Salem, CNN team up for three GOP primary debates

Looks like one of us will be headed to Simi Valley, California in the fall. Salem Communications, the parent company of this website, and CNN will partner to present three of the Republican presidential primary debates. The first will take place at the Reagan Presidential Library, and my friend Hugh Hewitt will be on the panel questioning the candidates:


Salem Media Group (NASDAQ: SALM), announced today that it will team up with CNN as the exclusive radio outlet to broadcast three GOP presidential primary debates, sanctioned by the Republican National Committee. Salem will air the debates live with special pre- and post-debate coverage on the Salem Radio Network, the company’s NewsTalk stations, and conservative news and opinion websites.

“We are pleased to be working with CNN,” said David Santrella, President of Broadcast Media at Salem. “I am confident that both the access to our audiences and the incorporation of Salem talent will make the debates more accessible for the American electorate.”

The first of the three debates will take place September 16th at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. Salem’s nationally syndicated radio talk show hostHugh Hewitt will join in the Q&A of this debate. Hewitt is a 25-year veteran of radio and broadcast journalism.

Hewitt will also broadcast special editions of his program pre- and post-debate. At the conclusion of the debate, candidates will be invited to join Hewitt to talk candidly about the event and the pressing issues facing the nation.

“I am delighted to be included with journalists posing questions as part of one of America’s finest political traditions -the presidential debate,” said Hewitt. “These debates come at a critical time, and good questions will allow Republican primary voters the opportunity to see and hear their would-be nominees provide answers to issues that genuinely concern them. Any reporter who is also a political junkie welcomes the chance to be on such a panel, which of course I do.”

Additional Salem national radio hosts will be announced later as leading participants in future debate coverage. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus stated, “I’m thrilled that Salem will partner with three of our Republican primary debates that will be aired on CNN. When we set out to improve the debates, I promised conservative media would be part of the process. Salem will help the Republican Party have meaningful debates about new ideas for the future, while Democrats simply coronate Hillary Clinton.”

The debates will also be extensively covered by Salem Media Group’s news and opinion properties including SRN News,,,, and


GOP chair Reince Priebus promised that changes would come to the GOP primary debates after the bloody internecine mess of 2011-12. Part of that promise involved getting conservative media a place at the table. This is certainly a major step in that direction, if not an outright fulfillment of that pledge.

Hugh is a great choice for this role. Anyone who has listened to his radio show knows that he’s a tough but fair interviewer, committed to conservatism and truth, and will focus on what truly matters to Republican primary voters. His presence on stage will guarantee that focus, and his pre- and post-debate work will keep that focus squarely on the issues — and not on silliness like Obama’s faith or whether contraception is a crisis in America. I’m a lot more hopeful that we’ll have a productive primary in the 2016 cycle than before.

You know, I’ve never been to the Reagan Presidential Library.  Hey, boss …

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