050609-michael_savage.jpgThe ultra rightist, San Francisco censuring, public enemy of Great Britain Michael Savage has been dropped from his longtime San Francisco home at KNEW-AM. His popular 3-7 time slot will soon be replaced by conservative-leaning, Southern California talk show hosts Jon and Ken (John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou).

KNEW’s website had this to say: “We have decided to go in a different philosophical and ideological direction, featuring more contemporary content and more local information.” The argument seems a little weak, considering that despite his vituperative and polarizing nature, Savage commands a fiercely loyal fan base that might not be too pleased with the more populist approach of Jon and Ken.

What the release should have said is “we have decided to go with a more cost saving philosophy, featuring cheaper content and a radio personality that doesn’t cost a small fortune.”

Or at least according to Bay Area media personality Rich Lieberman. In an email posted this morning to the Rich Lieberman Report, Lieberman said that the axing had nothing to do with Savage’s sometimes “ultra rightist feelings on immigration, the Middle East, [and] Barrack Obama.” He believes the firing was an issue of money, pure and simple.

Lieberman asserts Savage’s KNEW income hovered around the “north of a million dollar range.” Due to rapidly declining ad revenues, radio can no longer afford to support these kind of big name/big price tag personalities Lieberman writes “in the end KNEW simply lacked the financial resources to continue to pay Savage.”

More harrowing is Lieberman’s prediction that Savage’s firing will not be the last. He writes, “there are a lot of prominent local big-name talk-show hosts and FM personalities who are paid significant coin by the likes of Citadel and Cumulus who will get their taste of the Savage treatment sooner or later.”

What do you think? Was it a money thing, or are Northern Californians just looking for a more laid back, conservative-lite approach to political commentary?

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