Limbaugh. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1993, often times a lifetime achievement that comes toward the end of a host’s career. Rush was just getting started then. He won a Marconi Award in 1992, 1995, 2000 and 2005, given by the National Association of Broadcasters to
the top radio personality. Reflecting his role as a leader in the conservative movement, in March 2007 he accept the inaugural William F. Buckley Jr. Award for Media Excellence, given by the Media Research Center.
Simply put, according to Talkers Magazine, the industry bible, “Rush Limbaugh is the greatest radio talk show host of all time.”
He has not prevented Democrats from ever getting elected again. Nor has he controlled the Republican nomination process—obvious in the 2008 choice of McCain as the GOP standard bearer.
He was no cheerleader for Mitt Romney during the 2012 primary either. But he has become in many ways, if not the leader, the inspiration of the conservative movement.

The left has continually gone after him, seeking advertising boycotts, and accusations of various forms of bigotry. The left, which is often so aghast at casting moral judgment, has repeatedly pounced on Limbaugh for his being divorced three time and married four— paying the gay entertainer Sir Elton John $1 million to perform at his most recent wedding. He was married the first time for 18 months; the second time for five years, the third time for 10 years.
He married Kathryn Rogers in the summer of 2010. Though virtually every bad adjective imaginable has been used to describe him, Limbaugh has  contributed millions from his own pocket and raised hundreds of millions for leukemia research. Rush Limbaugh has been a transformative figure in the political, media and entertainment universe.

Click here to order a copy of The Right Frequency.