Sitting in a radio studio towering above New York City in the Empire State Building was the highlight of one of my many trips to New York. But not because of the view. No, it wasn?t what I saw that blew my socks off, it was what I heard.
Michael Medved was hosting his popular radio show (normally done from KTTH in Seattle) from the grand building while attending the same convention I was in town for, and I had tagged along to watch this great master of history, entertainment and the pop culture in action.
He used no notes, was able to weave lessons of history and current events into clever responses to a wide variety of issues by both crazed and sane callers, and spoke with the greatest of ease and delight. To be blunt, Michael Medved is the best radio host on the air. Better than anyone. Period.
Like many other celebrities, he has a personal story that?s quite interesting -- and it involved a dramatic political conversion.
He?s not alone: Ronald Reagan started out as a Democrat and became a union leader in Hollywood. Hillary Clinton was a Goldwater Girl and ran for high-school student council as a Young Republican. So it?s fitting that Michael first gained notoriety as an anti-war activist who doubted God?s existence.
Today, Michael is a well-known conservative -- a famous film critic who refuses to let Hollywood off the hook for pandering to the lowest common denominator, a radio talk-show host who skewers leftist platitudes daily, and a religiously devout father of three. To say that he?s left his liberal days behind him is quite an understatement.
In fact, reading Michael?s new book, ?Right Turns: Unconventional Lessons from a Controversial Life,? you see just how much America as a whole has changed. From the casual attitude toward drug use that pervaded college campuses (such as Yale, which Michael attended in the late 1960s) to the general hostility toward all things military, the America of 35 years ago seems light years removed from the America of today.
Take the student protest that Michael led when Yale held a meeting to discuss the prospect of having the university sever ties with the military?s Reserve Officer Training Corps. Amid the back-and-forth of what Michael calls ?a raucous debate,? the university?s president, Kingman Brewster, said, ?I happen to respect and even honor those who decide to serve their country in the military.? Big deal, right? But a small detail caught my eye: This statement, Michael notes, was greeted with ?boos and catcalls.?