ABC Radio Networks has signed former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee to its roster of news/talk talent. “The Huckabee Report” will be broadcast weekday mornings and afternoons and provide listeners with the top news stories of the day while also drawing on Huckabee’s experiences as a former governor and presidential candidate. The short form news features will launch on Jan. 5.
Huckabee has authored six books including the recently released Do The Right Thing, which chronicles his campaign for the presidency and his views on the need for vertical politics in America. He is also the host of Huckabee on Fox News Channel.
“My first job at the age of 14 was reading the early morning news, sports, weather and even commercials at our local radio station, so in a sense, this is an opportunity for me to return to my roots,” said Huckabee. “I worked my way through high school and college in radio and loved every minute of it. The team at ABC Radio Networks has a stellar reputation for syndicating news programming and I’m pleased that I’ll be partnering with them as I reach out to Americans across the airwaves.”
RBR spoke to Huckabee yesterday:
Congratulations, it looks like you’re adding an old career back to your day.
Well I’m hoping to get it right this time you know. When I was a kid and started out they told me as the old saying goes I had a great face for radio and I lost that so they’re going to give me another shot here. I’m very excited about it Carl it’s going to be a lot of fun.
What will be unique about your daily vignettes?
The key thing is we’re going to be looking at what’s happened in the previous 12 to 24 hours so the comments are going to be fresh in terms of the news that’s just happening. Also because I think I have a different perspective than a lot of people that would do commentary and I’m one of the few people who has actually been inside the asylum as one of the inmates as opposed to somebody who just observed it from the outside. I think if you played the game–actually gotten out there and had grass stains and blood on your jersey–you just have a different feel for it than somebody who maybe’s been very close to the sidelines but never actually took the hits. The point of the commentary is we’re going to have fun with it. There will be, I think, a lot of punch lines to the hard news stories. There will also be some poignant moments that we’ll point out, some very serious things that people need to think about.
My goal in every case, Carl, is to say how does this touch that person out there who is on their way to work today or on their way home from work or maybe is getting their kids ready for school. It’s not just about being talked about from the 30,000 foot level, we really want to deliver it down to how this affects the person who’s out there trying to put a paycheck in the bank and food on the table.
It sounds like you’ll probably be able to do a little bit of digestion on the daily headlines as they come out and maybe give advice based on that.
Exactly. As far as advice I don’t plan to be Dr. Phil but more of an approach of "here’s what this policy may do to your life." Let’s say if Congress is proposing an increase in the Capital Gains–a lot people don’t understand. What does that do to you? I want to try to break it down and make it simple, understandable, so that even a politician could figure it out.
I bet there will be a lot to talk about regarding the economy as you go forward with this too.
I don’t think everything is going to be turned around by a year launch date of January 5th, do you?
No, I think we’ll be in the middle of the worst of it. I think I’m going to have plenty of material. The problem we have is how do we sort it out and edit it? We’re going to throw some stuff in there about pop culture because I think there’s a whole lot of dessert on the menu as well as the main course. It won’t be just all looking at the hardest news of the day from Washington and around the world. We’re also going to be looking at the things I hope will bring a smile to some people’s faces and maybe an “ah-ha” and an “oh boy” as well.
You’re going to have two of these a day, different from each other?
They will be different, totally unique broadcasts.
Are you going to tie this in at all with your FOX News Channel show?
Well not directly…certainly it will give me a multi-layered platform. The only similarity will be that as I do on the show with FOX I try to address things from more of a common perspective, and will do the same thing with radio. I want there to be sort of at least continuity, but I’m not doing guests and interviews and that type of thing on the radio.
There won’t be enough time, really.
Right it will be very quick and that’s the only downside. I don’t worry about will I have enough material. I worry about how I will get it all in in two five minute broadcasts a day!
Well it’s good to know that there’s another product out there with a fresh face and a fresh perspective and with someone’s been out there talking to Americans over the last year, getting kind of a slice of what’s going on out there. I think we’ll be able to glean a lot from it. Anything you want to say on the Fairness Doctrine, any commentary on that?
I think there’s no such thing as a Fairness Doctrine. It’s the most unfair thing that ever would happen and God help us if we get it. I was in radio back in the days when that was sort of the law and the rule–the whole Fairness Doctrine and the equal time provision. All it did was create a huge amount of just headaches for broadcasters. It’s almost like asking a grocery store to make sure that they put the same amounts of different brands of bread on their shelf. The market ought to try that, it ought not to be driven by the government. It’s an absolute infringement on the First Amendment. I would hope that America would rise up and have a broadcast version of the Boston Tea Party should there be any discussion of trying to bring something like that back.
Anything that you might be advising listeners on as we transition into a new administration, a new Democratic leadership? Is that going to be a good part of what you’ll be talking about?
Well, I will, but one of the things I want to stress is that even though I have a very obvious perspective, this is not going to be a partisan broadcast. People are not going to feel like they are being indoctrinated every day because I think Republicans are just as funny as Democrats sometimes with what they do and sometimes I’ll probably be harder on my own side than I will on the Democrats. I’ll give the Democrats some slack. One of the things they’ll find is that Congress will do enough stuff that there will be plenty of people to kick around. I’ll try to make sure they all get a good taste of my size 13 shoe before the day is over!