Rush Limbaugh : biography
In 1984, Limbaugh returned to radio as a talk show host at KFBK in Sacramento, California, where he replaced Morton Downey, Jr. The repeal of the Fairness Doctrine—which had required that stations provide free air time for responses to any controversial opinions that were broadcast—by the FCC in 1987 meant stations could broadcast editorial commentary without having to present opposing views. Daniel Henninger wrote, in a Wall Street Journal editorial, "Ronald Reagan tore down this wall (the Fairness Doctrine) in 1987 … and Rush Limbaugh was the first man to proclaim himself liberated from the East Germany of liberal media domination."Henninger, Daniel (April 29, 2005) . The Wall Street Journal.
On August 1, 1988, after achieving success in Sacramento and drawing the attention of former ABC Radio President Edward F. McLaughlin, Limbaugh moved to New York City and began his national radio show. He debuted just weeks after the Democratic National Convention, and just weeks before the Republican National Convention. Limbaugh’s radio home in New York City was the talk-formatted WABC, and this remains his flagship station (although Limbaugh now hosts his program from West Palm Beach).
In December 1990, journalist Lewis Grossberger wrote in The New York Times that Limbaugh had "more listeners than any other talk show host" and described Limbaugh’s style as "bouncing between earnest lecturer and political vaudevillian". Limbaugh’s rising popularity coincided with the Persian Gulf War, and his support for the war effort and his relentless ridicule of peace activists. The program gained more popularity and was moved to stations with larger audiences, eventually being broadcast on over 650 radio stations nationwide.
In 1992, Democrat Bill Clinton was elected president of the United States. Limbaugh satirized the policies of Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, as well as those of the Democratic Party. When the Republican Party won control of Congress in the 1994 midterm elections, the freshman Republican class awarded Limbaugh an honorary membership in their caucus. This event confirmed him as an influential figure on the national political scene.
Limbaugh had publicized personal difficulties in the 2000s. In late 2001, he acknowledged that he had gone almost completely deaf, although he continued his show. He was able to regain much of his hearing with the help of cochlear implants.
In 2003, Limbaugh had a brief stint as a pro football commentator with ESPN. He resigned a few weeks into the 2003 NFL season after making comments about the press coverage for quarterback Donovan McNabb that caused controversy and accusations of racism on the part of Limbaugh. His comment about McNabb was: "I don’t think he’s been that good from the get-go. I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. I think the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. They’re interested in black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well. I think there’s a little hope invested in McNabb and he got a lot of credit for the performance of his team that he really didn’t deserve. The defense carried this team." For example, a sportswriter construed the comment as racist against himself and other sportswriters. Another sports analyst wrote Limbaugh’s viewpoint was shared by "many football fans and analysts" and "it is … absurd to say that the sports media haven’t overrated Donovan McNabb because he’s black."
In 2003, Limbaugh stated that he was addicted to pain medication, and sought treatment. In April 2006, Limbaugh turned himself in to authorities, on a warrant issued by the state attorney’s office, and was arrested "on a single charge of prescription fraud". His record was later expunged.
The Rush Limbaugh Show
Limbaugh’s radio show airs for three hours each weekday beginning at noon Eastern Standard Time on both AM and FM radio. The program is also broadcast worldwide on the Armed Forces Radio Network.