Home July 19, 2008

NewsMax's Top 25 Radio Talk Show Hosts

4. Michael Savage

REACH: 8.25 million-plus listeners per week on 377 stations. His flagship station is KNEW in San Francisco. He is also the author of more than 20 books, the most recent being The Political Zoo (Nelson Current, 2006).

FAVORITE TOPIC: Borders, language, culture.

MOST CONTROVERSIAL MOMENT: During his short-lived show on MSNBC, when he thought he was off the air, he said to a caller: “Oh, so you’re one of those sodomites. You should only get AIDS and die, you pig …”

PET PHRASE(S): “To the right of Rush and the left of God.”

WEB SITE: http://www.michaelsavage.com/

Savage is the third most-listened-to radio talk host in America. He is individualistic, iconoclastic, and eclectic; a passionate populist who sometimes sounds like a shock jock.

Savage was born Michael Alan Weiner in the Bronx in March 1942, attended public schools and earned a bachelor’s degree in education and sociology from Queens College. In the early 1970s, the then-liberal Weiner traveled with beat poets Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, considered becoming a standup comic like Lenny Bruce, and spent years wandering the South Pacific. In 1978, he earned a Ph.D. in epidemiology and nutritional science from the University of California-Berkeley.

By the 1980s he was turning conservative. In 1994, he started working as a fill-in host on San Francisco’s KGO. He was given a weekend show on its conservative “sister station” KSFO, adopted a pseudonym from the last name of legendary South Seas adventurer Charles Savage, and by 1995 became its weekday “drive time” host.

Savage soon topped the local ratings for all adults and became the highest-rated talk host in Northern California. His nationwide show, syndicated by Talk Radio Network in Oregon, launched in January 2000.

In his bio as a columnist at NewsMax.com, Savage writes: “Those who listen to me say they hear a bit of Plato, Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac, Moses, Jesus, and Frankenstein.”

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