Monday, June 08, 2009

Senator and DJ

I wrote a post about disgraced politicians moving into broadcasting. There have also been those who have made that transition in the other direction. There a good number that have tried and failed. Syndicated host Jerry Doyle lost a run for the House of representatives, and more notably in 1994 when Howard Stern ran for Governor of New York. Of course with any on-air talent the question remains if it's a run for office or a publicity stunt. Just to prove it's possible. Here are three radio people that became senators with success and without disgrace.

1. Senator Nancy Kassebaum [R] Kansas was VP of KFH Co in Wichita. In 1978 she beat out 8 candidates and took the Republican senatorial nomination and won the election over Bill Roy [D]. Her husband J. Phillip Kassebaum owns KFH-AM and KBRA-FM. Her father Alf Landon owned at the time KEDD-AM, KSCB-AM, amd KIIX-AM, KTCL-FM, and WREN-AM. After serving 19 years in the Senate she opted not to seek reelection in 1996.

2. Senator Walter D. Huddleston [D] was once the manager of WIEL-AM in Elizabethtown KY, and co-owner of WLBN-AM. In 1964 he ran for a seat on the Kentucky State senate and won. In 1972 he made a move for a vacated seat in the U.S. Senate defeating Republican Louie B. Nunn. He lost the seat in 1984 by less then 1 percentage point.

3. Senator Al Franken [D] In 2004 Al Franken because a genuine radio show host. His program on Air America ran 3 hours a day, Monday thru Friday for 3 years. When he left the network in 2007, he anounced his intent to run for Senate on his final show. He won that election by a small margin of about 215 votes but has yet to be seated due to Republican stalling tactics. I wont let that exclude him here.

*Senator Jesse Helms [R] was formerly executive VP of WRAL-TV but that's TV. That doesn't count on this blog.
* Image from Scecon