Michael's Contest, Rhodes vs. Parshall, Kagan Aftermath
What's going on with Michael Savage?
In one of talk radio's oddest recent moves, the syndicated "Savage Nation" host has made a public call for several new "sidekicks" and even a possible co-host.
What in the world would possess Savage to do this, the Radio Equalizer can't imagine.
From Savage's Paul Revere Society website:
I am Looking for America's Co-Host!
I am putting out a national casting call for five characters and one primary co-host. The way it will work is the audience will submit up to nine minutes of Audio to The Michael Savage Show...
The submittals will be vetted and the best (and worst) will be played on the air, the audience will vote and we develop a group of 32 contestants which will be voted off one a day at a time until the final five are left.
The one with the most votes will become co-host for 3 months, but can be fired by me - in which case the next highest vote getter will become co-host - and so on. The remaining five can be on air show characters until they get their chance to become co-host (If I fire the first four then the fifth highest vote getter becomes co-host).
The audience can veto my firing if they call into our 800 line and give the fired co-host 500,000 votes or more - in which case they get to stay for the remainder of the quarter.
On many levels, this appears to be a terrible move.
A major distraction from Savage's primary breaking news commentary role, listeners would be forced to adjust to a rapid series of changes. Worst of all, it pulls from his strongest audience lure: a gift of gab.
Long an excellent storyteller and conversationalist, Savage must know these new people would be in his way.
Why the Trump-style "contest"? According to recent industry chatter, he's said to be hitting some level of burnout and is particularly tired of political topics.
Rather than ruin the show with sidekicks, the Radio Equalizer recommends a brief (one or two month) sabbatical, so Mr. Savage can recharge his batteries.
As part of its "C-SPAN 25 Years- Viewer Call-ins" series, Air America's Randi Rhodes was teamed up with Salem's Janet Parshall to debate talk radio's influence. Airing Saturday afternoon, it was initially tame. Parshall made a few basic points, while Rhodes had great difficulty getting into the conversation's flow.
In terms of content, there wasn't much, at first. Rhodes did her best Courtney Love impression, while Parshall attempted to answer questions about talk radio's audience, influence and reach.
Then, sparks flew. Rhodes went back into loose cannon mode, talking down to Parshall, insisting she has no business hosting a political talk show.
However, Rhodes is heard on just 62 stations and registers less than a 0.1 combined national rating from those cities. Is she in a position to tell another host not to be on the air?
That circa-0.1 figure makes her claim to have "three or four million" listeners a tad suspect.
Since Parshall is carried on most of Salem Radio Networks owned and operated stations, her assertion of 160 affiliates sounds about right, even if they are quite small.
Because it wasn't clear, even to the interviewer, whether Rhodes was claiming three million program listeners, or if that was for Air America as a whole, she was asked the question a second time. No real answer seemed to be given.
Because Randi's behavior seems increasingly erratic, it's hard to know how seriously we should take her rhetorical assertions.
One lingering thought about Daryn Kagan's CNN situation: what's it like working at the liberal cable news network with a (backstabbing?) staff waiting for punishment opportunities at every turn?
The Radio Equalizer can only offer sympathy for the difficulties dating a hated conservative like Rush Limbaugh must cause for Kagan in the newsroom.
Which is worse, the leftist pounding she's taking over personal dating decisions, or behind-the-scenes headaches at work?
As the relationship continues, it will become a true test of Kagan's personal and professional strength.
The Radio Equalizer believes she's been in the business long enough to know keeping the newsroom happy isn't worth it- they'll knife you in the back anyway. So why bother?
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Kagan/King graphic: Pete at IHillary, Rhodes photo: HBO.