Philadelphia radio talker Michael Smerconish, a life-long Republican, swears he’s not using his Obama endorsement today to land a fulltime spot on increasingly liberal MSNBC.
Smerconish, an MSNBC regular, shares the lineup at WPHT-AM with staunch conservatives Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.
Though Smerconish denies he’s in their category, his Barack Obama announcement immediately triggered more than 400 vitriolic emails from listeners — a personal record.
“Some were awfully nasty,” says the best-selling author of Muzzled: From T-Ball to Terrorism. “Many said they would never listen to me again. The passion in this election is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been around for a while.”
Smerconish’s radio contract expires Dec. 31. Buzz says he won’t re-sign unless the station takes him national. His exclusive deal with MSNBC is up in the spring. He appears three times a week, on Chris Matthews‘ “Hardball” and on David Gregory‘s “Race to the White House.”
Backing Obama will not win him points with either employer, Smerconish insists.
As a precaution, however, he gave a heads-up to his radio boss about the endorsement and he responded with a supportive email, Smerconish says.
Still, in the radio industry “listeners are surrounded by people who work them into a lather all day. I’m in a business where ideologues get rewarded. You tow the party line, and in talk radio the party line is very conservative.”
By the same token, he says he didn’t do himself any favors at MSNBC, either. (Not that there are any prime-time openings there.)
“I’ll never be Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann. Those aren’t my politics. In the cable world, those who succeed are very doctrinaire in their views, with some exceptions.”