Ratings Battle Between Hannity and Savage Gets Personal

The “ratings battle” between conservative talk show hosts Michael Savage and Sean Hannity heated up this week as the latest Nielsen Audio data came out.

In January, Savage took over Sean Hannity’s daily time slot from 3 to 6 p.m. on Cumulus Radio, which he called the “biggest shake-up in talk radio history.” Since the announcement last year, Savage has repeatedly bragged on his talk show and elsewhere that he would beat Hannity (whom he likes to derisively call “Wall-banger”) in the ratings.

Talkers Magazine reported:

 Now, two Nielsen Audio PPM rating periods later, WestwoodOne is waging a PR offensive that many industry watchers note is rarely seen in the syndication business, going so far as to use words like “trounced” and “demolished” with respect to Savage’s ratings versus Hannity’s.  

Reporting Nielsen Audio PPM data in the Persons 25-54 demo for major markets New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas, WestwoodOne shows Savage more than doubling Hannity’s AQH share there (NYC 1.1 vs .5, Chicago 1.2 vs .2, San Francisco 1.5 vs .5, and Dallas-Ft. Worth 1.3 vs .5).  

In an interview with Mediaite, Savage said, “I’m elated because they said it couldn’t be done.” 

 “I stomped him. And It’s gratifying to me because Hannity’s never had any competition.”

He continued on to lash Hannity over politics: “This is the first time anyone’s got the chance to expose him for being a Republican hack. He reads Republican talking points and promotes his TV show and I think people got tired of it.”
Suffice it to say, the pair have an ugly history. As we’ve documented here, Savage has long accused his rival of being a “shallow,” “fake” Republican. In response, Hannity has called Savage “an angry, depressed, and jealous human being who has been hanging around the backwaters of broadcasting for too many years.”
Hannity still defeats Savage in overall national listenership, second only to the King of Talk Radio himself -Rush Limbaugh, (or as Savage calls him – “the Golfer”.)

Savage told Mediate, “he has more stations than I do. But when I compete with him, head-to-head, in these major markets, he gets stomped.”

On his show, this week Savage recommended the piece by Mediaite, saying, other websites wouldn’t link to it because “they’re all part of the Hannity/Limbaugh cartel.” (I just linked to it, and I don’t THINK I’m part of any cartel, but if I am, I’d appreciate a check for my services, thank you very much.) “They’re Republican hacks, Republican apparatchiks, INCLUDING every one of them, which I’m not, which is why they hate me and want to keep me down.”

Hannity’s camp responded with a memo from Eric Stanger, Premiere Networks VP/operations and affiliate marketing for the Sean Hannity show:

“It’s puzzling that Michael Savage would want to brag about his listening audience.  Despite his claims, the numbers show that Savage is losing thewestwoodone logo audience that he inherited from Sean Hannity in droves, on the radio stations that Sean spent 17 years building.  

In New York on WABC as well as on Dallas on WBAP, in the key demo of A25-54, Savage has lost a whopping 49% of the audience that he inherited from Sean Hannity.  Other key markets tell a similar story as you can see below.  All in all, Savage has bled away almost half of the audience on the key stations that were given to him in 2014 (In Los Angeles, where Cumulus has decided not to air the ‘Savage Nation,’ KABC-AM has dropped 27% without Hannity).  

Meanwhile, Sean Hannity has more than doubled the total audiences where he has started on new stations after leaving Cumulus in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas (AQH percentage change December ’13 to February ’14 Persons 12+:  WOR, New York, +108%; KEIB, Los Angeles +172%; and KSKY, Dallas +128%).”

Hannity did some trash talking of his own this week on his radio show – not mentioning any names, but saying he loves the radio business because “there are some of the nicest people you ever met – then the psychos make it really fun.”
After calling (presumably Savage) a “phony, make believe conservative”, he poked fun at his degrees.



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