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Shock and grief: 2 talk radio voices silenced

Talk radio listeners and industry insiders alike were shocked and saddened by two recent departures from their midst.

First came the startling announcement that long time WOR Radio evening drive host Steve Malzberg was being replaced by occasional fill-in, former New York Governor David Paterson.

Malzberg’s departure was sudden; he still had a few weeks to go on his contract. However, he posted a gracious and magnanimous reaction on his personal website, thanking his many fans and assuring them they hadn’t heard the last of him.

Many were dismayed by the station’s decision, while noting that WOR had also fired Glenn Beck in January.

“Malzberg,” one puzzled local blogger pointed out, was “a staple of New York City talk radio for the last 30 years who consistently won his time slot against rival talker Sean Hannity.”

Meanwhile, friends, family and associates recalled the legacy of Derry Brownfield, an independent talk radio institution. He passed away in March, and late last month, his longtime co-host Beth Schoeneberg paid tribute to her colleague in her newsletter.

Schoeneberg, now the host of Commonsense Coalition Talk Radio, remembered working with Brownfield over the previous 15 years and thanked her listeners for their overwhelming expressions of support and sympathy.

As illustrated in these two very different stories, this intimate bond between host and audience is what makes talk radio unique among all media and so valuable to America’s social fabric.

Rush Limbaugh

Decades after he began influencing popular opinion, a scientific poll has measured how significant Rush Limbaugh really is. Some results surprised the pollster himself:

“‘Even among the very liberal, 42 percent said he was helpful to America,’ said Fritz Wenzel, president of Wenzel Strategies. ‘There is a significant gender gap for Limbaugh, as 59 percent of all men considered him helpful to America, just 43 percent of women agreed.'”

Back behind the mic after Labor Day, Limbaugh didn’t take a moment to welcome listeners before launching into a furious tirade against James Hoffa Jr. (FREE audio).

Later in the week, Rush predicted that one day, Marco Rubio would be elected president (FREE audio).

Michael Savage

Michael Savage gave a reading from his forthcoming thriller “Abuse of Power,” and luckily, a few moments of the event were captured on video:

On the air, Savage reminded listeners that “Abuse of Power” was coming out in less than a week and thanked them for making it a bestseller already, based on pre-sales alone.

He explained that his debut novel is more timely than ever, now that James Hoffa Jr and his ilk have stopped concealing their hatred of ordinary Americans (FREE audio).

Sean Hannity

Dubbing Obama “President Zero,” Sean Hannity explained that this week marks the true beginning of the 2012 campaign and told listeners he was certain that the GOP would win in November (FREE audio).

Mark Levin

“Hoffa is no Lech Walesa,” said Mark Levin this week. He contrasted the great Polish labor leader and anti-communist warrior with James Hoffa Jr, after the latter’s incendiary speech last weekend. While Walesa fought against tyranny, said Levin, Hoffa wants to enslave workers in endless Marxist class warfare (FREE audio).

“You’ve always been stupid and you’re still stupid,” Levin said of Hoffa, before slamming Obama for embracing such a divisive figure (FREE audio).

Laura Ingraham

It’s always a treat to listen to Major Garrett of the National Journal. One of the sharpest reporters around, Garrett joined Laura Ingraham to look at Obama’s latest poll numbers, as well as Rick Perry’s growing popularity.

Donald Trump came on this week to talk about China’s economic growth, as well as the field of Republican presidential candidates, particularly Mitt Romney. Then South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley shared her opinions on the GOP debate and looked ahead to Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress (FREE audio).

Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck is one of the conservative figures targeted for death in the new video game called “Tea Party Zombies Must Die.”

Needless to say, Beck and his crew had a few things to say about that this week (FREE webcam).

And now, from the left side of the dial …

The man most talk show hosts were railing about this week – James Hoffa Jr – went on Bill Press’s show to talk about the reaction to his provocative Labor Day speech.

According to Radio Equalizer Brian Maloney, “Hoffa doubled down, telling dedicated Obamist Bill Press, ‘I would say it again,’ before reverting to decidedly softer partisan talking points clearly concocted to save Junior’s political skin” (FREE audio).

Maloney notes that the “progressive” reaction to Hoffa’s violent rhetoric has so far been mixed, leading to the obvious question: What will Obama’s supporters say when Hoffa “doubles down”?