Limbaugh Communicate Great Ideas

In a sense, it often seems sad or unfortunate when particular tributes to people are given after they’ve passed away.

Isn’t it better to offer such tributes while people can enjoy them during their earthly lives?

Maybe that’s part of what one local organization has in mind when it annually honors one of its members for a career of service.

Of course, the difficult part of that is to give such an award when it’s fully meaningful but before it’s too late.

So it was about 20 years ago when the one local organization presented its annual award to a member who was almost 100 years old.

The recipient stood up, graciously accepted the award, and joked that if the organization had waited much longer, it would have had to present the award posthumously.

Which he said reminded him of a time when another organization considered whether it should present an award to someone who was still living or whether the other organization should instead wait and present the award posthumously.

“Yes, posthumously,” someone suggested unwittingly. “And as soon as possible.”

When the near-centenarian told this story, he sent his audience into hysterics.

Today’s column comes a few weeks too late.

It’s a posthumous tribute to a luminary in the American conservative movement, which has had no shortage of luminaries.

Those luminaries have come to the fore in government.

In think tanks.

In academia.

In journalism.

In organizations of all sorts.

And as individuals.

The work of all of these people has been important.

Yet it’s one thing to promote ideas in particular circles.

It’s another thing entirely to bring them – or at least make them available – to every kitchen table, every diner, and every truck stop in the country.

And that – in a nutshell – is one of the legacies of radio-talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, who died of lung cancer at age 70 on Ash Wednesday.

He made conservative ideas accessible to everyone coast-to-coast for three hours each weekday for more than three decades.

And he did it with wit and humor and in an entertaining way that held the audience.

When this columnist was a cub reporter at The Post-Journal, everyone in the newsroom learned the importance of presenting ideas accurately and in an easy-to-understand manner.

Cub reporters learned that when people read newspapers, they’re doing so when the children are screaming, the dog is barking, and the television is on.

And each reporter, for each story, has to penetrate all of that. Otherwise, many people put down the newspaper and never finish reading the story.

Being on live radio is a different skill altogether.

For one thing, live radio – like live television – is just that. Live. You don’t edit it as you go along. And there’s no second take. You have to know the subject and bring all of your focus, all of the energy you need, the first time.

That’s part of the fun of it.

One longtime local radio announcer once told this columnist that it’s important, on radio, not to talk as if you’re giving a speech.

Why? Because, although you’re talking to a lot of people, you’re talking to each of them one-on-one.

So here are his two examples.

Think of yourself, he said, as sitting at a lady’s kitchen table while she’s standing at the sink doing dishes.

Or think of yourself as sitting in a car’s passenger seat while a man is driving.

And just talk to them.

Along the same line, another longtime local radio announcer urged not addressing the audience as “everybody” or “everyone.”

Why? Because you’ll lose the personal, one-on-one connection.

Limbaugh was a great communicator who masterfully communicated great ideas one-on-one to millions of people daily.

Rush Limbaugh is among those whom many, including Randy Elf, credit with the rise of the American conservative movement.



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