SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Radio personality Rush Limbaugh announced on Monday that he is battling advanced lung cancer.
Limbaugh’s rise to stardom started in Sacramento at radio station KFBK. CBS13 spoke with some of his former co-workers as they reacted to the news.
Callers also shared their thoughts and prayers with KFBK’s Kitty O’Neal after hearing about Limbaugh’s diagnosis.
O’Neal was Limbaugh’s producer when he worked there in the 80s.
“He changed things here at KFBK and he changed things for talk radio,” O’Neal said.
She admired the political commentator’s cutting-edge style.
“He was unlike anyone I had ever worked with before, he flew without a net and he had all this schtick and wouldn’t take calls,” O’Neal said.
She says Limbaugh knew it was a performance but was a good listener. That ability to connect was something she drew upon later in her career.
“I loved how he would break the wall. He would talk to people who were working with him, ‘hey so and so, bring me this,’” O’Neal said.
Limbaugh would later dabble in TV, hosting a show on KOVR before heading to New York. He was never afraid to try new things, mixing comedy and conservatism.
Carl Burton with Republicans of River City said Limbaugh’s style got people’s attention.
The more they would listen to him, the more they would say, ‘You know, he is right,’” Burton said. “And then they would get hooked where they couldn’t get along without listening to him every day, even if they didn’t like what he had to say.”
Burton says Limbaugh came at the right time, putting conservatism and Sacramento on the map.
“I think more people know Sacramento and Rio Linda than anything other place in the country,” he said.
They all are hoping for the best for Limbaugh, knowing he will approach cancer treatment like he has approached life — head on.
“That kind of person had to be very strong and have lots of stamina, and I feel like if anyone can beat it, it’ll be Rush,” O’Neal said.
Despite his bravado on the air, his co-workers describe him as a thoughtful guy.