I remember as a teenage farm kid, hearing Rush Limbaugh for the very first time riding with my dad in our old pickup truck, listening to KSEI. Like everyone else back then who heard him for the first time, I wondered “Who is this guy?”

Even at that age, I knew a radio career was in my future. I was politically minded, conservative, and payed close attention to the news. So Rush’s sarcasm, use of parody, command of the language, and his unique ability to articulate conservative principles and rugged individualism appealed to me deeply.

In those early teenage farm kid days, it never crossed my mind that I’d enjoy the opportunity of programming Rush affiliate stations for more than 20 years, and the even greater experience of being his local lead-in on the air.

It would be hard to overstate his impact on conservative thought, on the radio industry, and on the political landscape. He singlehandedly resurrected AM radio, paved the way and created demand for many more talk show hosts — both national and local. He was a political kingmaker, and commanded a politically powerful audience that fueled more than one conservative revolution during his three decade span.

We’ve known this day was coming for months. While I never had the opportunity to cross paths with Rush during my career, I feel deeply and personally impacted by his influence. Even though last year’s job change for me meant programming local radio against Rush, I’m going to miss him, because he made all of us in the talk radio industry, better.

Farewell, Rush. Your influence has been mighty.

-Neal Larson