MSNBC Signs Liberal Radio Host Ed Schultz to Be Its 6 O'Clock Anchor

Ed Schultz, who broadcasts from Fargo, N.D., will move to New York or D.C.
Ed Schultz, who broadcasts from Fargo, N.D., will move to New York or D.C. (By Dave Samson -- Associated Press)
By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 2, 2009

MSNBC took a step further to the left and deeper into the opinion business yesterday, hiring Ed Schultz, the most popular liberal host on radio, as its newest anchor.

Schultz succeeds David Shuster, a career reporter, in the 6 p.m. hour, replacing a program that previously had been hosted by David Gregory, now moderator of NBC's "Meet the Press." The shift from "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" to "The Ed Show" puts another hour of programming firmly in the hands of an unabashed champion of the left.

Schultz, a former college football player and sportscaster, said his "folksy" approach will "add something very unique to their lineup. . . . I'm going to hit a lot of middle-class issues, issues that really pertain to American workers."

MSNBC President Phil Griffin implicitly acknowledged Schultz's ideology in a statement, saying, "Ed's proven he can connect with Americans and will be a perfect complement to Chris, Keith and Rachel." Prime-time anchors Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow are the network's strongest liberal voices, and "Hardball" host Chris Matthews is a former Democratic operative who recently decided against seeking a Senate seat from Pennsylvania as a Democrat.

The press release also touted Schultz, who is heard on 100 radio stations, as "the breakthrough talent in an industry dominated by conservative voices."

While Shuster will become co-anchor of the 3-to-5 p.m. block, Schultz will move from his home base of North Dakota to either New York or Washington. He will continue his noon-to-3 radio show after launching the MSNBC program Monday. "I'm really excited," he said. "I've wanted this for a long time. You've got to have some talent, but you've got to be lucky, too."

Schultz could have been given a show at 10 p.m., but MSNBC decided to stick with a rerun of the Olbermann program that has been drawing solid ratings.

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