Art Bell, then Larry King, now Rush.
Best AM radio station in creation is now in Heaven.
All three were giants for different reasons. I’ve been in the radio biz for over 30 years (first on the air in 1978) and if not for these three, AM Radio would have died decades ago.
Larry King’s Mutual show was the soundtrack for the night, and really set a standard. I had a 7-midnight talk show (long freaking talk show, but I was in my 20s, so wth) on WTVN/Columbus, Ohio, and would listen to Larry on my drive home. Always great.
Art took overnight radio on a different, winding path that was game changing. He popped up nationally, in the early 90s, and his weird (in a mainstream way) quirky show, sounded (presentation-wise) a lot like Larry’s, but couldn’t have been more opposed. Him, I listend to every day on my drive to work when I was doing Mornings in Washington, DC on WASH-FM. Even though I listened to Art for years after that, when I hear Art’s name out of the blue, I still flash on driving through Georgetown, and up Wisconsin Avenue on my way to the station.
Rush, though, reinvented daytime talk radio, and invented CONSERVATIVE radio. Sure, there were others, but none were anywhere near as successful as Rush in the 80s. SO many of today’s Conservative voices are directly descended from Rush, it’s not even funny. Rush was the right guy at the right time when the Bill Clinton was elected, and Rush on the radio was like Lebron James getting alley-oops every night. The real test, though, was when G.W. Bush was elected, and the show got even better. At that point, it didn’t matter who was in the White House. Rush was going to score 30 every game.
He started out on a station in his hometown of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, as “Rusty Sharpe,” then went to a station in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, followed by a job in Pittsburgh, where he was told by his Program Director (a position obviously requiring great wisdom and intelligence) that he would never make it on the air. He went into Sales, did well, but ultimately returned to the air on KUDL in Kansas City. He was fired from that job, but got a gig at another station in town and then went to work for a time for the Kansas City Royals baseball team. Going back on the air (again) in Kansas City, he began using his real name, and that’s when his career took off. While on the air in Sacramento, California, Rush was heard by former ABC Radio President Edward McLaughlin, and made the move to New York in 1988 to start at WABC Radio, and started syndication in 1988.
Sure, Rush had his problems. Addiction to the Vicodin got to him, and prescription painkillers are like war. Easy to get into, a bitch to get out of. After it cost him his hearing (and that takes a LOT of Vike – TV’s House would have said “Dude, you have a problem”), he beat it, though his methods for obtaining the scripts ended up costing him a criminal charge. He beat that, though, and though many detractors slammed him for it (a few of them undoubtedly throwing back a couple Oxys while doing so) he did the right thing. Stood tall and worked it out honorably.
In the end, it was lung cancer that got him. He smoked cigarettes for years (referencing his “formerly nicotine stained fingers” often), he quit decades ago, although he continued to smoke cigars.
Rush was one of a kind, who inspired millions and gave AM Radio new life. “Missed” can’t even begin to describe how many, many people think of Rush Limbaugh. Most of the time, in my career, listening to Rush involved tuning in a competing station, because most of my jobs were on the FM dial. During my time in Phoenix, working in a cluster of 8 stations, I would often guest or fill-in on KFYI, the only set of call letters I ever shared with Rush, and I have to say, it was wonderful being on same station. He was a legend.
RIP, Rush. You did good.
Best show on TV right now? Definitely Yellowstone. Oh yea. Yellowstone. Hadn’t watched it yet, though I love shows that use a lot of country music, but for some reason, hadn’t dipped into Kevin Costner‘s latest addition to a really amazing body of work.
Was visiting my folks last week, and my Dad is a fan of the show, so one night, it was up in his recorded list to watch, and we did. The episode cued up was Season 3, Episode 7, the most recent aired being S3 Ep9. Watching it was seeing the characters and story arcs almost completely up to date. I have to say, watching your first episode of a multi-season show late in the current run is great.
When I got back home, I bought all three seasons from Amazon Prime, and binged. Just today, I came up to the that episode I watched with my Dad, and it was almost like watching it for the first time. I could see how each of the characters had grown, and how the stories had developed. As weird as it it might be, I highly recommend it.
Some of the things I thought when I watched S3 E7 the first time were pretty accurate, some weren’t, and a couple were “OH! I understand now!”
The one that’s funny was a makeup thing. I noticed that Kelly Reilly‘s character, Beth, had a mark under her left right eye. I noticed it in the first scene I saw with her. She and Costner’s character, John Dutton, Beth’s father, had an emotional father/daughter scene, in which she cries a little. I could see the tear running right down that mark under her eye, so I’m thought is that from her tears messing up her makeup on a previous take? I couldn’t believe they could be that sloppy. Then, I saw it in a later scene, and that mostly ruled the makeup accident unlikely. Then, watching the series from the beginning, I saw she didn’t have the mark early in the show.
Of course, once I worked my way through Yellowstone, the whole thing got cleared up for me!
It’s really great TV, and looking at the credits, I saw one of the big reasons why. Two of the driving forces behind the show are John Linson and his father, Art Linson. Kurt Sutter, the creator of Sons of Anarchy, has said that without John Linson, SOA would never have happened. Of course, Yellowstone isn’t quite as violent as SOA, but it has its moments. The family drama and sharp storytelling is there. The creator of the show, is Taylor Sheridan, who SOA fans know as Deputy Chief David Hale, who…Oops, almost spoiled. Anyway, Sheridan has a winner here, and I have to believe that one of the reasons is he clearly knows the subject matter he’s writing and producing about. Sheridan appears in a couple episodes as a rancher from Texas, whose equestrian skills are clearly not learned to ride for the show. He knows how, and shows it.
I know, I know.
There are only 3 episodes left. What will you DO after the finale?
Fear not. I’ve got your back.
I hear a lot about the “originality” of the HBO production of Game of Thrones. Now, don’t get me wrong. I like the show. I loved the books, even though George R.R. Martin dramatically slowed down writing them, allowing the series to slide past the books in terms of telling the story. When told of his readers’ dissatisfaction, this was his reaction:
Some of this was…kinda complimentary, considering Martin isn’t a spring chicken any longer. He’s not that old, but still. Some readers are definitely concerned he’ll die before finishing the book series, and that would be…well, terrible.
But seriously, books aside, what are you going to do when GoT ends? I’ve got a series of books for you to read that honestly, is partially responsible for Game of Thrones.
In January of 1990, Robert Jordan published the book he had started writing in 1984, The Eye of the World. The series that sprang from that book became The Wheel of Time, consisting of 14 books (plus a much shorter novella). The finale, A Memory of Light, was published in 2013, almost 6 years after Jordan died. Fortunately, Jordan had prepared extensive notes prior to his death, and the excellent novelist Brandon Samuelson was engaged to finish the last book and a half. He did a fantastic job, completing the complex narrative in a most satisfying way.
So, the idea of a popular novelist dying before finishing his series isn’t unheard of.
I’m not sure about the relationship between George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan, and don’t even know if they knew each other. But, let me warn you: If you begin reading Jordan’s work and find yourself thinking hey, this guy’s ripping off Game of Thrones!.
No, he didn’t. Not saying the opposite is true, just saying WoT was first published in 1990. The first book in the GoT series, A Song of Ice and Fire popped off the presses in 1996. The stories are very different, but both relate to a coming darkness, and the need for many warring nations to come together to defeat the encroaching evil. There’s no real “game of thrones,” but there is much discussion and narrative regarding a “game of houses,” where different families play politics that can get pretty involved.
If you give WoT a try, please resist blaming Jordan for copying Game of Thrones because he’s not. Not saying Martin copied the Wheel of Time series, just that there will things that remind you of GoT.