Savage Hemorrhages Hannity’s Audience: New York’s WABC Loses 50%, Chicago Down 59%Jeffrey Lord
It’s the kind of conservative media story only conservatives understand.
The latest numbers are out for Michael Savage’s radio show. Recall that Savage was a key player in the battle between Sean Hannity and Cumulus radio. A battle that had an exasperated Hannity finally firing Cumulus, as reported here in NewsBusters at the time. But not before Savage, whom Cumulus had in the wings to replace Hannity in the latter’s Cumulus slots, took shots at Hannity, gloating at taking Hannity’s slot.
The Savage numbers tell a revealing tale of conservatism in the media. So let’s start with the brand new numbers themselves, numbers supplied by Nielsen Audio. They are the numbers for April – last month -, and cover 52 of America’s major radio markets. We will directly compare them here with Sean Hannity’s last numbers before being replaced on Cumulus stations - which is to say Hannity’s numbers for December, 2013. The percentages cited – again, these are from Nielsen Audio (formerly known as Arbitron) – are nothing if not startling.
New York – WABC – Savage numbers drop by 50%.
Chicago – WLS – Savage numbers drop by 59%
San Francisco – KSFO – Savage numbers drops by 26%
Dallas-Fort Worth – WBAP FM – Savage numbers drop by 13%
Houston-Galveston – KSEV – Savage numbers drop by 55%
Washington, DC – WMAL – Savage numbers drop by 17%
One could go on here through the entire devastating list that includes one major market after another all across the country. Markets with names like Seattle-Tacoma (-40%), Kansas City (-21%), Norfolk/Virginia Beach/Newport News, Virginia (-50%) and Memphis (-75%). But we’ll mercifully stop by saying that the average percentage drop in those 52 markets from the Hannity December 2013 numbers to the Savage April 2014 numbers is 47%. – again, according to Nielsen.
Why is this happening? The answer is as simple as it is predictable. Cumulus radio - at the express direction of its Dickey brother managers – has earned itself a reputation as despising its conservative talk radio audience. While Rush Limbaugh – also a longtime Savage target as was and is Hannity – eventually re-signed, in fact he was for months made the public target of the Dickeys. The attacks launched an endless round of stories in the liberal media depicting Rush as a “drag” on company earnings and more. One can write all this off as mere “contract negotiating in public” – but in fact the only possible outcome of this was to raise the hackles of Rush’s fans when it came to Cumulus itself. Many of Rush’s fans being, unsurprisingly, also being Hannity fans.
Hannity is an indelible voice of the modern conservative movement. His very persona – upbeat, optimistic, straight to the ideological point at hand – is, as they say in conservative shorthand, decidedly Reaganesque. But as we mentioned in this space last week, Cumulus has a perpetual problem that in fact has nothing – yet everything – to do with its conservative audience.
Perhaps the most astute reader of the Cumulus tea leaves is Inside the Music’s Jerry Del Colliano, who is a veritable encyclopedia on the behind-the-scenes of the radio business. Back in August of last year, as the Hannity-Cumulus relationship began to crash on the rocks quite publicly, Del Colliano presciently wrote that if Hannity departed New York’s Cumulus-owned WABC for WOR (along with Rush) the result would be the “eviscerating (of) whatever ratings WABC had left.” Del Colliano went on to predict Big Trouble for WABC , saying “if Savage replaces Hannity on WABC, Savage will be number one in angry men, 70 years old and older” adding “some advertisers think (Savage) is unsellable on the air in prime time.” Hannity and Limbaugh did in fact depart WABC for WOR, and Savage now holds Hannity’s once-sterling 3-6pm WABC time slot.
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Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/jeffrey-lord/2014/05/17/savage-hemorrhages-hannity-s-audience-new-york-s-wabc-loses-50-chicago