In 1988, my dad was raving about this brash young conservative named Rush Limbaugh, and after a lot of prodding, we finally listened to him together. And…I was hooked. For a dozen years thereafter, Rush would be both a political guide and a friend. Of course, he had no idea who I was. But it’s safe to say that if it weren’t for Rush, I wouldn’t be writing this today.
Now, you might be thinking that I was some sort of rube or aspiring young fascist. Not so. When I started listening, Rush was still in his 30s and living in New York City. He was tech savvy and sophisticated (he even went on a dinner/date with Maureen Dowd, who would later write that “He talked about Chopin’s Polonaise No. 6, C.S. Lewis and how much he loved the end of the movie ‘Love Story.’ In those days, he called himself a ‘harmless little fuzzball,’ before adding: “He’s a lot less harmless now.” (By contrast, I was the son of a prison guard, in my early teens, living in Wolfsville, Maryland. I didn’t have the internet, cable TV, or any dates, much less Maureen Dowd-level dates.)
There’s something magical about the intimacy of radio that younger readers simply cannot possibly appreciate. The medium fosters a uniquely strong emotional connection between listener and host. I suspect this has something to do with the amount of mundane time you spend together (for decades, Rush was on for three hours a day, five days a week).