Michael Berry of WJBO Hailed as America’s Next Rush Limbaugh

Michael Berry of WJBO Hailed as America’s Next Rush Limbaugh

300 Fans Turn Out To Greet Talk Host At Local Reception

by Woody Jenkins, Editor

BATON ROUGE — Anyone who doubts that talk show host Michael Berry is a growing force in Baton Rouge radio should have been at WJBO’s reception for the Houston native last Friday night.
More than 300 enthusiastic fans packed Station Sports Bar, 4608 Bennington Ave., for the chance to meet and have their photo taken with Berry.
The crowd included some of the city’s most prominent individuals and business owners.
The conservative attorney, who served as President of the Houston City Council, is being heralded by some as the “next Rush Limbaugh.”
Berry is a strong conservative who entertains his audience with hilarious stories and often politically incorrect humor.
Listeners often say, “I didn’t think you could say that on radio!” after hearing one of Berry’s wildly inappropriate jokes, often on the edge of what you can say about  race in America.
How he gets away with it was evident at the reception.  His beautiful Indian wife and two adopted boys from Ethiopia were proof of his own love and goodwill toward his fellow man.  His wife Nandy is an attorney from Hyderabad, India.  He and Nandy are Southern Baptists.
“Telling it like it is” is a hallmark of Berry’s style, and listeners love it, if the response from those who turned out to meet him is any indication.
“Keep it up!” and “We’re behind you!” were common phrases heard in the receiving line.
Clear Channel radio market manager Michael Hudson was all-smiles during the event.  Hudson thinks Berry is a winner who can go all the way.
Ironically, although Berry is known as a staunch conservative, most of his daily show on WJBO, 1150 AM (M-F, 5-7 p.m.) is about non-political topics — “Whatever I’m thinking about today!” he said.
“Life is the inspiration for the show,” he said.
“For most people, the world doesn’t revolve around Washington or the State Capitol in Baton Rouge,” Berry said.
“I enjoy talking about things everyone can get into,” he said.
“We might get people to call in and talk about their first job.  It’s fascinating.  I’ve had CEO’s of major corporations come on the air and talk about working at McDonald’s.”
“We might get a discussion going on what you learned from your divorce.  I promise everyone benefits from that conversation.”
“Our listeners are concerned about this country, and we talk about that.  But they’re also concerned about cooking, and we talk about that.  I’ll tell you this: In Baton Rouge, people love their food, and they love to talk about it.”
“They want to talk about whether they should start their own business and whether to put their parents in a nursing home.  The on-going conversation is really about life.”
Berry graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. from the University of Houston and then earned a Juris Doctor degree in law from the University of Texas.  He went on to earn a Masters of Laws and Letters from the University of Nottingham in England. He was a successful attorney in Houston.  He worked hard and prospered.  But something was missing.  He was the youngest member ever elected to the Houston City Council, but that too wasn’t enough.
“One day someone said, ‘You’re good at media!  Why don’t you try radio?’ and I did.”
Berry had a chance to have a show on KTRH, the second oldest station in the country, founded in 1922.  Broadcasting on 740 AM, the KTRH is a powerhouse at 50,000 watts.
After success in Houston, Berry decided to syndicate the show, but was told that his Southern humor and country fried accent wouldn’t cut it outside the South.
Just to prove them wrong, Berry got the show on the air in — of all places — Portland, Oregon, a liberal hotbed!
“What people don’t know is that Portland is surrounded by farmers, hunters, and lumberjacks!”  The show became a success in Portland.
Then he got on in Baton Rouge.  “We’ve never had a response like Baton Rouge!” Berry said.
Then came San Antonio, Nashville, Albany, NY, Birmingham, and Waco, Texas.
The show is being syndicated by Premiere Radio, a subsidiary of Clear Channel, which owns 1,200 stations nationwide.  He has a show on Fox 26 in Houston and often substitutes for Mark Levin on Levin’s nationally syndicated show.
Michael Berry said he gets his inspiration from his mom and dad more than anyone else.  They’re both still living in Orangefield, Texas. “My dad was a maintenance man for Dupont, but he didn’t enjoy that work.  He encouraged me to do something I loved.”
“My dad told me, ‘If you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life!’ and he was right.”

Michael Berry can be reached at michaelberry@clearchannel.com.


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