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Old 04-25-2015, 08:57 AM
Location: Pittsburgh
7,542 posts, read 8,081,603 times
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Before Rush Limbaugh, most radio talk programs were caller driven, where those who dialed in set the pace of the program and determined where it was going.

Limbaugh changed the paradigm, particularly with his nationwide audience. lots of people calling in and call screening methodology, to make the show about him.

Old school radio talk hosts were just as opinionated as Mr. Limbaugh is- some of them were just as witty- but none of them really mastered the control of the airwaves that Limbaugh did.
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Old 04-25-2015, 10:00 AM
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I remember talk radio in the 1980's and early 90's as a kid. I used to listen Tom Snyder and Larry King and it was a guest driven show. At that time Rush was climbing big time. I remember people would complain to Tom and Larry on open phones that they were not as entertaining as Rush. Larry from what I remember said he did not listen to Rush for some time, I believe until the 90's. He said when he finally listened to him, he thought he was a right wing wacko. Tom Snyder called him Uncle Rush, the opinionated uncle at holiday parties. He said he did find Rush entertaining but if you listen to him for a week, you can predict what he will say in terms of issues for the rest of the year. I don't think Tom or Larry understood the Rush phenomenon. It reminds me of more recently CNN losing too the more entertaining Fox News.
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Old 04-25-2015, 10:23 AM
1,934 posts, read 1,326,980 times
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Originally Posted by tantan1968 View Post
What was talk radio like in the days before Rush Limbaugh ??

There was no talk radio before Rush. What you need to ask yourself is what talk radio is like AFTER Rush. He really tapped into a popular vein, judging by the number of conservative imitators.
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Old 04-25-2015, 10:33 AM
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Of course there was talk radio before Rush.

Maybe you were too young to remember it.
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Old 04-25-2015, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by VJDAY81445 View Post
Of course there was talk radio before Rush.

Maybe you were too young to remember it.
I'm old enough to remember Eisenhower. You must be talking about Father Coughlin's radio show back in the 40s. Other than him, I can't think of one.

Of course there was talk radio. Local.

But there was no national talk radio. The repeal of the Fairness Doctrine paved the way for it, in 1989.
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Old 04-25-2015, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by VJDAY81445 View Post
Larry King had a late night talk show on in the late 60's early 70's.

I listened to it while driving the 30 miles to my 3 AM job.

There were some weird people who called. Larry King once said he thought the mental hospital allowed their patients one phone call per month and they all used it to call Larry King.

Larry was a liberal and there were a few callers with a southern drawl who really knew how to get under Larry's skin.

To the poster who denied there was talk shows before Rush.

Yes, Larry King was nation wide
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Old 04-25-2015, 12:09 PM
Location: Nebraska
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Joe Pine was one of the earliest Talk Shows I remember.
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Old 04-25-2015, 02:34 PM
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There were all-talk stations before Rush, not counting the all-news formats. Chicago had all-sports stations, along with all talk stations, including WIND. That was the home of "Chicago" Eddie Schwartz and Dave Baum, along with others I don't remember.

The shows would sometimes be on political or social subjects, sometimes about what kind of pets you had.

A big reason for the change in the talk format was that more talk was needed to fill the schedule of stations that had previously been all-music, like WLS-AM in Chicago. As FM stations range extended, then the inferior quality of AM could not sustain music formats.

Add to that the arrival of shock-jocks. Steve Dahl in Chicago started with a music show, then progressively talked more and played less music, while keeping or gaining ratings, until the point where it was all talk.

There were also late evening radio-advice-psychiatrist shows which I would switch off quickly.

KFI in Los Angeles had to morph from a music to talk station, and for years presented both right and left points of view. Tom Leykis had a talk show in the afternoon, but listners in SoCal tired of a daily hour on abortion. As KFI grew to understand the audience, they drifted to a right-leaning format, with a local emphasis. They used to have Rush on in the AM, but switched him to an affiliated station and added a local host to KFI.

That need for talk over music had to have been a factor in the rise of Rush as AM stations looked for content, which is why it appears that Rush was the beginning of the talk format.
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Old 04-25-2015, 02:45 PM
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Originally Posted by Gunluvver2 View Post
Joe Pine was one of the earliest Talk Shows I remember.
I was going to mention Pine as well and cite him as an example of an early shock jock approach. Pine was a wounded veteran and all USA conservative and hard core supporter of the Vietnam War. He hated the counter culture, he hated hippies, he hated feminists, so naturally the majority of his callers were counter culture hippies and feminists. Pine insulted them all.

In the '70's he had a tv program on UHF that I saw a few times. My favorite was one where he had these two hippie dudes on who were currently running a commune in some old Scottish castle. Pine attacked the entire setup, pointing out that they would all soon be evicted because they had no money for the rental. The hippies cheerfully admitted that this was the case, but didn't care. They would move on to something else. Aren't you defrauding the people who live there now Pine demanded? The hippies cheerfully admitted that you could see it that way. It went on like that the whole segment, whatever outrage Pine charged them with, they owned up to it with a smile, nothing seemed to bother them. Pine was left completely frustrated.
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Old 04-25-2015, 05:09 PM
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Talk radio as we know it today is more formulaic and highly segmentized. I can recall Larry Glick out of Boston (Radio 1030 WBZ Boston; two five four, five six seven eight) late at night. It was more along the lines of a variety show. Talk Radio hosts were more local and civil like having an open living room / town hall feel. As long as someone called with something entertaining they usually were ok. Glick would have hilarious calls or audio sketches he'd replay. Some classic's were the southern caller reading the newspaper story of the pet Orangatun or the graveyard marauder story at Halloween.

Pete Franklin did Sports talk out of Cleveland and then near end of career, in NYC and SFO with not as much success. He was great entertainer. He perfected the art of insulting or excoriating stupid people who would call in. Yet, he could on occasion diverge from his 'schtick' and speak eloquently about anything from classic cinema, philosophy and other topics. His show like other local ones would attract a stable of regular callers. This was also before corporate entities exerted as much power. When Ted Stepien owned the Cleveland Cavaliers and rapidly destroyed them - the only owner to have been determined by the league to be too stupid (T.S. = Too Stupid, was Pete's moniker for him) to make any trades without league approval - he was inspiration for new league rules about limiting trading future draft picks.

Bruce Williams was on late night also with a variety of mostly finance, and everyday issues as topics. Bruce was very good in helping disseminate thoughtful everyday wisdom and common sense.

What happened since Rush came on is a focus on political theater featuring strident partisanship with a pompous windbag approach. The whole point of speaking with supposed authority is considered good radio since it stirs the pot. Rush is very good at pointing out the double standards of 'The Left" as he likes to bloviate, but seems to have acute amnesia about the double standards of 'The Right'. Rush stopped being funny around mid 90s.

The call screening to sell his narrative is just as egregious as the "Left" he mocks. What he's turned into, is a corporate shill to keep the false paradigm of "left" vs. "right" going, without considering political ideas outside the nine dots of the controlled mass media. [Nine Dots being a reference to the infamous connect the nine dots exercise - you have to go outside the boundary of the nine dots to do so.]

Tom Snyder was excellent radio show host (as well as TV - he used to do a late show after Letterman I think. Snyder was funny, well spoken, quick and direct. I don't think those things are valued as much anymore as the corporate shills took over and segmentized talk radio into very banal realms. Locally now the best talk will be found in strange places like the radio shows where regular people try to sell their stuff over radio.

The overnight shows dedicated to conspiracy theories / ufos / bigfoot / mystic / paranormal et. al. occasionally have a good guest on but they are just as often a packaged set of infomercial like blather with same guests selling their stuff based on fear.
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