Says Host Attacks Too Many Conservatives
Why Michael Savage Has Lost Him For Good
(Fresh Wednesday Update Below)
From my first days as a talk show host, one personality has consistently been inspiring to hear: Michael Savage.
In 1994, when driving to station KSCO in Monterey Bay, California for my own show, I would catch the freshest, most amazing voice of passion I'd ever heard in talk radio, on KGO-AM.
KSFO was still floundering, with a liberal talk format that later failed, as Savage didn't debut there until the following year.
Savage's energy, passion, biting sarcasm, top-notch storytelling and fast pace made it clear he would be a sure bet for major success. To this day, there's never been anything like him.
At the time I also felt he really had a chance to make an impact on ultra-liberal San Francisco Bay Area politics.
When I moved to Reno soon after, to host afternoons at KOH-AM, I tried to find a way to introduce him to Nevadans, because I was sure they would love him. So I arranged to have him do an hour with me on the air via telephone.
In talking with him ahead of time I thought that, contrary to industry gossip, he was actually a pretty nice guy. On the phone I felt he was a man that listened to and cared about others.
The interview went very well, but I could tell the program director wasn't quite sure what to make of it, nor was it clear how the audience felt, either. Sure enough, however, when Savage went national, KOH was one of the first to pick up his show.
So it's disappointing to be forced to agree with at least some of what conservative and talk radio critic Ira Simmons has to say:
(Ira Simmons- ChronWatch.com)
On Tuesday I made a momentous decision. After listening to Michael Savage for more than 10 years, first as a rising local talk show star and more recently nationally, I decided I have had enough: enough Rush bashing, enough O'Reilly bashing, enough Bush bashing, and enough "check pants" Republican bashing, supported by nothing but jealousy and contempt.
What ultimately ended the relationship were the non-stop negative rants accompanied by few positives. Hey, doesn't that sound like Franken and Company on Air America? No marriage can survive under such negativity. Oh yes, the man does claim a few positives: Savage stands for "borders, language and culture." And also sleeping with his dog! Even Michael Jackson doesn't go that far!
Lately the bashing of other media members has not ended with fellow conservative talk show hosts; now Savage ridicules Fox Legal Analyst Lis Wiehl ("empty skirt") and what might be expected from a six-year old schoolyard brat, makes fun of Fox anchor Shepard Smith's name. But what goes around, comes around: you can be sure that Savage will whine when Fox News Channel and other outlets will refuse to let him peddle his new poorly-written book.
After reading this, I made a point to listen to tonight's show.
I found him tearing Drudge apart for not plugging Savage's third book, ripping conservatives in general and other right-leaning hosts by name. He complained about not getting enough calls and letters from WRKO, Boston listeners, then attacked FOX News for ignoring him.
He spends more time blasting Republicans than Democrats and while some of it may be fair, other elements seem like vitriol, for its own sake.
Also, he plugged the book relentlessly, saying it would be his last, as he was too exhausted to write another. I have nothing against his written works, I have one of them on my bookshelf and could potentially buy another.
He also said he would be shutting down the product sales arm of his website soon.
Worse, when I tuned in several days ago, they were running a "best-of" montage made up of badly spliced-together bits from previous programs. Get a fill-in host, guys, give us a break!
Overall, Savage sounded like a man defeated, by what, I don't know.
I'm not sure what's led to this state of affairs in recent years. When hearing him today, you never get the sense that he's in it for the cause, it's all about hawking stuff on the air, like his third book.
I'm not ready to "divorce" myself from him, as Simmons indicates, but I do think he should take a step back and consider what friendly faces are telling him, before it's too late.
His show may now be a better fit for late night hours, where listeners might be more in the mood for this kind of anger and rhetoric.
Update: Matt Drudge reports sales figures for Savage's book on his site. So either the whining worked, or Drudge is proving a point: you get on my page when you make news and for no other reason:
FLASH: TALKSHOW HOST MICHAEL SAVAGE SCORES WITH BOOK 'LIBERALISM IS A MENTAL DISORDER', SCANS 15,521 COPIES IN OPENING WEEK, PUBLISHING SOURCES TELL DRUDGE... OVER BOB DOLE 'STORY' AT 10,182, ON HEELS OF MARIA SHRIVER 'ONE MORE THING' WITH 49,827 COPIES, JACK WELCH 36,979 COPIES AND JANE FONDA 25,041 FOR WEEK [56,810 TOTAL SINCE RELEASE, ACCORDING TO BOOKSCAN]...