Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wait, THIS guy is going to beat Rush Limbaugh?

Posted By on Thu, Apr 5, 2012 at 4:45 PM

I've spent the past hour making one of those scrunched-up, scared-and-confused faces, the kind you make when you listen to your Grandpa talk about race relations pre-1960. That "I don't understand this, and it kinda frightens me" look.

That's because I've spent the past hour watching episodes of the cleverly named "The Mike Huckabee Show." Stuff like this:

(In case you want to DVR it: Saturdays and Sundays, 8pm, Fox News Channel.)

I'm not at all confused as to why Fox runs the show. I'm wondering why Atlanta-based Cumulus is so excited to be debuting (starting Monday) Huckabee's new syndicated radio show. There's been a ton of press (like this NY Times piece) discussing how Cumulus, now the second-biggest radio company in the world, after Clear Channel, is going to make both Clear Channel and Rush Limbaugh sweat with this new conservative radio hero. The logic seems to be like this:

1. Limbaugh is vulnerable because he recently lost a bunch of advertisers with the whole Sandra Fluke thing.
2. Huckabee is a card-carrying Christian conservative, but not, you know, so mean.
3. Conservative talk-show fans will therefore flock to Huckabee once he has a large enough national presence, which Cumulus is providing.

Which makes sense on one level. But ... how to put this? ... Rush Limbaugh is insane and ridiculous, but he's also an incredibly talented radio host. Mike Huckabee is smart and reasonable, comparatively speaking, but he has the charisma of a phone booth.

I don't understand big entertainment companies sometimes. Do they actually listen to the talent before they put them on air? Or am I missing an appeal he has that will somehow allow him to overtake and beat a guy who has - despite what you think about him - kicked the hell out of all challengers for about 20 years?

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