The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

20 April 2005

Says Host Attacks Too Many Conservatives

Critic 'Divorces' Talk Host

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-

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:


RadioEqualizer Main Page For The Latest Updates


  • I try to listen to Savage on occasion because he does say what so many others don't seem to have the guts or interest in saying. The "borders, language and culture" problem we have is very real and only recently have Rush, Hannity and others been talking about the illegal immigration problem, but his relentless bashing of those who might otherwise promote his book and/or ideals is a real turn off...literally. I have many criticisms of republicans in Congress as well as the Whitehouse and I am of the opinion that there is a real "enemy within"....socialists, communists, subversives or whatever you want to call them, but his vitriolic rantings against Drudge, Rush, Hannity, Coulter et al seem to be centered on jealousy and envy. I just have to turn him off early into the program more often than not. I think he just resents the lack of publicity and popularity that other conservatives are getting, but his rantings are producing a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Excellent post, Brian!

    By Blogger rich glasgow, at 18 April, 2005 23:27  

  • I could never handle Savage. Partly because I'm on the other side of the immigration debate from him, and partly because every time I try to listen him, he's talking about himself.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 April, 2005 00:46  

  • I was never a huge fan of Savage. Perhaps I came to him too late, when he had already gone negative, but I couldn't get past the name calling. Creative insults are a time honored tradition in politics, but Savage's rants never struck me as creative. There was too much anger there, and not enough reason.

    That being said, I loved how he would play the Victory at Sea music from time to time. It's great patriotic music, and great fun.

    By Blogger Nathan, at 19 April, 2005 01:53  

  • You can definitely tell when Savage needs his meds! One day he's happier than a lark praising conservatives from here to eternity, the next day he's in the most abyssmal depression it's almost contagious. I can usually tell if it's a manic or depressive day within the first sentence--that cycle helps me determine what I'll listen to for the rest of the evening. ;) Sometimes I really enjoy the silence! I love his stance on immigration, though.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 April, 2005 02:03  

  • I agree with Savage on a lot of things and I have enjoyed listening to him, but I'll tell you this" Sirius dropped Sabage for some guy named Mike Church. After listening to Church for a while, I frankly don't miss Savage at all.

    Savage is successful beyond his wildest dreams. I have no idea why he is so bitter.

    By Blogger Brian, at 19 April, 2005 02:29  

  • Fortunately in Boston we have Laura Ingraham (tape delayed) opposite him on WTKK (oh, and the World Champion Red Sox most nights on WEEI!). Not the biggest Savage fan, either. He does occasionally have fill in hosts like Peter Weissbach who aren't too bad.

    The joke I made on a radio board was: Predictions for 2005-- The Michael Savage show runs an endless loop of him saying "Borders, Language, Culture" over and over for three hours. Nobody notices the difference :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 April, 2005 03:58  

  • Yeah, Savage is negative and off his meds.... but Damn, he's still right about 95% of the time and takes the words right out of my head.

    I just wish he wouldn't bother with callers. He never lets them finish a thought anyhow.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 April, 2005 11:06  

  • Glad Im not alone. America needs him but his negative rants belong on air america. Whats his problem with Rush. He sounds like a 2 year old. God love him but he needs a vacation a long one.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 April, 2005 22:59  

  • Glad to see I'm not alone!
    In the beginning, he was amusing and interesting - like a holy-roller preacher. But as one visits more frequently, listens to the slams, slants and slurs, the self-deification and pontification, and endless hawking of books of similar dubious quality, the inevitable and inescapable conclusion you reach is Kike-ael Savich is the perfect Paxil poster child: Like the punchline from the old bra joke - The Jewish bra: It makes mountains out of molehills.
    He deserves to coanchor a political convention with Al Franken!

    By Blogger TheWayfarer, at 20 April, 2005 00:28  

  • -Ted, some people thought I should remove your post, I'm going to leave it there, but I don't appreciate the obvious slurs. Too bad things have to degenerate to this level.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 20 April, 2005 18:36  

  • Brian: Given it is the opening week, his book sales look good and for now, Savage will act pleased.

    But inevitably the sales will lag behind the other two books. Then Savage will return to more familiar territory and re-launch his verbal missives against Drudge, O'Reilly, Hannity etc.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 April, 2005 20:27  

  • Delete it if you so desire. This is your blog, after all, and it is your privilege.
    Just remember that truth is seldom popular; what is popular is seldom true.
    And guys like Savage are the Elmer Gantrys of the political scene. Just like their oil middlemen and financier relations, they don't really care about anything but how to get your money.

    By Blogger TheWayfarer, at 21 April, 2005 18:51  

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