2012 flashback: Rush Limbaugh most powerful talk show host sixth year in a row

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed June 15, 2012

Rush Limbaugh finished on top of the Talkers magazine Heavy Hundred for the sixth year in a row.

Despite a bout of controversy earlier this year that led to some advertisers bailing on him, Limbaugh remains on 600-plus stations and draws 15 million-plus listeners a week.

Check out the list here.

Three Georgia-based talk show hosts made the list. Topping it is Neal Boortz, at No. 13, who is retiring next January and replaced by Herman Cain. He’s heard locally on 95.5FM and AM750 News/Talk WSB. Between 2007 and 2012, his ranking has ranged from 9 to 14.

Clark Howard, heard locally on WSB, holds at 29 after cutting his hours back to two hours a day and now doing a daily show on HLN.

Rusty Humphries, now based out of Atlanta on WGST-AM, saw his ranking move from 32 to 20.

The rankings have no scientific basis. Rather, it’s the magazine’s editors who decide how the top 100 works, based in no particular order: courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, ratings, recognition, revenue, service, talent and uniqueness.

(Sports talk will now have a separate list.)

The top 10

1. Rush Limbaugh (640/WGST-AM) Rank in 2011: 1

2. Sean Hannity (95.5FM and AM750 News/Talk WSB) Rank in 2011: 3

3. Michael Savage (WGST) Rank in 2011 Rank in 2011: 4

4. Ed Schultz (1010/WGUN-AM) Rank in 2011: 9 (His MSNBC talk show hosting duties helped him in the rankings)

5. Laura Ingraham (1160/WCFO-AM) Rank in 2011: 5

6. Dave Ramsey (WSB) Rank in 2011: 6

7. Mark Levin (WGST) Rank in 2011: 7

8. Thom Hartmann (WGUN) Rank in 2011: 8

9. Glenn Beck (WGST) – He falls from No. 3 last year after losing his Fox News show but reportedly was given a syndicated renewal worth $100 million over five years so life is still very very good for Beck.

10. Joe Madison (Sirius/XM) Rank in 2011: 10

Others who are heard in Atlanta with local (or national) radio home in parentheticals

12. Howard Stern (Sirius XM) Rank in 2011: 12

13. Neal Boortz (WSB) Rank in 2011: 11

14. Mike Gallagher (WGKA) Rank in 2011: 13

16. Jerry Doyle (WCFO) Rank in 2011: 16

17. Bill Handel (WSB) Rank in 2011: 18

20. Rusty Humphries (WGST) Rank in 2011: 35

23. Bill Bennett (920/WGKA-AM) Rank in 2011: 25

24. Michael Medved (WGKA) Rank in 2011: 24

26. George Noory (WGST) Rank in 2011: 22

29. Clark Howard (WSB) Rank in 2011: 29

33. Don Imus (WCFO) Rank in 2011: 26 (he’s been steadily slipping after getting as high as 7 in 2008)

35. Dennis Prager (WGKA-AM) Rank in 2011: 40

38. Randi Rhodes (1010/WGUN-AM) Rank in 2011: 41

45. Kim Komando (WSB) Rank in 2011: 39

58. Mike Huckabee (WGKA) NEW

63. Hugh Hewitt (WGKA) Rank in 2011: 66

69. Opie & Anthony (Sirius XM) Rank in 2011: 71

72. Terry Gross (WABE-FM) Rank in 2011: 76

92. Rev. Al Sharpton (WAOK-AM) NEW

Another 150 are listed in alphabetical order and includes Andy Dean (WSB), Rob Johnson (WGST-AM), Mike Malloy and Atlanta-based Eric Erickson (WSB)

Two Georgia-based talk show hosts dropped off the list from 2011: Allen Hunt, who decided to drop his syndicated talk show but remains on WSB on weekends, and Martha Zoller (formerly WDUN-AM), who decided to run for public office.

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By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk


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