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Tags: michael savage | birthday | 80 years old

Michael Savage Turns 80

Michael Savage Turns 80
Michael Savage (AP)

By    |   Thursday, 17 March 2022 09:13 AM EDT

Dr. Michael Savage has been a colossus astride the American political scene since 1994, when he rode from the ashes of an academic career curtailed by liberalism’s edict, “white males need not apply.” They did him a favor. They did America a favor, too.

Today he is 80 years old. On the radio 26 years, most of that time nationally syndicated, he has for a little over a year now been doing a podcast. He is also a regular on Newsmax TV. He has navigated the treacherous path of partisan politics, but also the brave new world of social media, which has changed drastically in just over a decade. He is an innovator who has innovated — and succeeded.

“Just this morning I read that some unknown podcasters that I’ve never heard of had Donald Trump on, and they had 5 million views in 24 hours, on a little podcast I never heard of,” says Dr. Savage. “So Trump was on my podcast and we got the normal 250 to 400,000 downloads, which is very significant for a serious podcast, but what I’m saying Steve, 5 million views in 24 hours from prank video manufacturers, and this is where the politicians are all going, from Donald Trump to Zelenskyy.

“I started in radio in ‘94 when radio was a very hot medium, and I set the Bay Area on fire, with insights, my staccato delivery, and my ‘take no prisoners’ attitude,” he continues. “So everything has changed . . . There’s no such thing as an independent voice anymore in the media. So everyone’s walking around looking over their shoulder, myself included.”

Dr. Savage really has only himself to look to when it comes to these changes. He says he does not wish to compare himself to the Peter Finch character in “Network,” then does just that.

“I remember when I was on KSFO, I was on like from four to seven p.m., and in the winter it would get dark early, and I would say, ‘If you’re listening to this show flash your lights on and off to let others know you’re listening to Michael Savage.” The freeways lit up.

Dr. Savage says he actually likes podcasting more than live radio, although he misses the feedback of a live audience. He got into the business because in New York he talked to people on the streets, but in the Bay Area “they’d stare at you in that dumb Bay Area stare.” So he started his own discussion on the air.

He suffered a heart attack in recent years but survived, describing how he prayed to God while he was in the hospital.

“Here oh Israel the Lord Our God is the Lord is One,” he repeated. His scholarly Biblical dissertations have been some of his most popular fare over the years. He also reads from a prayer book his grandmother gave him when he was 13 before doing his Newsmax programs and says he recently learned his ancestors are not Russian, but Ukrainian. With war raging today in that land he finds it ironic.

“I did my show last night, and I called it ‘A Path to Peace,’ ” he says. “I’m trying my best to be a voice for peace.”

But on social media he is such a Type A personality that he answers his critics, which he says only “elevates” them to his level. But he loves engaging with his audience anyway.

“I read recently, Steve, that when someone puts you down, your OxyContin levels go down. It can actually harm you physically. And yet, that’s how I stay in touch with my audience.”

Dr. Savage is not a “sports guy” but is amused when compared to the baseball star Ted Williams, who could be cheered by 50,000 fans but heard the one man booing in left field.

Since the cavemen and the Romans, man has always needed scribes and storytellers. Michael Savage fulfills this need in the modern age.

“You know I’ve told most of the stories that need to be told. There aren’t too many stories left to tell. The restaurant owners I liked are dead or gone. Lorenzo Petroni died, the restaurant’s run by someone else.

“The only story that I have today is the story of trying to survive and keep my health.”

Aside from his heart attack, he remains a husband and father, is still a classic car collector and a dog lover, albeit one in mourning since the death last Thanksgiving of his beloved dog Teddy — a mascot of “The Savage Nation.”

“I’d lay down in bed at night and he was with me. I felt protected with Teddy.”

Responding to the question of whether talk radio meisters are born or made, Dr. Savage insists it’s not an ability one can learn.

“No, no, it’s inherent, either you have an inherent ability, you can’t learn this stuff,” says Dr. Savage.

One can only speculate why conservative talk hosts have been the successes, but no liberal has enjoyed any success in this medium.

“I don’t think you can learn the medium unless you have an intuitive ability to do more than just read the news,” he says. “You have to have some history, knowledge of history and literature.”

The Greek philosopher Plato is mentioned. He believed that men of “right thinking” could be trained to be political leaders.

“Well, I’m certainly sure that the Kennedy School of Government thinks that they’re training correct political leaders, and what they come out to look like are Macron in France and Trudeau, who I call ‘Falsedeau,’ in Canada,” says Dr. Savage. “I’ll let people decide whether they’re the right political leaders for our time.”

Michael Savage has had various feuds with other conservative hosts over the years, but today he basically asks forgiveness for his trespasses and forgives those who have trespassed against him.

“I don’t want to mention anybody else. Steve, if I tell you that I never listened to the radio after I left, I wouldn't be lying to you.

“Am I just as competitive? No. I have to cut it off when I feel myself getting angry at people or I feel the competitiveness rising in me again. I think to myself, ‘Michael, when you were at your peak in radio you were a king. You don’t have to resort to anger. There’s no need for it. You had your time.’ Let the others have their time, I don’t care how good they do or how bad they do. That’s their fate, they’re on their own road. They have to answer to God, not me. Each man has to traverse his own road. God bless everybody doing their thing, I don’t care, and I cut it off.”

Still, he believes there are others doing “good work” today.

His free podcast is heard by about 400,000 people, “which is significant.” He also offers an ad-free broadcast for $4 a month to his “core audience.” He answers their questions via email.

Dr. Savage is a great movie buff, particularly of Al Pacino, who also recently turned 80, and of “The Godfather” films. Pacino no longer is the leading man. Does Dr. Savage still need to be the leading man?

“Do I think I’m doing work that’s important? I wouldn’t do it otherwise.”

Are there any Michael Savages in our future?

“I don’t know. I don’t know. There’s an old joke, ‘God broke the mold’ after he made me. I don’t know.”

Dr. Savage grew up on the streets of New York.

“That was my life,” he says. “I’ve told all the stories, you know ‘Louie and the Monkey,’ and ‘Fat Al’s Tuna’ . . . Those stories don’t exist anymore.”

His most recent book about life is called “The Savage Life” and it’s all about his childhood stories.

“Look, I don’t know how Coppola grew up, or Pacino. Pacino was a Sicilian child who grew up in New York. He probably had the same kind of . . . ‘The Godfather’ would never be made today, because that experience is gone, because ‘The Godfather’ would have to be either a lesbian or a transgender person,” he continues.

“As an immigrant son myself, we all wanted to be Americans and be accepted by Americans. We try to be Americans. We didn’t feel we were losing anything by being Americans. We thought we were gaining. Now because of the Communists in the media and in the schools, the reverse is true. They were taught to hate the hand that feeds them. Hate the land that has succored them. Is there any hope? I can’t even answer that question.”

In the late 1970s, Michael Savage earned a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. He was married with a young family. He had written six books, yet was denied a position at Cal.

“It was God’s will that I was blocked from becoming a professor, which is all I wanted to be,” he says. “I should have been given a professorship. My work was significant. But because I was a white male they were hiring anyone but white males, and I thank God, although it cauterized me, because in one radio show I had more audience than I would have had in all my life as a professor. Period.

“Today, with one podcast I reach more people than any professor in the country reaches in their lifetime. So God did me a favor.”

People have only “the eternals” to hold onto,” he notes. “Those are my last words.”

Steven Travers is a former screenwriter who has written more than 30 books, including the upcoming “Best Sports Writing Ever.” The USC graduate and attorney with a PhD has taught at USC. He played professional baseball, served in the Army JAG corps in Washington, D.C., was in investment banking on Wall Street, worked in politics, lived in Europe, and was a sports agent before becoming a writer. He can be reached at USCSTEVE1@aol.com or on Twitter @STWRITES.

© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Dr. Michael Savage has been a colossus astride the American political scene since 1994, when he rode from the ashes of an academic career curtailed by liberalism's edict, "white males need not apply." They did him a favor. They did America a favor, too.
michael savage, birthday, 80 years old
Thursday, 17 March 2022 09:13 AM
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