A simmering feud between radio stars Michael Savage and Sean Hannity has burst to the surface now that the two men are going head to head in prime drivetime — battling for listeners and advertisers in an already competitive market. The two pundits aren’t just questioning each others bonafides. It’s not simply a professional rivalry — it’s clearly personal.
“My competitor doesn’t have the capacity to go beyond the Democrat-Republican talking points,” Savage told POLITICO. “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.”
“You could say, well, I’m a snob,” Savage said. “Well, ok, I’m proud of my doctorate, two master’s degrees, I’m proud of my 28 books, including many in health. And so, yeah, I’m proud of my academic achievements. I believe it’s embarrassing for people to act as experts, even in politics, if they don’t have a rigorous training in anything.”
Hannity doesn’t name-check Savage on air, though he has alluded to him. When asked about the feud, Hannity blamed his competitor.
“Here’s the bottom line,” Hannity told POLITICO. “I love everybody in this business. This guy is obsessed with me, I’m not obsessed with him. And, you know, I understand the Dickeys are bitter because I left,” referring to the heads of Cumulus.
Savage, 71, kicked off 2014 with his show “The Savage Nation” moving into the prime 3-6 p.m. afternoon drive time slot on Cumulus radio stations. Savage scored the spot when Hannity split with Cumulus last year and re-upped his contract with Premiere Networks, a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications.
John Dickey, the executive vice president and co-COO of Cumulus, told POLITICO in a statement that Savage “is off to the great start we expected in this important timeslot and we’re very pleased about how listeners and advertisers are responding.”
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For his part, Savage is relishing his new time — and the rivalry with Hannity. Savage says the root of the personal conflict is Hannity, who has told unflattering tall tales about him. Savage would not detail what Hannity has said, saying he “would rather not repeat the lies.”
“Having said that, now he says things about me, I’ve heard, that are bordering on slander,” Savage said. “He’s making allegations about sexual activities, etc., that if he keeps it up, I’m going to sue him. Because he’s making it up out of whole cloth.”