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Rush Limbaugh tops talk radio rankings for fifth year in a row

(AP Photo/Photo courtesy of Rush Limbaugh)

(AP Photo/Photo courtesy of Rush Limbaugh)

Rush Limbaugh, for the fifth year in the row, topped the annual Talkers magazine’s “Heavy Hundred”  talk show hosts.

He has drawn the biggest audiences of any radio talk show host in history, estimated to be more than15 million listeners a week, far greater than any individual cable news show. He is the strongest performer in Atlanta on 640/WGST-AM, though his ratings slipped as 2010 went along.

And he’s still very much loved and hated, depending on your point of view. (Haters will love an upcoming new book called “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh’s Assault on Reason.”)

Five Georgia-based talk-show hosts made the cut: Neal  Boortz, Clark Howard,  Allen Hunt, Martha Zoller and new Atlanta-based syndicated host Rusty Humphries. Syndicated sports duo The 2 Live Stews on 790/the Zone and Atlanta-based talk host Mike Malloy were included in a secondary list of 150 other notable shows.

Despite huge audiences, syndicated morning hosts Tom Joyner (Kiss 104.1) and  Steve Harvey (Majic) weren’t included, though Bob & Tom were. (Rickey Smiley, on Hot, is on the secondary 150 list.) Syndicated talkers Rev. Al Sharpton and Gayle King on WAOK-AM get no love either.

The rankings are not scientific or based on any poll. 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. The magazine said it’s as much “art as science and that the results are arguable.”

Here’s the rest of the top 10, followed by hosts I know of that are heard in Atlanta though many have live net streams.

- Sean Hannity (heard on AM750 and now 95.5 FM News/Talk WSB) holds again at No.2 behind Limbaugh, with fellow Fox News talker Glenn Beck at No. 3. Michael Savage, who just moved from WSB to WGST from 9 p.m. to midnight, remains at No.  4. Laura Ingraham, heard on 1160/WCFO-AM from 10 to 2 p.m., moves up from No. 5.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, lost her No.  5 spot since she gave up her syndicated show heard on hundreds of stations nationwide in favor of Sirius/XM. She tumbles to No. 20.

Her departure also helps consumer talker Dave Ramsey, who recently moved from afternoons on WGST to nights on WSB, move from No. 7 to No.6.

Mark Levin, heard locally from 6 to 9 p.m. on WGST, moves up to No. 7 from 8. Thom Hartmann, a progressive talk show host, jumps from 10 to 8. He is not heard locally except on a tiny station in Decatur called Green 1640 AM which only reaches  Decatur.

Ed Schultz, another liberal talk show host, moves into the top 10, landing at No.9 from 11. He is not on locally on AM/FM but is available on Sirius/XM.

Another new entry is another progressive talker Joe Madison, heard on Sirius XM but not on AM/FM  in metro  Atlanta. He is at No. 10, up from 12.

Neal Boortz, heard  on WSB from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., has been in the top 10 in the past. He almost made it back this year, at No. 11. His rankings since 2007: 9, 10, 14, 13, 11.

Howard  Stern, once No. 1 in the rankings before he went to Sirius, moves up to 12 from 32.  There’s no particular reason why Talkers moved him up so much, but Sirius/XM does now have a subscription phone app, making his show mobile.

At 13 is conservative talker  Mike Gallagher, heard on 920/WGKA-AM, reversed a downward trend (8 in 2007, 9 in 2008, 15 in 2009, 19 in 2010).

Jerry Doyle, heard on 1160/WCFO-AM, ranks at No. 16, up from 17. Lou Dobbs, also on WCFO, falls out of the top 10, tumbling to No. 17 from 9.

Bill Handel, heard on weekends on WSB, holds at 18. Mancow, on WCFO, falls again to 19, from14 last year and 9 the year before. Michael Medved, on WGKA, slips to 24 from23. For the fifth year in a row, Bill Bennett (mornings on WGKA) is at No. 25.

Don Imus, mornings on WCFO, slips again to 26 from 21, 20 and 7 the past three years respectively.

Atlanta’s own consumer guru Clark Howard has been holding in the same vicinity, falling to 29 this year after four years of bouncing from 27 in 2007, 30 in 2008, 27 in 2009 and 28 in 2010. His HLN show has not given the rankers a reason to move him up.

Dennis Miller, on WCFO, is at No. 33, up from34. Rusty Humphries, who does a national show as well as a new local one on WGST from 3 to 6 p.m., ranks at No. 35, up from 38.

Atlanta talk show host Allen Hunt, heard on weekends on WSB but expanding nationally during the week, holds at No. 37 after debuting on the chart in 2009 at No. 41.

Kim Komando, on weekends on WSB, holds at No. 39. Dennis Prager, on  WGKA, holds at 40. Randi Rhodes, about to debut on WCFO, is at No. 41. Hugh Hewitt, on WGKA, is at 66, up from 67.

“Fresh Air” host Terry Gross, heard locally on WABE-FM, is at No. 76, down from 70.

Martha Zoller, on WXKT in the Athens and a regular on cable news shows, holds at No. 89.

Former WSB host Chris  Krok, now in Dallas, is at No. 94.

So far, has not posted this new list yet. The 2010 list is here.

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By Rodney Ho,, AJCRadioTV blog

22 comments Add your comment

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nathan Faulkner and Atlanta Rio , Rodney Ho. Rodney Ho said: Rush Limbaugh tops talk radio rankings for fifth year in a row [...]

don bidelmanbsr101@windstream

February 9th, 2011
7:06 pm

He isn”t ranked in my book, he just a big BS and liar


February 9th, 2011
8:48 pm

but of course you’re not able to name one specific lie rush has ever told, mainly cause you’ve never listened to one second of his show, so you, sir have no credibility on the subject. sorry.

2nd Cup

February 10th, 2011
6:30 am

I have heard Limbaugh before and it’s all nothing but right wing conspiracy theories that his “dittoheads” take as fact. People don’t tune into the likes of Limbaugh for information. They tune in for affirmation. Je tells them what he thinks they should hear whether it’s true or not. Too bad you spend more time believing his doggerel than learning how to use upper case.

Stacked & Packed

February 10th, 2011
7:45 am

Congratulations, Rush! You deserve it.

Agree with you or not, you certainly put on on very entertaining program.


February 10th, 2011
8:09 am

Haven’t listened to Rush or ‘GST in years – what’s with the hair? He looks completely different!

Free $$$$ for Atlanta Radio Program Directors

February 10th, 2011
9:04 am

Bring Back THE KIMMER already, Atlanta Radio!!!!!!!!!!!!


February 10th, 2011
11:12 am

Is Don Geronimo on there?

Diddle Waxx

February 10th, 2011
11:22 am

The 2011 list has been published:

Notably absent are The Regular Guys on WNNX and Sam Memmolo, host of the Atlanta-based, nationally syndicated Sam’s Garage, and local show on WGKA and co-host of Motorhead Garage on FSN South. But I guess they don’t subscribe to Talkers Magazine, so they don’t get counted!

Voice of Reason

February 10th, 2011
12:51 pm

just goes to show….

The more you lie, the more they love you. I guess hate rains king after all.

“The rankings are not scientific or based on any poll. Rather, it’s the magazine’s editors who decide how the top 100 works”

How convinient for Talkers Magazine … I wonder who own it!

Carl Spackler

February 10th, 2011
1:59 pm

Where do Atlanta’s syndicated “Two Live Stewpids” rank? I just can’t get enough of that barking!


February 10th, 2011
2:19 pm

Talkers Magazine needs to find a better way of doing these rankings. Because right now, it’s a joke.

How can Tom Joyner not make the top 100?! It’s almost laughable.

“Impact and “recognition” are two areas that the magazine listed in determining their rankings. Well, President Obama made sure he went on Tom Joyner’s radio show during the 2008 election, because he knew the type of clout that Joyner had. That’s not good enough for “impact” and “recogniton”?

And Mike Malloy broadcasts out of Atlanta, and yet no station here carries him. I used to listen to him on 1690 AM Air America before the station was bought and changed. Malloy does not mince words, we need a strong voice from the left on the radio here.

And Thom Hartmann is listed as No. 8. It would be nice to have him on a strong Atlanta station also. I’m sick of all this nonsensical, right-wing, clap-trap propaganda saturating Atlanta airwaves. Bring on Joe Madison, Mike Malloy, Thom Hartmann, Mark Thompson, Bill Press, etc.

The city of Atlanta is progressive, but the radio market here caters to Cobb County. We should not have to pay to listen to liberal hosts on Sirius Satellite, when right-wingers get to listen to their charlatans for free on AM radio.

bogus list

February 10th, 2011
4:36 pm

this is a bogus list. done by white folks for white folks. no hispanic music radio? no black music radio? SSDD!

Al Feretta

February 10th, 2011
5:25 pm

@MIKE…..addiction to prescription drugs will do that to a person


February 10th, 2011
7:20 pm

It’s not ethical to call someone a BS or liar without backing it up. If you check out what he says, you’ll find it to be based in the truth. just because you don’t want to believe something – that doesn’t make it untrue. That’s typical nowadys – take the easy way out. If you don’t like something, instead of discussing it intelligtently – just slam the person who said it. : )


February 11th, 2011
8:05 am

Rush Limbaugh is a piece of garbage and anyone who listens to him is an idiot.


February 11th, 2011
9:24 am

Rush Rules! I can do w/o Hannity but I know he’s popular. Savage is just entertaining as heck. Such a character. Glad 640 picked him up. Now if they could boost their signal..


February 11th, 2011
10:56 am

There goes white folk with thier b/s that they want you to believe.

Dave in Marietta

February 11th, 2011
11:03 am

For those who wanted some evidence of the assertion that Rush is less than truthful, you can start here.

Here are some of the highlights:

1. “It has not been proven that nicotine is addictive, the same with cigarettes causing emphysema [and other diseases].” (Radio show, 4/29/94)

2. LIMBAUGH: On the Republicans’ “Contract With America”: “The New York Times never ran anything on the contract ’til after the election. The rest of the news media hardly talked about it at all.” (TV, 4/6/95)

REALITY: In the 42 days between the announcement of the “Contract with America” and the Nov. 8, 1994 election, the New York Times published 45 articles that mentioned the contract–more than one a day. The Nexis computer database reports that more than 1400 pieces mentioning the contract were published before the election.

3. LIMBAUGH: “Banks take the risks in issuing student loans and they are entitled to the profits.” (Radio show, quoted in FRQ, Summer/93)

REALITY: Banks take no risks in issuing student loans, which are federally insured.

4. LIMBAUGH: Comparing the 1950s with the present: “And I might point out that poverty and economic disparities between the lower and upper classes were greater during the former period.” (Told You So, p. 84)

REALITY: Income inequality, as measured by the U.S. Census Bureau, fell from the 1940s to the late 1960s, and then began rising. Inequality surpassed the 1950 level in 1982 and rose steadily to all-time highs in 1992. (Census Bureau’s “Money Income of Households, Families and Persons in the United States”)

5. LIMBAUGH: “Oh, how they relished blaming Reagan administration policies, including the mythical reductions in HUD’s budget for public housing, for creating all of the homeless! Budget cuts? There were no budget cuts! The budget figures show that actual construction of public housing increased during the Reagan years.” (Ought to Be, p. 242-243)

REALITY: In 1980, 20,900 low-income public housing units were under construction; in 1988, 9,700, a decline of 54 percent ;Statistical Abstracts of the U.S).In terms of 1993 dollars, the HUD budget for the construction of new public housing was slashed from $6.3 billion in 1980 to $683 million in 1988. “We’re getting out of the housing business. Period,” a Reagan HUD official declared in 1985.

6. LIMBAUGH: “There’s no such thing as an implied contract.” (Radio show, quoted in FRQ, Spring/93)

REALITY: Every first-year law student knows there is.



February 11th, 2011
1:17 pm

Could anybody just once repeat something they personally heard Rush say or a position he took that was just wrong???

Donald Finley

February 13th, 2011
11:50 am

that racists should be dead!

Freedom of speech

February 14th, 2011
9:44 am

Racists should be dead?
Donald, you’re trampling your own constitution; the one that gave you the right to make your hate comment.
Why is Rush racist?