Sarah Palin, radio star? Goshdarnit, now there's a lousy doggone idea

First she got a big fat book deal. Then she was supposedly being courted for TV stardom. Now Sarah Palin could be taking into the airwaves in a different form, as the host of her own radio talk show. "[S]ources say Palin representatives have been quietly testing the waters to see how much interest radio syndicators have for her," reports Inside Radio.

This is, not to put too fine a point on it, a stupid idea. And it's not just that Palin's media-bashing would sit uncomfortably with a career in broadcasting; Rush Limbaugh has managed to make a go of it, even though his 30 million listeners (or however many it really is) make him, by any reasonable measure, a part of the mainstream media he ostensibly loathes.

No, the real problem is that Palin's talents, such as they are, don't extend to talking, as anyone who watched her hilarious/excruciating resignation speech or her career-killing interviews with Katie Couric can attest. (At least they don't extend to extemporaneous talking. She can, to be sure, read from a TelePrompTer.) Her voice is harsh, her accent jarring -- the opposite of the honeyed mellifluousness that radio listeners gravitate towards. She may be the "the hottest (ex-)governor from the coldest state," but having a face for television doesn't help much in radio.

It's no accident that most of the top conservative radio and TV hosts, from Limbaugh to Glenn Beck to Bill O'Reilly, started out as broadcastsers, not politicos. Limbaugh was a top-40 DJ; so was Beck. On the other end of the political spectrum, Keith Olbermann was a sportscaster, and Rachel Maddow co-hosted a morning show. Radio listeners want someone who agrees with their politics, but they need someone who is, above all, a masterful talker and entertainer, capable of constructing a pleasurable, cosy aural environment. Palin can't do that. Whoever gives her a job in radio will live to regret it.
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