- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Washington Times’ nationally syndicated radio show featuring Melanie Morgan and John McCaslin now has a home on the dial locally.

The investigative reporting show, along with hourly radio newscasts from The Times, debuted Monday on WTNT 570 AM and will air each weekday between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m.

The two-week-old show is airing from coast to coast and has generated some attention already. Two weeks ago, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, told the show that she will refuse to fill out a complete census form in 2010. On Monday, former Vice President Dick Cheney said he was concerned about U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq cities this week.

“This is a natural. Here we are in D.C., backed by the resources of The Washington Times — this broadcast allows listeners to hear in real time what the newsroom is working on. That’s unique and tremendous for the radio consumer,” said Bruce Gilbert, chief executive officer of Red Zebra Broadcasting, which owns and operates six radio stations in the region, including WTNT, WWRC and WTEM.

“It’s a good partnership — and the best is yet to come. We want to reflect the intellect of the Washington listener, and help educate them in the process,” Mr. Gilbert added.

Times Executive Editor John Solomon said the newspaper was excited by the partnership with WTNT.

“It’s a prestigious set of call letters inside the nation’s capital, and it has innovative leaders with great ideas about how to develop the next compelling era of talk radio,” Mr. Solomon said. “From our end, I know John and Melanie will continue to deliver on the promise of creating a radio show that makes and breaks the news each day, just like what happened Monday with our interview with the former vice president.”

“America’s Morning News” is syndicated by Talk Radio Network, which include Laura Ingraham and Michael Savage as part of its high-profile stable of talent. The programming includes a strong focus on Times investigations and exclusives on a daily basis. Breaking news, political features and the insight of such regular commentators as Monica Crowley, Andrew Breitbart, Lanny Davis and others are also part of the lineup. Times reporters and editors are frequent guests offering details of daily stories — and tantalizing hints about works in progress.

“The average talk-radio show relies solely on the opinions of host and producer. This show is unique. The backing of the full journalistic resources of a major daily newspaper brings a level of depth and credibility that before long could be the envy of the business,” said Michael Harrison, founder of Talkers Magazine, a radio industry trade publication.

“In many ways, this programming is setting the bar higher — it could be an inspiration and a role model for other newspapers to make full use of their resources in radio,” Mr. Harrison said.

A Talkers Magazine analysis of the talk-radio audience released in 2008 found that 57 percent are male, 43 percent female. Almost three-fourths are between the ages of 35 and 64. Forty percent of the audience is conservative, 22 percent are moderate, and 29 percent call themselves “fiscal or social” liberals.

In the political spectrum, the majority — 52 percent — described themselves as independent. Twenty-seven percent are Republican, 16 percent are Democrat, and 2 percent Libertarian.

“The show is an important outlet at a critical juncture in America and at a time when trillions of dollars are being spent by this administration with no accountability. I’m talking to people in the Defense Department and other government agencies; I’m hearing horror stories.” said Mrs. Morgan, who spent 33 years as an award-winning broadcast journalist, primarily for ABC television and radio.

“We intend to speak to our listeners honestly. The program isn’t meant for political insiders alone. The show is meant to help people around the nation understand the machinations that go on inside the Beltway,” Mrs. Morgan said.

Mr. McCaslin, also a veteran journalist, award-winner and co-host who wrote the syndicated “Inside the Beltway” column for more than two decades, draws upon his own agility in the political landscape.

“There are few shows of this caliber and makeup broadcast right from Washington. So much of what we report is politically driven, from movers and shakers I have known personally and written about for a quarter century. That perspective — the sense of history is vital — because it means our listeners will be exposed to things they have never heard before,” Mr. McCaslin said.

“We’ve got intrigue, but we’re also offering something else. This show is not all negativity. We’re upbeat, and we’re taking a close look at the future,” he added.

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