Presidential candidate Joe Walsh severed all ties with Salem Media Group Friday, officially ending his controversial six-year run as a talk radio host for the conservative Christian broadcaster.
Six days after announcing his challenge to President Donald Trump for the 2020 Republican nomination, the former suburban congressman agreed to terminate the local and national shows he hosted for Salem Media, effective immediately.
Jeff Reisman, regional vice president and general manager of Salem Radio Group, confirmed the amicable breakup. “There was nothing contentious about it,” Reisman said. “Joe made it clear that he wants to focus on his candidacy for president.”
Walsh still had more than a year left on his contract with the station, sources said, but his declaration would have triggered problems for his employer, including compliance issues with the FCC’s Equal Time Rule.
Earlier in the week Salem Radio Network notified affiliates that it was cancelling Walsh show in 30 days. Friday’s agreement makes that official immediately.
As it turned out, Walsh’s last day on the air as a host was August 19. He took vacation the next day, as he began ramping up plans for his presidential bid.
Reisman said WIND would launch a market-wide search for Walsh’s successor. A Fox News Radio Labor Day special will air in his time slot Monday. Filling in this Tuesday through Friday will be Stephanie Trussell, who just ended a seven-year run as weekend host at Cumulus Media news/talk WLS 890-AM. Trussell is considered a candidate for Walsh’s job, Reisman said.
Tom Tradup, vice president of news and talk programming for Salem Radio Network, told affiliates Friday that Walsh’s syndicated evening show would be replaced for now with a rebroadcast of “America First,” the syndicated afternoon show hosted by Dr. Sebastian Gorka.
Gorka, who joined the network in January, was a campaign advisor to candidate Trump and served on the White House staff in 2017 as deputy assistant to the president for strategy.
Walsh did not release a comment on the separation Friday, but earlier said: “I’m done with talk radio, and that makes me sad. But to me this is a bigger mission. I’ve got to do what I can to make sure this guy can’t be reelected and . . . to try to help save the Republican party. Trump has destroyed the Republican party.”
In any case, the split removes an often incendiary personality from AM 560 The Answer.
In 2014 Walsh was suspended for uttering a series of racial slurs — including the n-word — supposedly to make a point about acceptable language in light of a dispute over the Washington Redskins’ name. His bosses pulled him off the air in the middle of his show.
Walsh also has been under fire numerous times for his tweets, including ones in which he said he believed former President Barack Obama is a Muslim and accused Obama of “hatred toward Israel.”