A few days ago, we stopped by Graber Supplies on Highway 41 in south central Pennsylvania. Inside we found Ira Wagler, a general manager at the building, listening to the "Rush Limbaugh Show" as he worked.
Wagler is a huge fan of conservative talk radio. Five days a week he heads to work in his blue truck with the dial set to WHP 580 in Harrisburg. During the 30-minute drive he listens to local conservative talker RJ Harris. At work Glen Beck takes him to the noon hour, followed by the king of conservative radio, Rush Limbaugh.
Then it's back in the truck on the way home with another local talker, Bob Durgan. Wagler ends the day at home with the San Francisco-based conservative Michael Savage.
Talkers Magazine says that Ira is not unusual. More than 15 million people listen to Rush Limbaugh every week, and all but one of the top ten most listened to talk radio hosts are conservative.
We wanted to know why conservative talk radio is so popular.
"I started listening to Rush in '92," says Wagler, a self-described Libertarian who voted for Ron Paul for president. "I just really connected with his philosophy, his thinking, and quite a bit with his humor."
He also told Carol Costello that he listens to Limbaugh "for the serious things. He just cuts through the crap. He tells it. This is what's going on, and 90% of the time that is what's going on. He's not always right. Usually he is."
We also visited WHP 580 to talk to a couple of the radio hosts.
RJ Harris is the operations manager when he's not hosting his morning show.
Why program only conservative hosts?
"This is a for-profit business. We're no different than the other radio stations or any television network. What drives our success is ratings."
Bob Durgin hosts the popular afternoon drive time show. He thinks it is more than politics that brings listeners such as Ira Wagler to his show.
"Conservative talk show hosts," he told Carol Costello, "man, they're on the air and they're just raising cane and they're angry and they're entertaining and provocative and scintillating, and they just give themselves up! I don't think liberals can do that ... and they're just frankly boring! And I think that's why they're failing."
Well, the liberals are not exactly failing.
There are several successful talk liberal talk radio hosts, such as Ed Schultz, Thom Harmann, and Alan Colmes. But none is in a ratings league with Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck, whose audience sizes dwarf those of the successful liberal hosts.