Harrisburg radio host Ken Matthews to launch national news / talk show


Ken Matthews, who has held the weekday afternoon discussion post on radio station WHP 580 since 2013, is on the verge of trying to break into the national radio scene.

Matthews, an arch-Tory talker whose shows are the place to go to hear early 2022 Republican campaign ads and gun store ads, signed a deal with syndicator Talk Media Network to host a three-hour time slot that will be offered to stations from coast to coast, competing for the noon to 3 p.m. slot that was once run by the late Rush Limbaugh.

The new show will launch on Thursday.

For Matthews, who took over from the easily outraged Bob Durgin on the Harrisburg Market afternoon shift in 2013 and along the way became one of the daily show’s few regular backup hosts. Live from Limbaugh, syndication offers the opportunity to find your own permanent national audience. . Each station that picks it up will be granted commercial exclusivity for its program.

The best news for fans of Matthews’ hometown is that they will be able to continue to hear it without interruption. WHP 580 announced on Monday that it had agreed to resume the daily Matthews show in Harrisburg.

Jeff Hurley, executive vice president of programming for iHeartMedia, confirmed to PennLive on Monday night that WHP signed an agreement to air Matthews’ show in its familiar 3 p.m. slot here, making the transition almost seamless to audiences from the central Pennsylvania.

It’s an important moment for Matthews to be able to hold his biggest and most established audience out of the fall. In the most recent Nielson ratings for the Harrisburg / Lebanon / Carlisle radio market, WHP was station number two, behind only classic rock station WRVV-FM

“I’m delighted to be able to stay here on WHP 580 because I love this audience,” Matthews said on air Tuesday, where he announced the change and the launch of his Website https://kenmatthews.com. “One of the great things with WHP and my union was that there had to be a way to stay right in the middle of the Harrisburg market. Because I’m not moving from Pennsylvania. I do not go. I’ll just dig a deeper bunker.

But it’s also a point of pride for WHP to see a host who has honed his game here to go national, Hurley said.

“Ken has done an amazing job with the platform given to him,” said Hurley. “It says a lot about the station, the community and himself that Ken has been successful in achieving this success. “

Talk Media, at this point, has not offered a daily noon to 3 p.m. show, and its chief executive Josh Leng is hoping Matthews, a career broadcaster who migrated to talk radio from a career born in the Top 40, Oldies and Adult Contemporary disc jockey almost a decade ago, with time, will challenge national day supremacy in the conservative discussion space.

As a syndicator, TMN itself does not own any radio stations.

Instead, the company produces a battery of shows that it offers to stations across the country to fill their individual programming schedules. It is currently the third largest newscasting syndicate in terms of station reach, behind Premiere Networks – the syndication arm of industry leader iHeartMedia – and Westwood One.

“We believe that in a short time, radio programmers will soon realize that Ken Matthews’ show is the most entertaining show on the market from noon to 3,” Leng said. “Based on his performance, he has already proven 100 times that he can do it. “

Matthews’ new show will debut on less than 20 stations – some in a few top 100 markets – but Leng said the show’s true success is unlikely to be known for another year or two, as more and more – more stations are seeing their current offers for midday content expire and they are able to study the ground for the next big thing.

“The best judge of a show’s success is how well it’s doing after, you know, one year, two, three five years of syndication. Those are better ratings than, with two weeks’ notice, the number of stations subscribed to. Because a lot of stations have a minimum of 30 days notice to withdraw from a contract. Many have 90 days’ notice. And many have annuals, ”Leng said.

“The most telling moment will come in July, when we find out how many affiliates of Dan Bongino or Clay Travis and Buck Sexton have decided to switch to the Ken Matthews show instead. These contracts must be renewed in May and June … This is a key window.

Leng said his business court with Matthews started several years ago and gained momentum in recent months after Matthews was ignored by Premiere as heir to Limbaugh’s place in their schedule. Limbaugh died in February after a battle with cancer, and his coveted spot in May went to the duo of Travis and Sexton.

For the uninitiated, Matthews’ Harrisburg show is a pure affirmation zone for MAGA curators, an aural opinion page where they can make sure their worldview is correct, and say or nod. head to the right-wing dogma without fear of nullification or verification of the facts. The Liberals, if they ever go online, could see their blood pressure rise.

It hasn’t always been that way.

At an earlier stage in his broadcast career, Matthews was for years the best morning FM radio personality in the Lehigh Valley, mixing traffic and weather with music and TV “friends”. essential for the day before or for major community events. But after spending several years out of radio when his contract was not renewed in 2006, his entry into the studio was news / talk, starting with an alternate stint at the tiny WGPA in Bethlehem.

“I just wanted to say and do more, but I wanted to keep having fun” Matthews said in a recent interview with trade publication Radio Ink. “The challenge was that I love the morning radio. I loved the audience. I like to be a smart-aleck. But there are also other things that we need to discuss that may not correspond to a Beyonce intro. “

Over the past decade, Matthews has firmly orbiting the conservative world of talk radio. A recent WHP broadcast included mailings – including errors in comedic knock-offs – from Dr.Anthony Fauci, CNN (the Comedy News Network in Matthews parlance) and other mainstream media, and the government’s response to the Coronavirus ‘defraud’. all interspersed with callers.

But unlike some of his counterparts, Matthews has said he works hard to try to keep his tone upbeat and upbeat, if not necessarily politically correct.

“You have to have in your brain that – at least I do – when people leave, I want them to feel better about what’s going on,” Matthews said in the Radio Ink interview, explaining that this approach ties in with his morning zoo days. . “Even if a meteor hits Earth, I want them to feel better if it crashes into Earth. I mean, ‘Get out early. Get some sun. You know?

“There are very few things that cannot amuse you,” he continued. “Not in the (mainstream media) newsroom. Not in HR. But in the real world – not in the newsroom (of mainstream media); not in HR; not in specific shows – but in the real world people laugh at everything, they laugh at each other and they love to do it, and they hit each other five times the next day.

“I love talking to people and I love listening to people, and I love what’s going on in the country. And I think you have to take advantage of it, otherwise 20 minutes in three hours will be the longest day of your life.


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