On Monday, former Arkansas governor and one-time Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will launch a three-hour radio program on almost 200 stations across the country, going voice-to-voice with Limbaugh in the noon-to-3 p.m. time slot, Monday through Friday.
Cumulus Media, which owns and operates the new program, is already pitching Huckabee to listeners and advertisers as the “safe alternative” to a man who has recently found himself under weeks of intense fire – not for the first time – and who some believe could be vulnerable to a challenge from someone offering a kinder, gentler conservative voice.
“Our tagline is, ‘More conversation, less confrontation’,” Huckabee told POLITICO. “I’m going to treat every guest with respect and civility. Nobody is going to come on and get into a shouting match with me. That’s just not my style.”
Huckabee, who has never met Limbaugh, does indeed join a long list of conservative voices who have gone up against Limbaugh in the noon time slot, competing for pull among the base of the Republican party. The most well-known of those now-vanished competitors is Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly, who hosted the nationally syndicated show, “The Radio Factor,” for seven years and became the second-most listened-to talk radio host on the airwaves. In 2009, O’Reilly was replaced by former Sen. Fred Thompson, who — like Huckabee — was trumpeted as an alternative to Limbaugh, but was never able to get traction. He ended the show last year.
I haven’t listened to Rush on purpose in years. I suspect it’s a matter of changing taste. I used to enjoy his style of bombastic shtick quite a bit. Now I prefer much more measured, thoughtful, careful analysis.
I guess I’m getting old.