Dana Loesch has Limbaugh-like aspirations for conservative talk

Conservative talk radio host Dana Loesch says she isn’t trying to fill Rush Limbaugh’s shoes. But she’d obviously love it if people started thinking of her that way. 

In an interview with The Hill just over a week after signing a new multiyear syndication contract with Radio America, Loesch was just shy of effusive about Limbaugh’s talk radio legacy, saying nobody could replace him.

“This is the guy that created the industry. It just sounds crazy to even think that somebody could be an heir,” Loesch said. “No one is going to step up and be the heir. It’s not going to happen … and so that’s why I don’t even try. I’m not trying to do what he did.”

But while Loesch soft-peddled comparisons with Limbaugh, who died from cancer in mid-February, in the interview, Radio American has invited the comparisons.

In a press release announcing her deal, it said the contract solidifies Loesch, the former spokeswoman for the NRA, as the “heir to the Limbaugh throne.”

Loesch talked to The Hill about how she directly competed with and occasionally beat Limbaugh in the ratings battle over the years.

“We went back and forth … a number of times,” she said. “You know, kind of taking turns, beating each other in different markets.”  

As talk radio moves into the post-Limbaugh era, Loesch has seen some initial wins in her attempt to grab listeners. 

According to the trade publication “Talkers,” Radio America recently reported that “The Dana Show” has replaced “The Rush Limbaugh Show” on several stations, including KURV-AM in McAllen-Brownsville, Texas; KJNO-AM/FM in Juneau, Alaska; and KJMT-FM in Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Arkansas. 

Her show has also been added in other time slots, including to the lineups of KERN-AM in Bakersfield, Calif.; KYUL-AM and KIUL-AM in Wichita; and KGYN, in Guymon, Okla. 

In the Radio America press lease, Loesch welcomed Limbaugh’s “loyal listeners to the ‘Dana Show.’” She told The Hill that she believes her “happy warrior” approach sets her apart from the rest of the talk radio competition.

“I don’t like the nonstop, let’s be angry 24/7,” she said. “And I just don’t even know how that can be maintained, nor do I have any interest in doing that kind of radio.”

“We have fun,” she added. “And I think that that shows.”

Loesch has drawn criticism for her dramatic, sometimes emotionally charged statements she has made, especially when she was working for the NRA.

In a video supporting the gun group, she once said she was “coming for” The New York Times. In another, she declared that “the only way we save our country and our freedom is to fight this violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth.”

While speaking on NRATV, she once described the media as “the rat bastards of the Earth.” 

When asked about her reputation, Loesch said there are times when it’s appropriate to be outraged.

“Don’t misunderstand me,” Loesch said. “I mean, there’s a time, you know, for anybody to feel outraged or to be angry over an issue that you can truly be angry about. And I think that’s reasonable.”

“But this angry radio that is the stereotype for conservative talk radio? I mean Rush definitely wasn’t angry all the time. He had a lot of fun and I think that he definitely pioneered that humorous approach. The outrage and anger is just not something that you can keep up with,” she added. 

Another differentiator the 42-year-old Loesch is counting on for success is demographics, namely being younger than most hosts and being a woman in a male-dominated business. 

In her press material, Loesch boasts she is the “number one female radio talk show host in the country and the only woman among the top 10 hosts, making her a trailblazer in an industry long dominated by men.”

Statistics from Talkers back up that claim, showing that the field is clearly male-dominated. 

“I’m, I think, the youngest or one of the youngest and the only female on the [12-3 p.m.] spot,” she said. “I’ve been doing it for a while. I enjoy it … and obviously you can tell by the content, you can tell by the programming and even the way that I approach topics.”

Surprisingly, the one thing Loesch feels doesn’t see as helping her succeed is the fact that Democrat Joe Biden is now president.

Loesch says that conservative hosts in general can benefit from Democrat administrations, which are easy targets for right-wing talk.

“I think that’s how a lot of people in the ’90s got bigger with Clinton. … And you could say the same with others in Obama,” she said.

But even when President Trump was in office, Loesch says, she never had a problem finding grist for her daily talk radio mill.

“Like I said, I just want to have fun and fellowship and just hang out with people. Just kind of chat around the table every day. That’s sort of how I approach it,” she said.

“But is it easier for there to be a Democrat? I think it’s, I think it’s easier to be funnier when there’s a Democrat in office,” she said. “But you know, it wasn’t exactly difficult really with a Republican either. Because there’s always going to be something that I would be able to object to or disagree with.”

Tags Conservative Dana Loesch Donald Trump Joe Biden NRA Rush Limbaugh Talk radio

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