Former Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh is boldly going where many conservatives have gone before – talk radio.
The one-term tea party firebrand will host a talk show from 7 to 9 p.m. weekdays, starting March 25, on WIND 560 AM, the station and Walsh announced. The station, which markets itself as “The Answer,” adds Walsh to a lineup of conservative hosts such as Michael Medved, Glenn Beck and Dennis Miller.
Walsh, of McHenry, represented the 8th Congressional District, which used to cover northeastern McHenry County, from 2011 to January. He narrowly defeated three-term Democratic incumbent Melissa Bean as part of the 2010 tea party wave that helped the GOP retake the U.S. House of Representatives.
Jeff Reisman, general manager of parent company Salem Communications’ two Chicago stations, said in a statement that there are “few politicians in Illinois or anywhere in the country that garner as much attention as Joe Walsh.”
He said that Walsh’s show will be the only one in the Chicago media market discussing Illinois politics during that time slot.
“Joe is an outspoken defender of freedom, and because of his firsthand experience in Congress, he brings a unique perspective to the national conversation as our country searches for answers during these challenging times,” Reisman said.
Reisman would not comment Friday on Walsh’s contract duration or salary. While the show will start on WIND, Walsh would have a shot at national syndication should his show get strong ratings.
Walsh’s outspokenness during his term in Congress was loved by conservatives and reviled by liberals. He generated controversy throughout his term, from shouting at constituents during a town hall meeting to allegations that dogged him in the second half of his term that he owed more than $100,000 in child-support payments.
Walsh said in a statement that he is excited to take the national debate to Chicago-area listeners, and that the show will be a “great platform to grow a freedom movement which is already gaining momentum right here in Illinois.”
“I intend to do with this program what I did as a U.S. congressman – speak plainly, speak directly, not worry about political correctness, and engage in respectful, engaging debate with all viewpoints. This is just too important of a time for all of us to do anything less,” Walsh said.
Walsh ran for re-election in the 8th District, which under post-census redistricting was moved south to more Democrat-friendly territory. He lost to Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth.