published Friday, January 11th, 2013

Anti-income tax activist Gill ends radio show

FILE - 

Steve Gill leads a debate among Tennessee's U.S. Senate candidates in this 2006 file photo at WTN radio studios in Nashville. Gill, a prominent anti-income tax opponent and a two-time Republican congressional nominee, announced on Friday that he is ending his radio show after 15 years.
FILE - Steve Gill leads a debate among Tennessee's U.S. Senate candidates in this 2006 file photo at WTN radio studios in Nashville. Gill, a prominent anti-income tax opponent and a two-time Republican congressional nominee, announced on Friday that he is ending his radio show after 15 years.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE — Steve Gill, a vocal opponent of efforts to create a state income tax and a two-time Republican congressional nominee, is giving up his radio show.

“We’ve done this for 15 years, when I thought we’d do it for two or three,” he said.

Gill, a Brentwood attorney, said his show most recently syndicated by Radio America will conclude at the end of the month so he can concentrate on creating a business consulting company.

“It’s going to be consulting, speaking and working with companies, offering my diverse background of law and politics and media,” said Gill, 56. “We’re kind of a one-shop stop.”

Gill said he has no interest in converting his prominence in Tennessee political circles to either lobby or run for office.

Gill ran for Congress twice against former U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon. He came within 2,000 votes of defeating the Democrat in 1994, the same year Republicans won both U.S. Senate seats and the governor’s race.

The 1996 rematch was marred by negative ads on both sides, with Gordon winning by 12 percentage points.

Gill said the end of his radio show reflects the growth of national broadcasters like Clear Channel and Cumulus, which he said have squeezed out opportunities for regional and local talk radio hosts.

Gill and other talk radio hosts played a large role in organizing opposition to efforts to create a state income tax more than a decade ago. They encouraged people to converge on the Capitol to urge Republican Gov. Don Sundquist and lawmakers to abandon the income tax proposal.

“We did bring an activism to the radio,” he said. “I think it galvanized in the income tax, the horn honkers were the tea party 10 years before the tea party.”

The final attempt to implement the income tax failed in 2002.

“That was a prime example of how radio had its biggest impact,” Gill said. “It couldn’t happen today.”

In the short term, Gill said, he looks forward to working in a field that “doesn’t require you to wake up at 3:45 in the morning.”

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