The Conservative Circus, led by ringmaster James T. Harris, a black conservative talk show host, will no longer fill the air waves in southern Arizona. On Thursday, Harris performed for the last time on 104.1FM KQTH.
“Tucson is my adopted home town. It will always be a special place to me. I am so grateful for the opportunity Scripps gave me,” said Harris, who tendered his resignation earlier this month. “I loved giving the liberals of southern Arizona nightmares.”
Harris moved from Journal Broadcasting’s Milwaukee news/talk flagship WTMJ, where he did weekend and fill-in shows, to take over afternoon drive time at KQTH in 2011.
During his time in Tucson, Harris was instrumental in saving the A-10 Warthog from Defense Department cuts, working with Lt. Colonel (ret) Tom “Chuck” Norris, and the mastermind behind the A-10, Pierre Sprey.
With wit, fun, and humor, Harris featured a number of popular segments including the Constitutional Conversation, Miller Time, The Hollywood Get Down, and Gay Tuesdays. The Constitutional Conversation began with the much beloved late Dave Sitton. After Sitton passed, Jeff Utsch, known as “The Sensei,” stepped in and the segment earned fans across the country who tuned in through Facebook live. Miller Time featured Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller. The banter between Miller, a fearless fighter for taxpayers and Harris reportedly gave Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry fits. The Hollywood Get Down featured Stephanie Dunlap, who shared news and gossip with Harris’ listeners.
It was Gay Tuesdays, which featured the work of gay musicians, that revolutionized conservative radio. Producer Ross Williamson won widespread praise for his music programming that earned the edgy and upbeat Gay Tuesdays their draw.
By far Harris’ most popular guest was his frequent co-host Yolanda Weinberger. Weinberger, a conservative American of African descent, offered Harris’ listeners common sense conversation and thoughtful analysis of popular culture. Her firebrand approach and candor made Weinberger a star in her own right.
Harris collaborated with the Arizona Daily Independent to expose government scandals and politicians’ stupidity. Together, Harris and the ADI shook up establishment forces on both sides of the political aisle on a weekly basis.
Arizona Daily Independent’s education editor, Loretta Hunnicutt, who appeared frequently on Harris’ show, stated, “As someone who identifies as a liberal, James helped me understand and value conservatism. His humor, humility, and empathy allow him to present conservative concepts in a way that is compelling. He disrupts one’s preconceived notions of what conservatives are. I owe him the world for showing me a world of people I had overlooked before. He is truly the best brand conservatism has ever had.”
Steve Spain, a regular guest on Harris’ show stated, “No fear. James T. approaches issues from Arizona to D.C. with not a whit of fear. Listening to him has been my habit since “Sunday Nights,” and I am eager to see what he does next.”
Harris earned hundreds of thousands of “friends” on social media and a handful of powerful Republican Party establishment enemies while at KQTH. In 2014, Bruce Ash, Arizona’s RNC Chair, made national headlines when he encouraged violence and called for Harris to be kneecapped.
Rumor has it that Harris will soon appear in a much larger market. With his unrivaled social media presence, and unique perspective, it was only a matter of time before Harris moved on to a bigger market.
One Scripps insider said, “It doesn’t surprise me that he is moving on, it only surprises me that he stayed here so long.”
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