2017 “Heavy Hundred” Talkers: The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same…

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May 9, 2017
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August 29, 2017

2017 “Heavy Hundred” Talkers: The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same…

Talkers Magazine, the radio industry’s information source for Talk Radio, has released its “Heavy Hundred” talk personalities list for 2017 this week, and to call the Top 10 a list of “usual suspects” is indeed an understatement. There was not one, single change from the Top 10 list from 2016. Here they are, your Top 10 Heavy Hundred for 2017:

  1. Rush Limbaugh
  2. Sean Hannity
  3. Dave Ramsey
  4. Mark Levin
  5. Glenn Beck
  6. Howard Stern
  7. Michael Savage
  8. Joe Madison
  9. Thom Hartmann
  10. Mike Gallagher

At first glance, this annual repeat might seem odd to some casual radio listeners.  But to those of us entrenched in the industry, it’s not surprising at all. As polarizing as they are, the top two on the list, Limbaugh and Hannity, draw large audiences on any local station which airs their shows.  This includes both supporters and their detractors. This might seem counter-intuitive, but in some cases, detractors and critics actually listen more frequently and listen longer than even the same personalities most die hard fans.  Case in point, this classic scene from the Howard Stern movie Private Parts:


Despite his absence from the AM/FM dial, Howard Stern is still one of the icons of the radio industry, coming in strong at number 6 this year.  Broadcasting new shows Mondays, Tuesday and Wednesdays on SiriusXM, Stern clocks in as the highest-ranked, non AM/FM personality.  Stern is one of only two Top 10 personalities who is not almost exclusively discussing politics and world events (the other is financial sage Dave Ramsey, who ranks 3rd on the Talkers list).  SiriusXM’s Joe Madison ranks #8.  Madison, known as “The Black Eagle,” is the highest-ranked person of color on the Heavy Hundred list

Dipping into the Top 25, there were a few surprises on this year’s list.  Political pundit Laura Ingraham jumped from #20 in last year’s survey to #11 in 2017, placing her as the highest-ranked woman in the Heavy Hundred.  (The 2016 political circus boosted Talk Radio ratings from coast to coast.)   The biggest dip among Top 25 personalities was local Los Angeles personalities John & Ken on KFI-AM, who fell from 13th to 21st.  Salem’s Hugh Hewitt bounded from #27 up to #20 to crack the Top 20.

Radio renegade and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones rode the coattails of Donald Trump popularity, rising to 26th spot up from #42 in 2016.  (Trump would occasionally call in to Jones’ program.)  Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade finished right behind Jones at #27, skyrocketing from #60 in the previous survey.

News/Talk continued to be the dominant format in the 2017 Talkers Heavy Hundred and Rush celebrated his 11th year atop the list.  Other talkers rose and fell.  Salem’s Larry Elder climbed up.  Financial advisor Clark Howard slid down.  Review the entire Talkers Heavy Hundred list online by following this link:  http://www.talkers.com/2017-talkers-heavy-hundred-1-25/

And if you’re interested in learning more about how to leverage the popularity of these talents to benefit your brands, drop me a line at [email protected]… I look forward to hearing from you!