Rush Limbaugh

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RUSH: Greetings and welcome back, my friends. It’s great to have you here. This is Rush Limbaugh, the most-listened-to radio talk show in the country. You made it so. I have eternal, never-ending gratitude for all of you for so much. You have meant so much to me. You’ve meant so much to my family. You have meant so much to the happiness and joy that I have been able to experience.

You have been integral in my dreams coming true — my wildest dreams when I was a young kid pretending to be a deejay on the radio when I was 8 years old. There was a device called a Remco Caravelle. It was a brand name. Remco was the brand name; Caravelle was the name of their product. Somebody sent me one. We actually have one of these things back in one of the supply closets here, and it was the most amazing thing.

It’s plastic. It was about three-feet long and two-feet high, and it transmitted over AM within the confines of — I don’t know — a small house. The quality was horrible, but it worked. All you had to do was set it for a frequency that was open (in other words, there wasn’t a real radio station in your town that was broadcasting on that frequency), and you could do it.

So I pretended to be a deejay with this thing. My parents got it for me for Christmas one year. I pretended to be a deejay, and my mother actually had a radio; you could broadcast on a real radio. I mean, it was an amazing thing. I can’t believe it was licensed to operate. We’re talking here, folks, in the… Oh, this would have been the late fifties, around the turn of the century in 1960.

My mother would dutifully put a radio on her lap, and I would go upstairs where the bedroom was, and I would have my phono… You had to have an external microphone to put near the speaker of the phonograph that you were playing records on. You had to move the microphone to your mouth when you were doing deejay stuff, and then you’d hold microphone near the speaker for the phonograph to play the record.

And my mother would dutifully sit down there and listen to this. And the quality was just horrible. It didn’t have a whole lot of power. It wasn’t like listening to a real radio station, but it allowed me to pretend, it allowed me to get started on living out my dreams. And so many people have been a part of those dreams coming true. I knew what I wanted to do when I was 8 years old. (interruption) How did I know?

Well, you know the story. I hated school. It was prison. I just hated it. It was a room with windows, and I could see out the windows. I could see where I would rather be. Here I’m locked in this place, I’m having to learn about whatever you learn about in first grade — you know, how to paste things — and it was the last place I wanted to be. I just looked at it as denial of freedom.

But being out there! So every morning getting ready to go to this prison, this school, my mother had the radio on, and she’s listening to the guy, a local jock, and this guy sounds like he’s having fun doing whatever he’s doing. He’s playing records. He’s doing commentary — you know, weather forecasts — and he sounds like he’s having fun. I said, “That’s how I want my day to be.

“I don’t want to begin my day in drudgery and something I don’t want to do,” but I had no choice. You have to go to school. Either that or the truant officer comes and it’s even worse for you. But that was how I decided I wanted to be in radio. I had a natural affinity for liking music and wanting to be the guy on the radio playing it for people and so forth.

But up until that point in my life, I had quit pretty much everything else that I had tried. Like I was a Tenderfoot Boy Scout for a year. That’s unheard of. You move on from being a Tenderfoot. You don’t have to do anything. But I was a Tenderfoot. Whatever the least amount you had to do to stay a Boy Scout, I did. At the first campout, I got the Gold Brick Award.

The Gold Brick Award went to the person least useful on the campout. Well, it was nothing I didn’t want to do. “You gotta go do this.” “Well, I don’t want to do this.” “Well, you gotta do it if you’re gonna be in the Boy Scouts. If you’re gonna go on a campout, it’s gonna be cold. You gotta learn about campfires, gotta learn about brushing the leaves up at the bottom of your tent so it keeps the cold air out.”

You gotta learn survivalist kind of stuff, ’cause back then the Soviet Union nuking us was a real possibility. I said, “I just am not into this.” “Well, why did you join the Boy Scouts?” “Well, because other people thought I needed to do it.” Anyway, things like that. I had quit everything. But radio, I didn’t quit. And even though the family didn’t understand it, the fact that I hadn’t quit it was enough for them to encourage me to stay in it.

And I did, and all that happened, happened, and it’s been so rewarding. It has been so, so meaningful to me, and there have been so many people that have made it possible. Among them, all of you. So I take the occasion of the last day of the year that I’m here on our Christmas show to try to thank you and to share with you the depth of gratitude and appreciation I feel for all of you and what you have done.

And, by the way, this is not something that’s just perfunctory to do. I genuinely have a deep appreciation for all of you. I feel the bond of connection that exists between all of you and me. It’s why, by the way, I recognized immediately that Donald Trump could win the presidency if he was serious about it, when he began his campaign in 2015.

When I saw those first rallies, I had lived that with the Rush to Excellence Tour. In the first two years of this program, I did those things that Trump was doing, and to somewhat similar crowd sizes — 10,000, 15,000 I think was the largest I’d had in Sacramento. But they were there, and it was every weekend for two years. Forty-eight weekends.

I didn’t do holiday weekends, but it was the way was I building the program and establishing a relationship with all of the affiliates that were signing on and carrying the program, and I had lived it. And I saw the way people were reacting to Trump. And because I had had the same thing happen to me, I said, “This guy can go all the way. He can win it,” and I expected him to, and he did.

Also, I learned that (this is something exceedingly important for Donald Trump even today) when the media has nothing to do with making you, when the media has nothing to do for your success, nothing to do with it… For example, there are a lot of people that the media for some reason gloms onto and starts doing puff pieces about, showering with praise and telling everybody how big they are, how important they are.

When nobody knows who they are. The media makes these people, and then there are others like me who snuck up on everybody because I didn’t come from the traditional places that successful establishment people come from. So, I snuck on everybody. Nobody knew who I was, and when my program began on August 1, 1988, it immediately took off, and the media had nothing to do with it. All they had to do was report on it.

But the important thing about that is if the media doesn’t have anything to do with making you, they can’t break you. Oh, they can try. But if you as a personal or a public figure in media or in anything that you’re doing, if you develop a successful business enterprise that involves a significant portion of the public supporting you and if you’ve built that yourself without any media assistance, they can’t break that bond.

Only you can — and this is something that Donald Trump has proven. The media has tried to kill the guy for four years, and they can’t, because his support is genuine. It is real. It isn’t fake. It isn’t manufactured. It did not end up being created by the media who were telling people, “Hey, this Trump guy is great. You need to experience Trump. You need to listen to this guy. You need to watch this.”

They didn’t do that. Trump built himself, himself, with his Apprentice TV show, with any number of media efforts that he engaged in. By the time he ran for the presidency, he was already well known, and the media loved him. When he was just an average guy in media, not oriented toward politics, not thought of as running for office, they loved him.

But then he runs for office, and, of course, we know what happened. But they tried to kill him for four years, and they couldn’t. They’re still trying to wipe him out, and they can’t. So much so that the Republican Party is now Donald Trump’s. The Republican Party may as well be the MAGA party, and it’s been the same for me in a much smaller context.

The media has… It’s been a combination of things. They have attempted to destroy me, and they have been amused by me, and they have been supportive at times, and they’ve been destructive at times. But the point is, they have not broken this bond. They have not been able to convince you that I’m not worth it, that I shouldn’t be getting your attention.

Now, they have been able to limit the growth by convincing people who don’t listen to the program of things that are not true about me. But they have not been able to break the bond. And even despite all of that, this audience has grown. The ratings… We’re not supposed to talk about this, but the ratings that happened in the month before the election across the country for this program were unprecedented.

Even during the high points of this program, we didn’t even come close to the ratings we had in the month before the election this year. Larger than ever. Like, from noon to three in New York City the most-listened-to show. Now, we’re always the most-listened-to talk show, but this was most-listened-to, period. The most-listened-to stations in New York are usually music stations, the top three or four; then here we come.

But this, we’re top of the heap, and it couldn’t have happened in a better year, and it couldn’t have happened in a more rewarding period of time. So one of the things that I’ve attempted to use today’s program for is to convey my gratitude, my appreciation, and my thanks for everything that you have meant. You’ve enabled my dreams to come true.

I’m not saying that I had nothing to do with it. Don’t misunderstand. But it wouldn’t have happened without you. If it weren’t for any of you, all of this would just be an academic exercise, and I’m so appreciative — more appreciative of it than I ever thought I could be, given the circumstances of my life this year.

So, I have the opportunity here of using my own program to try to convey all of the love and the gratitude that I have for all of you. Well, it’s overwhelming. The numbers of millions of people are just astounding, particularly for largely AM radio. Let me take a brief time-out here, folks, before I start choking up.

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