The punk conservative? 

Jack Hunter on finding his way to WTMA

Nicknamed "The Southern Avenger," Jack Hunter is a local conservative commentator and freelance writer. He contributes a weekly column to the City Paper, and regularly fills in with hosting and on-air production duties on WTMA's daytime programs. His audio commentaries air on WTMA's The Morning Buzz every Tuesday and Friday mornings at the curious time of 7:52 a.m. When asked about his own experience with the Big Talker, he responded as such:

I was 17 years old in 1991, and what was "punk," who was "punk," and how "punk" I was weighed heavy on my mind. Of course, there wasn't anything very punk rock about my hometown of Hanahan, my really safe and pleasant middle-class neighborhood off Yeamans Hall Road, and I had the best parents anyone could ask for. With nothing to be angry about, I would eagerly read hard-Left, underground music magazines I picked up at either Manifest Discs & Tapes in West Ashley or Prism Records in North Charleston, trying desperately to find my inner rage. Magazines, or "zines," like the San Francisco-based Maximum Rock 'n' Roll had all sorts of suggestions for things I should be angry about. I tried desperately to find something. Anything. After all, I was "punk," dammit.

But that year I finally did find something to be angry about. I became angry at liberals, feminists, multiculturalists, and elitists in academia and the media who mocked places like my Southern hometown, my middle-class background, and my conventional family life. All of the sudden, the most punk-rock position seemed to be not to pretend to identify with New York heroin addicts or cockney kids with pink hair, but to embrace my own identity. Being conservative seemed more rebellious than being liberal at the time, and of course rebellion was "punk." And in my admittedly warped teenage mind, Rush Limbaugh was about the most punk thing I had ever heard.

I devoured WTMA talk radio the summer between my junior and senior years of high school, listening to morning host Dan Moon, G. Gordon Liddy, and of course, Limbaugh. The idea that I might actually work there one day seemed as remote as my joining the Sex Pistols.

And yet in 2007, after nearly a decade of being the anonymous, masked "Southern Avenger" at 96 Wave, WTMA began running my trademark commentaries on The Morning Buzz with Richard Todd. It was no coincidence that Richard was also a 96 Wave alumni who also helped me get hired.

Whereas I had been the weird political guy who somehow found himself on an FM rock station at 96 Wave (thanks to my good friend The Critic, who I credit for launching my career), WTMA was a perfect fit. While I was well aware of the decades-long history of the station, I always thought of WTMA as the reason I first became interested in conservative politics, and it was a treat simply to be part of the team.

And it still is. WTMA is the premiere talk station in Charleston, where either Richard in the morning or Rocky D in the afternoon provides the local coverage integral to good, community-oriented talk radio.

At 35, it would be pretty silly to think of my own politics in terms of being "punk," but I still believe in questioning the status quo, whether that of the liberal establishment and their Obama worship or the conservative establishment and their reckless apologizing for Bush. Real conservatives today should be busy turning over apple carts. And thankfully, WTMA not only first inspired me — but now allows me — a place to do it.


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