Salem Radio Network, a national right-wing news and talk radio operation that’s home to prominent conservative voices such as Hugh Hewitt and Lou Dobbs, is looking to bring on Sebastian Gorka, the controversial, firebrand ex-Trump adviser, as one of its new hosts.
According to four sources with knowledge of the situation, the ousted White House official and Steve Bannon ally has been in talks with Salem, which recently approached him about joining their lineup as one of the daily on-air personalities. It is not clear if any deal has been inked or if Gorka has made a final decision yet. Salem did not immediately respond to requests for comment on this story.
When reached for comment by The Daily Beast on Friday early evening, Gorka would not say whether he will join the right-leaning media outfit. Instead, he berated the reporter for referring to him by his first name, “Sebastian,” adding: "You don't fucking know me."
The Daily Beast then asked if he preferred “Mr. Gorka,” without factoring into the conversation that he very likely prefers “Dr. Gorka.”
“I don’t talk to people who aren’t real journalists," Gorka added. “Goodbye, and delete this number.” (The last time The Daily Beast contacted him about a story on a then-unannounced media job, Gorka simply responded, “Why would I assist you?”)
In reaching out to Gorka, Salem executives appear hoping to add a pro-Trump identity to their current programming. There are few more divisive figures in Trumpworld whom the network could turn to.
To his critics, Gorka—who is also currently a Fox News contributor and a friend of Sean Hannity’s—is an anti-Muslim fanatic, a fraud to academia, and even a supporter of fascist and Nazi sympathizers abroad. To President Trump and Gorka’s own brigade of Trumpkin base fans, he is a ruthless debater, a MAGA rock star, and an unflappable owner of the libs. Trump himself continues to watch his former White House aide’s Fox News appearances, and has even been known ask officials and friends if they’d seen recent clips of “Seb” on television that the president enjoyed.
It’s this kind of appeal to Trump’s core conservative base that Salem likely finds so attractive—in addition to Gorka’s age, apparently.
As one source with knowledge of the situation noted, Salem executives have worried about the old age of much of their radio line-up, and have been on the lookout for younger, fresher blood to “jazz it up a bit,” as the source characterized.
For reference, Hewitt is 62 years old; Gorka is a sprightly 47.
Perhaps more salient a factor than his age, however, is that the former Trump aide is an unabashed booster and staunch defender of the president—and Salem Radio is interested in more talent like him and fewer dissenters and Republican squishes.
Multiple sources tell The Daily Beast that in the Trump era, Salem has unambiguously encouraged their radio hosts to be as pro-Trump as possible. This trend also extended as far back as the 2016 presidential campaign, according to private Salem messages obtained by CNN earlier this year.
An idea being pitched around Salem Radio is to have Gorka replace nationally syndicated host Michael Medved, a veteran of conservative media who happens to be a vocal on-air critic of President Trump. According to sources, Medved’s three-year contract expires at the end of the year and the long-time radio host intends to continue going on-air for the duration of it.
Some people familiar with the internal deliberations predict a wider dismissal of Trump skeptics, perhaps similar to Salem Media-owned RedState.com’s “purge” of its prominent anti-Trump writers earlier this year. One source described the current Salem Radio atmosphere and chatter as clear indicators of an incoming pro-Trump “coup,” while others simply hope for the best.
“It is my hope and my belief that Salem appreciates, when it comes to President Trump, a range of voices,” Joe Walsh, another Salem host who has transformed into a prominent right-wing Trump critic, told The Daily Beast in a brief phone interview. “I can only be what I am and give honest radio every day… [whether] good Trump, bad Trump.”
If Gorka takes the reins at his own show, there is certainly going to be even more “good Trump” on Salem broadcasts.
“I really like this radio thing,” the former Trump White House official tweeted in April. “And they’re letting me do it again!”
At the time, he was guest-hosting for Mike Gallagher, a Salem Radio star.