March 5, 2021

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Remembering Rush Limbaugh’s pivotal start in Sacramento – KCRA Sacramento

4 min read

Before Rush Limbaugh became a conservative juggernaut in talk radio, he got his pivotal start in 1984 in Sacramento.“When he started, he was really more of an entertainer than a political animal as people know him now,” said KFBK Afternoon News Anchor Kitty O’Neal. “He was constantly playing pranks and jokes on the radio. He did a lot of that insult radio, which resonated with some and others despised. He was just more of an entertainer. He wanted to have fun. And it was often at other people’s expense. But that was his schtick.”Limbaugh worked at KFBK until 1988 when his talk show became nationally syndicated. “He was polarizing even then,” O’Neal added. “I don’t know if people that might remember, there was a billboard that said, ‘don’t you just want to punch Rush Limbaugh?’ And a lot of people thought, ‘yeah I do.’ I mean he had his admirers and his detractors. And there wasn’t a lot of middle ground.”Former KCRA 3 journalist and now talk show radio host Tom Sullivan met Limbaugh in 1984 at KFBK and took over when he left for NYC.“I’m talking a really, really close friend. Just one of the few you ever have in your lifetime—if you’re lucky,” Sullivan said. But while in Sacramento, Limbaugh was part of a live televised debate segment on local news in 1987. The segment “At Odds” lasted for a year with David Rosenberg, who is now a Yolo County Superior Court Judge. Limbaugh took the conservative side and Rosenberg, who then was Mayor of Davis, took the liberal side. “To be honest with you—we agreed on nothing. We wouldn’t even agree on the time of day,” Rosenberg said. “To be completely frank I knew back in the ’80s that he was destined for the big time. He was so focused.” From Sacramento and until his death, Limbaugh and his strong opinions were influential—whether you agreed with him or found him offensive. “One of the things about people who did not like him, they still listened to him. Still tuned in,” Sullivan said. “It’s part of the fabric, definitely part of the fabric of this country.”

Before Rush Limbaugh became a conservative juggernaut in talk radio, he got his pivotal start in 1984 in Sacramento.

“When he started, he was really more of an entertainer than a political animal as people know him now,” said KFBK Afternoon News Anchor Kitty O’Neal. “He was constantly playing pranks and jokes on the radio. He did a lot of that insult radio, which resonated with some and others despised. He was just more of an entertainer. He wanted to have fun. And it was often at other people’s expense. But that was his schtick.”

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Limbaugh worked at KFBK until 1988 when his talk show became nationally syndicated.

“He was polarizing even then,” O’Neal added. “I don’t know if people that might remember, there was a billboard that said, ‘don’t you just want to punch Rush Limbaugh?’ And a lot of people thought, ‘yeah I do.’ I mean he had his admirers and his detractors. And there wasn’t a lot of middle ground.”

Former KCRA 3 journalist and now talk show radio host Tom Sullivan met Limbaugh in 1984 at KFBK and took over when he left for NYC.

“I’m talking a really, really close friend. Just one of the few you ever have in your lifetime—if you’re lucky,” Sullivan said.

But while in Sacramento, Limbaugh was part of a live televised debate segment on local news in 1987. The segment “At Odds” lasted for a year with David Rosenberg, who is now a Yolo County Superior Court Judge.

Limbaugh took the conservative side and Rosenberg, who then was Mayor of Davis, took the liberal side.

“To be honest with you—we agreed on nothing. We wouldn’t even agree on the time of day,” Rosenberg said. “To be completely frank I knew back in the ’80s that he was destined for the big time. He was so focused.”

From Sacramento and until his death, Limbaugh and his strong opinions were influential—whether you agreed with him or found him offensive.

“One of the things about people who did not like him, they still listened to him. Still tuned in,” Sullivan said. “It’s part of the fabric, definitely part of the fabric of this country.”

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