Fulfilling a prediction he made last month, top-rated radio host Michael Savage told his listeners Wednesday night he will take over the prime afternoon-drive slot on Cumulus Media Networks stations in January.
Opening his show with the announcement, Savage called it “the biggest shakeup in talk radio history.”
The 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time slot is currently held by Sean Hannity, who has ended his relationship with the network.
“I was born for afternoon drive,” Savage told WND. “The biggest shakeup in talk-radio history will reveal to millions of new listeners what creative talk is all about.”
Savage said “too many talkers may as well be the NPR of the Republican Party – all day long, Republican talking points.”
“Real conservatives can jump” to different subjects, he said, “and are not afraid to discuss movies, TV, fiction, poetry, science, museums, food, clothing, even women’s shoes.”
“There’s a much wider world than Obama and the politicians,” he said. “They are not the sun, moon and stars.”
Savage told his listeners he expects immediately to have five to six times as many listeners when he moves to afternoon drive.
“The time slot says that something about my show has resonated with the American people,” Savage said in the opening segment of his show.
He asked his audience rhetorically, “Will this change of Michael Savage going to drive-time change the course of the next election?”
Savage said that not even tea-party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has a mantra like “borders, language, culture,” and those themes are what he expects to emphasize leading up to the next election and beyond.
“That common culture is the glue that has kept our nation together,” he said.
“The Savage Nation” is now heard from 9 p.m. to midnight Eastern.
Cumulus said in a statement the show will air in the new time slot on more than 200 of its affiliates, including 60 stations it owns and operates. Some of the cities where it will be heard during drivetime are New York (WABC), Chicago (WLS), Dallas (WBAP), Washington (WMAL), San Francisco (KSFO) and Detroit (WJR).
“Mike is a proven ratings winner,” said John Dickey, executive vice president and co-chief operating officer of Cumulus. “Compelling, thought-provoking content is paramount — and Mike delivers show after show.”
Reading the tea leaves
On his Aug. 15 show, Savage predicted the move.
“I’m reading the tea leaves,” he said. “I’m watching the shifting sands. I am the heir apparent. This will be the biggest shakeup in talk-radio history, should my prediction come true.”
In July, an industry source said Cumulus Media, the second-biggest broadcaster in the country, was planning to drop both Hannity and Rush Limbaugh from its stations at the end of the year, according to Politico.
An industry insider at the time called it good news for Savage, who has been getting phenomenal ratings.
Savage also has enjoyed success in digital radio, besting Limbaugh as the No. 1 rated show via the Internet, according to TalkStreamLive’s second quarter rankings.
It was the second time he had become the top streaming talker.
Savage said at the time he appeals to the digital audience because it’s a much younger demographic than terrestrial radio.
“The reason I am so popular with the younger, coveted crowd is because of my versatility,” he said. “Politics, yes – but also food, sex, marriage, family, movies, lifestyle stories. My science background, my world travels, my boating and my cynical worldview all seem to resonate with the ‘millenials,’ who are jaded and seeking answers from a trusted older man.”
Savage is the author of 29 books, including six New York Times bestsellers. He was awarded the coveted Freedom of Speech Award by Talkers Magazine and earned his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.
His other bestsellers include “Trickle Down Tyranny: Crushing Obama’s Dream of the Socialist States of America,” “Trickle Up Poverty: Stopping Obama’s Attack on Our Borders, Economy, and Security,” “The Savage Nation,” “The Enemy Within,” “Liberalism is a Mental Disorder,” “Political Zoo,” “Psychological Nudity: Savage Radio Stories” and “Banned in Britain.”