Edward Andrew Schultz (born January 27, 1954) is the currently suspended host of The Ed Schultz Show, a nationally syndicated U.S. talk radio show promising "straight talk from the heartland" from a " gun-totin', red meat-eatin' lefty."
Schultz was born in Norfolk, Virginia and attended Granby High School in Norfolk. He moved to the state of Minnesota to play football on a scholarship from Moorhead State University, becoming the NCAA Division II passing leader in 1977. He played football for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for a half-season, but was unable to adjust to the different rules of the Canadian league.
After his short football career ended, he went to work as a sportscaster in Fargo, North Dakota, near Moorhead. He worked as a sportscaster for 15 years with two local stations, predominantly WDAY-TV, the local ABC affiliate. Schultz anchored the nightly sports broadcasts for the station, and became well known across the state for his high-energy radio and TV play-by-play of North Dakota State University football and basketball games.
Schultz was married to his WDAY news co-anchor and producer Maureen Zimmerman during much of his on-air time with the station. The two are now divorced.
In 1988, Schultz was involved in what has over time become known as the "Whiskey Bottle Incident" in Fargo. During the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Bison 55-21 season-opening football victory over Northern Michigan University, an empty whiskey bottle thrown from the student section of fans shattered a window near Schultz, who was broadcasting the game on WDAY radio, and struck color analyst Gary Barta in the stomach. Schultz, who was often the target of taunting from the NDSU students, blurted out several audible expletives over the air and left the broadcast booth to find the bottle thrower. He apologized later for his "colorful" language. Later that week, Schultz was asked by WDAY management to take a few days off to clear the air; while he said Schultz was not suspended, the vice president of WDAY indicated people could "draw their own conclusions" about Schultz's sudden removal from on-air broadcast duties.
Schultz, who was touted as the "Voice of the Bison" for many years at WDAY, left in 1996 and began broadcasting for KFGO in Fargo, now owned by James Ingstad (formerly Clear Channel). Schultz began doing play-by-play work on University of North Dakota (UND) Fighting Sioux football broadcasts in 1998. Schultz incurred the ire of fans when he began to disparage the Bison during rival Sioux broadcasts after his years of NDSU play by play. Schultz was also a finalist for the Minnesota Vikings radio play by play broadcast job in 2001, a job that eventually went to KFAN radio host Paul Allen.
During a substitute hosting stint on a Minneapolis-based sports show in January 2003, Schultz called Sioux hockey coach Dean Blais a "jerk" and "bush league." Blais called for Schultz's removal from UND athletic broadcasts.
Even after Schultz left as UND play by play man in 2003 to focus on his national radio show, his legacy as a controversial sports figure in North Dakota did not diminish. In a 2004 Sports Illustrated article on North Dakota, Schultz lost out to only Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre as North Dakota's #1 "Enemy of the State".
Schultz's News and Views radio show was very similar to his WDAY Viewpoint program and quickly grew into a regional broadcast dominating the North Dakota airwaves, with additional listeners in South Dakota, western Minnesota, Montana, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. Schultz's political views leaned towards the right during the early years, and Schultz told the Los Angeles Times that he "lined up with the Republicans because they were anti-tax, and I wanted to make a lot of money...." Schultz pondered a run as a Republican for the U.S. House of Representatives against Democratic Rep. Earl Pomeroy in 1994, but decided against it after visiting with state Republican leaders. Since then, he claims to have become a Democrat in 2000, although he supported several Republican candidates in that year's election. Schultz considered running for the Democratic-NPL party nomination for governor against incumbent Republican John Hoeven in 2004, but decided to continue his career in radio.
Schultz considers himself a socialist, but his views on such things as abortion and same sex marriage proves he is not. In fact he is not even considered a liberal by true liberal, but a moderate. About the only liberal stance he has is that he pro-union and centers a large portion of his radio show on the "plight of working class Americans". He has also repeatedly stated that he is a moderate Democrat willing to change political parties upon necessity.
However, Schultz holds several views on social issues which would commonly be considered conservative. Schultz, for example, is opposed to abortion (though he does not want Roe v. Wade overturned) and gay marriage (although he does not believe there should be a Constitutional amendment banning it).
The Ed Schultz Show, hosted by Ed Schultz, is broadcast from Fargo, North Dakota on a network of over 100 stations, including seven of the 10 largest radio markets. He is also on XM and Sirius satellite radio; his show is often carried as part of a lineup that includes one or more Air America Radio shows. The program can also be heard on Armed Forces Radio.
Schultz launched The Ed Schultz Show on January 5, 2004, distributed by Jones Radio Networks, with financial backing from Democracy Radio. The show started in two markets (Needles, California and Langdon, North Dakota), quickly signing another dozen stations in smaller, mostly upper Midwest markets. For a while, Schultz continued his News and Views broadcasts, though by February 2005 it was announced that Joel Heitkamp, a North Dakota state senator, was taking over that show. The Ed Schultz Show's shares owned by Democracy Radio were purchased by Product First in June of 2005, a company started by Randy Michaels and Stu Krane, who had previously been involved with launching Rush Limbaugh's radio show.
Schultz's flagship KFGO dropped The Ed Schultz Show between January 2006 and February 2007 due to an apparent conflict with the station's management which new ownership cleared up. Fargo's KQWB-AM aired the program in the interim.
Despite assertions by some conservative critics that progressive talk cannot succeed, Schultz has carved out a national niche. According to the most recent survey by Talkers Magazine, Ed Schultz is the 5th most important talk show host in the United States, with 3 million listeners a week, and the most listened to liberal talk show host in the country.
Like other similar radio shows, Schultz uses nicknames for a number of public figures. These include "Slant Head" for conservative commentator Sean Hannity, "Druggie" or "Drugster" for Rush Limbaugh, "Shooter" for Vice President Dick Cheney, and "Rotten Rudy" for Republican presidential candidate Rudy Guiliani.
For legal analysis, Schultz often turns to Norman Goldman, who Schultz has given the title of "Senior Legal Analyst." Goldman also fills in from time to time on the show when Schultz is traveling or on vacation. Tony Trupiano also fills in on Schultz's show when Schultz is absent.
During the 2006 Congressional elections, Schultz provided opportunities for varying views on the candidates and politics in general. This included guests such as Michael Rogers of BlogActive, a blog that identifies gay politicians and staffers. Rogers discussed “outing” Republican staffers and elected officials he believed were gay. Rogers was invited back to Schultz's show several times during the Fall 2006 elections to discuss outing Republican staffers and legislators Rogers believed they were hypocrites because of their legislative votes affecting homosexuals. Rogers reported on US House member David Dreier (R-CA) and US Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), both of whom he believes are anti-gay closeted gay men.
On November 30, 2006, Schultz announced he was moving to the "prime real estate" time slot from noon to 3PM (ET), to directly compete with Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly, whose shows are also broadcast in that time slot.
Schultz has engaged in a minor conflict with talk-show host Dennis Prager. Prager defended controversial comments made by William J. Bennett on the September 28, 2005 broadcast of his morning radio program, which Schultz characterized as being racist. Prager asserted that Schultz had quoted Bennett out of context and Schultz challenged Prager to a debate. Prager accepted the challenge but Schultz never responded. No debate has yet taken place and the issue appears to be dead.
Air America FeudEdit
On February 13, 2007, Schultz dedicated the first hour of his show to a heated monologue against Air America Radio. Air America host Sam Seder suggested that the XM Air America channel should only have Air America hosts on it and reportedly asked his viewers to call XM to remove Schultz in favor of Air America host Thom Hartmann, who replaced Al Franken. Schultz interpreted this as an attack from the entire network. Other hosts on Air America have made negative comments about Schultz, saying he is not liberal or progressive enough. They've also made light of his rural accent and location in Fargo, North Dakota. Schultz responded by saying Air America "sucks" and "If you listen to Air America, I don't want you to listen to the Ed Schultz show cause I'm better than them!" Schultz also stated, "They're bankrupt ... they don't know how to run radio," alluding to Air America's chronic financial problems.
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