“The Rush Limbaugh Show” will remain on the air in its regular time slot for the time being until listeners are “prepared to say goodbye.”
Conservative icon Rush Limbaugh had been battling advanced lung cancer for over a year and died Wednesday at the age of 70, leaving the fate of his beloved talk radio show up in the air.
Premiere Network said in a memo that the show will continue to air in its regular noon to 3 p.m. time slot using archived segments and clips primarily with Limbaugh’s voice, “until his audience is prepared to say goodbye,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
“No one can replace Rush Limbaugh,” senior vice president Hosea Belcher said.
Guest hosts like Mark Steyn, Todd Herman and Ken Matthews will help with new segments addressing the day’s news.
Limbaugh had played a consequential role in conservative politics since his radio show began in 1988.
His show was the most listened-to in the United States and had over 20 million monthly listeners as of the end of 2020, according to data from Nielsen Audio.
“Conservative talk radio is very invested in the live experience,” said Megan Liberman, head of news, talk and entertainment programming for Sirius XM Holdings.
“These shows have a really interactive audience.”
Limbaugh kept AM radio alive for many decades as most people moved to the internet and satellite radio.
“As the radio industry changed, he didn’t have to,” said Chris Roberts, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Alabama.
“One man changed so many trajectories in this country. When Rush began his career, there were 1,200 radio stations, roughly, doing the talk radio format. Today, there are over 12,000,” Snerdley said.
“There was nowhere on TV that you could get conservative ideology, that you could get the values that represent what most Americans believe until Rush. He changed the media. He changed the landscape.”
The “Rush Limbaugh Show” earned a variety of awards and honors, helping Limbaugh win a place in the Radio Hall of Fame and National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, according to KSTU-TV.
Longtime listener Trent Smith of Conroe, Texas, said without Limbaugh, he will most likely listen to more podcasts, like Joe Rogan, instead of tuning in to talk radio.
“Rush was AM radio,” he said. “There’s probably a lot of radio stations scratching their heads wondering what are we going to do in the middle of the day.”
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