Thursday, Apr. 30, 2009

Rush Limbaugh

For some of us, being a media personality just isn't as easy as it used to be. The theory goes that to build a large audience in this age of iPhones, podcasts and whatever the latest buzzword is, you have to do everything at once — and that means simultaneously host a radio program, host a TV show, write books and tour the country. Even Barack Obama had to hold a press conference, go on 60 Minutes, talk to Jay Leno and post clips on YouTube within the span of one week just to get people to pay attention to his budget.

But not Rush Limbaugh. When Rush wants to talk to America, all he has to do is grab his microphone.

He attracts more listeners with just his voice than the rest of us could ever imagine. He is simply on another level.

No matter how many new technologies pop up, nothing will ever surpass the intimacy of radio. And nobody will ever be better at utilizing it than Rush. His consistency, insight and honesty have earned him a level of trust with his listeners that politicians can only dream of. And that is why the more irrelevant critics try to make him, the more relevant he becomes.

Rush, 58, saved the spoken-word radio format from obscurity and paved the way for thousands of broadcasters, including myself. His career serves as the most successful stimulus package in radio history. All without a government dime.

Knowing firsthand just how hard it is to hold an audience's attention for a few hours makes it that much more amazing to have seen Rush do it for more than 20 years. To say that he has set the standard for success in broadcasting would truly be an understatement.

Beck is a television and radio talk-show host and a No. 1 New York Times best-selling author

Fast Fact: Limbaugh says he likes to start every day with a strong cigar