Missing Rush Limbaugh
I miss Rush Limbaugh. But probably for different reasons than most people.
The other day I was looking up some things Clay Travis and Buck Sexton were talking about and went to their website to get some information. And being there, the design of their website reminded me of the RushLimbaugh.com website. I decided to see if that was still up and operating, and sure enough it was. There was, of course, no new content, no recap of the days broadcast, but there were some archive stories and videos available. One of the free videos was of Rush's last day on the air before succumbing to cancer. I clicked on it, and listened for a few minutes, and realized I missed his voice, and listening to him.
But the reason I miss his show is not for what he said, but for the way he said, or maybe more specific, why he felt compelled to have his voice heard. To me it wasn't the politics, it wasn't causing outrage in those with a more progressive mind set, it wasn't throwing what he termed the mainstream media in to a tizzy, although all of that was interesting.
It's a much simpler thing to me. Rush was a radio guy (I suppose I should say person). From the get go, Rush wanted to be on the radio. His parents tried to dissuade him from that path, but after trying college for about a year, Rush, using the stage name Jeff Christie, started as a DJ at WIXY radio in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. I could detail the stops Rush made from there, but that history has been pretty well documented, and if you want to find out more you can get the information from Wikipedia or other sources. Anyone who has listened to Rush will know he told his listeners he was fired several times. But he had this unstoppable desire to be on the radio, and you could tell it.
The first time I heard Rush I was out in my carport in Salt Lake City working on some project. A fellow radio worker told me, you should listen to this guy. The total hours I had listened to Talk Radio to this point was zero, but I trusted this friend, and dialed over to the AM station that was broadcasting Rush at the time, and to be honest, I didn't know if the AM part of my radio still worked. It did, and I was captivated. “This guy is having FUN” was the first thing I thought, and from that moment on, there was a kind of connection between us. More than anything, I could tell he wanted to be on the radio. He didn't stumble in to radio after something else. He wasn't doing radio to promote a his tv show. He wanted to be on the radio. I love radio, and I knew from the start, that Rush did, too.
I could list the parodies, the considered by some outrageous updates he did, some of his more perceived bombastic stances and all the things that brought him notoriety (good and bad). But the thing that made Rush Limbaugh important to me, is that he was my friend. No we didn't hang out. We met only briefly once at a broadcasters convention in Las Vegas and I'm sure he would carry no memory of it. But I do. More important though, I remember day after day, hearing his voice come on the radio, someone who really wanted to be there. Wanted to be on the radio.
While I think most will remember Rush for his unwavering conservative viewpoints, and thought provoking comments on policy and society, I remember him for a couple of other reasons. When Rush's dad passed away, he got very personal and emotional about the connection he had with his father. It was raw, and very emotional, and very human. And then there was the last marvelous year of his show when he let us all know his situation with his health. He shared it all, as a friend would share with friends.
A few weeks ago, when Vin Scully (another amazing broadcaster) passed away, I posted on Facebook “Baseball died last night.” In reflection, that was probably some hyperbole on my part. A part of baseball died. So, too, when we lost Rush. A part of radio died. And I miss it.