The Savage Nation
|Running time||3 hours (12–3 p.m. PT)|
|Home station||KSFO (1995–May 30, 2003)
KSTE (June 2, 2003–June 27, 2003)
KNEW (July 1, 2003 – September 11, 2009)
KSTE (September 14, 2009–January 29, 2010)
KTRB (February 1, 2010 – September 10, 2010)
KSTE (September 13, 2010–September 27, 2012)
KSFO (October 23, 2012–present)
|Syndicates||Talk Radio Network (1999-2012)
Cumulus Media Networks (2012-2013)
Westwood One (2013–present)
|TV adaptations||The Savage Nation (MSNBC, 2003)|
|Hosted by||Michael Savage|
|Recording studio||San Francisco, California|
|Air dates||since 1995 (local); 1999 (national)|
|Opening theme||"Master of Puppets"|
The Savage Nation (also called The Michael Savage Show) is an American radio show hosted by conservative commentator Michael Savage. At its peak in 2009, the program was heard by 8–10 million listeners a week and syndicated across the U.S. in over 300 markets, making it among the most listened to radio shows in the country.
As of 2014, Talkers Magazine estimates Savage's audience at 5 million listeners, in sixth place among talk radio programs. However, in both the March and April 2013 "Talkers Heavy Hundred" Savage ranked at number five, between Glenn Beck #4, and Ed Schultz #6, as "most important" talk personality in U.S. radio.
In 1994, Michael Savage (then publishing under his birth name Michael Weiner) submitted for publication a manuscript called Immigrants and Epidemics. The proposed book, which was about the influx of foreign diseases due to the wave of illegal immigrants, was promptly rejected for what Savage contends was its politically incorrect subject matter. This, along with the suggestions of friends and acquaintances, inspired Savage to record a radio demo about the very subject of his manuscript. He mailed the tape to 250 radio stations, and on March 21, 1994, The Savage Nation was born on KGO in San Francisco.
Savage's radio career began modestly enough as a fill-in host for Ray Taliaferro. On January 2, 1995, Savage began hosting his own program, The Savage Nation, on KGO sister station KSFO, which at the time changed its lineup to be completely conservative.
At the time, his slogan was "To the right of Rush and to the left of God." The show quickly became a local hit. During his time at KSFO, Savage soared to #1 in Arbitron ratings among both adult men and women over 18 during afternoon drive-time in San Francisco and became top talk host in his time slot in Northern California.
In 1999, he came to the attention of the Talk Radio Network.
On January 17, 2000, he started doing an additional two hours of radio which was broadcast nationally. His national experiment was a success, and, on September 21, 2000, he stopped doing separate shows, beginning a full three-hour national show The Savage Nation. After one year, he was in 150 markets. By 2003, he was in more than 200 markets. Savage's fill-in guest hosts include former U.S. congressman "B-1" Bob Dornan, Rick Roberts, Mancow, and Peter Weisbach. Talk radio host Lars Larson is also a former guest host, although his show now directly competes with The Savage Nation.
In June 2003, he had a salary dispute with his flagship station KSFO, which refused to renegotiate his contract, and KSFO dropped his show on June 2. On July 1, 2003 he began his show on a different station: KNEW in San Francisco.
As of 2009, Savage had 8-10 million listeners per week, making his show the third most widely heard broadcast in the United States. Savage calls his listeners "literate callers with intelligence, wit, and energy." He says that he tries to make a show that has a "...hard edge combined with humor and education... Those who listen to me say they hear a bit of Plato, Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac, Moses, Jesus, and Frankenstein."
Savage was named the 2007 recipient of Talkers Magazine’s Freedom of Speech Award. According to Talkers Magazine, Savage was honored "for being the first major conservative radio talk show host to criticize President George W. Bush on his policies and encourage hosts of all political ideologies to remain independent of partisan loyalties." Previous recipients of the Freedom of Speech Award include Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh.
The Savage Nation was removed from KNEW's schedule on September 10, 2009, as the station had "decided to go in a different philosophical and ideological direction [sic]." It was later picked up by sports station KTRB, but that agreement ended when Comerica Bank foreclosed on the station. Savage advised listeners that the show can be heard in the Bay Area via Sacramento-area KSTE.
Savage filed a lawsuit in an attempt to break from his contract, which, though it expired at the end of 2010, contained clauses that granted Talk Radio Network the right to match any offer in perpetuity. Savage won the lawsuit the morning of September 27, 2012, leading to the immediate cancellation of the show and forcing Talk Radio Network to hire a replacement in short order. Savage also won the rights to his entire archive but also was required to agree to a four-week non-compete clause, which prevented The Savage Nation from being picked up by another network in that time frame.
The Savage Nation was revived on Cumulus Media Networks on October 23, 2012, the day the non-compete clause expired. It aired in a new time slot, 9:00 PM to 12:00 midnight ET, replacing the weeknight edition of John Batchelor's news magazine.
On September 25, 2013, Savage announced during his show that effective January 2014, he would air during the afternoon drive hours of 3 p.m to 6 p.m, ET, replacing Sean Hannity for Cumulus Media Networks.
Feud with Sean Hannity
Savage has been involved in a personal dispute with talk show host Sean Hannity, whose slot on Cumulus he replaced at the beginning of 2014. Savage said about Hannity: "My competitor doesn’t have the capacity to go beyond the Democrat-Republican talking points. That's all he's ever done. That's all he can do. He has no education. I'm just going to lay it on the line, I'm not going to mince words."
Each hour of the daily three-hour broadcast usually begins with a monologue by Savage. Being a political commentator by trade, he often discusses issues in American politics and society in general. Many times, this leads to a passionate diatribe by Savage, a staple of The Savage Nation. Savage often takes calls in the second segment to comment on what was discussed in the previous segment.
Guests have traditionally been a rare occurrence, but they have become more frequent since 2007. From 2009 until the end of the TRN run, the entire third hour of most shows was devoted to pre-taped interviews with guests.
Introduction and music
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Music is an integral part of The Savage Nation. Savage often extends the role of music beyond bumper music to be as much the content of the show as what he's talking about. (For instance, there was a period of several days in 2006 when Savage played "Living on a Thin Line" by The Kinks concurrent with his discussions of America's internal vulnerabilities.)
He also played "God Save the Queen" by the Sex Pistols and "Living on a Thin Line", and agreed that "there's no England now" after being banned from the U.K. by British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.
The signature musical introduction to The Savage Nation is the beginning of Metallica's "Master of Puppets", followed by an announcer saying, "Warning: The Michael Savage Show contains adult language, adult content, psychological nudity. Listener discretion is advised." For years, this was followed by Mötley Crüe's "Looks That Kill" and Metallica's "The Shortest Straw" to conclude the introduction; following the move from TRN to Cumulus in 2012, the opening was revamped, and Mötley Crüe's "Live Wire" replaced the latter two songs.
For bumper music, Savage has used "Eye of the Beholder", "Frayed Ends of Sanity", "Holier Than Thou", "Jump in the Fire", "To Live Is to Die", "Battery", "Blackened", "Sad But True", "Ain't My Bitch", "Fuel", "The Shortest Straw", and "Don't Tread on Me" by Metallica, as well as "Du Hast" and "Tier" by Rammstein, Nirvana, "Big Gun" by AC/DC, and "Killing in the Name" by Rage Against the Machine. As of 2015, Judas Priest's "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" has generally played at the 30-minute break.
While Savage has previously criticized pop culture on his program, he is a self-proclaimed rock music fan. On his July 19, 2006 show, Savage said he is a huge fan of the German group Rammstein, and that he often drives around at night blasting their music. When challenged by a caller to explain why he likes Rammstein, Savage said they are "the only true form of poetry and music that reflect the real world nowadays." Savage played their music at length during that specific broadcast.
He is also a fan of 1950s rock 'n' roll and doo-wop music such as The Cadillacs, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, and The Flamingos, which is played on his "Rock and Roll Friday". On January 25, 2007, he started playing "I'm Broken" by Pantera on his show, stating that this is the type of music that U.S. troops should be listening to in Iraq.
Savage often closes the show by saying, "With God's will and your listenership, I shall return", or some variation thereof.
Liberal advocacy groups and media watchdogs such as GLAAD and FAIR accuse Savage of racism, homophobia, bigotry, and Islamophobia because of his controversial statements about homosexuality, Islam, feminism, sex education, and immigration.
On his September 21, 1999 broadcast, Savage said that the motivation for female students who come from a Marin County private school to feed and provide services to the homeless is so they "can go in and get raped by them, because they seem to like the excitement of it..."
Savage characterized Israel as:
A little country surrounded by racist, fascist bigots who don't want anyone but themselves living in that hell hole called the Middle East.
On April 17, 2006, he commented about Muslims,
They say, 'Oh, there's a billion of them.' I said, 'So, kill 100 million of them, then there'll be 900 million of them.' I mean, would you rather die—would you rather us die than them?
As a result of his comments allegedly soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred (both criminal offences in the United Kingdom), on May 5, 2009, then-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced that Savage was on a list of individuals banned from entering the United Kingdom as he is "considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence."
Savage called on his listeners to support him by canceling travel and business in Britain, as well as by boycotting British-made goods, commenting, "If they want to play hardball, we'll play hardball."
- Marinucci, Carla (2009-05-05). "Politics Blog : SF radio host Michael Savage, banned from Britian [sic]: "Will they ban my listeners too?"". SFGate. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
- Talkers Magazine The Top Talk Radio Audiences, retrieved April, 2013
- radiointelligence.com, "Glenn Beck (Premiere) follows in fourth place and Michael Savage (Cumulus) is number five." retrieved April 2013
- Politico - Limbaugh, Hannity lead Talkers' top 100, By MACKENZIE WEINGER, 3/13/13, " Dave Ramsey, who hosts a nationally syndicated radio show on financial topics, made the top three this year, knocking down conservative talker Michael Savage." who takes fifth place. Retrieved April, 2013
- Westwood One - The Savage Nation - Unprotected Talk  retrieved 5-12-2016
- Ganahl, Jane (January 5, 1995). "KSFO moves to the right of the dial". San Francisco Examiner.
- "Michael Savage's Biography". NewsMax. Archived from the original on 2007-01-27. Retrieved 2006-06-10.
- Kava, Brad. "Savage is off the air at KSFO". San Jose Mercury News. Archived from the original on December 7, 2003.
- "The Top Talk Radio Audiences". Talkers magazine. November 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-18.
- "Michael Savage Wins Freedom of Speech Award" Newsmax. March 27, 2007
- "Michael Savage Dropped From "Flagship" Radio Station". The Huffington Post. September 11, 2009. Retrieved October 28, 2011.
- Shock Jock Savage Wants out of Contract. Courthouse News Service. Retrieved 2010-12-22.
- McCartney, Anthony. Michael Savage leaves radio show after legal win. Associated Press. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
- "'Biggest shakeup in talk-radio history'". WND. Retrieved 2016-03-23.
- "Michael Savage moving to prime afternoon-drive slot". World News Daily. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- "GE, Microsoft Bring Bigotry to Life". Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. February 12, 2003. Retrieved September 27, 2007.
- "Urge MSNBC to Rethink TV Show for Anti-Gay "Savage"". Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. February 26, 2003. Archived from the original on September 30, 2005. Retrieved September 27, 2007.
- Steve Rendall and Isabel Macdonald, Making Islamophobia Mainstream; How Muslim-bashers broadcast their bigotry, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting,November/December 2008.
- Brown, Dartanyan (September 21, 1999). "KSFO's Michael Savage Refuses to Apologize for Suggesting Sex between Students, Homeless". Dartanyan.com. Retrieved October 5, 2009.
- Zoll, Daniel (September 20, 2000). "Savage family values". San Francisco Bay Guardian. Archived from the original on May 26, 2006.
- Anti-Gay Michael Savage Canceled In Mississippi
- BostonHerald.com - Blogs: MediaBiz Blog» Blog Archive » Savage dropped in Mississippi
- Savage Nation, May 11, 2004.
- Ibrahim, Safaa (January 3, 2008). "SF Chronicle Free Speech vs Hate Speech". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 10, 2009.
- "UK 'least wanted' list published". BBC. May 5, 2009. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
- "'Who is on UK least wanted list'". BBC. May 5, 2009. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
- US talkshow host Michael Savage to sue Jacqui Smith over ban from Britain Alex Spillius, telegraph.co.uk, May 6, 2009.
- Kate Kelland "Savage response: barred shock jock vows to sue", Reuters, 6 May 2009
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