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Gerard Gibert, the Rush Limbaugh of Mississippi?

John Gizzi By Monday, 27 November 2023 09:18 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

"What's Gerard saying about that? Have you heard Gerard today? When's he going to run for office himself?"

Those are some of the questions visitors to Tupelo, Hattiesburg, and the capital city of Jackson hear frequently when they drop by coffee shops, filling stations, hotels, or any place where Mississippians gather.

"Gerard" is Gerard Gibert of Ridgeland. At an age (65) when most are contemplating retirement, the former high-tech entrepreneur is engaged in his second act as host of a radio show on the SuperTalk Mississippi Network — weekdays, three hours a day.

At a time when national networks have gobbled up hundreds of small stations and syndicated programs on national issues are dominant, some observers of the media have questioned whether talk radio can still play a role in state and local issues as it did in the 1970s and 1980s.

"Well, it sure does in Mississippi or, at least, Gerard sure does," said former Republican State Rep. Ken Stribling of Jackson. "He can be talking about Medicaid or the Confederate flag or get into national politics, and folks listening will start talking about the same issues themselves."

Then Stribling said something increasingly common about of Gibert: "He's the Rush Limbaugh of Mississippi."

The former high tech entrepreneur has a bully pulpit. "MidDays With Gerard Gibert" is aired on the SuperTalk Mississippi Network on 12 news talk stations across the state.

"And we talk about federal or state issues or a combination of both," Gibert told Newsmax. "What's amazing is that Channel 70 [C Spire TV] carries me in studio and, amazingly, a lot of people watch me on air talking on the radio."

At a time many stars in radioland seek new formats or pursue new and more profitable outlets in other cities and states, Gerard — a "Mississippian to the core" — has no desire to go elsewhere or any need. Graduating from the University of Mississippi in 1980, he went to Wall Street and soon was involved in the embryonic but growing IT industry.

Gibert co-founded his own company, Venture Technologies, with an investment of $189,000 (including his life savings). The enterprise grew to have 300 employees in 11 states.

In 2019, he sold Venture Technologies for about $92 million and was free to devote his life to community service, and to his growing passion talking about issues.

Gibert recalled how the issue of healthcare and stopping the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in 2008 is what got him politically activated and motivated toward public policy. Gerard appeared as a guest on several radio programs and, as he put it, "I was always prepared."

In 2020, the owners of SuperTalk Mississippi Network asked Gerard to guest host for longtime talk show icon J.T. Williamson. As Williamson battled lymphoma, Gibert increasingly filled in. After Williamson's death in July of 2021, Gibert was invited to become a full-time host.

Gerard brings on three guests a day, or one per hour. They range from the Mississippi congressional delegation to stories of human interest with "regular folks."

"Our public employees retirement system is a huge issue," he said. "It's basically a microcosm of Social Security — a benefit we count on but which eventually will run out of money. So, we have to discuss solutions."

It's here that "Weekdays With Gerard Gibert" comes in. With various guests, Gibert defines an issue, its benefits and its downside, and seeks solutions.

Gibert's inherent conservatism, he told us, comes from "my parents teaching me right from wrong while growing up. Economic prosperity comes from producing value for others, and that's just common sense and the essence of conservatism."

While the host definitely has opinions, he prefers to use his time and guests to seek solutions. He gets up at 4:30 a.m. and devours "left-wing publications" like The New York Times and the Boston Globe to Bloomberg's Business Weekly, Barron's, The Economist, and reliably conservative publications such as the Epoch Times.

Notables want desperately to be on air with the host everyone calls "Gerard." In 2022, he did 38 remote broadcasts, including from the state's Civil Rights Museum, the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum, and the Gold Star Mothers in a program honoring veterans.

Candidates for Jackson's city council and statewide office hopefuls this year eagerly sought to have airtime with Gibert.

The inevitable questions arise: Having dealt with public policy and interviewed so many public officials, will Gerard Gibert become a candidate?

"I admit I toyed with the idea of running for the Senate in 2020 [in the primary] against [appointed Republican Sen.] Cindy Hyde-Smith," he said. "But Gov. Phil Bryant discouraged me. We didn't need a divisive primary, he told me."

Gibert was also involved in the search for a chancellor of his alma mater, Ole Miss.

But Gibert doesn't rule out a run.

"There are too many politicians who were screwing things up when I was creating jobs," he said.

The other question so often asked of Gibert is whether he is, indeed, "the Rush Limbaugh of Mississippi," one who could take off nationwide with the proper boomlet and national syndication.

At this, Gibert laughs.

"I'm not in Rush's league," he told us. "He said he was an entertainer and an informer, and that's something good with which to aspire. Maybe I will marginally fit his shoes. I certainly will try."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

When most are contemplating retirement, former high-tech entrepreneur Gerard Gibert, 65, is engaged in his second act as the host of a radio show, drawing such nicknames as "the Rush Limbaugh of Mississippi"
mississippi, gerard gibert, healthcare, rush limbaugh
Monday, 27 November 2023 09:18 AM
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