Michael Savage is set to take his patented “borders, language, culture” talk show to the coveted East Coast, afternoon drive-time slot, beginning New Year’s Day.
Savage, whose first live show from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time will air Thursday, called the move “my dreams come true.”
“It’s the culmination of everything I have worked for and dreamed of from the day I started in radio,” he said in an interview with WND.
The 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time slot on Cumulus Media Networks stations has been held by Sean Hannity, who has ended his relationship with the network and is now with Clear Channel-owned Premiere Networks.
“The Savage Nation” will be heard for a final time in the 9 p.m. to midnight Eastern Time slot Tuesday tonight.
Wednesday’s show, the first at the new time, will be a “best of” program, and Thursday Savage will begin a new chapter in his two decades of national talk radio.
Savage gave WND a hint of what he will say in his first drive-time show.
“To my regular listeners, I’ll say: We made it. Thanks for being with me all these years. The best is yet to come.’
“To my new listeners, who may have heard about me but have never heard me, here’s what I’d like to tell you: This show is an ongoing serial that has been going on five days a week for almost 20 years. Each show follows the one before it, and I hope you’ll tune in each day to find out where the serial goes.”
Savage said his show reminds him of his childhood days when he would go to the movies regularly to see “The Lone Ranger” serial.
“We’d go back every week to see what the next installment would be,” he recalled. “And there was the masked man, there was his loyal assistant, there was his horse. And it was a different story, even though it was the same characters and players.”
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 drive-time are New York (WABC), Chicago (WLS), Dallas (WBAP), Washington (WMAL), San Francisco (KSFO) and Detroit (WJR).
“I’ve always wanted to be on these original, flamethrower stations, which are the best in the country,” Savage told WND.
John Dickey, executive vice president and co-chief operating officer of Cumulus, called Savage a “proven ratings winner.”
“Just as we anticipated when we announced Mike is moving to drive-time, excitement is building and stations are quickly signing up to make sure they have ‘The Savage Nation’ available for listeners and advertisers,” he said.
Savage said he’s “very elated” with the move.
“If you want to get spiritual – and I don’t want to get corny – but this was done through the hand of destiny, or if you want to say, the hand of God,” he said. “There’s no other way to explain this.”
Cumulus said Savage is “the conservative king of storytelling and has moved millions with his candid insights, humor and versatility.”
“With a Ph.D. from the University of California and having authored 28 books, including six New York Times bestsellers, Savage has become ‘the Mark Twain of our time’ to many,” the network said.
“It is Savage’s unique views and wide variety of discussion topics reaching beyond politics that have made ‘The Savage Nation’ immensely popular and also the number one streamed talk radio show on the Internet,” Cumulus said.
Savage bested Rush Limbaugh as the No. 1 rated show via the Internet, according to TalkStreamLive’s second quarter rankings.
The big issues
Savage sees the move as timely, believing he “could have a big effect on the midterm elections.”
“People will be exposed to my views of the world,” he told WND. “I know a lot of people are middle-of-the-road or independent, and they don’t quite understand what’s going on around them. I think my plain-talking, down-to-earth manner will bring people to understand the danger this country is in, and they should vote accordingly.”
Two big issues, he said, are what he calls Islamofascism and one of his signature subjects, illegal immigration.
The threat of radical Islam has only gotten worse, he said, because of political correctness in the military that began with President George W. Bush.
“Cutting back on our combat troops. The rules of engagement. The inability to fire on the enemy until being fired upon. It’s Vietnam all over again,” he said. “I study this in great detail.”
He believes the proposed immigration bill in Congress, which he considers amnesty, will bring a further “flood of illegal aliens that will destroy America’s demographics forever, for the worst, because they will bring Mexico to America.”
“They will not become American, ever. They refuse to learn the language,” he said. “They don’t respect our culture. And so, therefore, what kind of absorption into the melting pot can we expect from a massive group of this size, 30 to 60 million people?”
He said Obama and the Democrats and Republicans who support amnesty “must be fought tooth and nail over this.”
“We have to hammer, hammer against the few Republicans left who can block this disaster before the midterms and tell them we’ll throw them out of office if they do this to us,” he said.
Savage noted he weighed in on “socialized medicine” long before Obamacare was introduced to Congress.
One of his listeners called his show recently and asked him to read from his 2003 book “The Enemy Within,” which has a chapter foretelling the damaging effects of socialized medicine, which already are appearing.
“My listeners are very loyal, and they do remember,” Savage commented.
No more Indian buffets?
Savage’s regular listeners enjoying hearing vignettes from his daily life in San Francisco, and the new time slot will certainly shake up his routine.
For one thing, he said, he’ll be able to have a normal dinner for the first time.
“Secondly, they won’t hear much about Indian buffets,” he said, laughing. “I won’t be able to go. They’re all closed at 3 o’clock.
“The most they can expect is to talk about the dinner the night before, because I never talk about breakfast,” he said. “What can you say about a bagel, avocado, tomato and coffee?”
One of the constants will be his faithful dog, Teddy.
“He’s still going to be the RCA Victor dog sitting underneath the desk,” he said. “He’s gotta be the smartest dog in America; he’s sat through every show I’ve done for 10 years now.”
Teddy has his own routine.
“He get’s up before the last segment of every show and stretches,” Savage said. “He’s not going to know what hit him now from noon to three.”
Listeners also will continue to turn to Savage as a sage adviser, particularly when he announces to his audience that “the doctor is in.”
It seems he’s had to console many who are distraught with life under Obama.
“I have an ancient view of the world, which is, yes, things are terrible; yes, he’s pulling us down a bad road; yes, we must resist; but, conceptually, we’re still living in great times,” Savage said. “The world is still a good place. There is still the eternal beauty of nature, family, God; and we mustn’t forget that.”
He pointed out “our ancestors lived through so much worse than what we’re going through under this character,” Obama.
“We mustn’t forget that. We must draw strength from history,” he said. “We’re not living through pogroms, we’re not living through starvation. We’re not living through mass insurrection.”
He then paused, however.
“And I should say, yet.”
As a son of Russian immigrant, persecution is in his family history, and he’s a student of the subject.
“I steep myself in the history of peoples who have been, and are being, persecuted, which is why I identify with the little guy and why I identify as an outsider,” he said.
“I’ve never been an insider,” Savage said, noting that he has never been invited to the White House.
“It actually makes me a better talk-show host.”