Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Do You Listen to Talk Radio?

An AM radio station here in Amarillo, Texas broadcasts the Rush Limbaugh show midday and Michael Medved in the afternoon. I sometimes listen to them when I'm in the car. But I rarely listen to either of them for very long, and I don't ever hear one of their programs from beginning to end. So I can't be much of a fan or detractor in the case of either show.

However, I do have a take: I understand that Rush is a hero or a pariah to millions of people. But I'm taking my stand somewhere in the middle. Why? Because, while I am sometimes sympathetic to Rush's political views, and even though there are times when he can be a very entertaining talker, for the most part I really don't like his attitude and style. He comes across as petty, a bully, mean-spirited, someone who can't be corrected by anyone about anything. He's been known to have gone from harsh to downright foul in what he says. I don't easily imagine myself having a good time around him. But I think I get why he's so popular. No one on the radio is better at editorializing in behalf of a particular type of political conservatism that is very popular in the U.S. But I think that much of what has made him so popular and infamous (his polarizing stance and way) is the reason why I don't much appreciate him.

Of the two, Medved seems to be the much more likable and decent person. I hear in him some humility and religion (in the best sense of that last, much-maligned word). He seems like someone you wouldn't mind talking to, even if you found yourself disagreeing with him. I think it's interesting that, though Medved is a religious Jew, he sometimes goes out of his way to acknowledge the positive historic place of Christianity. I like that Medved pays attention to cultural as well as political issues (unlike Limbaugh, who seems to be completely political). He comes across more as a convinced academic, as compared to a demagogue (which is much the way I see Limbaugh). Those are just some of my impressions. I'd be interested to hear your take.

Anyway, I'd been thinking about talk radio in the U.S. So I wound up making my way to the website of Talkers Magazine, which looks to be a significant trade publication. Turns out, next month is when they release an annual ranking of talk-radio shows. The most up-to-date list that I found goes back to February of last year. Here's their top ten:

1. Rush Limbaugh

2. Sean Hannity

3. Michael Savage

4. Dr. Laura Schlessinger

5. Glenn Beck

6. Laura Ingraham

7. Dave Ramsey

8. Lou Dobbs

9. Mancow

10. Thom Hartmann

For what it's worth, Medved was #21. But from something I read at Talkers Magazine, I think his number might be a little higher than that this year. Now let me ask you:

1. Who, if anyone, in the talk-radio world do you listen to? Why? Are you every-day or occasional?

2. For those of you who listen to Rush or Medved, are you hearing the same things I do? Or have I gotten them wrong?


Arlene Kasselman said...

I am not a talk radio fan at all, but honestly 1,2,4,5 = can not listen to without feeling really frustrated and eventually angry! The others I do not know.

Frank Bellizzi said...

Hi, Arlene.

I'm guessing you haven't heard #3 on the list, Michael Savage. The others are mild compared to him. He's completely foul.

Ken Summerlin said...

I swore off talk radio many years ago when I realized it was becoming nothing more than "hate radio." I can't imagine why anyone would want to listen to someone like Rush Limbaugh; he's such an angry man. Perhaps it's because he says aloud what some think but don't have the courage to publicly own?

blogging at www.kenwords.com

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Brian said...

mainly sports,
I got sucked into an ABC radio night show that almost dealt exclusively with the threat of Iran and some politics, I can't remember the guys name, but he was jewish, fairly conservative, but not a republican.

Anonymous said...

Glenn Beck from time to time. No one on a regular basis.

We seem to live in a culture that radicalizes everything. If you are not way out no one listens?

I have no problem with Beck. At times he makes some good points.

c hand said...

you're 99% right, but failed to mention Rush's excellent parodies. Any thoughtful person should appreciate listening to Medved.

Anonymous said...

ONLY listen to NPR Morning Edition and All Things Considered...check the newspaper headlines, editorials and Internet. I long ago decided Rush appealed, tweaked the dark side of some of us. Doesn't fit "whatever is true,..honorable..just...pure...pleasing...commendable...for thinking.