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Rush Limbaugh

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RUSH: As you may know, we are commencing our 20th anniversary week today. The actual 20th anniversary of this program is August 1st, which is Friday. On that day in 1988 we started with 56 radio stations, one of which was WABC in New York, and we actually started there on the 4th of July, so we’ve already had our 20th anniversary at our New York flagship in New York, WABC, and there were 55 other radio stations, most of them very small, very tiny. As we go through the course of the week, we’re going to be peppering the program with reminisces and remembrances of things that have happened over the course of the past 20 years.

I’ll never forget, this program started out, it was a fad, it was not going to last, and after the election of 1988, the Drive-By Media started their first refrain, ‘Well, now that Rush’s guy won,’ i.e., Bush, ‘what’s he going to have left to talk about?’ It was never supposed to have lasted this long. The left has thrown the kitchen sink at this program in terms of other hosts, and they are all but memories now, and we will go back and remember some of those memories. I’ll have some little stories about the earlier days. Here’s one, just to put the start of this program in perspective. Now, I had moved from Sacramento to — (interruption) yes, Snerdley, we’re going to get to Obama today. We’re going to get to all this stuff. It’s a three-hour program. You know I said Friday we’re going to start with this anniversary stuff. In 1988, I go to New York from Sacramento, and it was a very odd arrangement. It no longer has to happen this way, but in order to get my program, or the commercials that we were selling on our national program at 56 stations to start, I had to do a local show in New York essentially free of charge for WABC. In exchange, they ran our spots. That show was from ten ’til noon, and then the national show was from noon to two, and it was that way for a year or two. And, of course, on these 55 radio stations, they were very small in a lot of the markets. This is back in the days that nobody thought this would work. The wizards in broadcasting wished me well, but they said, ‘You don’t have a chance. Syndicated talk in the daytime is never gonna work; it’s only worked at night; people want to have local issues, local phone numbers, local this, local that. We wish you well, it isn’t gonna work.’

I figured if it didn’t work I’d just be the latest in a long line valiant efforts. If it did work, it could revolutionize things. So I would get in early in the morning, seven or eight o’clock at WABC, and I started doing my show prep for both programs, and I shared a desk with the lovely and gracious Lynn Samuels, who was the resident left-wing kook, lovable and nice as she could be, but still a nut. We had to share a desk, but she came in later. Now, what had happened was that this program, when it first started happening on those 56 little radio stations, it was causing a hell storm in most of these markets. The host that had preceded me was a very professional guy, but very bland, and the local markets in which this show started, started getting newspaper articles and outrage and shock and, ‘Who the hell is this?’ and, ‘What’s going on?’ and somehow those articles would end up sent to the program director, WABC, John Mainelli. So John Mainelli would post these articles on the bulletin board. Any time anything happened to a WABC host in the media, in the newspaper, he’d go put it on the bulletin board. I remember after about six months of this I got called into the general manager’s office at WABC, name not important now, and he sat me down and he said, ‘You’re going to have to make a decision. Do you want to be a big guy in Allentown or do you want to be a big guy in New York, because you can’t be both because we are never, ever going to carry your national show on WABC. I don’t want to hear from hicks and hayseeds outside New York.’

I sat there and I took it all in, he said, ‘I don’t care what’s going on in Allentown, some of these little towns, I really don’t care. Mainelli should take those things down.’ This is back when Bob Grant was in the afternoon, Dave Dawson was in the morning, and Lynn Samuels was in the mix. So it was tough. (interruption) It doesn’t matter where he is now. These are fun stories, Snerdley, to think back on this and to think how it all began. The guy was not a mean guy. The general manager was not a mean guy. It may sound mean the way he told me the story, he was just being protective of his radio station. New York’s the number-one market. They don’t care what’s going on in Allentown. There’s nothing new about that. So anyway, as we all know, it all worked out. I just stuck to it, I called my syndication partner Ed McLaughlin and I told him the story, I said, ‘I’m just trying to prepare my program here and I get called in here and I’m told they were never going to carry the national show, which was not the original deal.’ It was just posturing, and it ended up, of course, they carried the national program in a year or two I think, and it was onward and upward. But I’ve been thinking about some of these early days, and they seem like yesterday. I mean, they really just seem like they happened yesterday. And then some days, sometimes it seemed like it was 20 years ago when this all happened. (interruption) Yeah, the furniture got lost. Yeah, the Mayflower driver just parked his van in a strike, he got mad at the company, parked the van at a truck stop somewhere in Indiana, I think, Ohio. Nobody knew where. The FBI was called in. They couldn’t find him. It was not just my stuff on this van, there was all kinds of stuff from Sacramento, couldn’t find it.

I got kicked out of the first hotel I was staying in, The Parker Meridian. Oh, yeah, I’ll tell you the first six months to a year in New York, I thought, ‘This isn’t gonna work. Weird things keep happening here.’ (interruption) Why did I get kicked out? I’ll tell you the story. I got kicked out because of what I said about a Mike Wallace segment on 60 Minutes one night. All I did was quote Mike Wallace. (interruption) You didn’t know this story, Maimone? I got picked out of the Parker Meridian. The deal was I was gonna live there for six months while I scouted around and found a place to live. After about three months I got kicked out of the Parker Meridian. Yes, I got kicked out of the Parker Meridian. I had to go find an apartment, then the furniture got lost getting to the apartment because the driver got mad at the company and parked it in some truck stop. It was two months before they could find the van and then another week or two before they would release the contents of the van, which was just my furniture. (interruption) Yeah, right. Now I own Allentown and now I own New York and now I could buy Mayflower van lines. And one of the things we’re going to do — we’re going to start really in earnest on this on Wednesday, but we’ve got some things today because there was a story in the New York Times yesterday.

My old buddy, the one guy I constantly praise, wrote this story, Jim Rutenberg, and it’s the latest installment in: ‘We think we found the next Limbaugh.’ Only this story is, the next Limbaugh is three black guys, three black talk show hosts who are balancing my anti-Obama status with their pro-Obama status. So the Drive-Bys have given up on all of the white people, male and female, that the left has thrown and now they’re trying to say that these three black guys in their shows — and the way they’re arriving at this is, that if you add up the audience of these three black guys, you get 20 million, which is just hilarious. I wouldn’t comment on it, other than it’s the 20th anniversary week, and we have some retrospective audio sound bites from the past 20 years when the left thought that they could take a shot at knocking me off. We’ll show you or air some of those for you. It’s fun to relive these things as to what people said and predicted.

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