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Television: Limbaugh changed the way we listen and watch

Rush Limbaugh was more than an instigating, controversial radio commentator who brought his unique take on conservative politics to millions of listeners each weekday at noon.

He was an innovator and pioneer who took talk radio to a new and different kind of popularity, spawning in his wide wake others such as Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck who would present the right of center point of view to both partisans and the curious on airwaves that covered every corner of the United States.

Like Limbaugh or hate him, he deserves incalculable credit for creating a fresh brand of radio that his adversaries to the left of center could never duplicate.

Limbaugh is among the ranks of broadcasting legends such as Phil Donahue, Steve Allen, Ed Sullivan, Lawrence E. Spivak, Dave Garroway, Mark Goodson, Bill Todman, Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Howard Stern, Lucille Ball, Jack Webb, and others who initiated program formats that became large and intricate genres thriving beyond their origins to become part of both history and legend. Someone has to be the first to build a mass audience from a new concept, be it topical talk, a late-night talk-variety show, a general variety show, a weekly on-air press conference, an in-depth news digest, or an entertainment series, and Limbaugh was that first in presenting politics to radio listeners in a pompous, authoritative, way that was also researched, logical, and pointed.

Sure, myriad political talk shows came and went before anyone heard of Rush Limbaugh. Yes, there were demagogues whether they be called Father Coughlin or some Socialist counterpart in the Cold War days. But no one turned political radio, and more precisely conservative radio, into an entity of might, influence, and loyalty like Limbaugh. To many listeners, Rush was the Gospel, the man who told them what they needed to hear to

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