In 1984, in the middle of President Ronald Reagan’s presidency, a 33-year-old man from Missouri started to host a radio show in Sacramento that would champion the conservative ideas Reagan espoused to so many Americans that he became the most successful and influential conservative host in the history of radio, inspiring tens of millions of Americans to fight for the principles on which America was founded.
Today, that man, Rush Limbaugh, celebrated the 30th anniversary of the national Rush Limbaugh Show he launched in 1988, a span of time that has encompassed the tenures of six American presidents, the transformation of the world into one dominated by the internet, and the revivification of conservative principles that have been under attack for over a century.
Rush Hudson Limbaugh III was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, on January 12, 1951. His father was a lawyer and U.S. fighter pilot who served in World War II. The Limbaugh family is chock-full of attorneys, including his grandfather, father and brother David. The Federal Courthouse in Cape Girardeau is named for Limbaugh’s grandfather Rush.
At 21, Limbaugh was a Top 40 disc jockey, but by 1979 he became director of promotions with the Kansas City Royals. In 1984, Limbaugh returned to radio as a talk show host at KFBK in Sacramento. On August 1, 1988, he moved to New York City and began his national radio show.
After Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992, Limbaugh routinely satirized him and his wife Hillary, along with the Democratic Party. After the GOP won back the House in 1994, the freshman Republican class awarded Limbaugh an honorary membership in their caucus. A November 2008 poll by Zogby International showed Limbaugh was the most trusted news personality in the nation.
In a 1992 letter, President Reagan thanked Limbaugh “for all you’re doing to promote Republican and conservative principles … [and] you have become the Number One voice for conservatism in our Country.” In 1994, Republicans in the House made Limbaugh an honorary member. Limbaugh has been awarded the Marconi Radio Award for Syndicated Radio Personality of the Year by the National Association of Broadcasters a whopping five times — 1992, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2014, and was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1988 and the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1993. In 2002, Talkers Magazine ranked him as the greatest radio talk show host of all time.
Congratulations poured in on the 30th anniversary:
Rush Limbaugh is a great guy who truly gets it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2018
Rush Limbaugh is an American treasure. His work ethic is unmatched. His intellect is unconventionally brilliant and his own. His talent – is ON LOAN FROM GOD. He is a great man – a wonderful boss – a great friend. LOVE YOU RUSH. Happy 30 YEARS at #1.
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) August 1, 2018
Rush can rightly be considered one of the founders of the modern conservative movement. Congratulations! https://t.co/mfH6mt1G27
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) August 1, 2018
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) August 1, 2018
30 years ago, a man named @RushLimbaugh went on air. The radio world and America have never been the same, and all for the better. I am proud to call him a friend. Congratulations on a legendary career.
— Brent Bozell (@BrentBozell) August 1, 2018
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) August 1, 2018