Crowd size is sometimes an elusive concept. Personally, I’ve always used the same method for putting figures in context. I think of theatres, arenas, and stadiums that have been the backdrop of my life.
Since high school, I’ve attended concerts at the legendary Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, PA, where I have seen the likes of David Bowie, Cat Stevens aka Yusuf, and Neil Young. It seats about 3,000. When I was young, the Flyers always drew sellout crowds at the Spectrum – seating 17,700 (“the Flyers thank you”). Bernie Parent was my hero then and now. Today the Phillies can hold 43,000 at Citizens Bank Park – I watched them win the World Series there in 2008. Veteran’s Stadium seated 65,000 for Eagles games when I was a kid and we had season tickets. When Wilbert Montgomery broke tackles on a cold December day in 1980 for a 42-yard run that lifted the Eagles over Cowboys in the NFC Championship, I was there. Today the Eagles draw 67,000 to Lincoln Financial Field which sits on the site of the old JFK Stadium. In 1977, I joined 100,000 of my closest friends at JFK to watch both Lynyrd Skynyrd and Peter Frampton.
So, here is my news: Last Saturday, we garnered our 50,000th subscriber for the Smerconish.com daily newsletter. Within a year, the newsletter subscriber base is bigger than the Tower, Spectrum, and Citizens Bank Park. We’re closing in on the Vet and Lincoln Financial Field, and at this rate, we might make it to JFK Stadium!
And for that, I thank you. And thank you as well for voting in each day’s Survey Question.
Actually, I prefer the word “registrant” to “subscriber” because the latter implies paying a subscription fee, whereas we have kept it free. If you are reading these words, chances are you are one of them and I want to say thank you. We built it and you came.
The idea of building a centrist website has always appealed to me. As an avid reader of news, I knew of no independent alternative to well-established sites on the left and right. Think about it: you have Huffington Post, Slate, and Salon at one end of the spectrum. On the other… there is Drudge, Breitbart, and Newsmax. Until now, there was nothing in-between.
I already use my platforms on SiriusXM and CNN to try and demonstrate that you can garner an audience without being doctrinaire. It was time to so it online. What started as a humble forum has now grown into a sizable clearinghouse for independent thought. This year alone we have received over 2.8 million pageviews – a testament to the community we have created.
Then last year, an intern pushed me to start a corresponding newsletter. Blake McGill, a Dartmouth undergrad who’d had her studies interrupted by the pandemic, reached out to me and said… “You should start a newsletter, Mr. Smerconish, and I will help you launch it.” Encouraged by Blake’s earnestness and competence, I committed to a daily newsletter for the duration of the pandemic, which I never expected to be this long. Now, I cannot imagine ending the newsletter. Too many seem to be getting so much out of it. The comment I hear most often – and appreciate – from our registrants is that they use my briefing as a way to start their day with an unbiased news summary. For many of us in the middle, we simply want to know what is going on in the world without being harangued by profit-driven outrage and talking points. It has been gratifying to be able to provide that to so many of you.
When people ask me what I do for a living, I usually say it is delivering spoken word – on radio, television, and before live audiences – but a more accurate answer would be that I read for a living. By the time the “on air” light goes on, my heavy lifting is over. It’s the preparation that takes most of the time; being dialed in 24/7 and constantly looking for information to incorporate into my broadcasts. That daily read-in from sources all over the ideological spectrum is what I try to distill for you every day.
So, each morning at about 7:30 a.m. Eastern, you are getting the benefit of my survey of the media landscape. You will find aggregated links from sources on the right and the left, but overall, you will receive balance. I try not to include more than one news item per day from any particular link. Beyond the aggregated links, we also offer Exclusive Content from a diverse group of contributors – from media executives, former Congressman, and top-tier academics.
For those of you who have written something for the website, please know how much I appreciate your work. Our community would not be such a strong forum of independent thinking if it were not many engaging topics of conversation that you provided. We are always looking for new contributors. The rules are pretty simple: 1) no talking points, 2) don’t be snarky, and 3) and nothing defamatory.
Of course, I don’t do it alone. You are all probably well aware of TC. On paper, she is the executive producer of the radio show, but the title does not do her justice. She is my right hand, a dear friend, and is invaluable in keeping track of all that interests me and organizing my many missives in some semblance of order. While TC and I are juggling our many endeavors in Philadelphia, we are secure in the knowledge that Dan Henning is keeping us connected to the SiriusXM audience from down in D.C. Thank you, Dan!
Then there is James Meadows, our terrific, full-time editor. Every day, James makes sure Smerconish.com looks great and that the newsletter arrives to your inbox on time. I hired him under the guise of doing a light edit of submissions from our contributors, but with the exponential growth of our registrants, his duties have multiplied into a role akin to the editor of a small, growing newspaper. James is exceptional. Not only is he a great writer, but moreover, he is a diligent, thoughtful journalist. He interacts well with our ever-expanding stable of contributors and has adapted to our growth with grace.
That being said, I am happy to announce that James has just agreed to extend his initial one-year stint for another year.
I also want to give a shout-out to Max Cohen, yet another of our young coterie who make this possible. Max is a Penn senior and our Sunday editor. We needed to bring Max aboard when it because obvious that the newsletter needed to expand to seven days per week. He is a talented journalist, and when he graduates in May, he will be joining the news desk at Bloomberg. They are lucky to have him.
Jarek Rutz is another recent addition to our team. Jarek has recently launched my YouTube page which, if you haven’t seen, you should.
Steve Cordasco has been our anchor advertiser for the last year and I appreciate his support as well as that of Mike Baldini, a three-decade friend, and business partner.
And the site would not look as cool as it does without Vanessa Kreckel and the team at TPD Design House.
So thanks again for perusing Smerconish.com and registering for the newsletter. We value your commitment to independent thinking, and if you have not done so already, please encourage a friend to join our community.
I have no doubt in my mind that I will be seeing you all again soon… when we are large enough to fill the old JFK Stadium…
Using the perfect blend of analysis and humor, Michael Smerconish delivers engaging, thought-provoking, and balanced dialogue on today’s political arena and the long-term implications of the polarization in politics. In addition to his acclaimed work as nationally syndicated Sirius XM Radio talk show host, newspaper columnist, and New York Times best-selling author, Michael Smerconish hosts CNN’s Smerconish, which airs live on Saturday at 9:00 am ET.