Sean Hannity is now the most influential radio host in America according to a new ranking from Talkers Magazine. The Fox News host beat out radio legend, and the magazine’s longtime previous number one, Rush Limbaugh.
“Aside from the hosts whose sheer numbers and fame demand their inclusion in this list, the selection process is subjective with the goal being to create a list reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor as well as giving credit where credit is due,” reads a magazine description of the how the rankings were chosen.
“We acknowledge that it is as much art as science and that the results are arguable.”
It’s only the second time in the list’s 24 year history that Limbaugh hasn’t been in the top spot. In 2005, Howard Stern was first after leaving terrestrial radio for a nine-figure deal with Sirius Satellite Radio.
“Sean has had an unprecedented year in talk radio,” Talkers editor Michael Harrison told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Even last year we had a very intense discussion among our editors whether Sean should have been on top. We held out another year out of our respect for what Rush Limbaugh means to the industry and to the format.”
Rounding out the top five were Dave Ramsey, Mark Levin and Howard Stern.
Indeed, Hannity – always an influential talk radio host — has seen his profile skyrocket since President Trump took office. The president is said to be a regular viewer of Hannity’s prime-time Fox News show and the two are known to speak frequently after he comes off the air.
With the departure of Bill O’Reilly last year, Hannity has emerged as the ratings leader of the network and his program has largely served as an anchor at a time when Fox News has had bad press, a number of scandals and legal troubles. The channel has also stuck with the host in what otherwise might career-ending scandals for Hannity elsewhere, including his failure to disclose a legal relationship with Trump attorney Michael Cohen.