A week ago Wednesday, RedState shared the breaking news that Dittoheads all across the fruited plain had been dreading for months: Rush Limbaugh had passed away.
In the wake of anyone’s death, our immediate thoughts are of their loved ones and their welfare. But in El Rushbo’s case, over his decades of radio broadcasting, his takes on politics came to be considered by some in the Republican base, to borrow a phrase from another medium, ‘appointment radio.’
Alongside great thinkers like Thomas Sowell, whom I wrote about Tuesday, Rush served as a foundational fount to many of what the word ‘conservatism’ is and should stand for. (You can find ample evidence of this in my colleagues’ writings from the past week, which our editor Streiff linked here for easy perusal.)
One of those was by Mike Ford, whose focus was not just on reminiscing, but what comes next.
And editor Brandon Morse’s piece concluded:
His radio show was capable of ruining narratives, changing minds, and teaching people to think for themselves.
He continued to go undefeated and in the end, it took his own body to stop him.
It turns out even that might not stop the Excellence in Broadcasting (EIB) network the icon nurtured all these years.
I’m a regular listener to the show, but hadn’t tuned in since hearing the sad news Wednesday. Then on Monday morning, I read that one of my colleagues, Thomas LaDuke, had dedicated the entirety of his over-the-air radio show to Rush. He posts about his shows here at RedState.
But it was two comments on his piece that got me wondering about the future of Rush’s show.
One reader wrote, in part:
While [guest host] Mark Steyn always does a fantastic job, he was playing some of Rush’s greatest hits and speaking with emotional fans…i got choked up all over again.
I don’t know what will happen with those three hours moving forward but, hearing Rush explain how his show got the Pretenders song, and how Chrissie Hynde was all for it out of respect for her father who was a Dittohead.
I always wondered how it happened.
And another reader shared that “[a]pparently, his show will remain on the air for now using archived clips and a rotation of guest hosts.”
Suddenly, I knew I needed to listen to “The Rush Limbaugh Show” that day.
Monday’s show, it turned out, had a special guest: Rush’s widow, Kathryn. And not only did guest host Mark Steyn speak to her, but she’d agreed to take calls from listeners — a fitting and touching “memorial.” She ended up remaining on-air for two hours, in fact.
During those two hours, audio clips of Rush were interwoven around the listeners’ comments and questions (and Kathryn’s replies). One clip included Rush talking about “Rush Revere,” then a new series of children’s books about American history he and his wife created.
There was also audio from shortly after he and Kathryn wed, in which Rush explained to an audience, which had grown more akin to family members than fans, why he’d kept the relationship so close to the vest. (He was a deeply-private person and wanted to stay that way, he said.)
Throughout the show Monday, Steyn confirmed that the program “isn’t going anywhere” for the foreseeable future, and would be keeping this evolving format that includes Rush’s voice.
It’s a smart move. On this Wednesday’s show, Todd Herman, another regular fill-in host, especially over the past year since Rush’s cancer diagnosis, played a still-relevant clip of Rush talking about why the Left is so adamant about passing a $15.00 federal minimum wage. (Their motivation for nearly everything they do — to pull as many able-bodied Americans as possible into dependence on the government — has not and will not change.)
As Joe Cunningham wrote about his radio role model, as a fledgling, news talk station employee:
Rush created the model that hosts who want to be syndicated go by. He created an industry that radio hosts and stations benefit from. That won’t be destroyed overnight, and it’s not something that will simply collapse because he’s gone.
And neither, it appears, will the EIB network, the radio edifice Rush Limbaugh built brick by brick.
Though it will be more than a week since Rush’s passing by the time the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) gets going on Thursday, everyone in attendance will have a visible reminder of El Rushbo; as Jennifer Oliver O’Connell reported, because this year’s event is being held in Orlando, FL, thanks to the China plague, all flags on public buildings in the Sunshine state have been lowered to half-staff in his honor — thanks to Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.
Update: take a listen to Kathryn Limbaugh remembering Rush, while taking calls from his fans, on the February 22nd show.