MSNBC's Joe Scarborough Takes New WABC/ NYC Radio Talk Show
Joe's Personal Economic Stimulus Plan Has Internal Critics
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Ever since Rush Limbaugh's massive mega-contract renewal deal was announced earlier this year, envious cable talkers have wondered how they too could grab a piece of the radio pie.
And while they may be clueless about what it takes to succeed in this competitive medium, that hasn't stopped TV hosts from trying anyway. Worse, in order to pad their salaries, some are willing to sell out their beliefs to fit the other venue.
Topping that list is MSNBC morning host Joe Scarborough, who according to a source inside the NBC-owned network, will begin a new radio talk show on New York's WABC radio as soon as Monday.
Morning Joe will apparently get the 10am to noon slot to host a local program, but that will most likely later turn into a syndicated show heard from 9am to noon.
With a previous syndicated program, Scarborough has tried talk radio in the past, but failed miserably. Then, he played a conservative, but on MSNBC, he's steadily moved leftward.
This past Radio Equalizer post has a round-up of links to Scarborough's numerous past flaps, including the infamous Arnold hoax (which to this day remains one of this site's most popular posts of all time).
In July of this year, Joe did a series of late night, unannounced tryouts with liberal co-host Mika Brzezinski. Clearly, that was in preparation for this new program. A source indicates that Mika might be part of the new WABC show, or he could potentially be paired with someone else down the road.
But within MSNBC, there is said to be a great deal of concern with Scarborough's move. Why? According to a network source, NBC has spent a great deal of time and money shifting Scarborough leftward, but at WABC, it is recognized that his only real chance for success would be to follow the station's right-leaning philosophy.
So how could Scarborough play a liberal on TV and be conservative on the radio? Could he really show two political faces and maintain what little credibility he retains with the audience?
"The only way to get ratings is to move to the right on the radio, though it will be fun to watch him try to juggle the two positions, he just can't be himself," said one industry observer.
For WABC, it's even riskier: Scarborough is a proven failure at radio and now, making matters far worse, he has a solidly liberal reputation. With a conservative lineup, the station has generated huge ratings. If Joe chases away its mid-morning audience, the outlet could be badly damaged.
Given Citadel - ABC Radio's precarious financial situation (it may be close to bankruptcy and currently trades for 17 cents a share on the NYSE), they can't afford even the slightest misstep.
Beyond that, one wonders what Citadel would see in Scarborough, given his dodgy reputation and likely fatigue coming off of the TV show each morning.
In his quest to attain Limbaugh-like status, Joe Scarborough seems willing to do just about anything. But how can potential fans bond with someone who comes across as such a phony?
UPDATE: TVNewser now has its own version of the story, featuring Scarborough making some truly peculiar, if not downright inaccurate comments. There's no mention of Citadel's precarious financial situation, tensions behind the scenes at MSNBC over this move, or Scarborough's track record of failure in radio:
Scarborough says, "We've talked to Citadel [which owns WABC-AM], and several other networks."
But Scarborough is clear — WABC, is where he wants to be. "If we had our druthers we'd sign with Citadel, only because they launched Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, all the most successful talk shows in the country," he says. "As I explained to Mika, there are two types of radio shows, those that have clearance on WABC, and those that don't have clearance on WABC. It is just a radio station like the New York Times is just a newspaper," he says facetiously.
TVNewser says the Scarborough radio show would likely begin in January, but we're hearing the slot needs to be filled much sooner than that.
And why in the world is Joe claiming Citadel is responsible for launching Rush and Hannity?
FOR New England regional talk radio updates, see our other site.
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