In today’s issue: Savage accepted his induction in the National Radio Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Chicago on Thursday night via video.
Savage won induction in the category of Spoken Word On-Air Personality in a polling of radio listeners among finalists Sean Hannity, Diane Rehm and Mike Francesca.
Here is a transcript of his acceptance speech:
Hey, thanks for having me at the Radio Hall of Fame. This is the greatest award of my life.
It’s the culmination of 22 years in the radio business and many, many years as a writer and a thinker.
There are many people I have to thank tonight. And I’ll get to all of them.
I want to thank Dennis Green, in particular, for nominating me. And I want to thank all the listeners of “The Savage Nation” who voted me in, against all odds.
The outsider, the underdog won.
Why? Borders, language, culture.
But let me begin at the beginning.
I want to thank my mother, who’s in heaven with God, for having encouraged me to be an announcer in the first grade in the Bronx. You see, the reason I was an announcer in the first grade in the Bronx is because I had a suit. No one else in the school had a blue suit. So she said, “Go be the announcer, Michael.”
Well, I got up in front of the audience and a sea of children. Instead of intimidating me, it encouraged me. It made me happy, and I realized I had a capacity to speak to audiences right then and there.
And, of course, along the way, I did book tours for all the books I have written. And every time I would stop on a radio tour, inevitably there’d be a radio host somewhere along the way, up in Seattle or Los Angeles, they’d say: “Hey, you really are good. You have a great voice and persona. You belong on the radio.”
That was like saying, “You belong as an astronaut.” How does an author become a radio host?
Well, as the years went on, ’94, I sent tapes out to 700 stations, and I wound up on KGO in San Francisco. I was a phenomenon, being a conservative speaker — I should say, really, an independent mind in a sea of liberalism.
And then I was offered a daytime job, and they gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I had to leave a rather lucrative career in other fields, and I took it. And it’s been a roller coaster ever since.
And here we are. I remember mother taking me to Radio City Music Hall as a little boy — to this day I can remember the magic. Behind the scenes at radio, and what did I see?
The man said, “Here is how we make thunder in a radio show.” And he hit a sheet of tin or metal with something, and there was thunder. “And here’s how we have the horses for ‘The Lone Ranger,'” that I grew up with. And here he was, he was doing something on top of a sound stand with some kind of hooves. And I thought there were horses in the studio. And I was taken away by the magic of radio.
And to me, because I grew up in the age of radio — never forget that, I’m a little older than most of the people in radio, as you might notice. Young at heart, probably younger than most of them. In fact, I do more than almost anybody half my age. Take that and smoke it, if you don’t mind.
But the fact of the matter is — yeah, radio, amazing. Still with me, still love it, the most magical of all media. Why, because I grew up on radio, I’d lie in my father’s lap, he’d be smoking a Philip Morris, listening to shows like “The Green Hornet,” way back in the ’40s. And he’d say, “Michael, you know, I like radio more than I like movies.”
And I’d say, “Why, dad?”
And he’d say, “With radio, you have to use your imagination. With the movies, they tell you what your imagination should he thinking.”
And I never forgot that. To me, with my shows, there is still the magic of the theater. Radio is still the magic, magic theater of the mind. And, if you listen to my show from time to time, and put aside the stereotypes, you’ll find out my ability to tell stories and take people on a mind trip with me are what separates me from myself, so I don’t get trapped too much in politics.
Now that the election is over, I can’t even tell you where I’m going to go now. And it’s not going to be politics all the time. It’s going to be a lot more than politics. It’s going to be what I began with.
Sure, borders, language, culture is the theme, but so are stories, stories, stories.
And I want to tell the audience another thing, which is that radio is looked down upon by many people, let’s say in the tech industry.
“Oh, it’s a medium of the past.”
I think it’s the medium of the present and the future.
And long after some of the other industries have come and gone, there will always be the magic of that radio, in the hands of the individual, the most personal of all media, radio.
It will be with us forever.
And I want to thank all of you, once again, for being here at the National Radio Hall of Fame in the lovely city of Chicago and all of the people who made this possible.
Thank you, again, and good night.