When I first launched my website, marthazoller.com, the theme song was “American Woman.” I know it is an anti war song, but a song is what is means to the person who hears it, right. Well, I am an American woman. A proud Southern Woman. And like many southerners in the late 80’s, we were deciding whether the Democrat party and liberal values were for us. Thanks to Newt Gingrich, a speech I heard on C-Span and Rush Limbaugh, I started evaluating my beliefs and listening, reading and learning.
I had a journalism degree from the prestigious Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia but due to life happening, did not actually work in journalism until the mid 90s. So, I am a late comer to the talk radio business, but I am here because of Rush. In the late 80s, I lived in the 6th Congressional District of Georgia and Newt Gingrich was my congressman. I was much younger then and I was learning what it meant to be a conservative. In 1990, I became the instant mother of 3 boys when I married my husband and started listening to talk radio in the car. The more I listened to Rush, the more conservative I became not because I became a “ditto head” but because I started reading on my own and not depending on the Main Stream Media for all my information. .
Later, I found my hometown affiliate for Rush Limbaugh which led me to listen to more talk radio through out the day and that led me to begin to call in to talk radio and that led me to be invited by Joel Williams at WDUN AM 550 in Gainesville to co-host a program on WDUN and that led to my own talk radio program. As luck would have it, I was given the coveted time slot that led into Rush Limbaugh. In 1994, I went on a trip to New York with a group from my town to be in the audience of the Rush Limbaugh television program. You remember that fabulous program. It was the day of the Rush Limbaugh ties and the 30 minute TV show that would be aired at 3 in the morning if you could find it and we found it.
During the warm up, Rush picked someone out of the audience to talk with him and he picked me. I can remember what I was wearing and what my hair looked like, but I can’t remember a thing we talked about. I was smitten with him and couldn’t believe that I couldn’t think of anything interesting to say to him. But on that day, I saw the charisma of Rush Limbaugh.
Over the years, I have communicated around Rush, but never had the opportunity to meet or talk with him again. If I were to see him again, I would thank him—for opening up my eyes to conservatism, debunking the myths of the Main Stream Media, helping my babies to be Rush babies and leading by example in good times and in bad with the class it takes to be a winner.
Since then, I joke that I am “showprep for Rush” and my producer and I delight when I take an angle on a story before Rush Limbaugh does. Rush is the best in the business and an entire industry has built up around his revival of talk radio. He is the voice for many people every day and I rarely miss him.
Why has Rush survived successfully, getting better every year. Partly, it’s “talent on loan by God.” In addition, it’s the warm way he presents his ideas. He’s unexpected. A perfect example of this is the extra time he took with a young caller on Friday, July 25. This 19 year old California girl called in to tell Rush that 6 months ago she was a supporter of Obama and now she was a McCain girl. His curiosity was lit and he wanted to know how you go through such a rapid change. She compared Obama to Britney Spears and you could hear the tone in his voice, “I wish I had thought of that one!” In these kinds of calls you hear the curious and compassionate spirit that is Rush Limbaugh.
Since 1996, I’ve had a daily radio program, a weekly radio program, appear on cable news regularly, been on The Today Show, World News Tonight and PBS. I write a weekly column for Human Events as well as many other publications and promote conservatism daily. Thanks, Rush. Happy 20th Anniversary!