Rush Limbaugh : biography
Radio broadcasting shifted from AM to FM in the late 1970s because of the opportunity to broadcast music in stereo with better fidelity. Limbaugh’s show was first nationally syndicated in August 1988, in a later stage of AM’s decline. Limbaugh’s popularity paved the way for other conservative talk radio programming to become commonplace on the AM radio. In March 2006, WBAL in Baltimore became the first major market radio station in the country to drop Limbaugh’s nationally syndicated radio program. In 2007, Talkers magazine again named him No. 1 in its "Heavy Hundred" most important talk show hosts.
Limbaugh frequently mentions the EIB (Excellence In Broadcasting) network, but this is a mythic construction, as he told The New York Times in 1990.Lewis Grossberger, "The Rush Hours", The New York Times, December 16, 1990, section 6, p. 58 In reality, his show was co-owned and first syndicated by Edward F. McLaughlin, former president of ABC who founded EFM Media in 1988, with Limbaugh’s show as his first product. In 1997, McLaughlin sold EFM to Jacor Communications, which was ultimately bought up by Clear Channel Communications. Today, Limbaugh owns a majority of the show, which is syndicated by the Premiere Radio Networks.
According to a 2001 article in U.S. News & World Report, Limbaugh had an eight-year contract, at the rate of $31.25 million a year."Vital Statistics", U.S. News & World Report, July 30, 2001, p. 7 In 2007, Limbaugh earned $33 million. Forbes. June 14, 2007. On July 2, 2008, Matt Drudge reported that Limbaugh signed a contract extension through 2016 that is worth over $400 million, breaking records for any broadcast. A November 2008 poll by Zogby International found that Rush Limbaugh was the most trusted news personality in the nation, garnering 12.5% of poll responses.
Limbaugh had a syndicated half-hour television show from 1992 through 1996, produced by Roger Ailes. The show discussed many of the topics on his radio show, and was taped in front of an audience. Rush Limbaugh says he loves doing his radio show but not a TV show.
Other media appearances
Limbaugh’s first television hosting experience came March 30, 1990, as a guest host on Pat Sajak’s CBS late-night talk show, The Pat Sajak Show. Rush Limbaugh guest-hosts the Pat Sajak show in 1990 ACT UP activists in the audience heckled Limbaugh repeatedly; ultimately the entire studio audience was cleared. In 2001, Sajak said the incident was "legendary around CBS".
On December 17, 1993, Limbaugh appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman. Limbaugh also guest-starred (as himself) on a 1994 episode of Hearts Afire. He appeared in the 1995 Billy Crystal film Forget Paris, and in 1998 on an episode of The Drew Carey Show.
In 2007, Limbaugh made cameo appearances on Fox News Channel’s short-lived The 1/2 Hour News Hour in a series of parodies portraying him as the future President of the United States. In the parodies, his vice president was fellow conservative pundit Ann Coulter. He also made a cameo in the Family Guy episode "Blue Harvest" that year. More recent Family Guy appearances have been: the 2010 episode "Excellence in Broadcasting", and the 2011 episode "It’s a Trap!", a parody of Return of the Jedi, in which Limbaugh can be heard on the radio claiming that, among other things, the "intergalactic liberal space media" was lying about climate change on the planet Hoth, and that Lando Calrissian’s administrative position on Cloud City was a result of affirmative action.
His persona has often been utilized as a template for a stereotypical conservative talk show host on TV shows and in movies, including an episode of The Simpsons (as a conservative talk radio host named Birch Barlow), as Gus Baker on an episode of Beavis and Butt-head, as Lash Rambo (host of "Perfection in Broadcasting") on an episode of The New WKRP in Cincinnati, and as Fielding Chase in the Columbo spinoff film Butterfly in Shades of Grey.