Michael Berry: Talkin' up a storm

Maybe its a radio machismo that Michael Berry does. He does NOT play.

Berry was raised in Orangefield by his mother Loretta and a Dupont maintenance employee father.

His brother is a Jefferson County deputy.

His wife, the Texas Secretary of State. He has two African-American adopted children.

Berry was trained a lawyer in Austin and England, and served six years as a Houston city councilman.

He's lived a lifetime at age 43.

Berry had a "filter" then. He didn't say everything he thought. Now, he admits, he no longer uses that filter.

It's a formula that has made him a prophet to some average Joe's who love to hear him criticize men saying they quote "pee sitting down." He's called Houston's Mayor "Annise Porker." And he's criticized the First Lady.

But his followers think he's the next Rush Limbaugh. He's already among the national talk radio elite with a syndicated show on 10 U.S. stations. Berry is heard locally on KLVI. He is also the frequent target of bitter criticism.

When asked about controversy following him Berry said, "that's all you've got, you didn't do very much research did you?"

Berry said, "your job is to force conversation."

His critics say he wallows in the "sewer of bigotry."

"I do talk about race more than most," Berry said.

"But stupid is stupid... and that's true even if you're black... I grew up in a perfect world, to the perfect parents."

Berry says he gets his satisfaction from three kinds of listeners. Those who pursue their dreams after hearing him, those who begin taking care of seldom-seen children as fathers, and...

"I get a minority caller and they say, you're not saying anything that Bill Cosby doesn't say... I'm just not used to hearing it from a white guy," he says.

"I care about people. I love people."

The radio rising star says he will turn down competing radio networks at contract time at the end of the year if he can't know in the average Joe in the cities where his show will air.

He denies he's an "average guy."

"But I stay connected to that guy," he says.

And he even denies he is a Republican.

"I don't consider myself a conservative. I'm not passionate and loyal to the conservatives, I'm passionate and loyal to this country."

When asked if he feared that like Jimmy the Greek and others he may one day say something that could damage his career Berry said, "no fear, the minute I have fear it's all over. We're strapped in. We're 100 miles an hour."

Michael Berry says he's heard too many conservatives say gays - in his words - ought not to live.. and says gay marriage should be left up to each state.


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