Every year in his December newsletter, my friend Holland Cooke makes his predictions for the coming year. Cooke is at the very top echelon of radio consultants, and when it comes to consulting News/Talk radio stations, nobody is better. Cooke consults stations which DO carry the Rush Limbaugh Program, and stations which don’t. As he says, at “work”, he’s an agnostic: if a client station carries Rush, he’s the biggest star on radio. If a client station competes with Rush, he’s the biggest buffoon on radio.
But Cooke says business is business, but conscience is personal. He says the 2010 Radio Embarrassment of the Year is Rush Limbaugh. “Beyond the potty-mouth problem, there’s the relentlessness of the angry, often offensive narrative the Rush Limbaugh Show has degenerated to, to attract attention”. Cooke goes on to say “talk radio is becoming a punch-line and we (broadcasters) are letting it happen, by condoning the kind of crap Rush puts on the air.”
Pretty strong words about the most-listened-to program on radio.
Cooke’s first 2011 prediction is “Rush, Interrupted.” Cooke re-states that his professional position with a Rush-affiliated client station is to help them capitalize on the success of the program, and then says “But I’ve got an uncomfortable feeling about where Limbaugh’s consequence-free existence is heading. Because many affiliates can no longer afford to produce local programming, Rush is – as big corporations were called during late-Bush-era bailouts – ‘too big to fail’. And I fear he may”.
Cooke’s next 2011 prediction is that Glenn Boeck will fade. No scoop there. His teary-eyed schtick is wearing pretty thin, and his bogus history lessons are becoming more absurd. Everything and everybody is under attack, right Glenn?
Rush has had a national talk show since 1988. He’s reinvented himself several times. He is, at heart, an entertainer, which gives him a real edge over the “deadly serious” talk hosts who think politics is religion. I’m not sure how much longer Rush can sustain his act. Maybe my friend Holland is right, and 2011 will be the year he starts to crumble.