Shortly before I left for vacation, I appeared on Bill Bennett’s radio show to debate him about Donald Trump. I wrote about that conversation in the most recent Goldberg File.
I still disagree with Bill about all of that. But I don’t want to let that disagreement get in the way of something more important: Saying farewell. Bill’s radio show is winding down this month. He’ll be succeeded by the inestimable Hugh Hewitt — I said “succeeded” to avoid using “replaced,” an inappropriate word for such a singular person as Bill Bennett (and for that matter Hugh Hewitt).
As many Corner readers know, I often listen to NPR in the mornings when perambulating my canines. I still do, but not as much. Increasingly, whenever the “news” turned from the news to some eleven-minute survey of the latest developments in World Music or whatnot, I found myself switching over to Morning in America. If I have been not an altogether constant listener – the show is three hours long! – I have been a decidedly loyal one.
Bill is not what most people immediately think of when they hear the phrase “talk-radio host.” He doesn’t yell. He enjoys listening. He treats radio as a cool medium, to borrow a phrase from Marshall McLuhan. His friendly, welcoming, and above all thoughtful approach was particularly well-suited for a show that started at 6:00 a.m. He had some of the best interviews – and callers – on talk radio. I’m sure Hugh will do great in that slot. But he will make it his own, and rightly so.
I’m sorry that my last appearance on Morning in America was the only one that had Bill and me seriously disagreeing about anything. But despite that disagreement, Bill kept the conversation friendly, welcoming, and above all thoughtful. Because that’s who the man is. He’ll be missed. (And yes, I know he’ll still be doing stuff for Salem radio, and that’s great. But it’s not the same.)