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Airwaves: August 8, 2008

Twenty Years of Rush

Rush Limbaugh celebrated 20 years of his nationally-syndicated show last Friday, culminating a week of flashbacks to earlier shows with a call from President Bush, congratulating Limbaugh on 20 years of Broadcast Excellence.

I remember the first time I heard of Limbaugh. It was right after I started writing this column and before the conservative talker was heard on KFI. A reader wrote in asking me if I had heard of Limbaugh, and if I would promote the show.

I had no clue what he was talking about. “Rush,?” I thought ... “Who the heck is he.?”

Little did I know that he would soon rocket to be among the top-rated talk hosts in the nation. Later I became a big fan, even listening as I installed a new lawn at my house.

Those who have never listened to Rush often don’t understand what he does. Often he is protrayed as mean-spitited, hateful, and worse ... especially to “the other side.” On the contrary, he usually goes out of his way to be nice to anyone calling in more liberal than he, and I have yet to hear anything close to the hate spewed out on shows such as liberal talker Randi Rhodes or the cancelled Al Franken program.

In fact, what makes Limbaugh different than most political shows, liberal or conservative, is that Rush has fun. He isn’t all that negative and certainly isn’t hateful. Stretch things sometimes to make his point? Absolutely. But no worse and often better than heard on other talk shows.

Bush calling in to the program caught Rush off guard. You could tell he wasn’t expecting it.

The anniversary show also included blasts from the past: recording of past callers and events that represented what the show has stood for over the past 20 years: an outlet for conservatives to hear something they won’t hear on almost any other show.

Chopping Block

The newly private Clear Channel Communications is gearing up to sell almost 60 stations nationwide, most likely as a way to raise money, decrease debt and divest of “underperforming” properties. Unfortunately none are in Los Angeles, but a couple are in Lancaster: KAVL and KTPI-FM. In California, the only other stations on the block are Fresno’s KFSO-FM, along with San Jose’s KSJO, KCNL and KUFX.

Clear Channel is not the only radio group to be selling off some excess baggage: CBS is also planning to sell upwards of 50 stations from meduim-sized markets, some rumors have stated that any market size 16 or lower is potentially on the market.

Fun FM

I’m finding myself listening to FM radio a bit more recently, now that I actually have three stations I like again. Being the country boy that I am -- I drive a truck, for example -- KKGO (105.1 FM) is one of my prime destintions. I like the fact that Go Country sounds a lot like the top-40 stations I knew and loved (KHJ, KEZY, Ten-Q, KIIS-FM) when top-40 actually played things other than rap and hip-hop. I am also a fan of the Inland Empire’s KFRG (95.1 FM), though I could do without every personality having a fake name referencing frogs in some way.

The new station I always check out is The Sound, KWSD (100.3 FM), the area’s only adult album alternative station. This modern version of album rock plays a huge variety of songs past and present, inccluding album cuts that can surprise you.

Nice that I don’t have to have XM or Sirius on all the time ...


Copyright © 2009 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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