- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 14, 2008

Conservatives and right-leaners still rule the talk-radio universe.

Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage are the top three “most important” talk radio hosts in the country, according to the annual “Heavy Hundred” list released yesterday by Talkers magazine, an industry publication.

Laura Schlessinger is in fourth place followed by Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, Don Imus, Ed Schultz, Mike Gallagher and Neal Boortz.

They are all genuine stars according to Michael Harrison, who edits the magazine. More than 5,000 radio hosts across the country were among the contenders; the judgment criteria included audience numbers, media buzz and more subjective fare — the “total flavor” of a host, according to Mr. Harrison.

“The legends go marching on. These are truly great radio personalities who have proven themselves, who have real history. Rush, Sean, Michael, Dr. Laura — they’re right up there with people like Arthur Godfrey. They really are legends,” Mr. Harrison said.

He rejects the idea that talk radio is strictly conservative territory, though.

“American talk radio is not all right-wing political chatter. There’s a lot of diversity. Sure, we have our conservative stars. We’ve also got liberal talkers, or people like George Noory covering the paranormal and Kim Kommando on computers,” Mr. Harrison said.

Indeed, Mr. Shultz, who bills himself as “America’s No. 1 progressive,” vows to support whoever wins the Democratic nomination in the presidential race and has a steady daily audience of over 3 million. Mr. Shultz dropped from fifth to eighth place this year; Air America’s assertive Randi Rhodes, meanwhile, fell from 13th to 40th place. NPR’s Diane Rehm is in 94th place.

Conservative or right-leaning talkers like Bill O’Reilly, Bill Bennett, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved and others weigh heavily on the roster, which can be seen at the magazine’s Web site (www.talkers.com).

Walter Warner Todd Huston, an analyst for Newsbusters, an online press watchdog operated by the Media Research Center, thinks conservatives make for better listening.

“The lefty talkers seem to have much more venom and hate to dish out to their opposites than the conservatives do. Conservatives are much more often driven by ideas whereas the left is driven by feelings,” Mr. Huston said. “This more positive way of attacking the other side is more appealing to the average listener. Americans are generally an optimistic people and the high stress of hate constantly coming from lefty talk radio is a turnoff for many — perhaps even the majority.”

Mr. Harrison, meanwhile, thinks that like print and broadcast, talk radio is now subject to the rigors of a frantic media landscape.

“We’ll always have traditional, ‘terrestial’ radio on AM and FM. But I really feel talk radio must evolve, just like print and broadcast must evolve to keep pace. There will always be radio, but its future will rest in new media,” he said.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide