A Savage Exit

As we quipped when liberal talk radio network Air America died, this would have been a much bigger story here a few years ago.

But with syndicated talk show host Michael Savage making his “triumphant” exit from syndicator Talk Radio Network now, we believe that only affects a single station in the OMW immediate coverage area.

Savage declared victory in his contract battle with the Oregon-based TRN, as he was seeking to be released from his deal to pursue deals with other syndicators.

From the host’s own MichaelSavage.com (forgive the upper case):

AFTER A GRUELING LEGAL BATTLE THAT COST HIM AND HIS FAMILY DEARLY, MICHAEL SAVAGE CAN ANNOUNCE HE WON! HE IS FREE AT LAST. FREE TO WORK WITH WHOMEVER HE WISHES IN THE RADIO INDUSTRY FROM TODAY FORWARD.

The item says Savage will be off the radio “for some time”. Indeed, he’s now entirely gone from the TRN website, in what we’ve called a “Soviet-style purge”.

The statement released by the company’s CEO Mark Masters is brief:

“We are all looking forward to announcing a bright future; radio’s October Surprise will begin on Monday, October 1st.”

This would have been a big deal here on the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) back in 2008. But as far as we can tell, there’s a single Savage affiliate left in Northeast Ohio.

That would be Media-Com talk WJMP/1520 Kent(/Akron/Cleveland/Jupiter), the puny AM sister station to the much more successful “Talk of Akron”, WNIR/100.1.

WJMP was running “The Savage Nation” on a 15 hour delay, weekdays from noon to 3 PM, also running the show live at 6 PM as long as the daytime station’s signoff time was after 6.

Friday afternoon, WJMP was airing Thursday night’s show with frequent Savage fill-in Jeff Kuhner, who just said he was “sitting in” without mentioning Savage, and without playing Savage’s theme music or opening.

Savage appeared briefly in late nights on WNIR itself, though we don’t know how long that stint lasted. The station now runs Salem host Mike Gallagher in the post-midnight hours (after Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon), along with TRN’s Laura Ingraham (“Ingram” according to the WNIR program guide page).

Savage’s affiliate history in Northeast Ohio was rocky, to say the least.

Featuring what is still one of our favorite quotes ever from a radio executive, Salem talk WHK/1420 Cleveland bounced Savage in 2008, in the middle of a controversy over his comments about autistic children.

From our July 2008 item quoting Salem Cleveland general manager Mark Jaycox talking to the Plain Dealer:

“This guy’s a knucklehead, and I want to get rid of him.”

Months earlier, he was squeezed off the schedule at Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron, in a move not related to his on-air comments. WHLO reshuffled the schedule in April 2008 to make room for then-WKDD/98.1’s Matt Patrick, in his first regular talk radio stint.

It worked out well for Patrick, of course…he is now heard in morning drive at Clear Channel talk KTRH/740 Houston, with another show at sister talk KPRC/950. For Northeast Ohio listeners, Matt Patrick is also still is on the weekend schedule on Clear Channel’s big talker here, WTAM/1100 Cleveland (Saturday 1-4 PM).

After WHLO dropped Savage, Melodynamic talk WCER/900 Canton was Savage’s affiliate…but of course, WCER is now silent, after a brief LMA by former WINW/1520 programmer Curtis Perry III as gospel “Joy 900”.

(As near as we can figure, Perry recamped to the revived WINW, restarting “Joy 1520” from temporary facilities featuring 250 watts into a long-wire antenna on the northern end of downtown Canton.)

Clear Channel talk WKBN/570 Youngstown is also a former Savage affliate, dropping him a few years ago.

Again, this would have been a much larger story about 4 years ago.

We found two other active Savage affiliates in Ohio in a brief Google search: Clear Channel talk WIMA/1150 Lima, and Runnymede talk WHTH/790 Heath (AM sister station to WKNO/101.7, once licensed to Newark, now licensed to New Albany with a signal that reaches much of Columbus).

But like Dr. Laura in her last days on terrestrial radio, “The Savage Nation” has disappeared from big market clearances in Ohio radio…

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2 Responses to A Savage Exit

  1. Jeff Billman says:

    Don’t you mean WJMP/1520 Kent-Ravenna Wal-Mart parking lot? The few times I tried listening to Savage, I could pick it up on a clear summer night from Towners Woods (a park between Hudson and Ravenna just north of WJMP), but then lose the signal by the time I drove up the hill between Blackhorse and Ravenna. That’s a whopping two miles east of the WJMP transmitter. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you likewise couldn’t pick up WJMP from its city of license (Kent).

    Oh, and shout out to Matt Patrick. I’m still hoping he goes national, and replaces the awful “talent” that somehow is syndicated nationally from my now-local news/talker, WFLA in Tampa. Not mentioning any names, of course, but it rhymes with a word you can’t say on the air. Coincidentally, this guy is currently heard late nights on WHLO…

    • Oh, Schnitt. I mean…umm…

      That ID for WJMP (Kent/Akron/Cleveland/Jupiter/Mars/Tokyo/etc.) is a running joke of ours. It points out, as you say, that the station has about as much chance of clearly being heard on Jupiter or in Tokyo as it does in the heart of Cleveland or Akron.

      As we’ve pointed out, WJMP’s strongest signal is in Kent, Ravenna and Streetsboro, and as you point out, even that’s in question.

      I do think Matt will be syndicated one day. He’s certainly better than most of the third-tier of syndie conservative hosts, and better than many of the second-tier. I don’t think he wants to leave KTRH/KPRC right now, tho. It sounds like TRN already has a Savage replacement plan as soon as Monday…

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