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Erick Erickson Aspires To Be Heard on America’s Top Stations

“I learned almost everything I know about radio from Rush. I think they broke the mold when they made him. If I could get close, I would be honored.”

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There are dozens of conservative radio hosts in the U.S., but one of the most intelligent and easygoing with his audience must be Erick Erickson.

Erickson, a lawyer by trade, has been able to effectively use his courtroom skills to motivate listeners. The leading GOP voice for a decade has been hosting a show on WSB during that time.

Erickson took a step toward establishing a national brand when he brought his Atlanta-based show to Cox Media Group. He also moved into the noon-3p ET slot, to fill the void left by the death of Rush Limbaugh.

For now, they have cobbled together approximately 20 affiliates, through Cox and separately in Georgia, but Erickson has bigger dreams for his three-hour daily broadcast.

“I would very much love to be nationwide and on the big stations,” Erickson told BNM.

But the midday competition is tight for air space. iHeart has Clay Travis and Buck Sexton holding down the Limbaugh slot. Cumulus features Dan Bongino, and Audacy has Dana Loesch.

“It definitely puts me behind the pack,” Erickson admits. “I don’t plan on doing anything else for the rest my life, so I’m going to be here for a while.”   

Erickson is a native of Jackson, Louisiana, who has been tied to Macon, Georgia, for years, even winning a city council seat in that city. He is tied to his Southern roots and his listener base. However, for a successful syndicated product, he makes some production tweaks. Not only will he focus more on Georgia stories, but Erickson will also even localize with the weather, an element that wouldn’t work across a wider market scope.

As he builds the network, Erickson will drop the Georgia political angles instead because it has broader appeal.

Erickson followed the model of talk show host Neal Boortz, who he would guest host for early in his radio career. Boortz, who also was Atlanta-based and had a national presence, would find ways to use hyper-local stories for a larger audience.

Even before expanding his radio footprint, Erickson was already seeing a national audience from his livestream.

Rush

“I learned almost everything I know about radio from Rush,” Erickson said of his mentor.  

Limbaugh took Erickson under his wings, as the two became friends. The legendary broadcaster would be a sounding board for Erickson, who could “send him an email at 3 o’clock in the morning and get a response.”

The bond would lead to fill-in opportunities on Limbaugh’s show.

But more important, Limbaugh pushed the lawyer to forge his own path in front of the microphone.

“I was not going to go into radio, but he told me he would never talk to me again if I didn’t do it,” Erickson recalls.

Rush was integral in an Erickson morning syndicated show, helping connect him to his agent.

“I would not have been doing what I’m doing, but for him,” Erickson said.

Limbaugh is missed within conservative circles, even as the Travis/Sexton tandem gets established. But Erickson knows the broadcasting heavyweight is not replaceable. In one conversation between them, Erickson confided that he would rather back up Limbaugh instead of hosting his own show.

He didn’t want to compete against the greatness of Limbaugh and feared that no one would listen to him.

“Don’t worry about it. Even if I’m dead you still won’t be as good as I am. So just be yourself,” he recalled Limbaugh’s remarks. “There’s something liberating about that.” 

Erickson has a good rapport with his audience, something else he learned from Limbaugh. As the next generation of conservative talkers deal with the fractured market share, finding an heir apparent to the “Excellence in Broadcasting” great, who died in February, would appear to be a daunting task.

“I would like to think that I could be doing what he did and not just make it about politics,” Erickson admitted. “But he was very unique. I think they broke the mold when they made him. If I could get close, I would be honored.

Erickson’s key to growth is staying true to himself. He cautions that those who want to become the next Limbaugh by doing a version of him will not make a lasting “impression” with listeners.

“Radio’s very relational, so you’ve got to be as honest about yourself and as authentic as possible,” he said.

Touching All Bases

Even before Erickson started his radio gig at WSB, the conservative evangelical was an influential figure in the GOP.  By 2016, he was named the most powerful conservative in America, according to Atlantic Magazine.

Erickson, who is in the seminary, has a knack for engaging listeners in debate and conversation, not anger and vitriol. But in this heavily politicalized climate, started with the Trump presidential campaign in 2015, not all opinions are welcome.

Erickson has been a harsh critic of Trump. Although he did support the one-term chief executive’s re-election bid, Erickson was not in bed with every move Trump made. Most dramatically, would come after the 2020 election where Trump fought baseless charges of fraud.

“I told my audience, ‘No, it wasn’t stolen. Here’s why.’” Erickson said.

That take did not sit well with many of his avid listeners, but it has also brought some liberals into the flock, who “hate listen because I get email from them all the time.”

Erickson, 46, is sure there are moderates tuning in as well.

He took another controversial stance with his recent comments about the COVID-19 anti-vaxxers, calling them “idiots” for believing the conspiracy theories after saying on his show that an unvaccinated relative died of the virus.

“I never want to be held hostage by my audience,” Erickson said.

Making those remarks won’t be popular with his base, and could even potentially hurt worse if advertisers dropped him. But Erickson said that big picture concerns no longer enter his mind. What’s vital is building trust with the audience.

In 2015, while running conservative blogger RedState.com, Erickson was holding an annual conference, inviting the entire list of Republicans vying for the White House, including Trump.

However, as this was right after Trump’s infamous comment about Megyn Kelly at a debate, Erickson disinvited the future 45th president.

“I did it because I thought it would be a distraction if he came. Little did I know he would make me a distraction. He came after me in every way, shape or form,” Erickson recalled. “A lot of people were calling my station demanding I be fired.”

As his listener base grew, Erickson had the confidence to announce he would not endorse Trump in 2016.

“I know people who didn’t support Trump in 2016 and are no longer in talk radio,” Erickson said. “My audience and I–we have a relationship.”

However, Erickson has dealt with his share of people crossing the line in a dangerous way.

“Oh gosh, I’ve had people show up at my front porch,” he said. “When I didn’t support the president in 2016, we had to have security at our house for several months. My kids got chased through a store, a guy yelling at them that I was destroying the country by not supporting Donald Trump.”

His children’s schools were switched because of bullying based on their father’s position.

“I get hate mail all the time,” Erickson said. “At this point, it comes with the territory.”

A hope for syndication expansion brings the financial resources to protect his family “with a lot of land and a big high wall around the house.”

But any ugliness from listeners is not a deterrent to doing the job. “If anything it motivates me to double down,” although Erickson doesn’t make light of the serious incidents.

“It was definitely scary. They’re alarming,” Erickson said.

The impact is felt even more by his children, who are “less likely to want to go with me to Atlanta.”

The Erickson family lives about an hour away from the city.  

The heightened sense of fear would come to a head for his children as they shopped in Atlanta’s Lenox Square. A woman approached Erickson screaming his name.

“Both of my kids, at the moment, thought they were going to be dead,” he remembered.

It turned out to be just a “superfan,” who wanted to have a photo with Erickson. The lady was nice, but “it alarmed my kids so [badly]. That was three, four years ago and my now 12-year-old still refuses to go back to that mall.” 

Conservative Competition

When it comes to checking the rivals, Erickson follows the Limbaugh mantra, not listening to other hosts, including those who would fill in for him. Limbaugh would give that tidbit in response to Erickson, who had been guest hosting for him.

With that in mind, Erickson never heard Buck Sexton and Clay Travis, who launched their midday show on June 21.

“I’m the only talk radio show that I listen to,” he said.

The only person that Erickson will listen to on occasion is Mark Levin, because “I find him deeply entertaining and I like the guy personally. It’s not meant to be disrespectful of anyone else. I just don’t want anyone else’s voice in my head when I’m trying to shape my own voice for my audience.”

Dana Loesch is also a viable option for the right-wing side of radio. Erickson, who knows Loesch and her husband well, holds her in high regard, but “we do different things.”

Overall, many hosts are trying to keep the Trump supporters intact or have a bombastic delivery, he said.

Erickson incorporates his legal and seminary training to bring the most complete package.

While he admits to getting “preachy” at times, his most effective approach is to put all the details on the table — “the facts that help me, the facts that hurt me,”– before giving his conservative take on any specific story.

“I don’t want to think for anybody else,” Erickson said.

Another commodity among the conservatives is Larry Elder, who took his celebrity to the recent recall efforts against California Governor Gavin Newsom. 

“I think that Larry Elder had as much right to be in that race as anyone else,” Erickson said.

However, once Elder became the face of the opposition, Erickson said, he was doomed.

“The moment it became a race between Newsom and Elder was the moment that it became the race that Newsom would win,” he said. 

TV or Not TV

Before his radio days even began, Erickson was approached about an opportunity to join CNN as a contributor. From 2010-2013, Erickson was a prominent conservative voice on the cable news network, thought by many to have more of liberal slant.

He sought the counsel of MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Limbaugh.

They felt he could get a Fox deal where he’d be safe and comfortable or take the CNN job in “enemy territory” where it would be more beneficial learning to deal with people you disagree with.

“It gave me a fun role at CNN where I could talk about Republicans as a conservative activist who really didn’t care for the Republican establishment,” Erickson said.

He followed that with a five-year stint at Fox News.

Rise in Radio

A career path in radio happened by accident for Erickson. In his hometown of Macon, Georgia, a morning show host was arrested in a drug raid. The local Cumulus station needed someone for the 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Erickson was already known for his CNN work and was a guest putting on his elections lawyer hat to discuss current events.

The host, embroiled in legal hot water, was fired. Erickson held on to the slot for three months. The positive feel for Erickson didn’t end there. As Erickson was told, Bob Neil, the former CEO of Cox Media, was driving his family to Disney World and heard Erickson’s show as they passed through Macon. Liking what he heard, Neil wanted to bring him into their broadcasting family.

“I had no experience in radio whatsoever,” Erickson said.

He declined a regular weekend show but was willing to fill in for Herman Cain. Shortly thereafter, with Cain running for president, Cox needed to replace him.

His hesitancy melted away with encouragement from Limbaugh, and Erickson never looked back as he polished his performance. 

In 2016, he had a health scare with blood clots in the lungs that nearly killed him. His wife has an incurable form of lung cancer.

“I try to live life and be as relatable with my listeners, maybe sometimes to my detriment,” he said. “[I’m] trying to just interact with my audience and make sure that they’re not alone.”

He recalls another piece of advice from his mentor Limbaugh: “Remember you’re not there to save the world; you’re there to keep people company.”

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BNM Writers

Bring Back the Art of Debate

In small doses and in the proper situation, it’s well worth your time to have your own ideas, along with the audience’s, challenged. 

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The last few weeks I’ve thought a lot about a quote I recently heard from Bill O’Reilly. I believe it was in a recent interview he appeared in with Glenn Beck, and O’Reilly was discussing his years as host of “The O’Reilly Factor”, the most-watched cable news show in the history of the medium. He was discussing how he went about booking his guests and said, and I paraphrase, “I tried to book the smartest people who could challenge me.” 

That’s one of the reasons that O’Reilly’s show was so successful. He did that on a nightly basis for over 20 years.

Unfortunately, that premise has gone by the wayside, in favor of echo chambers across the media landscape, including talk radio. 

But that doesn’t mean it can’t come back in some capacity and it doesn’t mean the host has to compromise their values. 

Each week on my morning show on KCMO Talk Radio, I interview Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas. Lucas is a Democrat, who has certainly angered lots of conservatives over the last 18 months on issues of COVID lockdowns, masks, and policing policy, just to name a few. One can debate how far left Lucas is on the “liberal spectrum”, but he will be the first to tell you he is a proud Democrat. 

Shortly after the pandemic began, I spoke with his office about doing a weekly hit to update the city on what was happening on the COVID front. The interview has continued ever since, every Thursday morning at 7:30, but has touched on any and every topic relevant to Kansas City.

And while every listener, plus Lucas himself, knows I have disagreed with much of his policies over the last 18 months, our conversations are challenging, but cordial, respectful, and informative for the audience.

However, like clockwork, after each weekly conversation, there will be a barrage of calls, texts, social media messages, and e-mails saying that I, as the host, “let him off the hook”, “am too soft”, and all the usual criticisms that come from a portion of the audience. These individuals insist they are done listening to our weekly conversations.

But you know what, something funny happens when I look at the KCMO Talk Radio streaming numbers each day or look at the ratings at the end of the month: Thursdays at 7:30 end up being one of our most-listened-to and highest-rated segments, by far. 

Then, when I go out in the real world, people tell me how much they appreciate the weekly conversations with the mayor, despite how much they may disagree with him. They think it’s important that our audience gets to hear from him, even if we aren’t his “based” constituency. 

To Lucas’ credit, he comes on my show, despite our differences. That’s a lost art for most politicians, left and right, who only want to go on media that is sympathetic to them and their beliefs. 

And then on the flip side, hosts on TV and radio have gone too far into the echo chamber, where they don’t want to hear from those who disagree with them. They also believe that the small portion of the audience that “wants blood” (theoretically speaking, of course) from their opponents, are the majority of the audience.

My research shows that’s not the case. And to reiterate, none of this requires a host to compromise their beliefs or become “squishy” on their opinions.

Granted, I wouldn’t spend hour after hour with guests who are disagreeable or don’t align with the audience, but the right guest in the right spot has real potential to create an excellent conversation and really good radio. 

There’s no doubt it’s harder than ever to book these guests, based on the aforementioned reasons, but in small doses and in the proper situation, it’s well worth your time to have your own ideas, along with the audience’s, challenged. 

And while hearts and minds are unlikely to change given the divisive climate we find ourselves in, you created a moment that connected with the listener, either good or bad, that will be memorable to them and keep them coming back for more. The loud-mouth haters be damned. 

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BNM Writers

FOX News Remains Go To Network For Noteworthy Events

“Fox News’ special “A Gabby Petito Investigation with Nancy Grace” drew 1.78 million.”

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Several noteworthy news events occurred during the week ending September 19, most of which Fox News Channel was the leading cable news outlet in its coverage viewership.

On Sep. 13, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was the first Biden administration official to testify publicly to lawmakers since the Islamist militant group, the Taliban, took over Afghanistan. His appearance before the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee   was tabulated only for MSNBC by Nielsen Media Research, to a delivery of 542,000 total viewers (from 2:16-4:00 p.m. ET). On the following day (Sep. 14), Blinken’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee aired on both Fox News and MSNBC. Fox News was the clear victor, more than doubling MSNBC in total viewers (1.576 million vs. 0.648 million) and nearly quadrupled in the key 25-54 demo (257,000 vs. 66,000).

The California gubernatorial recall election on Sep. 14 that resulted in Gavin Newsom remaining as governor was extensively covered for four hours on CNN: 

10-11 p.m. ET: 1.049 million total viewers; 309,000 adults 25-54

11 p.m.-midnight ET: 1.013 million total viewers; 344,000 adults 25-54

midnight-1 a.m. ET: 0.846 million total viewers; 283,000 adults 25-54

1-2 a.m. ET: 0.575 million total viewers; 185,000 adults 25-54

Fox News covered the election results only in the 11 p.m.-midnight hour, averaging 2.05 million total viewers and 411,000 adults 25-54 — no doubt, assisted by its highly-watched prime time lead-in.

MSNBC spent only 26 minutes of live coverage in late night, resulting in 659,000 total viewers and 93,000 adults 25-54 (from 1-1:26 a.m. ET). 

MSNBC was the lone cable news outlet to air testimony by American female gymnasts before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the morning of Sep. 15. Gold medalist athletes Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, and Aly Raisman relayed to lawmakers how the FBI and U.S. gymnastic and Olympic officials failed to stop the sexual abuse that they, along with hundreds of other athletes,suffered from former doctor Larry Nassar. From 10:43 a.m. to 12:06 p.m. ET, MSNBC averaged 753,000 viewers and 62,000 in the key 25-54 demo; the gymnasts’ press conference from 2:10-2:30 p.m. (also on MSNBC) drew 813,000 viewers and 95,000 adults 25-54.

On Sep. 18, Fox News covered SpaceX’s return of its Crew Dragon spacecraft from orbit, with the capsule carrying the four members of the Inspiration4 mission back to Earth after three days in space. It was the furthest humans had traveled above the surface in several years. The capsule Resilience splashed down off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida in the Atlantic Ocean. From 7-8 p.m. ET, Fox News posted 1.155 million total viewers and 141,000 adults 25-54. SpaceX is owned by Elon Musk.  

Lastly, on Sep. 19 at 10 p.m. ET, Fox News’ special “A Gabby Petito Investigation with Nancy Grace” delivered the highest-rated cable news show in the 25-54 demo of the entire weekend with 317,000 viewers. In total viewers, the live special drew 1.78 million.

Here are the cable news averages for September 13-19, 2021.

Total Day (September 13-19 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.483 million viewers; 238,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.767 million viewers; 86,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.587 million viewers; 125,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.194 million viewers; 60,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.140 million viewers; 34,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.137 million viewers; 27,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.135 million viewers; 18,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.084 million viewers; 11,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (September 13-18 @ 8-11 p.m.; September 19 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 2.659 million viewers; 417,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 1.375 million viewers; 156,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.799 million viewers; 177,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.206 million viewers; 63,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.203 million viewers; 65,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.163 million viewers; 25,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.151 million viewers; 29,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.046 million viewers; 6,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top MSNBC and CNN programs with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 9/14/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.776 million viewers

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 9/15/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.574 million viewers

3. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 9/14/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.528 million viewers

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 9/13/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.343 million viewers

5. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 9/14/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.294 million viewers

6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 9/16/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.274 million viewers

7. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 9/15/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.202 million viewers

8. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 9/16/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.171 million viewers

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 9/17/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.151 million viewers

10. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 9/13/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.121 million viewers

17. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Tue. 9/14/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.611 million viewers

127. Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN, Wed. 9/15/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.209 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top  CNN and MSNBC programs with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 9/14/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.629 million adults 25-54

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 9/15/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.621 million adults 25-54

3. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 9/15/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.568 million adults 25-54

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 9/16/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.544 million adults 25-54

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 9/13/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.542 million adults 25-54

6. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 9/14/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.538 million adults 25-54

7. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 9/16/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.514 million adults 25-54

8. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 9/17/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.510 million adults 25-54

9. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 9/14/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.491 million adults 25-54

10. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 9/15/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.479 million adults 25-54

29. CNN Special Coverage “California Governor Recall Election” (CNN, Tue. 9/14/2021 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.344 million adults 25-54

36. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Tue. 9/14/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.315 million adults 25-54

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

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BNM Writers

Pivoting to News/Talk Was A Natural Move For Steve Malzberg

“Censorship from management is something that you just need to put up with. If you don’t like it, you can leave.”

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RT America host Steve Malzberg’s accomplished career began in sports but deep down he always had a passion for politics. Even before right-wing commentators were accusing the woke sports media of pandering to a specific base, Malzberg saw the hypocrisy in some of the day-to-day coverage.

The liberal bent fueled Malzberg’s creativity and desire to be different. Topics like race in sports often gave him fodder for his nightly shows in New York City. Years of railing against liberal opponents eventually made switching to news/talk full-time, seamless.

Malzberg’s unique skill set has translated well in both radio and television. Following a lengthy run at iconic WABC Radio, he was hired at WOR Radio and was eventually replaced by New York’s former governor David Patterson.

In 2013, he was hired by Newsmax TV to host the Steve Malzberg Show. Last year, he inked a deal with RT America to host a media commentary show. Now, very content and with plenty of creative freedom, Malzberg offers his expertise on media bias to millions of people. Malzberg recently sat down with Barrett News Media to discuss his path to success, his job at RT America, and how the death of Rush Limbaugh rocked conservative media to its core.

Ryan Hedrick: How did your career start?

Steve Malzberg: I started in sportsfor the first ten years or so of my career. I hosted the New York Yankees pre and post-game shows for a year, Jets pre and post-game shows for four years, Devils pre and post-game shows for a year. I had the honor of going to Super Bowls, Stanley Cups Finals and everything else you could imagine.

RH: Was the news/talk format one you envisioned moving into?

SM: I always had politics in me. My career took a different turn the night OJ Simpson was driving around in a Bronco. That event led to me switching. I was supposed to cover the Knicks who were playing the Houston Rockets at Madison Square Garden in the NBA Finals.

My program director asked me to stay around, come on after the game and cover the OJ story. He invited me to come on the very next day and provide live coverage of the OJ saga and after that I started filling in for other hosts doing political talk and more in the realm of current news events.

RH: One of the biggest challenges for transitioning from sports talk to news/talk is finding your voice. Did that come naturally to you?

SM: Yes. I used to love covering Jesse Jackson when I was doing sports. He would protest that athletics needed more Black coaches. I remember Filip Bondy and Harvey Araton wrote a book on the NBA. One of the themes was how hard and how terrible it must be to be a Black NBA player and deal with white public relations people, that irked me.

RH: You were the first-ever host of Newsmax TV. Are you still a viewer of the network? If so, what are your thoughts on how it’s developed?

SM: I am not going to say anything bad about my former place of employment. Chris Ruddy who runs Newsmax TV was always very hands-on. I am sure he’s just as hands-on now. I know after I left, they brought in a lot of people with hard news experience. I think they have a great mix of talent there, but I can’t say that I watch so I don’t have much to say about the programming.

RH: You’re currently hosting for RT America. What role do you believe you and your network are playing in educating conservative news media moderates push back against cancel culture?

SM: On RT America I host Eat the Press which is kind of a play on Meet the Press, but it’s not aimed at the show by any stretch of the imagination. What we do is really devour the press and their bias. I have the freedom to present examples of media bias every week and I think I do my part of trying to hold the media accountable.

I also have wonderful A-list guests who continue to come on with me. Great conservative Hollywood people join the show such as Robert Davi, Kevin Sorbo, and Maria Conchita Alonso. They buck the trend in Hollywood.

Conservative media is doing a great job getting the word out there. Shows like Fox & Friends are blowing away CNN and MSNBC in the ratings. However, the media is still dominated by the left, and with the advent of social media and the ability and willingness of Big Tech to cooperate with the government and in some instances ban conservatives, we have an uphill fight!

RH: What role do you feel social media plays in helping conservatives get their truth out?

SM: Social media is where it’s at. If we are limited then we are losing. We can’t put doubts about the vaccine or questions about a third shot or any topic without the liberals at Facebook and Google monitoring us and taking us down.

RH: As a host with strong opinions, are you ever concerned about being censored or canceled?

SM: Censorship has existed in one form or another in broadcasting throughout my career. I could go back to any of the stations or networks I have ever worked at and tell you that I’ve been told what not to say, not so much what to say.

Censorship from management is something that you just need to put up with. If you don’t like it, you can leave. I always found that my censorship was carried out in my passion or support of Israel. At RT America, we have a meeting. I come up with the guests and ideas and book the guests and there’s only been one disagreement with a guest. I have never been told what to say or how to say something.

RH: What type of impact do you feel the death of Rush Limbaugh has had on conservative media as a whole?

SM: I was fortunate enough to know Rush and be there when he arrived at WABC in 1988. I knew Rush for many, many years. Limbaugh is irreplaceable. His death set conservative media back. No offense to the people that have taken over for Rush, but I don’t listen. It’s not the same and it’s not appointment radio. I just don’t see how you fill the loss.

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