Rush Hudson Limbaugh III, born January 12, 1951, is an American radio host and conservative political commentator. Limbaugh is the host of The Rush Limbaugh Show, a nationally-syndicated talk-radio show that airs throughout the United States on Premiere Radio Networks.
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Limbaugh has been credited with reviving AM radio in the United States, and was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1993. The National Review magazine, in a 1993 cover story, called him "The Leader of the Opposition" during the Clinton administration. He is a bestselling author, with two titles on the New York Times Best Seller list in the 1990s.
Limbaugh's radio show airs weekdays for three hours daily, beginning at 12 noon Eastern time in the U.S. It also is carried worldwide over the Armed Forces Radio Network, and in some markets is carried on FM stations.
Radio broadcasting shifted from AM to FM in the late '70s because of the opportunity to broadcast music in stereo in FM, with better range and musical fidelity. Limbaugh's show was first nationally syndicated in August 1988, in a later stage of AM's decline. Limbaugh's popularity paved the way for other conservative talk radio programming to become commonplace on the AM radio. As of 2006[update], Arbitron ratings indicated that The Rush Limbaugh Show had a minimum weekly audience of 13.5 million listeners, making it the largest radio talk show audience in the United States. In March 2006, WBAL in Baltimore, MD became the first radio station in the country to drop Limbaugh's nationally syndicated radio program. In 2007, Talkers magazine again named him #1 in its "Heavy Hundred" most important talk show hosts. Limbaugh frequently mentions the EIB (Excellence In Broadcasting) network, but this is a mythic construction, as he told the New York Times in 1990. In reality, his show was co-owned and first syndicated by Edward F. McLaughlin, former president of ABC who founded EFM Media in 1988, with Limbaugh's show as his first product. In 1997, McLaughlin sold EFM to Jacor Communications, which was ultimately bought up by Clear Channel Communications. Today, Limbaugh owns a majority of the show, which is syndicated by the Premiere Radio Networks.
According to a 2001 article in U.S. News & World Report, Limbaugh had an eight-year contract, at the rate of $31.25 million a year. On July 2, 2008, Matt Drudge reported that Limbaugh signed a contract extension through 2016 that is worth over $400 million, breaking records for any broadcast medium — television or radio. In 2007, Limbaugh earned $33 million.