Rush Limbaugh cast such a legendary shadow over the landscape of talk radio that his network decided it would take two people to fill his shoes.
More than three months after his death, Limbaugh’s syndication partner has named his successors: Fox Sports personality Clay Travis and talk show host Buck Sexton. Sexton, a former CIA agent turned radio talk show host, frequently filled in for Limbaugh during the latter years of Rush’s radio career in addition to hosting “The Buck Sexton Show” on radio and “Hold The Line” at 7 p.m. weeknights on The First TV network. Most recently, Travis has helmed Fox Sports’ “Outkick the Coverage.”
“The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show” will begin airing from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern on June 21 over hundreds of radio stations affiliated with Premiere Networks, a part of iHeart Media Inc.
“While no one will ever replace Rush Limbaugh, Buck and I are excited to continue advancing the causes he held dear, most importantly American exceptionalism, a fervent embrace of capitalism, and a belief in a robust marketplace of ideas,” said Travis in a press release quoted by AllAccess.com. “At a time of rabid cancel culture and toxic identity politics, we will be the voice for many who feel scared to say what they think for fear of the censorious online mob. We can’t wait to get started.”
“I could not be more thrilled — and am deeply humbled — by the opportunity to host this new program with Clay Travis,” said Sexton. “We think it’s important to carry on the tradition of Rush Limbaugh and bring truth to the masses. One thing I can promise all EIB listeners out there: we’re with them and we will always fight for them with the show Clay, and I do every day.”
From his national launch in 1988 until his death, Rush Limbaugh reigned as the undisputed king of talk radio, reaching 20 million listeners over 650 affiliates nationwide.
Since Limbaugh passed away on February 17 at the age of 70 from stage 4 lung cancer, his network has broadcast a series of “guides” who intersperse their own observations about the day’s news with archived recordings of Limbaugh.
“The program was attracting about 75% to 80% of its regular audience, according to a person familiar with the matter,” reported the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.
The network promises the new show will “carry on a new form of broadcast excellence in the tradition of the late radio icon.”
“We’re not going to replace Rush Limbaugh,” said Premiere Networks President Julie Talbott. “We’re going to have an evolution of the show with fresh voices — those [who] grew up on Rush and admired him.”
Limbaugh’s death opened heavy competition for the most coveted slot in talk radio. In addition to Sexton and Travis, multiple hosts have rushed to fill the void for fresh content from noon to 3 p.m. Eastern.
“This is an incredible privilege, and I pledge to honor the trailblazing work of those who came before me,” Bongino said when he inked the contract in March. Bongino, who is known for his fiery Fox News exchanges with Geraldo Rivera, launched his own news aggregation website, the Bongino Report, to compete with the Drudge Report in 2019.
Dana Loesch, who was born in Limbaugh’s native Missouri, competed head-to-head against Rush for the early afternoon audience during his life. She signed a three-year renewal contract with Radio America last month.
“While no one will ever replace Rush, I welcome his loyal listeners to the Dana Show as we maintain his conservative convictions and principles in a fresh, dynamic way,” she said.
Evangelical author and talk show host Erick Erickson announced Thursday that the local talk show he broadcasts over WSB-FM in Atlanta will be nationally syndicated by the Cox Media Group beginning at noon on Tuesday, June 1.
“I owe much of my career to Rush,” Erickson wrote shortly after Limbaugh’s death. “I’ve been working toward this for a very long time,” Erickson said on Thursday. “We look forward to continued success.”
Some personal news. pic.twitter.com/MBxzCsmbj0
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) May 27, 2021
His competitors may fight over his listeners, but there is one title they will never possess: Rush Limbaugh’s death certificate listed his occupation as “greatest radio host of all time.”