Deadline.com reported last week that Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly, the crown jewels of Fox News, are close to signing new deals that could take them both at least into 2016.
That would mean both personalities will have survived on air for 20 years on the same network, an impressive achievement. They both helped solidify Fox News as the No. 1 cable news/talk network.
The New York Times said both currently make around $10 million a year, comparable to broadcast anchors. O’Reilly has been a top rated show on Fox News for much of his run, with Hannity a solid No. 2. It’s unknown how much they’ll be making this go around though a renewal deal is likely to be wrapped up soon.
Radio-info’s TomTaylor noted that Hannity probably makes more on syndicated radio, where he is heard locally on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB Radio from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays. He signed a five-year deal in 2008 worth $100 million, which comes out to $20 million a year.
He averages about 2.1 million viewers a night on Fox News. Although it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, Hannity reaches at least 14 million listeners on radio each week, according to Talkers magazine, and is considered the No. 2 radio talk show host in the country in popularity behind only Rush Limbaugh, heard each day on 640/WGST-AM.
O’Reilly did radio from 2002 to 2008 but never quite reached the heights of popularity in that medium as Hannity, who started in radio and worked at WGST locally in the mid-1990s before he joined Fox News.
And just to give you context how big a deal Limbaugh is: in 2008, the No. 1 radio host signed an eight-year deal worth $400 million, eclipsing both Hannity and O’Reilly. Yes, that’s $50 million a year, with more than 15 million listeners a week.
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk