Rush Limbaugh

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RUSH: I’m doing something special this afternoon at three o’clock Pacific Time, six o’clock Eastern. My 25th anniversary on KFBK Sacramento, which is the radio station that launched all of this, was October 15th. I think that’s the day. But this afternoon, three o’clock Pacific, I’m going to do an hour (Listen to It) on KFBK with Tom Sullivan and Kitty O’Neal, who were both there when I was there. Kitty is still there. Tom is in New York working for the Fox Business Channel and they have a couple of surprise guests I’m told they sent me the format and the clock for the hour — which I didn’t need the clock, I’m the guest. But they still sent me the format clock for the hour. And I was thinking, ‘Twenty five years on one radio station!’ I mean, that’s so unusual in this business. Twenty five years in one job is (laughing) unusual. That’s a quarter of a century.

You know, I got out there in 1984, so I was 33 when I got out there, I’m 58 now, and I still feel like… I was there three and a half years, and those three and a half years in Sacramento were… They still feel like where my real home was. That’s why I call it my adopted hometown, because that’s the first place that I ever discovered, found out what a success track was. You know, I’d be fired or just muddled along in average mediocrity prior to getting out there. But that was also the first place where I was allowed to do a radio show the way I thought it should be done. So there are a lot of people out there to whom I owe a debt of gratitude. And this is the point. All I asked when I got out there was that it be my program, done my way. And if it failed, I would be the one to blame; and if it worked out, like it has, then I could proudly take responsibility for it.

I didn’t want guests. Every talk show in the world had guests. I couldn’t get any different guests than anybody else got. I didn’t care what the guests thought. I wanted people to know what I thought. The guests do not care about my success. They care about the platform to promote whatever it is their platform is or whatever opinion they’re having. Nothing against guests but it was just a formatic staple; and, you know, I’d worked in radio where the music was always given credit if the station did well or the promotion, the contests, the giveaways. This was my last shot at it. You know, I’d been fired eight or nine times. Seven or eight times. I said, ‘I want to find out once and for all if I can be the reason people will listen to the radio,’ and they told me one thing out there.

That I have never forgotten, because I was replacing Morton Downey Jr. who had been fired for telling an ethnic joke and refusing to apologize for it. It was an ethnic joke about a member of the city council out there who was of Asian descent, and he refused to apologize, and they brought me out there and they said, ‘Look, we want controversy. We don’t shy away from it at all. But if you’re going to make it up, if you’re going to say things you don’t believe, just to get people all worked up, we’re not going to back you up on that. You gotta be who you are,’ and I’ve never forgotten that because there’s so many people that just say whatever they think is outrageous just to draw attention and I’m sure a lot of you have seen all of this happen in your own life, too. You’ve been working and you’ve wanted to find the one place where it was all up to you: Success or failure, all up to you.

And I realized out there that if I was ultimately going to succeed I had to get myself actively involved in the revenue stream of the radio station. I had to be able to put my hand, my finger on X-number of dollars I was generating. That would buy me insurance against the occasional ratings fall. You know, rating books or the vagaries of these things back then were crazy, could go up or down and it was dependent on diary replacement, the market, and a number of other things. But if you had that kind of ratings insurance, if you had your hand on a certain amount of the revenue stream, then… It was such a learning experience out there. And it has stayed with me throughout my entire career, and I really owe these people in Sacramento a huge debt of gratitude. Well, it’s six o’clock Eastern, three o’clock Pacific but it’s on KFBK which is AM 1530 in Sacramento.

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