Salem Radio is renaming the “Top of the hour” news service branded as SRN News.. It is being replaced by “News from Townhall.com” on News Talk Stations. Since Salem owns Townhall.com, this is mostly rebranding. The change has a lot to do with being added to the SiriusXM Patriot channel.
SRN News is carried widely by religious stations that want news, but want news that doesn’t contradict the beliefs of their listeners. The news tends to select stories of interest to Christians and Israel supporters. The news is structured to allow non-commercial stations to carry the news, but commercial stations to run ads. The version for non-commercial stations is fed at :55 past the hour.
Salem Radio is a “for profit” publicly traded Corporation (Symbol SALM). The founders of the company realized in the 1990s there was a niche available for “for profit” religious broadcasting in the speculative bubble in radio stations after the 1996 Telecom Reform Act. You cannot donate money to Salem and get a tax deduction – you can however, buy stock.
Salem operates mostly on stations it owns – it operates three main networks:
– the Conservative Talk Network featuring Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt. While not religious, the theme of the network is that the Conservative movement is about religion and focused on supporting Israel
– a Contemporary Christian Music format generally called “The Fish”
– a Christian teaching network that sells time to religious broadcasters, mostly prerecorded shows – listeners donate to the ministry, then Salem gets paid for the station time. WMCA-AM in New York is a typical example. They typically have little or no local programming and mostly content recorded years or decades ago – the Bible is not living document.
Salem also operates some stations preaching to Spanish speaking Protestants. Salem and most of its talk hosts are strongly pro immigration. They also have a small group of stations carrying Bloomberg radio. All of the stations rely on selling blocks of time for infomercials, especially on weekends.
Salem does not subscribe to ratings services – back when Arbitron reported Non subscriber ratings, most Sakem stations were below a 1% share. Ratings only matter to advertiser supported stations. As radio is fading, Salem has been deriving more of its revenue from selling subscriptions to Townhall Magazine and books, showing they are the leaders in 20th century publishing technology.