- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 29, 2001

Radio Bubba? Bill Chat? Clin-talk?

Clear the airwaves. William Jefferson Clinton may be in negotiation for his very own talk radio show, at least according to M Street Daily, a news and ratings publication faxed or read online by some 10,000 radio insiders each day.

"Is a major syndicator wooing Bill Clinton?" the brief item states, abutting a color photo of the grinning former president. "The radio syndication deal would reportedly be for a short-form show, not a long-form 'talk show' which proved so deadly for would-be radio stars like former New York governor Mario Cuomo."

Which means America would get "A Moment With Bill" rather than "The Clinton Hour."

"He's not going to be the next Rush Limbaugh. Short-format means a simple two- to five-minute commentary, ideal for politicians. Ted Kennedy did it, so did Newt Gingrich," said Michael Harrison of Talkers Magazine, another radio industry publication.

"But if Clinton is going to go live and take calls and interview people, that would be a big deal. That would get buzz," Mr. Harrison said.

There has been no comment from the former president, last sighted by the press in Rio de Janeiro's Blue Man beach boutique, where he bought $113 worth of bikinis and sarongs.

"It was not immediately clear who he was shopping for," noted the Associated Press.

Broadcasting has surfaced time and again in Mr. Clinton's never-ending search for a post-White House identity. Earlier this year, his attorney Robert Barnett said he has "received many, many offers for media projects, to host his own show or be a commentator."

In May, former CNN executive Reese Schonfeld suggested the cable channel hire Mr. Clinton and "triple ratings." NBC also offered Mr. Clinton a weekly talk show in December, pitching the idea through the president's longtime chum Harry Thomason, himself a TV producer.

Beyond endless print and broadcast accounts of his triumphs and tragedies, the loquacious Arkansan also maintained an unpredictable showbiz presence while in office.

In 1996, Mr. Clinton played himself in "Child's Wish," a CBS movie of the week on childhood cancer, then tussled with Warner Brothers the following year after the Hollywood film company used his image without permission in the sci-fi flick "Contact."

He gave exclusive sit-down interviews last year to film critic Roger Ebert and actor Leo DiCaprio, who showed up at the White House to talk about environmental issues on behalf of ABC.

Along with speculation that Mr. Clinton would run for mayor of New York City or teach at Harvard, insiders claimed that "the Democratic Party's own rock star" would end up in Hollywood as a consultant for production giant DreamWorks.

Meanwhile, the identity of the "major syndicator" in yesterday's M Street Daily remains a mystery. One possibility would be Premiere Radio Networks, owned by Clear Channel Communications, which controls more than 2,000 radio stations and owns M Street Daily itself.

Among other things, the Premiere Radio Networks distributes such radio heavies as Dr. Laura, Rush Limbaugh and Casey Kasem.

"A dry commentary is not a big deal these days," said Mr. Harrison of Talkers Magazine. "Clinton had a lot of practice doing short-format radio when he did his weekly radio address. Now how many people stopped what they were doing to listen to that?"


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