In the 1990s, Limbaugh made the New York Times Best Seller list with his books The Way Things Ought to Be (1992) and See, I Told You So (1993). From 1992 to 1996, Limbaugh hosted a half-hour television talk show. Limbaugh frequently criticizes what he regards as liberal policies and politicians, as well as what he perceives as pervasive liberal bias in major U.S. media.
Limbaugh's radio show airs for three hours each weekday beginning at noon Eastern Standard Time on both AM and FM radio. The program is also broadcast worldwide on the Armed Forces Radio Network.
Radio broadcasting shifted from AM to FM in the late 1970s because of the opportunity to broadcast music in stereo with better fidelity. Limbaugh's show was first nationally syndicated in August 1988, in a later stage of AM's decline. Limbaugh's popularity paved the way for other conservative talk radio programming to become commonplace on the AM radio. In March 2006, WBAL in Baltimore became the first major market radio station in the country to drop Limbaugh's nationally syndicated radio program. In 2007, Talkers magazine again named him #1 in its "Heavy Hundred" most important talk show hosts.
Limbaugh frequently mentions the EIB (Excellence In Broadcasting) network, but this is a mythic construction, as he told The New York Times in 1990. In reality, his show was co-owned and first syndicated by Edward F. McLaughlin, former president of ABC who founded EFM Media in 1988, with Limbaugh's show as his first product. In 1997, McLaughlin sold EFM to Jacor Communications, which was ultimately bought up by Clear Channel Communications. Today, Limbaugh owns a majority of the show, which is syndicated by the Premiere Radio Networks.
According to a 2001 article in U.S. News & World Report, Limbaugh had an eight-year contract, at the rate of $31.25 million a year. In 2007, Limbaugh earned $33 million. On July 2, 2008, Matt Drudge reported that Limbaugh signed a contract extension through 2016 that is worth over $400 million, breaking records for any broadcast. A November 2008 poll by Zogby International found that Rush Limbaugh was the most trusted news personality in the nation, garnering 12.5% of poll responses.
Limbaugh has been an outspoken critic of what he sees as leniency towards criminal drug use in America. On his television show in October 5, 1995, Limbaugh stated, "too many whites are getting away with drug use" and illegal drug trafficking. Limbaugh's solution was to prosecute these white involved in illegal drugs and extend jail time for them and those already jailed.
In 2006, the Palm Beach County State Attorney charged Limbaugh with doctor shopping to obtain OxyContin. The State Attorney subsequently reached an agreement with Limbaugh in which the charge was dropped after Limbaugh agreed to pay $30,000 to defray the investigation cost and to complete an 18-month therapy regimen with his physician
According to a Fox News Story:
Rush Limbaugh and prosecutors in the long-running painkiller fraud case against him have reached a deal calling for the only charge against the conservative commentator to be dropped if he continues treatment, his attorney said Friday.
Limbaugh was booked on a single charge that was filed Friday, said Teri Barbera, a spokeswoman for the Palm Beach County Jail. He left about an hour later, after Limbaugh was photographed and fingerprinted and he posted $3,000 bail, Barbera said.
Limbaugh has been married four times and has no children. He was first married at the age of 26 to Roxy Maxine McNeely, a sales secretary at radio station WHB in Kansas City, Missouri. They were married at the Centenary United Methodist Church in Limbaugh's hometown of Cape Girardeau, Missouri on September 24, 1977. McNeely filed for divorce in March 1980, citing "incompatibility." They were formally divorced on July 10, 1980.
In 1983, Limbaugh married Michelle Sixta, a college student and usherette at the Kansas City Royals Stadium Club. They were divorced in 1990, and she remarried the following year.
On May 27, 1994, Limbaugh married Marta Fitzgerald, a 35-year-old aerobics instructor whom he met on the online service CompuServe in 1990. They were married at the house of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who officiated. They were separated on June 11, 2004. Limbaugh announced his divorce on the air. The divorce was finalized in December 2004. In September 2004, Limbaugh became romantically involved with then-TV personality Daryn Kagan, and they broke up in February 2006.
On December 30, 2009, while vacationing in Honolulu, Hawaii, Limbaugh was admitted to Queen's Medical Center with intense chest pains. His doctors attributed the pain to angina pectoris.
He dated Kathryn Rogers, a party planner from Florida, for three years before he married her on June 5, 2010. During the wedding reception after the ceremony, Elton John entertained the wedding guests for a reported $1 million fee; however, Limbaugh himself denied that the $1 million figure was accurate on his September 7, 2010, radio show.
Through a holding company, KARHL Holdings (KARHL meaning "Kathryn and Rush Hudson Limbaugh"), Limbaugh launched a line of bottled iced tea beverages, entitled Two if by Tea after a line from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "Paul Revere's Ride.
On February 29, 2012, during his show, Limbaugh called Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a "slut and a "prostitute", based and her testimony before a committee of House Democrats. Fluke was appearing in support of mandating health insurers to cover contraceptive costs. Incorrectly calling her "Susan", Limbaugh said:
"What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic] who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex -- what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex."
Limbaugh continued branding Fluke a slut for the next two days while his show lost several national advertisers, and political figures voiced their disapproval. On March 3 Limbaugh issued an apology on his website; Fluke rejected the apology