June 25, 2006


The Right: The Next Big Thing?:
Conservative pundit Hugh Hewitt marries the power of talk radio with the reach of the 'netroots.' Watch out, Kos (Andrew Romano, July 3-10, 2006, Newsweek)

Hugh Hewitt is a master of multitasking. Week after week, the sanguine, persistent pundit hosts his "center-right" talk radio show from a nondescript office in Orange County, Calif.—and more than a million people tune in. Two computers flank his mike. While on the air, Hewitt uses the first to surf news sites, then swivels to the second during breaks to update his well-trafficked blog. "Both spoken words and written words are powerful," he says. "Acting in harmony, the effect is exponential." Just ask Rick Santorum. In May, he urged Hewitt's listeners to fork over campaign funds, and the host, ever eager, posted a link. Donations shot up 500 percent.

Chances are Santorum won't be the last candidate between now and November to benefit from Hewitt's brand of blog-broadcast synergy. On July 4, Salem Communications, one of the country's largest radio-station owners, will relaunch an old Web war horse called Townhall.com as a hub for its stable of stars (including Bill Bennett, Michael Medved and Hewitt himself). The hope? That "Web 2.0" wherewithal can transform what was once an op-ed clearinghouse into a single nerve center serving the separate conservative communities of talk radio and the Internet. To Hewitt, a valuable White House ally, the math is simple: add 6 million Salem fans to Townhall's 1.4 million unique monthly visitors and you've got an audience six or seven times the size of liberal site Daily Kos, the Web's biggest political blog. "We will overwhelm them," he says.

To: Loyal Townhall Readers
From: Jonathan Garthwaite
Date: Friday, June 23, 2006
Subject: The Revolution Begins July 4 – the New Townhall.com

Dear Readers,

Seven weeks ago we asked you what you wanted Townhall.com to be. Thousands of you responded and we listened.

The New Townhall.com - July 4thOn July 4, we will launch a new Townhall.com that continues to feature the best conservative columns as well as exclusive new features like online talk radio, new blogs, editorial cartoons, a personalized action center, and more.

• 75% said you listen to talk radio almost daily. Townhall.com is now adding a new Talk Radio Online section that features audio streaming and podcasting of Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt as well as Townhall.com shows like the National Defense from the VFW, the Northern Alliance, Jay Sekulow Live, TCS Daily and more!

• 72% of you regularly read blogs. Townhall.com will be the first conservative website offering free blogging tools to any of its readers. Create your own blog with its own design in seconds. When you create your own blog you will be part of a conservative blog community that features Mary Katharine Ham, Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Kevin McCullough, and Radio Blogger.

• 90% said you have been active in politics. We want it to be 100%. The new Townhall.com features a personalized action center that delivers talk radio call-in numbers for your area, allows you to easily contact your state and federal legislators and more.

Hundreds of thousands of you have been getting an email from me every day for years – can you do it better? We want to give you the chance. Our new action center allows you to create your own Townhall.com email list featuring any columns YOU choose.

So why is all of this a revolution? Because Townhall.com is the first to combine the grassroots media of talk radio and the online grassroots voices of the web and blogosphere. Townhall.com has been America’s conservative opinion page for a decade – it is far past time that your voice is featured on Townhall.com alongside our conservative leaders!

Click here for more details and stay tuned because in the next week we’ll highlight a few more big surprises as we get closer to the July 4 start of the revolution!


Jonathan Garthwaite

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 25, 2006 9:18 PM

And to think we all knew Hugh when his talk show was in baby steps:) Hugh Hewitt is truly on the ground floor of something really big. Congrats to him.

Now, if Salem could only purchase National Review....

Posted by: Brad S at June 25, 2006 10:32 PM

That would explain the ties with his co-blogger at HughHewitt.com, Mary Catherine Ham, who is also the Managing Editor of Townhall.com.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at June 26, 2006 8:24 AM

I sincerely regret WMAQ's move here in Chicago to shift HH to later in the evening and replace him with Michael Savage. A bit of Medved and Hewitt on the drive home was a terrific combination.

Posted by: Rick T. at June 26, 2006 9:40 AM