CNN’s Rick Sanchez can’t understand why talk radio programs lean to the right, why they make so much money – and why they are so much more popular than his own show.

This week, Talkers magazine founder Mike Harrison offered one of the best explanations you’ll ever hear – if you can stand watching the insufferable Sanchez for a few minutes, that is (FREE video).

With the threat of state-enforced “localism” (i.e., the new “Fairness Doctrine”) looming, another broadcasting veteran, Johnny Angel Wendell, recently addressed the issues of left vs. right and local vs. nationally syndicated.

He writes: “Despite the fact that reinstating [the Fairness Doctrine] would personally benefit yours truly as a left-leaning talk show host, I’m also opposed to it – it does not solve what truly ails talk radio today. … Talk radio does not need partisan balance. At this point, half the country gets its news from the Internet, where thousands of websites provide every conceivable point of view. What talk does need – and badly – is a requirement that stations devote at least half their time to local issues.”

Radio insider Mel Phillips responds: “I just don’t think it matters anymore whether a show is local or not. The Limbaughs, Hannitys and Becks of talk radio have become heroes for the disenfranchised, and they’re so easy for listeners to live vicariously through. That’s not a political view but a statement of fact.”

Rush Limbaugh

Popular guest host Mark Steyn sat in for Rush Limbaugh on Monday and Tuesday this week. Among other things, he mocked the left’s apparent newfound respect for “civil” political discourse:

“Every time a leftist says it’s about respect, restraint and civility,” Steyn said, “the object of that is to criminalize your opinion and make conservative arguments impossible.”

The “other” Mark, WBAP’s Mark Davis, was Wednesday’s guest host, and he spent much of the show defending tea partiers from charges of “racism.”

Rush was back at the mic on Thursday. He hit back at President Obama for “slandering” the Heritage Institute and took calls from listeners saying their insurance premiums have already shot up, just days after the passage of Obamacare (audio is members only).

Sean Hannity

Accusations of wrongdoing continued to hound Sean Hannity this week, as one activist group complained to the FTC and the IRS that Hannity’s favorite charity, Freedom Alliance, is “engaged in prohibited political activities.”

Radio Equalizer’s Brian Maloney has been tracking the mainstream media’s gleeful promotion of these dubious charges.

MSNBC, for one, was still pushing the story weeks after the charity refuted the allegations.

At the American Spectator blog, R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. slammed David Frum for “smearing” Hannity at his website, calling the former George W. Bush speechwriter “a perfect example of the conservative hustler … in a mad rush to become the Arianna Huffington of the present moment.”

Hannity himself was busy with other things this week, as he embarked on the book tour for his latest title, “Conservative Victory.” He’s reportedly already give more than a half-million dollars from the book’s sales to the Freedom Alliance.

Broadcasting live from the Borders bookstore in Salt Lake City, he was joined by Michelle Malkin and greeted by an enthusiastic audience (FREE video below):

Mark Levin

Sean Hannity called into Mark Levin’s show on Tuesday to talk about his new book “Conservative Victory” (FREE audio):

The next day, J.D. Hayworth phoned in to talk about this run for Arizona senator against John McCain (FREE audio).

Also this week, Mark Levin explained the “deception” behind the president’s sudden turnabout on offshore oil drilling and explained why Obama is “as close to a dictator as we’ve ever had. There, I said it!” (FREE audio)

Michael Savage

This week, Michael Savage celebrated his birthday and remembered the time Clint Eastwood called in to his show (FREE audio).

On Tuesday night, Dr. Paul Williams spent a long time telling Savage about Islamic training camps on American soil. After he claimed he’d seen corpses on these properties, however, Savage became skeptical about Williams’ story (FREE audio).

Savage had fun with “Hollywood idiot” Matthew Modine’s desire to “sit down with Osama bin Laden” and try to understand him (FREE audio).

Laura Ingraham

A highlight of Laura Ingraham’s show was her conversation with rising political star Col. Allen West, who talked about the “left’s Balkanization of America.”

Other highlights include conversations with Larry Kudlow, Howard Fineman and student Kary Cimilo, a Georgetown University junior who wants his Catholic college to start funding pro-abortion workshops (FREE audio).

Laura also defended the tea partiers against media smears on her radio show and in an appearance this Monday on NBC’s “Today” show (FREE video).

Hugh Hewitt

Hewitt performed a valuable service this week, talking to guests Fathers Joseph Fessio and Thomas Brundage, who corrected the distorted media accounts of the Milwaukee priest scandal and the Pope’s alleged “role” in a “cover up.”

Even given current knowledge about mainstream media malpractice, Fr. Brundage’s (decidedly one-sided) experience with them this week was simply astonishing.

“And what was astounding to me, to see my name quoted in the online version of the New York Times, as well as the Associated Press, I was just astounded that I was being quoted from a document that I eventually found at the website of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that was part of the case, and it wasn’t my handwriting,” Brundage said. “And I just think, you know, I studied journalism. At one time in my life, I was the editor of a newspaper. And there’s just some very basic journalistic principals that were broken in this matter, and one of which is you check facts, and you check quotes. And you have to make sure they’re accurate. … I always answer my calls. No, there was no contact at all.”

Meanwhile, on the left side of the dial …

Ed Schultz continued his campaign to bring back the Fairness Doctrine, in order to effectively silence his highly rated competitors like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity (FREE audio).

Brian Maloney noted that Schultz “built his case using a widely discredited 2007 ‘study’ tied to at least one individual with connections to Schultz’s employer,” MSNBC.

But remember everyone: There is no such thing as liberal media bias!

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