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As everyone expected, Rush Limbaugh held onto his number one spot in this year’s “Heavy Hundred.” This annual list by Talkers magazine rates the most popular and influential hosts on talk radio, and as usual, the list is dominated by conservatives.

Contrary to some dire predictions, it seems that having a Democrat in the White House has in fact energized talk radio. The New York Daily News notes that “even the two advice talkers in the top 10 – Dr. Laura Schlessinger at No. 5 and Dave Ramsey at No. 7 – don’t care much for Obama’s policies.”

Glenn Beck, who placed third in the “Heavy Hundred,” made headlines thanks to his keynote speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this week. Reaction to Beck’s controversial address was mixed, to say the least.

RUSH LIMBAUGH

Limbaugh wasted no time criticizing Beck’s keynote address, particularly Beck’s contention that there is no difference between the Democratic and Republican parties, thereby fueling calls for the creation of a “third party.”

Without mentioning Beck by name, Limbaugh said on Monday:

“But to each his own. There are motivations for people who do what they do – and I, as a highly trained broadcast specialist, I think I know what’s going on and why various people are doing what they’re doing and taking positions that they’re taking. But the best way to insure that Obama succeeds is to think that we need a third party. All the momentum that we’ve got going right now is just going to hit a brick wall if a third party starts, particularly on the basis that there’s ‘no difference between the two parties.’ I guarantee you there’s not a Republican I know, elected or unelected, that would propose anything Obama has.”

Speaking of Republican politicians, on Tuesday, Rush declared that Mitt Romney’s endorsement of John McCain for reelection was “suicidal.”

On a lighter note, Rush unveiled a new parody song by Paul Shanklin, mocking Obama’s habit of blaming his troubles on President Bush (FREE audio):

Sean Hannity

Hannity advised listeners to read author James Srodes’ latest article, warning of the coming “Great Recession of 2010-2011,” one he believes will be worse than the current economic downturn.

Guest Stuart Varney agreed, telling Hannity, “If you add [a faltering housing market] to the 10 percent unemployed and the lack of credit, you have a triple whammy for the economy.”

Hannity remained optimistic about one thing, however: the odds of Republicans winning back the Senate:

“I believe [the polls] are wrong,” he told listeners, “I think this can be the year that we take back this government. I believe conditions are right for this to happen. We need to save this country from socialism and the appeasement policies of Obama. There is a bright future ahead … this can be one of the greatest political years you’ll ever see in your lifetime.”

Mark Levin

Like Limbaugh, Mark Levin took to the airwaves to critique Glenn Beck’s CPAC speech (FREE audio).

Levin also wrote about his concerns on Facebook:

“I have no idea what philosophy Glenn Beck is promoting. And neither does he. It’s incoherent. One day it’s populist, the next it’s libertarian bordering on anarchy, next it’s conservative but not really, etc. And to what end? I believe he has announced that he is no longer going to endorse candidates because our problems are bigger than politics. Well, of course, our problems are not easily dissected into categories, but to reject politics is to reject the manner in which we try to organize ourselves.”

Also this week, Levin discussed another CPAC related development: the release of the “Mount Vernon Statement” of conservative principles. One of the signatories, former Attorney General Ed Meese, joined Levin to talk about this new call to action (FREE audio).

Michael Savage

Rep. Michele Bachmann spoke to Michael Savage on Monday, to talk about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s attacks on her.

Savage asked Bachmann, “Why does Nancy Pelosi hate about you?” and added, “I would endorse a Bachmann-[Mitt] Romney ticket” (FREE audio).

Of course, Savage has been a long time critic of Pelosi, especially her use of military aircraft to ferry her family around the country.

Savage also joined the chorus of talk radio hosts critical of Glenn Beck’s speech at CPAC, and he had choice words for Republicans he says are trying “to steal the Tea Party movement” (FREE audio).

Glenn Beck

In a widely reprinted post, blogger CK Macleod explained, “The Point of Being Annoyed with Glenn Beck,” and spoke for many, judging by the response to his piece.

“You can be thankful to Glenn Beck for his contributions to American conservatism – for helping to keep the political flame alive, even build it, during a bleakly dark time,” writes Macleod, “and yet still wonder whether, going forward, his pet themes, favorite arguments and customary stances aren’t counterproductive and divisive, where not embarrassing.”

It didn’t help matters when a magazine profile over the weekend revealed that Glenn Beck seemed to believe in man-made global warming. As WND reported, Beck responded to the article by claiming not to remember making many of the remarks quoted in the magazine, such as, “I don’t think Reagan was a real Republican.”

A thought-provoking (if slightly silly) essay at Salon.com compared the Tea Party movement to the 1960s counterculture and anointed Beck “the new Abbie Hoffman.”

G. Gordon Liddy

Liddy returned to the air this week, starting his show with a moving reflection about the life of his late wife, Frances, who passed away earlier this month. You won’t want to miss this touching, highly personal segment (FREE audio).

This week, Liddy spoke to expert guests about the unraveling global warming hoax, the Toyota recall and health care reform – and praised the heroic teacher who tackled a gunman at a Colorado school (all audio clips are free).

Laura Ingraham

Calling it “one of the most biased interviews in the history of television,” Laura Ingraham blasted CBC correspondent Maggie Rodriguez’ “softball” interview with Michelle Obama.

Ingraham’s other guests this week included Michele Bachmann, humorist Matt Labash and Rep. Frank Antenori, who is fighting the federal government’s attempt to force Americans to use “curly” light bulbs (FREE audio).

Elsewhere around the dial

Longtime morning show host Lee Rodgers says he was fired suddenly from KSFO in San Francisco after “ultra-left and pro-Muslim groups” pressured management to let him go.

“It certainly seems that a great radio talent of long service was treated shabbily,” said Jonah Goldberg, who was a frequent guest on Rodgers’ show. “Lee was one of the most charming and intelligent hosts I’ve ever dealt with.”

Mark Steyn echoed that, adding that Rodgers “is too good not to resurface soon somewhere or other.”

Meanwhile, Howard Dean’s team at the Democratic National Committee sent out an email blast the day of the President’s “Blair House” summit on health care reform, “inviting [party] members to call in local talk shows and share personal stories for why health care should be passed now.”

To do that, the DNC used the contact information compiled at the popular podcast site RadioTime.com. Conservative activists may want to keep these RadioTime resources in mind when planning campaigns of their own.

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