Replacing Rush


The speculation begins, including in this column in The New York Times, about who might be radio’s next big conservative star. As writer Michael Grynbaum points out, Jimmy Fallon may host “The Tonight Show,” but he’ll never be Johnny Carson. The column also includes insight from Talkers Publisher Michael Harrison.


  1. As far as insight, charisma, and the likability factor, I think Dan Bongino would perform very well. The audience knows him, from the multiple sub stints for Mark Levin, appearances on Hannity, other conservative network TV news programs, and his podcast. He would just have to get used to creating 3 hours of content everyday rather than an average of just one.

  2. There is no one even close to Rush’s charismatic style or level of popularity. You don’t create that overnight. (Although it would be interesting if Trump took on the challenge) The next closest is Hannity, but because of his existing contracts with Salem & IHeart, being on the east coast where his show starts mid afternoon, and the preference of Premiere to keep Sean in afternoon drive that couldn’t even be considered for some time.

    That said, in harmony with Robert’s comment, stations will do their own thing. What really made Rush impressive among so many things was that he had the most listened to show in America and it was mid day, not morning or afternoon drive.

    Looking back at times when Rush changed stations, that’s exactly what the losing station did. Dave Ramsey may gain several stations out of this in small markets, not because he is like Rush in any shape or form, but rather he is an established name that is not tied to Premiere or Westwood One and has been moved to that slot in other east coast markets already. Plante may be moved there by Cumulus stations, but because he is property of Westwood One, Premiere won’t bring him on IHeart stations.

    Might Premiere throw us a curveball and put a female in the noon-3 option? There would be less pressure because it is such a departure from Rush, and would bring a fresh new audience to the platform. Time will tell.

    For news talk to survive now it puts a heavier responsibility on local morning drive hosts to be even more relevant, informative, comforting, and to a degree entertaining. They can’t rely on Rush anymore to keep listeners staying on the station. That said I do think we will see local morning hosts potentially expand to multiple stations in a statewide or regional way (like Armstrong & Getty) because of the lack of money or talent in certain markets.

    The loss of Rush could either be a death blow to certain stations (as it has happened to some stations he moved from) or it could be an opportunity to reshape the lineup, and develop local talent to make a station even more local and relevant.

    This is going to be interesting to watch.

  3. So, what do I think will happen in the time slot that Rush occupied? In some of the larger markets, I believe several stations will choose to go with a local host. Since it’s midday in the eastern side of the country, they may also choose to start a local ‘news hour’.

    In smaller markets, where money may be an issue in hiring and producing for a local host, stations continue with a nationally syndicated host. An obvious example would be Westwood One’s Chris Plante, who was already competing with Rush in the time slot. Another clear choice would be Salem’s Dennis Prager, in markets without a Salem O&O outlet; Prager is also currently broadcasting in the 12-3 Eastern time frame.

    While I very much mourn the loss of Rush, it will be interesting to see how this all shakes out at the 600+ stations carried his show for all these years.

  4. Rush is irreplaceable.

    Stations will obviously fill the time slot with someone else, but there is no ‘replacing’ Rush Limbaugh.


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