Hollywood has Variety. The music industry has Billboard. Talk Radio has Talkers Magazine. And there’s no issue of Talkers more eagerly awaited than the annual release of The Heavy Hundred, eight-dozen-and-four of Talk Radio’s most influential hosts and personalities.
The recently-released 2015 edition bears a powerful resemblance to last year’s model with conservative talkers Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity atop the list, followed by financial expert Dave Ramsey, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Howard Stern, Joe Madison, Thom Hartmann and Mike Gallagher. The 2015 top seven are identical to the top seven names from 2014. Former #8 Ed Schultz left radio for podcasting, allowing Gallagher join this year’s Top 10 honorees.
As in years past, conservative talk dominates The Heavy Hundred, with well over half of the entries coming from the right wing political genre. National hosts mingle with local influencers among the hundred, where conservatives outnumber liberals and progressives by more than ten to one. Apparently Republicans like to hear their heroes stir up the muck more than their Democratic counterparts.
On the local level, Los Angeles is America’s best-represented city, with five entrants (compared to New York City’s four). One station alone, KFI, accounts for four of those five L.A. entries, including legal expert Bill Handel, John & Ken, Tim Conway, Jr. and Bill Carroll.
Chicago, once a hotbed of top talk talent, placed only two names on this year’s list, upstaged by Midwestern neighbors St. Louis and Milwaukee which each claimed three spots on The Heavy Hundred list.
The Salem Radio Network, a conservative national talk network, was honored by having its entire daytime lineup make The Heavy Hundred, with 10th ranked Mike Gallagher joined by Bill Bennett, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt.
Yet no broadcast radio network rivals the numbers of SiriusXM Satellite, which placed seven names on the list, starting with Top 10 picks Howard Stern and Joe Madison and followed by Michael Smerconish, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Opie & Jim Norton, David Webb and Karen Hunter. (Madison, Webb and Hunter also represent half of all African American program hosts who made the 2015 Heavy Hundred.)
The Talkers Magazine editors who compiled this list evaluated hard and soft factors, including courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, ratings, recognition, revenue, service, talent and uniqueness. All talent considered must have a regularly-scheduled, professional show on the air on a minimum of one AM/FM or Satellite radio station at press time and Talkers editors acknowledge that the selection process is subjective and open for debate.
To see the full list, click here: http://www.talkers.com/heavy-hundred/
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