By Nancy Almasi
Many NFRW members were saddened to hear of the death of Rush Limbaugh after a long and valiant battle against lung cancer.
On social media, several of our NFRW sisters referred to themselves as "Limbaugh babies" and commented on how much his show influenced their political opinions. He was a pioneer for bringing conservative viewpoints to talk radio and launching the careers of other conservatives.
Rush Limbaugh – like many American pioneers –filled a void. After the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, Limbaugh was able to take the ignored AM radio format and turn it into a powerful vehicle to express his conservative opinions through a combination of earnest editorializing and unabashed (some would say outrageous) humor.
Rush viewed his audience as the forgotten men and women who make up the backbone of American society, believe in American exceptionalism and are proud patriots. This group, often derided as “deplorable” or “bitter clingers to their guns and religion,” found their niche in Limbaugh’s show. He helped launch a movement that culminated in the election of Donald Trump in 2016.
Conservative talk radio remains at the top of the ratings. Air America tried to challenge Rush with its network of hosts, but the market for liberal talk radio just isn’t there. Rush also spurred the careers of other conservative talk show hosts such as Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, and Ben Shapiro. While he lived on the airwaves, the talk format he created was repeated on television and podcasts. Rush Limbaugh was the tip of the spear.
Talk radio has given conservatives a power platform to express their views and ideas. Elected officials, candidates running for office, and activists all use this media to be heard by like-minded voters as well as detractors.
“The NFRW appreciates the invaluable platform radio brings for our organization and Republican Party,” NFRW President Ann Schockett said. “In my role as NFRW President, I have been privileged to do many radio interviews and have appeared as a guest on radio shows to promote our organization and our Republican values and principles that our members work so hard to uphold. We are also in the process of building a studio at NFRW so that we can continue to expand on our programming and media efforts.”
Rush Limbaugh’s legacy is one of which conservatives will never be afraid to use their voices to express their opinions about their vision for America. And America is better for it.
Nancy Almasi is immediate past president of Colonial Mount Vernon Republican Women (VA) and serves as an at-large member for the Virginia Federation of Republican Women as its public relations chair.