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Economy & Business

Radio Host Says He Was Fired For Criticizing Trump


Was Craig Silverman canned for speaking out against the president on a conservative radio network? Here's what happened last weekend.


CRAIG SILVERMAN: ...Talking about it, and my contract is such that it allows me to do it. Of course, I can be terminated just like anybody else.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: CBS News Update - House Democrats...

SIMON: That's the - or what was "The Craig Silverman Show," a Colorado talk radio program abruptly switching to a newscast because the host of the program was being let go at that moment in the studio.

Craig Silverman joins us now. Well, I guess your schedule is a little freer now. Thanks so much for being with us.

SILVERMAN: Yes, I can listen to more NPR on Saturday morning.

SIMON: Well, thank you. Your station there is owned by the Salem Media Group, which is a conservative network. Tell us what happened that day you were on the air.

SILVERMAN: I spent most of this show exploring the damning facts against Donald Trump at this impeachment hearing. I'm a Colorado trial lawyer, and I am fascinated by the testimony and the arguments and the overwhelming case the Democrats are putting on. I've been explaining it to my audience, which is largely conservative, and telling them this is not boring. It's not a hoax. It's not a sham. And I was cut off toward the end of my second hour.

SIMON: Did the general manager ever say to you, you're out of here because of - finish the sentence.

SILVERMAN: Well, we had had a discussion where they expressed their discomfort with me going on other radio stations. And I told them to look at my nonexclusive contract and that it allowed me to do it. And with this impeachment inquiry and all the facts that are coming out and the ridiculous defenses put up by the Republicans, I'm going to talk about it because none of the other hosts will. And I will go on other radio shows. There's another conservative guy in town who's willing at times to have a discussion about these things. So - go ahead.

SIMON: Salem says you weren't fired. They say you're an independent contractor. And they also say, our hosts have the freedom to express their opinions on current events based on their own personal conviction, including Mr. Silverman. What about the argument, Mr. Silverman, that, you know, Salem Media Group owns the station; it's their toy factory? It's a sad circumstance for you, but if they want to fire somebody for any reason, they can do that.

SILVERMAN: Absolutely true, but don't pretend otherwise. They've silenced a voice that was telling people like me who voted for Donald Trump that things have changed, examined the facts. What's going on in the capital right now is extraordinarily serious. And if other hosts won't talk about it, I will.

SIMON: I wonder if you have any thoughts about how unusual is it these days to have somebody doing a show for the public who changes her or his mind? Well, and that just doesn't fit what the current broadcasting profile is now, where the world is divided into Fox one side, MSNBC on the other. It's a...

SILVERMAN: Right. And I'm an independent, and I have been for a long time. Give me the issue, and I'll tell you what I think. But it's not down strict party lines, and it's certainly not down strict Trump lines. There are things Donald Trump has done that I appreciate and I think are good, but I can't ignore the criminality and corruption. And I'm going to tell people in America - now I'm talking about America since I'm talking to you. But I was telling the people of Colorado, this is what I see that the evidence is showing. Pay attention.

SIMON: Craig Silverman, our pleasure, of Denver, Colo., thanks so much for being with us.

SILVERMAN: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.