Radio and TV Talk

Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

Talkers magazine Heavy Hundred 2018: Sean Hannity beats Rush Limbaugh for first time

Posted Monday, May 21, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Sean Hannity, the syndicated radio host heard locally on New 95.5 and AM 750 WSB, has supplanted Rush Limbaugh on Talkers Magazine's annual Heavy Hundred list of influential radio talkers.

This is only the second time time this has ever happened in the 24 years the magazine has compiled the list. The only other time Limbaugh was not at top was in 2006 when Howard Stern held the top spot during the period he was transitioned from terrestrial to satellite radio. (Stern is No. 5 this year.)

Hannity's influence and friendship with Pres. Donald Trump made this a call they had to make said Michael Harrison, Talkers magazine editor. The pair talk nightly, according to a recent New York magazine piece

"Sean has had an unprecedented year in talk radio," said Harrison. "Even last year we had a very intense discussion among our editors whether Sean should have been on top. We held out another year out of our respect for what Rush Limbaugh means to the industry and to the format."

Indeed, Limbaugh basically invented talk radio as we know it in the late 1980s and remains the most popular host in America.

Harrison said he is willing to take the heat for the change in the rankings though he said his audience is inside the radio business, not consumers.

Hannity worked at Atlanta's 640/WGST-AM during its heyday in the mid-1990s before moving to Fox News as a TV host and going fully syndicated on radio.

He is heard on WSB locally from 3 to 5 p.m. and during the 9 p.m. hour. (His show airs live from 3 to 6 p.m. EST daily.)

Check out the full Heavy Hundred list here. 

The Heavy Hundred features two Atlanta-based radio talk show hosts: consumer advocate Clark Howard and political talker and former presidential candidate Herman Cain at 54 and 55 respectively. Cain held at 55. Howard has slipped over the years. He's been as high as 27.

Harrison has always liked Howard because he is a popular non-political talk host in a world heavily populated by political talkers. And Cain, though now only on air one hour a day on one station, remains "an important figure on an important station in a big market."

Cain is heard from 11 to noon daily and Howard is heard from 10 p.m. to midnight, both on WSB.

Harrison said Kim "The Kimmer" Peterson and Shannon Burke on Talk 106.7 were in consideration but didn't make the cut. Eric Von Haessler and Erick Erickson on WSB also missed the list. He said he tries to include entries from all over the country, both syndicated and local.

The list is compiled with the following factors in mind: revenue, courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, recognition, service, talent, and uniqueness.

Here is the top 10, all which can be heard online

  1. Sean Hannity (locally, WSB, 3-5 p.m., 9 p.m.)
  2. Rush Limbaugh (locally, WSB noon to 3 p.m.)
  3. Dave Ramsey (locally, 640/WGST 2 to 5 p.m.)
  4. Mark Levin (can be heard on Tunein)
  5. Howard Stern (Sirius/XM, 24 hours a day on Channels 100, 101)
  6. Michael Savage (formerly at now-defunct 1160/WCFO, can be heard here )
  7. Joe Madison (Sirius/XM, Channel 126 Urban View)
  8. Laura Ingraham (was on 1160/WCFO, can be heard here )
  9. Thom Hartmann (try him here)
  10. Mike Gallagher (9 to noon, 920/WGKA-AM or here)

Sports talk has a separate list, which came out in March and features a few local shows.

2009 rankings

2010 rankings

2011 rankings

2012 rankings

2014 rankings

2015 rankings

2016 rankings

2017 rankings

WSB and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution are both part of Cox Media Group. 

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About the Author

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

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