Popular radio hosts are often overshadowed, but are nonetheless celebrities that have unique personalities, viewpoints and an extreme influence on their listeners (usually numbering in the millions). As a disclaimer, this list of the most influential, entertaining and informative radio personalities is my personal opinion and does not reflect the opinion of my fellow KCSC members. This list is based on viewer numbers, the longevity of these shows, the content (whether it be humor, political activism, sports, etc.) and probably a little bit of personal bias (you try to compile a list like this without putting your own personal spin on it). This three part series will start with numbers 25-16, so without further adieu, let’s get down to brass tax.
25. Kidd Kraddick – Kidd Kraddick in the Morning
David Cradick, aka Kidd Kraddick, is the host of the nationally syndicated radio show Kidd Kraddick in the Morning. Kraddick’s show features general news talk with a humorous spin on it. His show also showcases a rather hilarious use of voice-altering technology to portray various made up characters such as Pooladsanj Pooladsanj (“Poo Poo”) and Wally the Wal-Mart cashier as they’re put in different situations with Kraddick’s co-hosts. Kraddick is also the founder of the charitable organization, Kidd’s Kids, which sends chronically ill children to Disney World every year.
24. Neal Boortz – The Neal Boortz Show
As the self-proclaimed “High Priest of the Church of the Painful Truth”, Neal Boortz is a political show host stemming from the Libertarian point of view. His show, The Neal Boortz Show, reaches approximately four million people throughout the country per week and touches on general news topics and controversial issues. He’s definitely not afraid to get into verbal scuffles with callers and guests, making for a very entertaining show regardless of one’s political viewpoints and beliefs.
23. Tom Joyner – The Tom Joyner Morning Show
Since 1994, The Tom Joyner Morning Show has been a staple in millions of American’s morning drives. He and his co-hosts aim to put a humorous spin on both sports and news topics throughout the world. His show also features old-school R&B music, mostly from the 1970s. For a brief stint, Joyner hosted The Tom Joyner Show on TV, a sketch comedy program similar to that of comedian Dave Chapelle. Joyner’s morning show reaches millions of people across the nation each week and his influences reaches out into the community as the owner of numerous charitable foundations.
22. Bob and Tom – The Bob and Tom Show
Bob Kevoin and Tom Griswold, a tandem that has been on the air together since the early 80s, host what remains to be one of the most popular nationally-syndicated shows in the United States, The Bob and Tom Show. This is easily one of the more entertaining morning drive shows out there, featuring dozens of different, unique and hilarious characters portrayed by Kevoin, Griswold and other co-hosts on the show. The Bob and Tom Show is definitely more comedy-based than many of the other morning talk shows out there.
21. George Noory – Coast to Coast AM
As one of the most unique shows out there, Coast to Coast AM is a show dedicated to the paranormal and conspiracy theories. Hosted by George Noory since 2001, this show features topics, guests, and subject matter all related to everything from crop circles, UFOs, the Mayan calendar, ghosts, etc. You get the picture. This show airs from 10 p.m – 2 a.m. Pacific Time throughout the United States, as well as in Canada and the Philippines and brings in an estimated four million listeners per night, making it one of the most unique and popular nighttime radio shows on air today.
20. John and Ken – The John and Ken Show
Broadcasting out of Los Angeles, John Kobylt and Kenneth Chiampou host the most popular local talk show in the United States. Reaching over one million listeners per day in the greater L.A. area, The John and Ken Show has entrenched themselves as a voice that has significant influence in southern California. Outspoken, controversial and fearless don’t even begin to describe Kobylt and Chaimpou. They played a significant role in the recall of former California governor Gray Davis, hosting numerous petition organizers on the show and calling millions of constituents/listeners into action. If that isn’t the definition of influence, then I don’t know what is.
19. Dan Patrick – The Dan Patrick Show
The first sports talk host on this list, the former ESPN anchor and current Fox Sports show host boasts one of the most popular sports talk shows in the nation: The Dan Patrick Show. Unlike most sports talk hosts, Patrick tends to be a little less bias and opinionated towards general sports topics. Rather than having his own personal spin on controversial sports issues, Patrick just reports it as is. This can be seen as a nice change of pace to the common, extremely opinionated sports hosts, but can get a little monotonous and boring at times.
18. Ryan Seacrest – On Air With Ryan Seacrest
In case you’re wondering, this is the same Ryan Seacrest that hosts American Idol, but his role in radio is extensively different. Although the main focus of On Air With Ryan Seacrest is the music, usually U.S. top 40 singles, Seacrest also provides listeners with on-air interviews of some of the most popular celebrities and figures in the country. Seacrest’s morning show is not only nationally syndicated, but is also broadcasted in Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa and Canada among other countries internationally.
17. Frank Caliendo
I’m pushing the line here with radio hosts, but Frank Caliendo is on nationally syndicated shows almost daily it seems like. Although he doesn’t have his own radio show (yet), Caliendo’s presence on numerous shows throughout the country provides a change of pace comedian different from all others. Caliendo’s spot-on impersonations of popular figures like George Bush, John Madden, Robin Williams, and the entire cast of Seinfeld will keep you (and the show hosts themselves) laughing on end. I would rank him higher on this list, but technically he doesn’t have a show. So for now, the funniest man on the list sits here at 17.
16. Laura Ingraham – The Laura Ingraham Show
While researching dozens of radio hosts throughout the country, I have noticed that many of them fit the bill of “right-wing/conservative”. The Laura Ingraham Show fits that bill almost perfectly as Ingraham remains one of the most (if not the most) popular female conservative talk show hosts in the United States today. Her sarcastic, satirical approach to issues, both political and social, provides a witty viewpoint on problems throughout the country. Her voice reaches almost six million listeners per week, putting her in the top 10 of the most listened to radio talk shows in the United States.