ABC Radio Networks launches “The Joe Scarborough Show”


A day after confirmation the show will debut on WABC-AM NY, ABC Radio Networks announced with will syndicate Joe Scarborough, the former U.S. Congressman and current host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe. The Joe Scarborough Show (10AM-Noon) will offer listeners thought-provoking commentary on the day’s leading issues and will feature many of the same A-list guests as the TV show. RBR spoke to Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski about taking their brand to radio:

Tell us about the show—what should stations know that are considering carrying it?
Scarborough: Our show on MSNBC–the little tagline is (and I think we’re doing it for radio too) is “Morning Joe is where America’s leaders start their day.”  We obviously get the biggest newsmakers and they come on.  They know that they’re in sort of a free fire zone.  It’s in a safe house where people can come and give their opinions and not be shot down. We’ve been able to have great success in the morning and created a show format that’s revolutionizing morning television and we wanted to do the same thing with radio.  Obviously I’m a conservative guy, some people consider Mika progressive. She says she’s independent and we’ll take her at her word.  We believe that what makes the TV show work is that we don’t play TV.  We don’t read talking points. We don’t read a teleprompter. We’re just ourselves.  We’re going to do the same thing on the radio show and we believe that it’s going to be a success.  Just like we don’t play TV when we’re doing the news on TV, we’re not going to play radio either.  We’re going to take this show in a different direction from a lot of radio shows out there right now.

How do you plan to juggle being in two different mediums per day?  What’s your daily routine looking like now?
Brzezinski: Well what we’ve found so far is that it probably will be pretty seamless and great for the radio show.  What we found today by the time we got here (and we got here about ten minutes before the show started because we were caught in traffic) we’re all warmed up.  The issues that we’ve been talking about all morning, we are primed on them and we always feel like when we get off our morning show that we haven’t had enough time.  I’m not sure what that says about us but we really do love to take things to the next level in terms of looking at every angle of an issue.  The Big 3 bailout for example, we’re fighting over that we just continued on the radio.  So I think it will be pretty seamless and when there is big news you’ll probably hear us and see us.
Scarborough: You know Mika starts preparing for the TV show at 4:30 in the morning.  We’re on from 6 to 9 so by the time we get to TV we’ve been reading, studying, taking it all in, debating it, having a lot of fun talking about it for five hours.  So then when we get here, we’re going to be able to kick back.  We’re not going to have a lot of lights on us.  We’re not going to have makeup people coming in.  We’re not going to have a thousand people on set, we’re going to be able to sit there in front of microphones and really speak our minds and have a great time and we’re very excited.

Do you plan on sending the TV audience over to the radio show on a regular basis?
Scarborough: Oh, no doubt about it.  That’s what’s exciting–the fact that it’s great that we’re here with WABC, but also we’ve got ABC Radio Networks that has such a vast reach all over the country we’re going to be able to say at 9 AM Eastern “Stick around–in an hour turn on the radio we’re going to continue this conversation and you’re going to be able to call in and ask us the questions that you can’t talk back to TV. You can talk back to us though in one hour and for a couple of hours it’s going to be very exciting.”
Brzezinski: I really look forward to taking calls.

Tell us a little bit about some of the guests that you might have lined up already.
Brzezinski: This week we’re having our marquee NBC players.  Like today with Brokaw and David Gregory since they are passing the torch on Meet the Press we thought it would be pretty appropriate to have them on the show.  But it really depends on what’s going on in the news.  If the Big 3 start becoming a major issue this week we’ll be going after the CEOs or the CFOs. We’ll go for the big players but we’ll also get the big thinkers.
Scarborough: We’ve been very lucky since we started the show.  Because political leaders do understand that our show is different than any other show on TV that they have like a safe house to come in where they’re not going to be attacked, they’re not going to be shouted down.  Nobody is allowed to read talking points.  We have a conversation.  We had Hillary Clinton when Hillary Clinton wasn’t talking to anybody in the spring of 2007.  We had Barack Obama on several times. All the presidential candidates came on. 
Brzezinski: Also if news is made on our morning show we may play the sound bite where news is made and then get more people to talk about it so we can generate upon the news that we’ve created on the morning show and build upon it for the radio show.  Then, of course, opinion writers Tom Friedman, authors, I mean anybody who’s got something important and valid to say we’ll have them on.

It sounds like you are going to do a little bit of brainstorming and problem solving with some of your guests. 
: I think so and you know we’ll challenge people, we’ll ask people to expand upon things that they’ve written for major newspapers and we’ll try and help each other understand exactly what’s going on out there and in turn help the viewers.  Then we’d like people to call in and take part in the conversation.
Scarborough: These are challenging times and I think we’re going to have a great opportunity to bring the leaders in Washington and New York and other places across America to bring those people to listeners’ hometowns.  They can have the conversation with America’s leaders.  I wish we’d had this radio show a year ago so they could be talking to Barack Obama, but they’re going to get that chance again.  We will get not only we believe Obama but Obama’s team, Republican leaders and everybody else that matters on our TV show. We will pull them over to radio.  So I think there’s going to be a great opportunity for Americans to connect with the people that run the country.

Anything else that you’d would like to say?
Scarborough: We’re very excited at the opportunity.  We think the stars have lined up for us.  We had a lot of offers to do radio over the past six months and when we found out that Citadel with ABC Radio Networks and WABC were all lined up for a possibility that was just an offer that was too good to resist.  So we’re very excited about the future here.

–Carl Marcucci