I spoke briefly this morning with the new WGST morning host Michael Smerconish for the first time. The syndicated host out of Philadelphia was riding the high of interviewing Pres. Barack Obama for 30 minutes yesterday.
“It was a huge coup for me,” he said. “I was thrilled.”
GST just added Smerconish a few weeks ago, replacing local man Randy Cook.
The man sounds philosophically like Neal Boortz. (Smerconish admitted not knowing much about Boortz.) He’s pretty liberal (or Libertarian) on social issues. He has nothing against gay marriage or legalization of pot. But he’s a hawk on foreign issues including terrorism and is pro death penalty.
Is that enough to give him an edge in the mornings? It’s tough given how few people are now listening to GST pre-Glenn Beck and how little marketing GST will likely set aside for Smerconish. And much of the talk-radio audience in the South is socially conservative as well (which is why Boortz seldom talks about social issues.)
And unlike Boortz, Smerconish did go against conservative doctrine last year by endorsing Obama. Given his popularity in Philadelphia, his thoughts likely had some influence in that swing state. And that’s probably why he got the interview yesterday with the president.
“They know I’m not going to shout him down and call him a Socialist,” Smerconish said. “It’s not the type of program I run. It has never been.”
Smerconish said to me that he finds Obama very likable, though he knows many of his fans don’t agree.
“I’m a person who has decided opinions,” he said. “But I’m very hard to categorize. I don’t fit into any box. My politics are not talking points. I’m not an ideologue.” He is disappointed in the way the Republican party has gone, especially on said social issues.
He said his radio mentor isn’t the Rush Limbaughs of the world. Rather, it’s the sardonic Larry David, creator of “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
Off camera, he joked with Obama about whether he had read the Book of Secrets in the film “National Treasure 2.” “I would tell you, but I’d have to kill you,” Obama joked.
He also was happy to have Mike Vick join the Eagles. This gives him another Atlanta-Philly connection to work with. But of course, he has to stick with the Eagles and Phillies over the Falcons and Braves. (”I’m a Phillies season ticket holder’).
Hometown connections are hometown connections!
He does plan to visit Atlanta next month.