On Friday, Politico was set to release a puff piece on Michael Savage, the polarizing host tapped by Cumulus to replace iconic talker Sean Hannity on its affiliates. In the process of putting together that puff piece, Politico contacted Hannity for comment. After attempting to manipulate Hannity’s comments repeatedly, Hannity withdrew them. Now, they appear exclusively at Breitbart News.
Hannity has moved to Premiere Radio Networks, a division of Clear Channel, shifting stations in many markets. As reported by Breitbart News last year, Hannity parted ways with Cumulus last year to move to Premiere, retaining his major markets and reportedly ripping the Dickeys as “the single worst operators in the history of radio.” The Dickey brothers, who own Cumulus, had criticized Rush Limbaugh, among others, stating that they were too controversial. Hiring Savage is unlikely to quell controversy, given Savage’s history of boycotts: he was thrown off of MSNBC after suggesting a caller was a “sodomite” who should “get AIDS and die”; he was boycotted after suggesting that autism was overdiagnosed and that a child with autism was “a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out.”
Savage has long targeted Hannity, deriding him despite trailing significantly in audience and following; as of January 2014, according to Talkers magazine, Hannity was the second-rated host in the country, with 13.25+ million listeners per week. Savage trails far behind at 3.50 million. Savage’s jealousy for Hannity is well-known in the industry. In late December, Savage said that Hannity “works from Republican Party talking points. He says he doesn’t any more, but he does. I don’t. You can’t drone on about the Bill of Rights.”
Asked for comment by Politico, Hannity responded by offering a fulsome explanation of his thoughts on Savage. He provided those comments to Politico; Politico then demanded he edit those comments down. After Hannity complied, Politico then insisted it would not run the edited comments in full, but would instead pick and choose which portions to report. Hannity, understanding the politically biased editorial process at Politico, declined.
Here are Hannity’s comments on Savage:
The poor guy is just an angry, depressed, and jealous human being who has been hanging around the backwaters of broadcasting for too many years.
Now in his 70’s, it’s sad to see that he is so angry, envious, and obsessed with fellow broadcasters. Perhaps his anger and conflict comes from his skinny dipping days in Fiji with his liberal poet friend Alan Ginsburg, or from having to admit his support of Jerry Brown.
I have never been happier in my broadcast career. I am extremely grateful for my friendship with many prominent local and national hosts all over the country. as well as my over 500 station partners.
Cumulus airs Savage, not on all of their stations, only 2 hours on heritage stations; or on delay. They clearly do not have confidence in him, and his ability to generate revenue.
His show will not grow beyond Cumulus. Revenue will suffer, as he has shown he is incapable of any self control, i.e. when he intentionally made comments about kids’ autism, or comments on MSNBC; and Cumulus has a horrific record when it comes to launching new syndicated shows.
Despite all the spin and propaganda it was my decision to fire Cumulus at the end of my contract and partner with Premiere and other great radio stations around the country. It was extremely difficult working with Cumulus… and to watch them literally destroy many heritage talk stations…such as KGO, WLS, KABC, and many others…and fire some of the best and brightest managers and PD’s in the industry. My show will be growing in terms of audience and revenue as we build new stations, and move to live clears on many great established stations.