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On August 1, 1988, Missouri-born radio commentator Rush Limbaugh launched “The Rush Limbaugh Show” with a handful of radio partners. Limbaugh went on the airwaves for the last time on February 2, 2021 – unnoticed at this point by its 650 partners and millions of listeners.
The beloved but sometimes controversial radio titanium died on February 17 at the age of 70 of a battle with lung cancer.
On Friday, “The Rush Limbaugh Show”, which began when Ronald Reagan was president, Checkpoint Charlie separated democracy from autocracy and the Soviet Union still existed, will end in the only form it has known since.
Last month, many Westwood One radio partners, the Limbaughs Show – which is being syndicated by competitor Premiere Networks – launched the “Dan Bongino Show” on the noon ET slots program, by the Fox News employee of the same name and retired USSS agent is directed.
“There’s no substitute for Rush, OK? None. It’ll never happen,” Bonginoino said “Fox & Friends” recently: “But … I really hope to do some honoring of his legacy.”
One of the two presenters chosen to fill Limbaugh’s time slot at Premiere is Buck Sexton. The former CIA counterterrorism officer and conservative commentator told Fox News that he was one of millions of average Americans who were encouraged and influenced by the late radio titan.
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“I was inspired by Rush, and so was Clay [Travis]“Sexton told Fox News about his future co-host. “One of the biggest breaks in my career was guest hosting for Rush seven years ago.
Sexton said he could personally confirm the late Limbaugh’s connection with his millions of “dittoheads”: After just a day of guest moderation, Sexton received numerous encouraging emails and Twitter responses from listeners that made a real connection with him.
At the same time, he noted that talk radio was an increasingly important medium in view of the increasing censorship by Big Tech.
“We’re at a point where Big Tech has just given the ability to censor ideas that may be contrary, controversial, or even a little too close to the edge for what the establishment wants; the ability for people to reach people over the radio without an algorithmic filter is something that Clay and I are very excited about. “
Fox News’ Sean Hannity is also one of the myriad media professionals who have credited Limbaugh for breathing new life into talk radio as a medium and opening the door for hosts like him to grow and prosper in the field.
Hannity said Thursday that Limbaugh was “the greatest of all time” and agreed with Bongino that there was no real replacement for the late radio titan: “The only thing we can do is improve our games together to agree try to fill the void the leading voice of conservatism in modern times. He’s fought like hell to stay on the air with his audience, “Hannity told FoxNews.com.
“His bucket list should be with the people he loved most: His millions and millions of fans and supporters.
Fox News colleague and radio host Laura Ingraham offered a similar reflection on Limbaugh’s legacy, given that both she and Hannity were personally close to the late broadcaster.
“Rush was a friend and mentor, and rejoiced through life’s triumphs and troubles. The ether is not the same and will never be the same without its insightful, strong, hilarious voice, ”Ingraham told FoxNews.com prior to the last EIBIB broadcast.
“At a time when so many are pessimistic about America’s future, he was defiantly positive and hopeful. My lord, do I miss him?”
In a statement on FoxSportsRadio, Travis also reflected on Limbaugh’s influence on the country and reiterated Sexton’s eagerness to start a new chapter of what the EIB founder began almost 33 years ago:
“While no one will ever replace Rush Limbaugh, Buck and I look forward to continuing to advance the causes close to our hearts, especially American exceptionalism, a passionate embrace of capitalism, and a belief in a robust market for ideas,” said Travis.
As Travis and Sexton prepare to take over the running of the EIB network, the show’s hosts – who ran the program in the aftermath of his death – thanked the late icon and his staff for letting them be part of the program America’s most popular talk radio program while helping them grow as professionals.
Ken Matthews, a frequent substitute host for the Rush Limbaugh Show who, along with KTTH’s Todd Herman and others, has recently been a “guide” to Limbaugh audiences, told Fox News in an interview this week that he was feels both honored and blessed to have been part of the EIB.
Matthews has been a weekday afternoon presenter for several years on WHP-580 – Limbaugh’s subsidiary in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Its program follows the late “El Rushbo” at 3pm ET.
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He told Fox News that he had a bittersweet feeling being the “Guide” host of the last two shows on Thursday and Friday.
“Limbaugh made the whole genre pretty much the way it is,” said Matthews, remembering the first time he heard the booming voice of the Cape Girardeau, Missouri, native.
In 1988, Matthews was working on the radio in Portland, Maine, thinking what many other Americans were who came across Limbaugh at the time when they stumbled upon the program.
“Who is this guy? He says what he thinks.”
Matthews praised Limbaugh for inspiring other talents like Hannity, Blaze founder Glenn Beck, and himself.
Before he came to the Pennsylvanian capital, Matthews headed the former AM driving program “B-Morning Crew” on the top 40 broadcaster 104.1 WAEB-FM in Allentown for 15 years from the 1990s.
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Matthews noted to Fox News that the B-104 gig gave him time for his other radio passion: being a loyal rush listener.
“It’s one of the coolest things I did in the morning [at B-104] – I would be at 9 or 10. rise from the air [AM] getting my job done, and by noon it was rush on, said Matthews. “I never thought I’d be an innkeeper.”
Matthews left B-104 in 2006 and later had the opportunity to sub-host Sexton’s syndicated radio show in 2017.
A year later he was first won as a guest presenter for Limbaugh:
“It was an odd time stepping into the Rush Limbaugh slot because of what happened,” Matthews said, referring in part to the late host’s possible cancer diagnosis.
He remembered the summer of 2017 when Limbaugh was the happy and healthy radio titan that millions loved.
In his third year of guest hosting with Matthews, Limbaugh hadn’t lost his positive attitude or affinity for his show and its audience, but his health began to deteriorate.
“He’s a fighter because he fought until he couldn’t speak,” Matthews told Fox News.
Matthews spoke ardently about Limbaugh’s staff and his other sub-moderators like Herman from Seattle and Brett Winterble from Charlotte.
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He also cited writer and frequent Fox News guest Mark Steyn as a prominent example, citing him and other “heavy hitter intellectuals” who were “a pleasure” to work with.
“I think it made me a better broadcaster because the EIB team is the best – I worked with Bo Snerdley.” [a.k.a. producer James Golden] for 3 years. He knows radio – he knows content. “
As for Sexton and Travis, Matthews noted that the couple had “huge footsteps to fill”.
“They are both smart people – it was an honor and a blessing – and the experience was just amazing because Rush surrounded himself with very talented patriots.”
With a somber look at the current political scene in the US under the Biden administration, Matthews recalled how Limbaugh always encouraged his listeners to think positively and never to give up their country.
“Rush gave people hope that the land’s foundations were strong enough to overcome,” he said.
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“That is the challenge of the day because we are in a very precarious situation as a nation and [Limbaugh] was a guy even politicians voted for. “
In a recent interview with Fox News, Snerdley aka Golden referred to his late boss as “the second generation founding father”.
“Our beloved Rush has given his talent back to God,” said an emotional Snerdley to host Hannity shortly after the host’s death – and took up the speaker’s preferred self-description as “talent borrowed from God”.
“Rush Limbaugh was one of the best people anyone could ever meet.”