Rush Limbaugh Has Left The Building

I listened to the first hour of the new Clay and Buck Show, the radio program that replaced Rush Limbaugh.

Today was the first day in thirty years that we did not hear El Rushbo’s voice. It not only confirmed that Rush was unique, but it also left me with a realization. True story tellins is an artform.

Like millions, no one was a bigger Rush Limbaugh fan than me. I worked at no less than five radio stations in my twenty year radio career that featured Rush, and on every single one of them he was the highest rated show. This fact alone proves that Rush’s appeal was beyond borders, his style had mass appeal.

Few hosts can claim the ratings performance Limbaugh commanded. He was simply interesting to listen to.

This is the secret sauce so rarely attained by so few people. I count myself fortunate to have grown up on Stern, Imus, Harvey, Williams, Kasem, and have worked alongside giants like Colms, Ingraham, Farber, Doyle, Savage, Mancow, Hendrie and Prager, to name a few. These are and were people who knew how to tell an interesting story, people who are simply interesting to listen to. The secret sauce.

Why The Clay and Buck show decided to keep using Rush’s intro (My City was Gone by the Pretenders) is obvious. They aren’t done with Rush.

Today’s debut program was more along the lines of two gentlemen filling in for Rush to see if their chemistry worked.

No one can fairly judge them based on singular performance, but first impressions go along way, and to this ear, this is what I heard:

– Two personalities politely vying for who can be more interesting

– Buck Sexton doesn’t know that a live read endorsement is not supposed to sound like a commercial

– At no point did I feel like they were talking to me

No humor. At least nothing that gave me a “that’s clever” moment.

The problem with multiple hosts shows is the listener becomes a subjective third party instead of a best friend. It works in sports radio because the information isn’t personal. In political talk or talk about real life issues, the subject matter is personal.

When Glenn Beck years ago decided to bring in two sidekicks who sounded like a lot like him, the show strangely started to feel like a bad episode of “Inside Glenn Beck’s Brain.” It still does.

Corporate radio seems to like the idea of two-person talk shows which was typically reserved mostly for morning shows like Howard and Robin, Imus (and Chuck McCord (and the evolution alter into Syd & Bernie on WABC); Eric Ericsson at WSB Atlanta uses the same formula.

Many station groups have actually decided to move away from the singular host format in favor of multiple personalities. Nothing wrong with it if the audience accepts it.

This is clearly the direction iHeart has decided to take, which means it will never be personal as it once was with Rush. That they spent a good five minutes each trying to persuade me they were “just like Rush,” was tepidly weak. We know they aren’r Rush, so who are they?

I might have started with a different approach. I might have started with a new show theme and cut right to the issues, and I would have appreciated them ripping the DNC a new asshole to show they are the new sheriffs in town.

Instead, I got two very nice guys who love doing radio and are probably conservative.

One final note.

Clay and Buck did not make me laugh. It was not funny and there wasn’t any humor.

At 2:58:50 pm Eastern when the show ended, I assure you they were glad they got through it without causing an uproar. Which was exactly the problem.

No one got offended, no heartfelt commentary to give gravity to the many grave issues that occurred since Junteenth; no deep analysis to get me to think, and all of this that my friend, tells you exactly why this show will be just like all of the rest.

I wish them well, but for a kick off show, I expected more.

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