Bill is absolutely right. I was chit-chatting about this with Sean Hannity (whose first national audience was as a guest-host for Rush) off-air during a commercial break at Fox News a couple of months back. Sean pointed out that Rush’s three-hour block is the anchor around which hundreds of talk stations build the schedule. Just so: Once you’ve got Rush, you figure out what to program before him and after him, and pretty soon you’ve filled up the day. But, without Rush, it’s not clear whether many of these guys would even be in the political talk business at all: He’s your audience base, and your advertising base — the man who sells enough airtime to protect you from an ill-advised gamble elsewhere in the roster.
Rush took a rotting abandoned hulk — AM radio — and reinvented it as a new conservative medium. Critics such as our former colleague David Frum miss the larger point: It’s not just about his opinions on this or that policy issue or candidate, but about a strategic savvy few other folks on our side of the aisle can demonstrate.
I owe him a lot personally, and I hope he rests up for whatever time he needs, and then comes back and sticks it to the naysayers till mid-century.