Twenty years ago The Beast was mired in a nowhere route-sales job that required he spend long hours wandering New Hampshire and Maine in a decaying Chevy Van. This rusty behemoth reeked of a decade of failure sweat and spilled coffee. It hated hills, inclines and pretty much anything else topped with tar, although the Beast once managed to force it to ford a stream (got a little confused about where a back road was supposed to come out). The only thing that worked well on it was a dusty GM Delco am radio, which actually turned out to be so powerful it could potentially intercept space shuttle transmissions.
The Beast scorned this little low-tech radio for months: a.m. radio? Who listens to a.m. these days? But the tedium got to him eventually and he started dialing around.
That’s how he discovered talk radio.
Talk radio in 1987 was very different than now. Mostly it was local. WRKO out of Massachusetts featured in-studio hosts all day. It also came in the best. It featured people like Gene Burns and Jerry Williams. Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr came later. They were mostly libertarian-liberal, like the rest of the broadcast media. There were a few syndicated shows around during the day – Owen Span comes to mind – but again mostly center left in political orientation. The Beast listened to them all and was relatively content.
One July week syndicated host Owen Span announced his retirement. That following Monday the Beast tuned into his slot, eager to see what had replaced him. His ancient mono speakers went fuzzy with the stress of a hot pumping bass beat. Suddenly a voice trumpeted in perfect iambic: “Wiiiiith TALENT on LOAN from GOD!”
Wow. This was new. Who is this dude?
New, indeed. The Beast realized quite quickly that not only was this guy funny but <gasp> a conservative as well! An actual conservative on the radio!
Happy nineteenth anniversary, Rush!