By Published on .

Anyone doubting radio's impact should talk to Judith Regan.

Before leaving her post as senior editor at Simon & Schuster, Ms. Regan parlayed the popularity of two flamboyant national radio personalities-Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern-into a book bonanza.

She brought liberal-baiting Mr. Limbaugh into the publisher's tent in 1992, overseeing hardcover publication of his outspoken "The Way Things Ought to Be," which later went to paperback and now boasts 4.6 million copies in print.

She acquired a second Limbaugh title, "See, I Told You So," in 1993 for Simon & Schuster-affiliate Pocket Books, and it currently has 2.4 million copies in print.

"I always look for [authors] who have a built-in audience," Ms. Regan says. "I was fortunate to catch Rush at a takeoff point."

She also caught iconoclastic "shock jock" Howard Stern at a launch point of his own, acquiring his calculatedly outrageous "Private Parts" in 1993. Since publication (1.2 million copies are in print), Mr. Stern has announced his New York gubernatorial candidacy on the Libertarian ticket.

Ms. Regan got her "mass marketing education" at, of all places, The National Enquirer, where she worked as a reporter and editor before joining Simon & Schuster 51/2 years ago. She's quick to point out, though, that Messrs. Limbaugh and Stern are their own best marketers, with both pumping their books unabashedly-and often-on their programs.

In May, Ms. Regan left Simon & Schuster to begin her own imprint, Regan Books, at HarperCollins Publishers. But she isn't stopping there. In addition to publishing books, she says she'll be an on-camera reporter for a new Fox TV news program.

Most Popular
In this article: