Rush Limbaugh, not surprisingly, is the most influential talk show host in America for the third year in a row, according to Talkers magazine.
Given how often he gets quoted by politicians and media, Limbaugh remains the Man. He has been for two decades and still draws more than 14 million listeners a week. Locally, on WGST-AM, he gets beaten by WSB-AM’s Neal Boortz and Clark Howard and sometimes loses to sports radio among men 25-54.
(Four people from Georgia did make it on the top 100 — Howard, Boortz, Allen Hunt and Martha Zoller.)
The purely subjective criteria: courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, ratings, recognition, revenue, service, talent and uniqueness.
Sean Hannity is No. 2 again. He has 13 million-plus listeners and locally, he draws strong numbers for WSB-AM from 4 to 7 p.m.
Michael Savage holds at No. 3. He isn’t very popular here, having been bumped on WSB-AM a year ago from 7 to 10 to 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. in favor of Herman Cain.
No. 4 is also the same as 2008: Dr. Laura Schlessinger. She was not on the air in Atlanta for awhile but is now on WCFO-FM/1160 from 1 to 4 p.m.
No. 5 is Glenn Beck, heard locally from 9 to noon on WGST-AM. I bet with his new Fox News TV show, where he’s getting strong ratings, he will move up in 2009.
The other Laura, Laura Ingraham is the top female news/talk host, heard locally on WCFO-FM/1160 from 9 to 1 p.m. (after moving from WGKA-AM).
Dave Ramsey has seen his star rise, from 21 to 12 to 7 in three years. He’s heard locally from 3 to 7 on WGST-AM and he talks money matters, a hot topic in this day and age.
Lou Dobbs, the iconic CNN personality, enters at No. 8 and is heard from 7 to 9 on WCFO-AM.
Mancow, heard mornings on WCFO-AM, is ranked No. 9.
Some dude I’ve never heard of a “progressive” talker named Thom Hartmann is at no. 10.
Atlanta’s own Neal Boortz, heard from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on WSB-AM, has fallen from 9th to 10th to 14th in three years.
Mike Gallagher, heard on WGKA-AM from 9 to noon, dropped to 15th from 9th (and 8th in 2007). Don Imus, heard (at least in bits and pieces) on True Oldies 106.7, dropped from 7th to 20th. Michael Medved, heard from 3 to 6 p.m. on WGKA-AM, fell from 20 to 21 after rising from 29 in 2007. George Noory, heard late at night on WGST-AM is ranked No. 24, up from 26 in 2008 and 28 in 2007. Bill Bennett, on mornings on WGKA-AM, holds at 25 for the third year in a row. Atlanta-based cheapskate on WSB-AM Clark Howard (1 to 4 p.m.) edges back to 27 from 30 (he was 27 in 2007, too). Howard Stern slipped from 1 in 2006 to 12 in 2007 to 13 in 2008 to 32 this year. That shows how much he’s fallen off the radar now that he’s on Sirius XM.
Dennis Miller, heard late afternoons on WCFO-AM, is ranked at No. 34. WSB’s weekend tech gal Kim Komando slips from 24 to 36 to 37. WSB’s rapidly growing weekend show Allen Hunt arrives at No. 41. WGKA’s Dennis Prager falls from 35 to 42. WGKA’s Hugh Hewitt falls from 65 to 71. WDUN’s Martha Zoller, who makes frequent appearances on Fox News and CNN, debuts at No. 91.
Among the unranked 101 to 250 includes the Colin Cowherd, heard locally on 680/The Fan and the 2 Live Stews on the Zone. Rickey Smiley, heard on WHTA-FM, makes the cut, too. Mike Malloy of Nova M is included, too. Although Steve Harvey and Michael Baisden could arguably be called talk show hosts, they were not included.