Rush Limbaugh leads Talkers Heavy Hundred radio talk show list for eighth year in a row

He's often been credited with creating the modern-day political talk format in the late 1980s.

Limbaugh is now on from noon to 3 locally on News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB after spending two decades on 640/WGST.

He is heard by more than 14 million listeners a week nationally, according to Talkers estimates. The lead between him and No. 2 talker Sean Hannity, also on WSB (and a former host based in Atlanta in the early 1990s), has narrowed in recent years. Hannity is estimated to be heard by 13.25 million listeners a week.

The rankings are not  scientific. It's a combination of hard and soft factors. Audience size is considered but so is courage, impact, longevity, potential, revenue, service, talent and uniqueness. The only firm qualification is they must have a show that regularly airs on an AM/FM station or satellite radio.

Three Georgia-based talk show hosts made the annual list.

"He keeps the role of consumer advocacy alive in talk radio," said Michael Harrison, editor of Talkers. "We still feel its an important genre."

"Talk radio is so talent driven, so host driven, calling someone a replacement isn't really correct," Harrison said. "It's a fresh start. Herman Cain is a newcomer compared to Boortz. So far, he's done pretty well.  He's getting rave reviews from people within the industry."

In recent years, Harrison has given more weight to Sirius/XM as its influence and audience size has grown. Howard Stern, once the No.1  radio host in America on the Talkers list as recently as 2006, dropped out of the top 10 after he joined Sirius/XM. Now he's back at No. 7.  "Satellite radio is no longer considered a novelty," he said, now that more than 25 million subscribe.

In 2012, he said the increasing influence of sports talk radio necessitated he create a separate top 100 just for sports talk. That list will be released later this year.

Here is the top 10, courtesy of Talkers magazine. You can get the entire Heavy Hundred here.

1. Rush Limbaugh, heard locally on WSB, noon to 3 p.m. weekdays

2. Sean Hannity, heard locally on WSB, 3 to 5 p.m., 7 to 8 p.m. weekdays

3. Dave Ramsey, heard locally on 640/WGST-AM, 2 to 5  p.m, weekdays

4. Michael Savage, heard locally on 1160/WCFO, 3 to 6 p.m.

5. Glenn Beck, heard locally on 640/WGST, 9 a.m. to noon weekdays

6. Mark Levin, heard locally on 920/WGKA-AM, 9 p.m. to midnight, weekdays

7. Howard Stern, heard on Sirius/XM weekdays, all day on his own channel

8. Ed Schultz, not heard on local AM/FM radio but available on http://wegoted.com/listen-live/ from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays

9. Joe Madison, heard on Sirius/XM on Urban View, 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays

10. Thom Hartmann, not heard on local AM/FM radio but available on http://www.thomhartmann.com/radio/listen-live from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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