Photo Gallery: Dennis Prager in SB
SAN BERNARDINO – Radio personality Dennis Prager, whose voice has been broadcast on Southern California’s airwaves for more than two decades, stepped up to the microphone before a live audience Sunday to entertain an often-chuckling crowd with his reflections of a life spent on-air.
Prager spoke at San Bernardino Hilton before a sold-out audience. Radio station KTIE, which broadcasts Prager’s talk show in the Inland Empire, sponsored the event.
At times, Prager was serious. He spoke as an advocate for radio’s capacity for substance, as opposed to television’s
susceptibility for becoming a haven for "eye candy."
Other moments were pure levity. While recalling his first night on the radio, Prager said he was so nervous at the time that he worried, beads of sweat were falling on his microphone in such torrents that listeners would wonder if he was broadcasting in the middle of a rainstorm.
Funny now. Serious at the time.
"I knew going in, this night would enable me, or never again would I have this chance," Prager said. "I didn’t even know how to press the buttons."
That was back in 1982, when Prager, who is also a syndicated columnist, got his start in the radio business hosting "Religion on the Line" for KABC in Los Angeles.
The show featured panel discussions that usually featured a rabbi, a Catholic priest, and a Protestant minister. Rather than being the setup for some kind of punch line, the serious-minded show was the starting point for Prager’s radio career.
The show was also, Prager recounted, where he concluded that Americans are not divided as much along religious lines as political ones.
Conservatives or liberals of different faiths often agreed with each other on social issues. But it was something else when you put a conservative Protestant on the show with a liberal one.
"That’s really when we had the real pillow fights," Prager said.
Although Prager is critical of the modern left, he said that he still considers himself a liberal. He believes that liberalism became something else – he calls it leftism – in the years during and after the Vietnam War.