Will we soon be hearing former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani on the radio going on and on about the war against Christmas, how biased the Los Angeles Times is, and that maniac Al Franken?
The unsuccessful 2008 Republican presidential primary candidate and 911 hero will likely come up with his own schtick, but the New York Post’s Page 6 reports that Giuliani is seriously in the running to replace O’Reilly, who’s quitting his radio show to focus more on his TV show:
EVERYONE knows Bill O’Reilly is quitting his radio show to concentrate on his Fox News TV program. Now, Page Six has learned the leading candidate to succeed him is Rudy Giuliani (above). Westwood One, which syndicates the O’Reilly show, is negotiating with the former mayor. Giuliani, who doesn’t suffer fools gladly, famously ridiculed a ferret owner on the radio in 1999, calling him “deranged.” Some wonder if Rudy could sit for three hours a day chitchatting about politics. The other question is how it might affect his possible gubernatorial run in 2010. Giuliani’s office did not return calls.
Giuliani would be a great choice. Part of O’Reilly’s success — like him or not — is that he comes to radio with a solid journalism background: he knows how to ask questions and extract desired responses and information from guest and callers (although at times he throws away his journalistic know how for good old fashioned verbal bullying). He also does his homework (most of the time), although critics say he leaves some things out (such as things that don’t support his argument or viewpoint). He generates love-hate responses in listeners and creates that MUST element of modern talk show broadcasting: confrontation, high tension and on-the-air and media controversy.
Giuliani was a combative mayor, a more-moderate Republican on some issues, a top-flight attorney and made friends and many enemies (such as among many independent voters and Democrats) for his sometimes over-the-top Campaign 2008 rhetoric. But he also does his homework, loves the camera and microphone, and knows how to extract desired information or responses. He has done radio before…and knows how to generate high-drama, tension and controversy. (Note the huge success of former San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock on both Hedgecock’s local show and his fill-ins for Rush Limbaugh. Hedgecock now has a nationally syndicated national weekend show as well.).
Plus: You always got a sense with O’Reilly that, love him or hate him, he was having fun. And Rudy seems to enjoy getting his kicks, too (see photo above right).
Now the question becomes: if Rudy gets a show, will Sarah Palin be far behind?
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.