SRN's Bill Bennett to Step Back from Morning Microphone, Hugh Hewitt Moves to Mornings

08 Feb, 2016, 12:00 ET from Salem Media Group

CAMARILLO, Calif., Feb. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- 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.  

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ABOUT SALEM MEDIA GROUP:

Salem Media Group is America's leading Christian and conservative multi-media corporation, with media properties comprising radio, digital media and book, magazine and newsletter publishing.  Each day Salem serves a loyal and dedicated audience of listeners and readers numbering in the millions nationally.  With its unique programming focus, Salem provides compelling content, fresh commentary and relevant information from some of the most respected figures across the media landscape.

The company, through its Salem Radio Group, is the largest commercial U.S. radio broadcasting company providing Christian and conservative programming.  Salem owns and operates 116 local radio stations, with 71 stations in the top 25 media markets.  Salem Radio Network ("SRN") is a full-service national radio network, with nationally syndicated programs comprising Christian teaching and talk, conservative talk, news, and music.  SRN is home to many industry-leading hosts including: Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager and Eric Metaxas.

Salem New Media is a powerful source of Christian and conservative themed news, analysis, and commentary.  Salem's Christian sites include: Christianity.com®, BibleStudyTools.com, GodTube.com, GodVine.com, WorshipHouseMedia.com and OnePlace.com. Considered by many to be a consolidation of the conservative news and opinion sector's most influential brands, Salem's conservative sites include RedState.com, Townhall.com®, HotAir.com, Twitchy.com, BearingArms.com and HumanEvents.com.

Salem's Regnery Publishing unit, with a 65-year history, remains the nation's leading publisher of conservative books.  Having published many of the seminal works of the early conservative movement, Regnery today continues as the dominant publisher in the conservative space, with leading authors including: Ann Coulter, Dinesh D'Souza, Newt Gingrich, David Limbaugh, Ed Klein and Mark Steyn.  Salem's book publishing business also includes Xulon Press™, a leading provider of self-publishing services for Christian and conservative authors.

Salem Publishing™ publishes Christian and conservative magazines including Homecoming®, YouthWorker Journal™, The Singing News, and Preaching.

Salem's Eagle Financial Publications provides market analysis and specific investment advice for individual investors from financial commentators Mark Skousen, Nicholas Vardy, Chris Versace, Doug Fabian and Bryan Perry, as well as a stock screening website for dividend investors (DividendInvestor.com). The business unit's other financial websites include EagleDailyInvestor.com and ETFU.com. 

Eagle Wellness provides insightful health advice and is a trusted source of high quality nutritional supplements from some of the country's leading health experts.  Leigh Erin Connealy MD, at NewportNaturalHealth.com, is the medical director of one of the largest medical practices in the country where she practices integrative medicine. Ski Chilton PhD, at GeneSmart.com, is a scientist and full professor at Wake Forest Medical School. He is a leading authority on the impact of diet and nutrition on health.

Company Contact: Evan D. Masyr Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer                                        (805) 384-4512 evan@SalemMedia.com

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SOURCE Salem Media Group



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