RUSH: Now, if you’ll permit me a brief departure into inside baseball. Over the years — and, even now, I’ll be honest. Even now, I am under… I wouldn’t call it pressure. Although depending, it could be if you looked at it that way. But I’m under a lot… There are beaucoup requests for me to go on TV, to go back to TV — and I’m flattered by it, and I’m always receptive. I listen to what people say. But I have no burning desire to go back to TV, and there are many reasons for it.
But the primary reason… Well, it’s hard to pick a primary reason. I mean, A, the primary reason is I don’t want to do it. But, then after that, is the “why,” which would be just as equal. I was thinking of it the other day. I had to do a speech, a last-minute speech. I had a replacement speech for the General/Defense Secretary Mattis. He was gonna speak to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, and he ended up having to cancel because of the action that was being contemplated at the time and that eventually happened in Syria.
So they asked if I would stand in, and I said, “Sure, sure. I’d be happy to.” I said, “How long do you want?” They said, “Fifteen minutes max.” I said, “Fifteen minutes! I don’t even get started in 15 minutes,” and I immediately started feeling a little bit of pressure. The reason I feel pressure is because I cannot prepare a speech. I cannot sit down and write one. My brain doesn’t work. I have to ad-lib them, just like this radio show.
Everything I’ve said today I didn’t know when I was gonna say it. I didn’t know what I was gonna start with; I didn’t know exactly what I was gonna say. It’s just happening. It is the essence of improv. You can’t do this on TV! You simply cannot do what I’m doing right now on TV. It’s not possible. Too many people have to know what you’re gonna do and they have to know when you’re gonna do it — and whatever you want to do, they have to have some accompanying video. And I just… (sigh) I can’t. I’m A, not a collaborator, and B, I just… I don’t… I can’t.
I’ve never worked this way to sit down and actually plan something out, and I don’t do speeches that way. So every speech is a nail-biter for me. “What if my brain’s not working in these 15 minutes? What if I’m not…? What if something doesn’t occur to me to talk about? What if…? Oh, no! What if my memory is failing?” Those are the things that equal the pressure for me before I do any, ’cause none of it’s planned, none of it’s scripted, none of it’s written. And in TV just… You can’t do TV that way. I mean, you can’t.
I suppose you could, but it wouldn’t be TV. Just bring a camera in here and put this on TV, but nobody wants to watch that. I mean, radio is to be heard, not seen, is the long-held belief of mine. But this is leading somewhere. Nielsen came out the other day with some shocking news. One of the reasons that I also say I don’t want to go do a television show is the audience here is much larger than on cable.
And when I tell people that, they say, “Well, yeah, yeah, but it’s a different audience on TV — and with pictures, Rush, it’s gonna have much more impact.” I understand people thinking that. But, if you have a good host who’s able to paint pictures, create theater of the mind, it’s just as impactful, just as influential. And maybe even more so, because television is spent doing other things too. You’re watching; there are other things going on in the room.
A lot of TV viewing is what I call passive, and a lot of radio listening is passive. You’re listening to music, driving around. You’re talking to people while the music’s on. But a good, good, good radio program with a compelling host will be active. You will not want to not pay attention. But then there’s this in addition to that. Nielsen has come out with some numbers, and this is about the relative audience size. “Old-School AM/FM Radio the Most Popular Media of All” still today in the United States of America, according to Nielsen — and these are the people that rate television programs.
The way they do this is AM/FM radio has 243 million listeners. Radio reaches 93% of the U.S. population. The Washington Times did a story on this back on April the 18th. There’s one picture accompanying this story and it’s half of the front page — and that picture is me. (interruption) Now, they’re all nodding on the other side of the glass. “Even in the age of sophisticated cable TV and video on demand, it is old school AM/FM radio which rules the nation’s media world according to Nielsen, which has revealed the audience numbers.
“With 243 million monthly listeners, radio bests the competition across the board. ‘Each week, more Americans tune to AM/FM radio than any other platform. What’s more, according to Nielsen … 93% of U.S. adults 18 and older listen to radio every week — more than those watching television or using a smartphone, TV connected device, tablet or PC,’ Nielsen noted … TV reaches 88% of Americans and garners 229 million viewers.
“‘Technology trends are a bit like fashion trends,’ said Brad Kelly, managing director of Nielsen Audio. ‘They come and go, oftentimes long forgotten after the craze ends. But there’s one notable exception to the technology/fashion trend rule in the media world — broadcast radio. AM/FM radio is the blue blazer of the media universe. Who would have believed 100 years after its debut, AM/FM radio would continue to top the charts as the medium that reaches more consumers each week than any other?’
“The analysis cited ‘compelling audio content and expanding delivery options’ as a strong factor in the consistent appeal of radio,” and by “expanding delivery options,” he’s talking about things like our app and podcasts and ways that augment the content. But compelling audio content… Compelling audio content, if done right, it’s just as influential and can be much bigger than television. I’m not trying to put TV down. Do not misunderstand. This is not a versus, an either/or. But it is to suggest that, you know, a lot of people think, “Radio? That’s old fashion. Gee, that’s nothing but old people.” You’d be amazed at the numbers.
Millennials. Nearly 80 million Millennials 18 to 34 tune in to radio. That’s 95% of the Millennial population. Ninety-five percent of the Millennial population listens to radio every week. The largest audience, of course, is Boomers and then Generation X. But we hit everybody. That’s my point. There are no boundaries. There are no religious boundaries. We have all three sexes. We have all the religions, all the different genders. Everybody is out there.
You know, good radio is much more personal, much more intimate than television. I’m not putting TV down. Please do not misunderstand. I’m just reminding everybody of the true impact and power of radio. To illustrate it further, the first two audio sound bites today. NPR — in a continuing quest to help their audience understand America and particularly Texas — decides to divide Texas into people who listen on AM radio and people who listen to FM radio. That’s coming up.
RUSH: Okay. Let’s go NPR. This is WNYC radio. It’s their midday program and a guy that’s discussing his new book, God Save Texas: A Journey Into the Soul of the Lone Star State. And the host says, “You describe a key divide in the culture of people in Texas as to who listens to AM and who listens to FM, right?”
WRIGHT: You can drive all across Texas and be in two different states. If you’re listening to AM, you’re hearing Rush Limbaugh, then you hear the evangelical preachers and a lot of Spanish radio. That’s the AM band. And, uh, the best and most full expression of that is our lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick — probably the most conservative politician we’ve ever elected in Texas — who is really driving the train of social conservative activism right now in Texas. And he is a shock jock from Houston who has his own radio stations. And, uh, he comes from that AM culture.
RUSH: All right. So this is NPR trying to help their audience understand Texas, and so he’s gotta get into the… This is how leftists do it. This is disguised bigotry. But I have to say something about Dan Patrick. Dan Patrick, one of his first stations was in Tomball, Texas, outside Houston, and that was our first station in the Houston market. Dan Patrick is not a shock jock. Dan Patrick has never been a shock jock! This whole term “shock jock.” I mean, they used to call me that until they realized that I’m not even close. Shock jock? What do you think of as a shock jock? Somebody that’s rude and off-color. Dan Patrick is nowhere near shock jock, but that’s how this stuff gets categorized.
RUSH: Now here is the second sound bite from public radio in New York yesterday. This is a writer named Lawrence Wright with his new book, God Save Texas: A Journey Into the Soul of the Lone Star State. So he’s just described in Texas who listens to AM, and that means what they are and who they are politically. And he points out that the AM band in Texas is ascendant right now.
Now, for those of you in Rio Linda, that means it’s climbing, that means it’s growing, that means it’s getting higher. When you descend something, you’re going down. When you ascend you’re going up. And he makes that point, then shifting to FM.
WRIGHT: The AM band is in ascendant in politics right now, but the FM is just as much a part of Texas as the AM. It’s urbane, it’s metropolitan, it’s you know, sophisticated and it sounds just like radio anywhere you would go, any FM station. And it really expresses the soul of the cities which are blue and which are sophisticated and very much part of the rest of America. The cities are blue, period. The rural culture has been red for a considerable amount of time, but that’s not where the growth is. The growth is all in the cities and the suburbs and you know the political demography of the suburbs is beginning to drift away from that solid red core.
RUSH: So AM radio: people in the sticks, hayseed hicks, unsophisticated. FM radio: cities, blue, sophisticated. He said that two different times in this bite. The cities are blue, sophisticated, very much part of the rest of America. The red part is the hayseed, the hicks out there. And this is the way the left looks at this country. And that’s what this guy is doing here. He says the AM band is ascending right now in politics, which upsets them.
RUSH: We’re gonna start with Dave in Gurnee, Illinois. Dave, I’m glad you waited. And greetings. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. You started out the program talking about NPR and trying to define AM talk radio. And this is to the point of the audacity and arrogance of NPR. NPR defines AM talk radio, they try to put it in a nice, neat right-wing defined box, while NPR is actually deep state run radio funded with our taxpayer dollars, which would not even be able to stand on its own within the free market system. AM radio is free enterprise, talk free expression, while NPR is state funded, radical left-wing agenda with only one message: the left-wing agenda, the left-wing message.
RUSH: Well, that’s true. What he’s talking about, the first part of the program today, NPR trying to explain to its audience about Texas, the Democrats desperately want Texas to turn blue. So they tent a reporter down there, and this guy found out that you can define Texas by AM and FM radio, the hayseed, hick conservatives, the all-God religious nuts, they listen to AM.
But the urbane, sophisticated, smart people listen to FM. And they are in the cities. And the AM audience is in the sticks, hayseeds and so forth and so on. And it was just another attempt at impugning conservatism. But your real good point is that NPR doesn’t exist without the American people’s tax dollars sustaining it. It’s not a free market enterprise.
RUSH: This is Evan in Concho, Arizona. Great to have you, sir. How you doing?
CALLER: Good morning. I was saying to your call screener, there is no truth in images. There’s only truth in words. And the proof of that is we don’t say things like, oh, you can count on his image or he gave his image or man shall not live by bread alone or by every image that proceeds from God. Words are where truth is at. And radio’s focus is words. Television’s focus is image. And it’s easy to see why conservatives rule talk radio and liberals have television.
RUSH: You know, I didn’t know where you were headed with this, but I have to tell you that is an interesting take on this. You say a person gives his word that something he says is true, gives his word that something he promises to do he will do. He doesn’t say, “Here, let me give you this image and let that tell you that I’m telling the truth.” It’s clever. It’s humorous. It’s funny. It also happens to be true.
There also is a reason, folks. I can’t tell you the number of times that people have asked me in all of these years, how come the liberals bomb on radio? And I’ve had my answers. And there are probably as many answers as there are questions. But this guy, Evan here in Concho, Arizona, says words — I’ve said it myself; words mean things. Words are the truth, and the truth is not — look. I know they say the same thing about us, but I’m telling you, they are not about truth.
They have their truth, and anything outside their truth is not permitted. They’re not interested in free and open debate. They’re not interested in the exchange of ideas. They’re interested in their version of whatever, and anything else is not gonna be heard, is gonna be silenced or shut down if they can. And that’s true. They can’t debate because they don’t think they should have to. There is no debate because there is nothing legitimate outside what they believe.
They do not believe they should even have to persuade people. People who don’t believe are to be written off and silenced or what have you. There’s a lot of other reasons too. They don’t understand entrepreneurism and actual business. They understand funding and donations and this kind of thing. But I think it’s rooted in content, like he says. I really do think that’s why they bomb.