Salem Media is shuffling the lineup at its syndicated Conservative Talk network by moving Hugh Hewitt from evenings to the 6-9am eastern morning drive timeslot currently held by Bill Bennett’s “Morning In America”.
Bennett’s final morning show will be on Friday, April 1 before he shifts to a new role as Senior Correspondent for the company where he will host a daily “Making America Work” segment, which will also be produced as a one-hour weekend special. Hewitt, who has seen his star rise this year as co-moderator on Republican debates co-produced by Salem and CNN, will take the morning slot on Monday, April 4. Hewitt will relocate to Washington DC from California when he takes over in mornings.
Salem states that a new 6-9pm host will be named shortly.
Salem Media Group (NASDAQ: SALM), announced today that Bill Bennett will step back from the microphone in hosting “Bill Bennett’s Morning in America” program starting Monday, April 4th. Bill will maintain his presence in the morning by shifting to Senior Correspondent, producing a daily “Making America Work” series, where he will interview some of America’s most successful business owners and entrepreneurs. That series will also become a one hour weekend special available to affiliates of the Salem Radio Network (“SRN”). Bill will also contribute to Salem’s other talk shows across the board as an expert analyst.
SRN simultaneously announced that Hugh Hewitt will move from his current 6pm-9pm ET time slot to the morning slot of 6am-9am ET vacated by Bennett. A replacement for Mr. Hewitt will be announced soon by SRN.
“Keeping Bill in the Salem family, doing what he loves to do, was very important to us and we have found the perfect opportunity,” said Salem Senior VP Phil Boyce. “Bill will be a huge contributor to the morning show going forward, and has already lined up some amazing interviews that will continue his legacy,” said Phil Boyce. Dr. Bennett is the only talk show host in America to be confirmed twice by congress as a cabinet member, first as Education Secretary and then as Drug Czar in the Reagan administration.
“I have greatly enjoyed and learned much in my eleven years as host of ‘Morning in America.’ Engaging in an illuminating and entertaining conversation with the American people has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding episodes of my career,” said Dr. Bennett. “I now look forward to another phase of work with the Salem Radio Network. The seminars and in-depth discussions in our new ‘Making America Work’ series that we are planning for 2016 and beyond will write a new chapter in radio. I simply want to express my gratitude to Salem for its continued confidence in me and to my audience – the greatest radio audience in America – for its loyalty and its candor, intelligence, and goodwill,” said Dr. Bennett.
Salem Media Group CEO Edward Atsinger praised Dr. Bennett’s years of service to Salem, “When Bill Bennett joined Salem Radio Network eleven years ago it marked a turning point for the network. Bill brought to the microphone, and the network, all of the gravitas and credibility of his notable accomplishments as an educator, a cabinet member, a serious best-selling author, and so much more. As he transitions to his new role as Senior Correspondent introducing the ‘Making America Work’ series I am confident it will mark another important milestone in the expansion and impact of Salem Radio Network,” said Mr. Atsinger.
Hugh Hewitt currently airs nationwide on 343 stations and will take his program to mornings beginning April 4th, and will move to Washington, DC to do the show inside the beltway.
Mr. Hewitt’s radio career has taken off in the last year with a new found love for breaking news and what to think about it. He was given an opportunity to expose his great knowledge and talents to the country when he was selected as a panelist on the CNN presidential debates. He has already conducted more interviews with the presidential candidates than any other host, and has become the “go to” show for this campaign.
“In 25 years of broadcasting on television and radio I have never been as excited as by this opportunity to build on the enormous platform Bill Bennett has constructed,” said Hugh. “It is already a show for influencers across the country, and I plan to maintain that influence, making this a ‘must listen’ for every mover and shaker in America, from a stay at home mom or dad to CEOs and government leaders,” said Mr. Hewitt.
Hugh will also ride the presidential horse race all the way to the finish line in November. His next assignment with CNN is to help with the GOP debates February 25th and March 10th that will be broadcast nationwide on the SRN, and CNN. Hugh calls this “the most consequential presidential election in my lifetime.”
“Hugh is uniquely equipped to carry on the legacy established by Bill Bennett with ‘Morning in America’,” said CEO Edward Atsinger. “Hugh’s talent has long been recognized by his colleagues at Salem but now that talent is being much more broadly appreciated by the journalistic community in general. With Dr. Bennett’s continuing role as Senior Correspondent we believe that this morning show will continue to evolve as the most significant morning show focused on public policy and politics,” said Mr. Atsinger.
“There aren’t many commentators or political analysts that have a better grasp of the ever-changing political landscape in America than Hugh Hewitt. Relocating Hugh to the nation’s capital with the morning show is a perfect fit,” Edward Atsinger concluded.
Hugh’s first morning broadcast will be Monday, April 4th. Soon SRN will announce a star performer who will join the lineup replacing Hugh in the all-important 6pm-9pm ET day part.