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Radio’s Smerconish jumping to satellite

March 6, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Smerconish is jumping from traditional talk radio to satellite, saying the media form he has loved essentially left him.

The Philadelphia-based radio talk show host is syndicated in more than 80 markets nationally. Smerconish said Wednesday he will move his three-hour program to SiriusXM on April 15, airing weekdays at 9 a.m. ET with a repeat at 6 p.m. ET.

Smerconish changed his voter registration from Republican to independent three years ago, and believes the rigid ideology of many hosts is a dead end for radio. He’s been gaining in popularity, moving to No. 9 on Talkers magazine’s list of the “Heavy Hundred” political talk hosts from No. 19 last year.

“It gives me the opportunity to move away from an environment that, quite frankly, is not conducive to the type of program I’m offering,” he said. “I don’t do ideologically-driven talk, I do content-driven talk. I’m not on the air to carry anybody’s water on a day-to-day basis.”

Most of the conservative talk show hosts bash President Barack Obama for four hours a day, whether the president deserves it or not, Smerconish said.

Talk radio is a place where incivility is the norm, and program directors haven’t responded to his warning that their audiences are getting “too white, too male, too angry and too old” to promote future growth. He said he believes that talk radio contributes to gridlock in Washington.

Smerconish, who also appears on MSNBC, said independents are the fastest-growing segment of the population and rarely hear their views reflected on the radio.

“The only people that I meet for whom the issues are hard left or hard right, the only people who see the world through ideological glasses, are those who have a microphone in front of them,” he said.

Still, the desire to do a show where the opinions aren’t predictable puts Smerconish at a disadvantage on terrestrial radio, said Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers.

“Although he really is a conservative, he has broken away from the mold and is truly independent,” Harrison said. “He’s not afraid to judge issues on an issue-by-issue basis. He’s one of the few conservative hosts, if any, that Barack Obama has granted interviews to.”

SiriusXM currently has 24 million subscribers. Smerconish’s show will appear on the service’s P.O.T.U.S. political channel.

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