Rush Limbaugh “Gets It.” Do You?
We are more than 20 months away from the next Presidential election, yet yesterday there was Rush Limbaugh on the radio calming down panicked callers about a week-old story that Donald Trump may throw his hat into the ring as a Republican.
With all the assurance of a parent consoling a scared child, Rush’s words hugged his listeners, “Folks, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. He hasn’t announced he’s running.”
Though you couldn’t see it, there’s little doubt Rush had a delightful glint in his eye and was wearing a cat-ate-the-canary smile. Rush knows the Presidential election will feed his show for years and he embraces it like a long-lost friend.
On the flip-side, before the Carmelo Anthony trade with the Knicks went down, speculation on sports talk radio was hot and heavy. As the trade talks lingered, the hosts got bored. I heard multiple hosts, locally and nationally, complaining that it was taking too long for it to happen.
One host said, “Can we put the Carmelo contract talk behind us. Just let me know where he’s going and when.”
Imagine if Rush Limbaugh took that attitude with politics;
“Folks, I don’t care who MIGHT be President. Wake me up when the election is over.” Said a Bizarro-World’s Rush Limbaugh.
A good rule of thumb is that once you start getting bored with a story, your audience is just getting interested in it. When the station is getting complaint calls, the P1s (heaviest listeners) are ready to move on, but the casual and new listeners are just starting to pay attention. Keep talking about it, exploring new angles, finding different discussion points, interesting guests and keep fanning the flames of speculation.
Never apologize for talking about a story so much. Never refer to it as “beating a dead horse.” Never stop playing the hit, because you’re bored with it. These lingering stories are the life blood of sports talk. The potential labor lockouts in the NFL and NBA are going to be stories that need to be talked about for months to come. These types of stories are sports radio gifts not albatrosses.