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Remembering Rush

“What continues to fuel me is right in front of me, and that’s you and all of you out there, the American people.” —Rush Limbaugh

Chrissy Paradis

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“I just have to say, as a listener of Rush over the years and then getting into the industry, I will
tell you flat out; I have never been more inspired by a human being. The way he handled his
sentence, the way he handled the last year of his life. So many of us would have said, ‘where’s
the nearest beach? I’m headed there.’

Rush cared more about the audience, but he loved what he did, which kind of dovetails into this business recognition—that he stuck it out and inspired millions of people in the last year, not just the last thirty, but in the last year especially.” Jason Lewis said as the guide for Remembering Rush.

“It’s not about right or left. It’s about up or down. It’s about totalitarianism versus liberty. Those eternal values never change. And that’s why when we hear the words of wisdom from Rush, it’s apropos. It’s relevant today. You know, there’s been a lot of talk about this program, the Rush Limbaugh Show continuing, and I’m here to tell you it is going to continue. We’re going to stay on top of all of the current topics like we did yesterday, like we’ll do today, like we’ll do the rest of the week and into the future right through the end of the year. We are going to revisit Rush’s wisdom, while at the same time talking about the news of the day, while at the same time taking your calls, while at the same time taking Rush’s wisdom, and applying it today.” Lewis stated in his bold monologue as he opened the program.

The announcements of about the future of the program was brought into focus with the Rush’s wife Kathryn Adams who’s been a well respected name in political circles as a direct descendant of John Adams, who’s also been cited as one of Rush’s heroes in American history, Adams Limbaugh has been joining the program on the Excellence In Broadcasting Network for open line Fridays; it seems that Rush’s hopes have become the compass by which Kathryn, Jason Lewis, Mark Steyn, James Golden (Bo Snerdly) production staff and other legendary EIB hosts have perfected in the wake of Limbaugh’s tragic passing in February.

“These are the valuable insights, the forward thinking aspects of El Rushbo that we’re going to tap into while we cover the issues of the day. We’ll be doing this right here on the Rush Limbaugh program for a long time to come and we want you to join us every day, at the same Rush time, at the same Rush hour, at the same Rush station to hear our conversation, to take your calls and to hear Rush’s words of wisdom.”

“I just want to set the record straight on that, because there’s been a lot of misinformation out there and we’re going to be here guiding you through the travails of the day.” Lewis explained. “I think something that Rush always inspired in all of us, that we could reach for new heights, that we could create something out of nothing, and that we could work hard to pursue the American dream,” Rush’s wife Kathryn Adams Limbaugh shared on the program.

The emphatic focus on Rush’ Limbaugh’s continued commitment to change the conversation, promoting the freedoms outlined by the First Amendment to open lines of communication and to challenge everyone to use their voice to engage in even politically charged socially uncomfortable issues have connected Rush with his audience of millions and millions. Open lines and his storytelling, broadcasting excellence and background in entertainment paved the way for the ratings that grew to become legendary, dominating with the 200 million listeners and close to 600+ affiliates behind him.

Jason Lewis feels it is important to highlight the preservation of the republic and how essential the need to develop awareness and furtherance of the work Rush devoted years to through his efforts of respect the inherent elements afforded to Americans. All as a means to maintain what he felt was fundamental to making sure that the American Dream would be preserved.

The crossroads, summed up by Jason Lewis explaining the urgency of the issue as Remembering Rush guide Lewis spoke on regarding the program where the Rush guides assume the driver’s seat behind the golden mic, and Rush sits shotgun. Filling the program with the unique content from today’s news and Rush’s impassioned words from his past broadcasts for a multidimensional road trip through some of the most pivotal moments of Rush Limbaugh’s career.

“That really is the key to America—that’s what Rush was trying to preserve for those three plus decades.

I don’t want to sound pessimistic because that was his great attribute, to always put a positive spin on things. But, we’re at a crucial point here; keeping the American dream alive,” Lewis described assuming the show guide role and went on to provide a brilliant QH, while maintaining the EIB commitment to bringing the audience quality content, no holds barred.

I am grateful for the phenomenal talent and wisdom that I could glean from my conversations with who I believed to be a talent “unicorn” when I worked with him more than a decade ago: the host of The Jason Lewis Show. Someone who has been nothing but a wonderfully supportive and talented colleague from my time working in the news talk format to myself and many others. I am proud to say I still 100% stand by the initial assessment and am ecstatic that audiences have been exposed to the “candidate formerly known as Jason Lewis” (as he sometimes refers to himself on the program) I had the pleasure of working with as he brings positivity and hope to the guides that have been working on the Remembering Rush team. Lewis identified the secret that led to longtime friend and colleague Rush Limbaugh’s success, and his comprehensive understanding of the power of Rush’s focus on entertainment through humor—citing how he could reinvigorate the program and format while also perfecting the “Rush-off” method of handling critics and haters.

“The one thing they cannot tolerate is people making fun of them, or irreverence, and he did that right from the get go, and that A) captured people he might not have otherwise captured, but B) made the point in the most profound of ways, and I think that was his real secret.” Jason Lewis explained the method Rush mastered to emerge victorious every time, dismissing the source of hateful messages in a very tongue in cheek manner, armed with the honesty and humor of the iron-jawed warrior.

This was briefly mentioned on the program by Lewis as well where he spoke with a listener stating, “We cannot unilaterally disarm. That’s number one policy wise or politically, politically speaking. But number two, the politically correct notion of banning humor. Don’t ever tell people they can’t make fun of other people. That is what it means to be human.” Lewis said on the show.

“The word going forth should not be ‘nobody can tell a joke or poke fun at people.’ The word going forth the maximum should be to make fun of others and be prepared to have somebody else make fun of you. I do not want to live in a humorless society. It is exactly what’s wrong with this woke culture.” Lewis speaks with gusto of Rush’s philosophy coming through that has helped many laugh at themselves and understand there’s no harm in laughing/joking/poking fun with others.

I asked Jason Lewis about the opportunity to be one of the show guides on Remembering Rush on the Excellence In Broadcasting Network and how much it has meant to him.

JL: You bet it’s a great pleasure to be back on the EIB network although this time a bit more bittersweet with the passing of Rush. It’s simply hard to overestimate his impact on the industry and frankly on saving a.m. radio, in-particular a day part that heretofore wasn’t doing that great. He’s going to be missed greatly.

CP: What are your thoughts on the stalled efforts to bring a Rush Limbaugh Day to Rush’s home state of Missouri?

JL: Of course the state of Missouri should honor their native born he’s a radio icon regardless of your particular political opinion. He had a fantastic impact on society, the country and of course broadcasting, but more than that, it’s high time the culture starts honoring conservatives the way they honor liberals. One of the problems with getting our viewpoints out there is this cultural bias against limited government, free markets, America First, so we’ve got to get in the game, so to speak, and fight for these sorts of things so that people remember the Reagans, the Rush’s and the truth about President Trump.

As the news of a potential Rush Limbaugh Day being celebrated in his home state of Missouri stalled after passing initially in the House of Representatives, it’s clear that the legacy Rush has made on his home state is nothing lost on all Missourians. “There’ll never be another Rush Limbaugh. I mean all the people in talk radio owe a great debt of gratitude to Rush Limbaugh. Great humanitarian, great guy.” Rep. Billy Long shared about the lasting impression that Rush has had on those in his home state of Missouri.

I was alarmed at the amount of angry knee jerk reactions that my first piece on Rush Limbaugh received. I am aware that the name ‘Rush Limbaugh’ is as divisive and polarizing (if not moreso) than many of the figures that have once served this country in a public capacity and insuring their message, no matter how the opposition, is always front and center, with the mission of forging a connection with the voters. Rush has always had his lines open and attempted to take as many calls as possible. The evolutionary process of many years of consuming the political opinions of those like Rush and the partisan political news radio programming niche that he carved out and dedicated his life to, have shaped many political ideologies and beliefs. Rush striving to incite a political conversation with the country, identifying the limitations of blindly following the powers that be down a rabbithole of silence, led to the outcome of the legendary Rush Limbaugh Show. The development of a program that made a place for those who felt
ostracized, forgotten, misunderstood, feared the judgment of speaking out, wanted to expand their understanding of politics, or simply be entertained.

I thought conducting a factual, unemotional and spin-free deep dive could maybe help to explain the logic behind the piece of legislation in the mix to provide Missourians with a day to honor the legacy (that has been amended and currently stalled but not out of the realm of possibility from making it back to the floor) celebrate pioneer hailing from the state of Missouri. Rush Limbaugh Day would be observed to honor the legacy of who was an undeniable and brave trailblazing pioneer in the radio broadcasting space:

● Great message to young people that does not need or require any clarification regarding political allegiances or affiliation but rather to highlight one point—how this boy grew up like you in this state in this area and was able to make his dream come true because he was not afraid of being truthful even when you might feel nervous. This is an universally age-appropriate message that could be communicated through one of the various children’s books written by Rush and his wife Kathryn and I believe it would be relatively harmless.

● Realities of cancel culture and not actively censoring yourself because of having different beliefs or opinions on a topic than one’s peers. The seriousness of this issue for adults who’ve lost jobs, struggled to recover from a post on social media from many years ago, I think it could be a powerful message to show kids in late middle and high school that their teaching staff is in place to offer a judgment-free assessment and act a confidants in face of the inevitable teenage issues that are rooted in the similar arbitrary circumstances that impact their daily lives and eliminate the dangers of struggling while
internalizing their feelings.

● As children are in high school they are in a position where they’ve absolutely already had a “dream job“ that they fully intend on making a reality at the age of 14 but that doesn’t always pan out and the work ethic of someone’s like Rush in a competitive field like broadcasting is a powerful story of success that I think you could inspire a lot of young people to pursue internships externships summer jobs or begin their college search sooner rather than later because they have a success story from their own state that is celebrated for not just making it into the business he wanted to work in, but revolutionizing that he entirety of the operation often be to struggle under that feels absolutely paralyzing that could be too a young person wins a lifelong dream to work in media.

Rush Limbaugh Day was proposed to be annually observed statewide, though initially passed by the House, was removed from the bill that his home state had proposed for the Senate and the Missouri Governor to lawfully enact the proposed legislation.

Albeit, shut down for now, I see no issue in honoring trailblazers like Limbaugh and can see the merits of his story being told. A story demonstrating the incredible work ethic coupled with fearless commitment to stand out. Personally, I am grateful for the many jobs that have been created in the industry I began working in years ago, as it has manifested in phenomenal opportunities for people I respect and admire in this business; all while Rush continued to bring advancement to AM radio.

Initially reading:

January twelfth each year is hereby designated as “Rush Limbaugh Day” in Missouri. Citizens of this state are encouraged to celebrate the day by participating in appropriate events and activities to remember the life of the famous Missourian and groundbreaking radio host.

On May 11, 2021 the bill was amended to include the following: “The portion of Interstate 55 from State Highway AB to Hopper Road within the city of Cape Girardeau in Cape Girardeau County shall be designated as “Rush Limbaugh Memorial Highway”. The department of transportation shall erect and maintain appropriate signs designating such highway, with the costs to be paid by private donations.”; and Further amend said bill by amending the title, enacting clause, and intersectional references
accordingly.”

“[Limbaugh] encouraged his listeners and viewers to reach for their dreams and to push onward beyond the naysayers and discouragers that we all encounter in life,” Rep. Sara Walsh shared.

The talent at EIB, from Snerdly AKA James Golden and others who have been grieving the loss of a loved one so close he’s been identified as family. The strength that’s come from Katheryn, Snerdly, Ken, Mark, Jason, Rush’s brother, David and so many more serves as a testament to his character, as this is a crew that has embodied the epitome of strength, even in the face of some seriously hateful threats about Rush as “Rest In Piss” trended during their bereavement. I’m not sure that I’ve seen a lot of evidence to the argument that hate ever truly wins for anybody, in the end.

The elements of the unshakable faith of a music format radio talent choosing to pursue the dream he has to establish a niche format that had not been explored or tested, failed to deter his career, an endeavor that proved successful and defied the odds to grow into a fully functional dynasty, that actively would change the game, so that it could never be played the same again. The ability to overcome all of those hurdles in the face of the pressure that his professional reputation was effectively left hanging in the balance should it fail and potentially derail his promising career, fueling his fire. All in all, at Rush Limbaugh’s legacy, at the very least proves to be a great example of seizing the power of the American Dream; with nothing able to derail or destroyed his laser focus and ability to net significant results, and all within a remarkably short period of time, but that’s exactly what he did.

Rush Limbaugh’s career has effectively become known for the contribution of the partisan, niche content to blow the format wide open clearing the brush on the path that welcomed in The New Deal of talk radio—creating jobs for decades, inspiring his millions of listeners, encouraging his audience to fearlessly, unapologetically speak up on divisive issues; these lessons all a testament to the legacy that is poetically apropos—transcendent of the preconceived boundaries and limitations challenging the medium and highlighting the power that the microphone can wield.

The universality of Rush’s messaging was uniquely designed in a similar fashion that EIB had adapted—laid early on in the professional journey, the blueprints outlined the flawless design of the infrastructure streamlined the operational aspect for programmers. 600+ affiliates, and the chance to sit on the precipice of the bright future for the industry during the persistent and well-rounded strategy that focused on the long game and provided a methodical approach that would help to seamlessly function as a one stop package deal for programmers to invest in the future of their station, the potential of Rush Limbaugh and the hand in rejuvenating the landscape of talk radio. The choice for programmers presented by the syndication team in one buyer-friendly package wherein at the fingertips of market manager decisions to utilize EIB for a three hour block would result in a low maintenance investment of resources rewarding them with the unavoidable boost in ratings for the daypart. The principles all laid in the foundation on which the Excellence In Broadcasting daily program was built, and consistently delivered to the audience.

The contribution Rush Limbaugh has made to the broadcast industry is immeasurable in size and scope, and still, the impact of Rush Limbaugh’s ingenuity is still tangible. I suspect that Rush had designed what would become the past, present and future of the program with meticulous clarity at the outset. The enigmatic history of the intricately documented and unprecedented efforts of Rush Limbaugh over the years managed to morph into the very special EIB product that’s being broadcast today.

I’d be willing to bet this perhaps had been a feature built into Rush’s vision from its inception. Managing to provide the programming and production prowess of the EIB team, guides and the millions of grieving listeners through the stages of grief in a gradual, tasteful manner that is a fitting reminder that provides the audience the powerful presence that Rush has always brought to the airwaves. This presence, of course, is not going to simply disappear. In fact the golden mic has been able to offer a semblance of comfort to the show guides as a reminder that no matter what, as the decorated award winning talent, with that microphone, the sky’s the limit.

As Rush eagerly managed to fill the studio with the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning and sparkled as the gold medal of the news format, radio, innovation and confidence, the resolution that has been sought by the EIB team and show guides on the airwaves for millions of grieving listeners through the Remembering Rush format has been a powerful exemplification for the legacy that Limbaugh has made across the country.

BNM Writers

The Cost of “Thoughts”

Jack Del Rio made a classic mistake of wondering aloud about topics that people in public positions aren’t allowed to think about on Twitter.

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The first recorded use of the expression, “A penny for your thoughts,” was made by Sir Thomas Moore precisely 500 years ago (1522). But, no doubt, a penny went much further in the 16th century.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s most recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) shows that inflation continues to increase above expectations. The current annual rate of 8.6% is the highest since 1981. The cost of thoughts, or at least saying them aloud, well, saying certain things in a public forum, has gone up far more than the CPI.

Jack Del Rio, defensive coordinator for the Washington Commanders (formerly known as the “Washington Football Team,” and before that, the Washington Redskins), made a classic mistake of wondering aloud about topics that people in public positions aren’t allowed to think about on Twitter. Specifically, his Tweets compared (what he called) “the summer of riots” to January 6th at the U.S. Capitol. As the late, great Alex Trebek would say, Del Rio’s comments were “in the form of a question.”

Faced with media scrutiny about his Tweets, rather than back down, Del Rio referred to January 6th as a “dust-up at the Capitol.”

Can I tell you a trade secret of press flacks? They all have a small can of lighter fluid and a pack of matches within reach behind a piece of glass with the words “break only in the case of emergency” scrawled on it. Certain phrases or words will cause a press person, at great personal danger and sacrifice, to break the glass, douse themselves with the accelerant, and strike a match before flinging their immolating body in front of the podium. Okay, not literally, but I guarantee the Commanders’ public relations director would think this alternative less painful than hearing those words come out of Del Rio’s mouth in front of the press gaggle.

The controversy that followed was swift and certain: as was the reaction from Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera. He promptly assessed a $100,000 fine on Del Rio for his comments.

Two points here: First, this is not a sports story. Talk Radio observers should be far more concerned with the consequences of this story than NFL or sports fans. Second, it doesn’t matter what you think happened on January 6th. You should still find the fine issued by Rivera chilling, whether you call it an insurrection or a dust-up.

I used to believe that comedian Bill Maher and I were about as far apart on the political spectrum as any two Americans could be. Maher and I, however, hold similar views on freedom of expression.

On his HBO show, “Real Time,” Maher defended Del Rio by saying: “In America, you have the right to be wrong. They fined him; the team fined him $100,000 for this opinion. Fining people for an opinion. I am not down with that.”

Because this is where we meet, I’d like to buy Bill Maher a drink and have a laugh over all the times he’s been wrong, or we can share that drink and a smile for understanding that freedom of expression IS the foundation of democracy – no matter who’s right or wrong. Freedom of expression is an issue where liberals and conservatives must find common ground.

The football team currently known as the Washington Commanders may need another name change. Perhaps the “Comrades” would reflect the team’s philosophy better? Levying such a hefty punishment for stating a political (and non-football) point of view because it is out of step with what is apparently official policy seems more reminiscent of the Politburo’s posture than a free society.

Del Rio’s words are understandably offensive to many. At the very least, they were ham-handed for someone who has been in the public spotlight for so long. But a $100,000 fine? Stifling political opinion is far more dangerous than anything Del Rio said.

Taking the Del Rio incident into context with the “Cancel Culture” of the past few years, Talk Radio hosts should look over their shoulders. Del Rio is also an excellent reminder to think twice before posting a politically unpopular opinion on social media.

Inflation has eaten away at the value of a penny and increased the cost of making politically incorrect statements, including on the air in recent years. What inhibits individuals from expressing their thoughts, beliefs, opinions, and emotions is a threat to Talk Radio and democracy.

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BNM Writers

Joe Pags’ Dream to Work In Media Started Early

Pags knew a career in media was for him ever since he was ten years old, even before his vocal chords did.

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If you’ve ever been required to interview someone for a segment or article, you know pretty quickly when it’s going to be a bumpy ride. 

Joe Pags was answering my initial questions as freely as Ebeneezer Scrooge hands out Krugerrands. Teeth have been pulled from the human head with greater ease. It just wasn’t happening. 

After a few minutes, I think I grew on him.

I discovered we actually had a few things in common; both of us lived in Lake Worth, Florida, we knew a lot of the same places and faces, and we both understood that summer heat in Florida is like purgatory. 

However, Pags and I will both have a fond devotion to The Noid. We will always share the memories of being a manager at Domino’s Pizza. 

“I worked at Domino’s when pizzas were delivered to your door within 30-minutes, or it was free,” Pags said. “After a while they went to 30 minutes or three dollars off the price. Too many people were getting into accidents trying to beat the clock.”

What Pags did not mention was that even when you legitimately made it in less than 30 minutes, you had people questioning your delivery time. I guess that’s human nature.

Soon, pizzas were just for eating, not working; Pags started his radio career in 1989 in Palm Beach County, Florida.

After that, it was a stint as a television anchor from 1994-2005 in Saginaw, Michigan, and then Albany, New York. From there he was called back to radio and landed at the Clear Channel Talk Flagship, WOAI, in 2005. The Joe Pags Show has been a fan favorite since its debut in 2005.

For Pags, the media dream started early on. 

“I grew up listening to talk radio at a very young age and was determined to make my living doing it one day,” Pags says. “I actually have a tape somewhere on which I erased the DJ’s voice and recorded mine over the songs.” 

Pags is probably thrilled that the tape will never be released.

Years later, he found he could pay the bills doing something he loved. “I’m lucky enough to work with great people on both local, and national radio and television,” Pags explained.

As a kid, Pags listened to Neil Rogers on WIOD. It was consistently a top-rated show in the MiamiFt. Lauderdale media market and had been since his Miami debut in 1976.

“I also remember Steve Cain, Rick, and Suds on that station,” Pags said. “It was a lot of talk radio, but it was fun. It was entertainment. Rush Limbaugh was doing the politics stuff back then.”

Pags knew a career in media was for him ever since he was ten years old, even before his vocal chords did.

“When my voice changed at 13, I developed more of a bass tone; I knew I was on my way. I had a New York accent and had to shake that.”

Before he embarked on a career in radio, his music career was going well. Pags played French horn and saxophone; apparently, he was pretty good.

He played gigs at the prestigious Breakers Hotel, among many others. “I used to play at the Backstage lounge adjacent to the old Burt Reynolds Dinner Theater in Jupiter,” Pags said.

No word on whether Reynolds ever caught Pags live or not.

As a kid, he played baseball. Pags said he was pretty good. What took center stage for Pags was music. It was the French horn and saxophone that captured his heart. 

“I played professionally on the Empress Dinner Cruise on the Intracoastal Waterway,” Pags said. “I also did gigs at The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach. We made some good money.” 

Before Domino’s and radio and music, it all started with a strong desire to succeed. That often comes from your family’s belief in you. Sometimes it’s not there.

“I knew that if I worked hard enough, if I showed the love for the work I was doing, then I’d succeed,” Pags said.

His family lived in Lake Worth, Florida, from 1973-74, and Pags returned every so often. “I got back to Florida recently when I went to Mara Lago and watched 2,000 Mules.

San Antonio has been home for the past 17 years for Pags and his family. “I’ve been here at WOAI. I’ve got my own studio in a great area.” His daughter Sam is his executive producer. I asked Pags if there was any nepotism when it came to hiring Sam.

“Darn right, there is nepotism,” he said. “This is Joe Pags media. I get to hire whoever I want,” he quipped. “Sam has always had a love of broadcasting. When I became syndicated in this business, I told her I trusted her more than anyone else I knew and asked her to produce my show.”

The other day I spoke with Will Cain for a piece. He told me if I visited Austin, I should also see Texas. So I asked Pags what Cain was trying to say. “He means Austin is a city like Portland; only it’s in Texas. There’s a lot of homelessness in Austin. A lot of crime. The University of Texas in Austin goes far to the Left.”

Where does Pags’ tough demeanor come from? 

“My father was 100 percent Italian. We had some good pasta dishes around our house with my grandparents around,” Pags explained. “We didn’t have a good bakery in Lake Worth, so I remember my mother and aunts bringing great bread recipes over from the homeland.”

Pags has always been interested in what takes place on the periphery, not just the core of matters. He’s done a lot of things throughout his life. That experience has helped shape his radio show. Pags said his show tends to be white-collar, but he grew up blue-collar all the way. 

“I liked the Superman movies. I enjoyed Rocky,” Pags explained. “As a car-buff, I loved the Burt Reynolds films with Smokey and the Bandit. Stuff like that.”

Lake Worth, like a lot of other Floridia areas, has been known to be a little rough and tumble. Just watch Cops for a week if you don’t believe me.

Pags said other than a little shoving match at the bus stop, he didn’t encounter much rough stuff. “I was a musician, I wasn’t in that mix. Perhaps a scuffle in little league.”

When he was a teenager, he thought music would be it. “I’d played with some big-hitters at the time, like The Coasters,” Pags said. 

“Music career opportunities really didn’t come along as I’d hoped. In some ways, people in the industry were full of it. I still did some freelance work on the saxophone.”

Pags said he was always willing to work for what he got. “I poured coffee and ran errands for $4 an hour,” Pags said. “I had my car repossessed, and got evicted from my apartment. I still kept at it. I never was deterred from what I wanted. I knew what I wanted, but never really expected things to happen the way they did.”

Pags said if some youngster asked how to be what Pags is today, his answer was succinct. “Pour coffee, run errands, whatever you have to do.” 

I asked Pags what he does in his downtime? Let’s just say he’s not running to tee-off at 7:00 am with the guys at the club on his day off.

“I’m a domestic sports car guy,” he says with pride. “I’ve got three Corvettes, a Camaro Super Sport. My Camaro was a 1967, red with white stripes. I sold that car so we could afford to adopt our daughter. I got the better end of that deal.”

He doesn’t do any weekend racing on local tracks like other aging Indy wannabes. “I like to look at those cars in the garage,” Pags said. “My dad was a big car guy. My dad is probably why I’ve succeeded in my life and career. Not for the reasons you’d think.”

Pags’ relationship with his father had the typical ups and downs. Same as it is for most men.

“My father didn’t think I’d amount to anything and had no problem relating that to me,” Pags said. “Conversely, my Mom was always extremely supportive of my interests and goals. I knew if you were good at what you did, people would take notice.”

Pags said his father excelled at being a naysayer. A glass is a half-empty kind of guy.

“He was so negative. He thought I’d never succeed at anything,” Pags explained. “I was out of the house at 17, and I was determined to become something. To prove him wrong.”

Before his father passed away, Pags believes his father became aware of a lot of things. 

“A light went on in his head, and he was just so surprised I could make a living doing what I did,” Pags explains. “When I became a big enough success, he recognized my drive and determination. I’m still not sure if he was hard on me because he thought it would help me in the end. Whatever his reasoning was, it gave me the drive and determination to see things through.”

Pags’ father became so proud of his son that he’d tell friends Joe was going to be on Fox News and how they should tune in.

“It was my mother, with her ultimate support, that really made me want to succeed. For her,” Pags explained.

“I learned that if someone disparages you or makes you feel small, you have choices. You can go into a shell and take it. Believe what people say. Or you can go out and knock down some doors. If you want me to do something, tell me I can’t do it. Soon I will be syndicated on 200 stations. All that came from believing in myself. I’ll prove it to iHeart. To other broadcasters.”

Pags said at some point; you’ve got to find some kind of edge. 

“I knew I wasn’t going to agree with things my father believed and said, just to shut him up. I had to stand up for my own beliefs.”

I can relate to a guy like Pags. He’s got a tough exterior, not easy to crack. But like me, I know in the center is a soft, creamy nougat. 

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BNM Writers

The Rise of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

According to BNM’s Pete Mundo, Ron DeSantis sounds an awful lot like someone who is gearing up for something bigger than “just” being the Governor of Florida.

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For at least the last six years, the long-standing belief is that talk radio has been the home for Donald Trump sycophants. While I’ve always viewed this as an overly-simplistic analysis of tens of millions of weekly talk radio listeners in this country, it’s fair to say that certainly, from 2015 through 2020; the news talk audience was supportive of the 45th President. 

And now, as time goes on, there are signs that the dam is breaking. There’s anecdotal data I can share and then more scientific data to touch on.

This past Monday, I spent one segment of my show saying I would burn through as many calls as I could over 8-9 minutes on Trump or Ron DeSantis to be the 2024 Republican Presidential nominee. I brought this up in the wake of DeSantis’ criticism of Joe Biden’s energy policy from late last week. He sounded an awful lot like someone who is gearing up for something bigger than “just” being the Governor of Florida.

Over those 8-9 minutes, I fit in 14 phone calls. Going into it, I told my producers privately that my guess was that the calls would split fairly evenly but probably lean towards Trump. 

That’s not what happened. 

Instead, we ended up with nine of the 14 callers in favor of DeSantis, with five going for Trump. 

Then there was some interesting polling this week. One poll of likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire found DeSantis edging out Trump 39 percent to 37 percent. The most telling fact about the New Hampshire poll is that while DeSantis leads Trump by just two points overall, he leads among Fox News watchers by 14 points and among conservative radio listeners by 16 points.

As is always the case, one poll should not be viewed as an absolute, but there are clear signs that Donald Trump’s stranglehold over Republican voters is waning. And from my perspective, it’s waning faster than I expected. 

Politics move fast. One day you’re hot; the next day, not so much. And to see DeSantis rise this quickly when all the focus is on Joe Biden and the 2022 midterms, not the Republican primary in 2024, makes this poll even more surprising.

And while I have no interest in getting ahead of myself, talk radio is likely to be the battleground for this issue if and when it does ultimately come to fruition. Talk radio is obviously far more interactive than cable news. Callers, texters, and Facebook/Twitter users can all be participants and have their perspectives shared with thousands of listeners at any given time.

And if those most in tune with the news cycle of the moment find themselves shifting to someone like Ron DeSantis, then the run-of-the-mill Republican voter is likely to follow suit when the time comes.

But, if we do end up getting a Trump vs. DeSantis primary, then 2024 could end up making 2016 look like child’s play. But I’ll stop here because, once again, I’m not looking to get ahead of myself.

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