Atlanta (CNN) - Most people know presidential hopeful Herman Cain as a businessman and former CEO of Godfather's Pizza. But in Atlanta he is best known as the guy who'd warn people in rush hour traffic to:
"Please be careful, there are some nuts on the road!"
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Herman Cain, with his baritone and measured Southern voice hosted his own radio show on WSB in Atlanta. It started each night at 7.
"I think that being on the radio five nights a week over three years certainly made him not only better at debating, but also helped him understand what the concerns were and what the psychology was of the average citizen," said WSB Program Director Pete Spriggs.
The average citizen for WSB is a conservative listener. On any given night Cain would rile against health care reform, climate change, Democrats, liberals and taxes.
Spriggs discovered Cain on a radio segment at a fair tax rally his station was sponsoring in suburban Atlanta in 2005.
"It was about 2 minutes into Herman's segment on the radio that I thought he was captivating to the audience at hand and he could articulate complex ideas and make them very simple."
Cain's ability to communicate in simple terms scored him a fill-in spot for syndicated radio host Neal Boortz, and in 2008 Cain got his own evening show. And when the tea party movement was born, Cain was there every step of the way.
"Herman was tea party before tea party was cool," said Spriggs, who had not heard of the movement until Cain came into his office and suggested doing remote interviews from tea party rallies around Atlanta.
"Hundreds of people turned out on a Friday night to hear his radio show and to speak to him, and you could see the real platform for what became the Herman Cain presidential campaign forming," said Spriggs.
That intense and close contact with the tea party movement may be the reason Cain is doing better in polls than Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachman or Texas Gov. Rick Perry, said Kennesaw State University Political Scientist Kerwin Swint.
"He understands it better because he's lived it more than the other candidates," Swint said.
Cain's radio show was never syndicated beyond Atlanta, but his fill-in stints for the "Neal Boortz Show" gave him exposure on 250 radio stations across the country.
"The Herman Cain Show" on WSB radio went on hiatus once he declared his candidacy. It's a hiatus, Spriggs said, that could last nine years.
Listen to archives of the Herman Cain Radio show here.