Today: ‘The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts of All Time’

Here we go again, but this time for all the money…

Talkers Magazine – the talk radio trade pub for folks like Tom Becka and Chris Stigall – has unleashed its list of Top Talkers to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the magazine.

Think of it, 20 years of talk radio dating to the year 1991. And that’s just for the magazine.

Guys like Dave Dawson, Mike Murphy and Mike Shanin rummaging around local airwaves well before that.

I can’t recall the exact date, but I remember when a young freelance writer named C.J. Janovy, working then as an office temp, had the bright idea in the early days of the Pitch to round up a blowhard by the name of Rush Limbaugh and hang him out to dry.

Did she ever.

C.J. taught El Rushbo a lesson he’d never forget.

To top it off, attached to Limbaugh’s face on our cover illustration – in the place of his standard issue proboscis – we affixed a strikingly handsome pig snoot. We may have been the first, but certainly not the last to think of that metaphor.

Limbaugh was pissed – C.J. rocked that one.

I’m won’t bore you with the entire list. Just the heavyweights and a cherry picking of names familiar to Kansas City listeners.

What you may want to be thinking about is how few home grown talkers aside from Mancow made the cut. Which goes hand-in-hand with the anemic ratings of local talk radio today.

Oh yeah…

I know how you guys love for me to work in anything I can about my new Fiat, so I’ll tell you this; it came with Sirius satellite radio and the guy I cannot stop listening to – after all these years – is Howard Stern.

Now the list…

1)   Rush Limbaugh. Who’d you expect, Walt Bodine?

2)   Howard Stern. See above.

3)   Larry King. New CNN softball pitcher Piers Morgan is growing on me.

4)   Sean Hannity. Everybody at the Star thinks I’m a right wing Republican.  KC Confidential readers seem to have me pegged as an Al Gore liberal. Think what you will,this guy’s a shill. He makes Limbaugh seem reasonable at times.

5)   Don Imus. What can I say? Been there, done that. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

6)   Arthur Godfrey. Who dug this guy up? Talk about coming out of left field.

7)   Dr. Laura Schlessinger. How the mighty have fallen. Dare I run another one of her nude pics?

8)   Sally Jessy Raphael. Is it me, or did she go from reasonably sensible advice host to Jerry Springer wannabe.

9)   Barry Gray. Got me on this one, but Talkers says he’s the "father of the call-in show."

10)  Bruce Williams. This cat had a very listenable practical advice show. His Web site says he’s still blabbing but doesn’t list any stations. So I guess you have to listen online.

17)  Art Bell. Remember him? I still have an autographed copy of his first book. Here’s what I wanna know. Did he murder his wife, Ramona?

21)  Howard Cosell. Talk show host, huh?

24)  Joe Pyne.  I remember him from TV. Talker says, "early adopter of the ‘angry conservative’ mantle." OK.

28)  Neil Rogers. This guy was an angry, edgy, openly-gay talk show host in South Florida I used to listen to religiously every time I visited my parents in the 1990s. He kicked ass!

33) Tom Leykis. I never did quite get over KCMO taking  his show off the air. I met Russ Johnson for the first time at his live remote here in Westpor.

46)  Dr. Ruth Westheimer.  How she ever sold herself as a sex goddess to my parents generation, I’ll never know. Must have been some kind of inside joke.

52)  Al Franken. Really, Al Franken?

55)  Jim Rome. Does he ever let Jason Whitlock sub for him anymore? Did he ever?

62)  Mancow Muller. "Original youth talk trailblazer," Talkers says. A guy who truly loves Kansas City, I say.

70)  Bill O’Reilly. Thanks to him going off the air, Darla Jaye still has a job.

75)  Ken & Daria Dolan. These senior citizen financial advice givers were carried locally in the early ’90s. Would you believe that Crossroads, Wakarusa and Bottleneck promoter Brett Mosiman was one of their biggest fans? Believe.

100)  Ken Hamblin. Known as "The Black Avenger," his daughter Linda Hamblin was one of the on-air news pioneers at KSHB TV in the 1990s.

That’s all, folks!

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7 Responses to Today: ‘The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts of All Time’

  1. craig glazer says:

    Dare Would Be There if He Were National
    Our only bigtime guy would be Dare. He would be on list if only he wasn’t just in the KC market. I would think there was a minute that Mike Murphy would have done well, again local market. Dare had a chance to go national years back, but choose to stay in KC, where he was already number one by far. He loves it here and wants to stay in KC if he can. As you read the list above Dare maybe had the right idea, in that many of these people are no longer on the air, due to age or falling numbers. Maybe its wiser to stay in the town that loves you for a career then go national. Mankow was a bigtime player but lately due to radio falling off on the talk end, he has suffered somewhat in smaller markets around the nation. Still he is in over 50 cities.

  2. Hearne Christopher says:

    Just one problem; Dare isn’t a talk show host, per se

  3. smartman says:

    Double Dare
    To Hearnes point Johnny is not a “talker”.

    If a syndicator thinks you can make money you can broadcast from Zimbabwe. Johnny would not need to leave KC to go “national”.

    Mancow’s schtick when he was on Q101 was basically Chicago-centric. That format failed ultimately because it wouldn’t “play in Peoria”.

    Even in his current format Johnny would have the same problem; trying to extend a Kansas City point of view into the hinterlands where nobody gives a fuck or altering his POV in such a way it drives local listeners away.

    You can worship at the altar of Johnny Dare all you want. All I know is that a good man, Lon Muncreif, lost his life working as a stagehand at Rockfest. I certainly stand to be corrected but I haven’t heard about KQRC or Johnny or any of his flea infested, unemployment collecting, STD transmitting, can’t frame a wall or stock a shelf the right way fans reaching out to offer his family any financial support. Like I suggested previously why don’t you and Johnny flex your synthetically enhanced muscles and raise one million dollars for his family. That would ROCK!

  4. Irishman says:

    Imus is way too low
    The only point I want too make is that Imus should be ahead of Suspender Pop’s,also Talk Radio 710 should put Imus on in the Morning Drive 5am-9am spot the Greg Napp dude is EFFING HORRIBLE,Dude sounds like Tom Beka’s AND Darla Jaye’s slow offspring…. BRING BACK IMUS…….. late

  5. Kerouac says:

    Who put that list together, a dart-throwing Helen Keller?
    My opine, a notable omission is Morton Downey Jr., who established his latter-TV persona aft polishing it on radio… he and Joe Pyne remain my personal favorites, TV talk venue, along with the ‘Tonight Show’ alumni (Allen, Paar, Carson).

    KC, the only radio/TV vote mine goes to Torey Southwick and his alter ego Ol’ Gus. You could hardly see Gus lips moving when he manipulated Cliff Roberston- er, Torey’s strings…

  6. Tracy says:

    You left out Rusty Humphries
    Who started here as Randy Miller’s producer, then because the producer of the comedy rewrites of famous songs for Rush, then left the market, did rock and roll, then reinvented himself as a talker. Where was our Rusty on the list??

  7. Hearne says:

    Rusty made the current top 100
    But not the all-time 100. Sorry

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