American Life in the Columns
Opinionated talk show host and columnist Michael Smerconish has been chronicling local, state, and national events for more than 15 years. He has sounded off on topics as diverse as the hunt for Osama bin Laden and what the color of your Christmas lights says about you. In this talk on his most memorable columns, Smerconish reflects on American political life with his characteristic feistiness. Covering the post-9/11 years, Barack Obama’s ascension, and the rise of Donald Trump, Smerconish describes meeting Ronald Reagan, having dinner with Fidel Castro, barbequing with the band YES in his backyard, spending the same night with Pete Rose and Ted Nugent, drinking champagne from the Stanley Cup, and conducting Bill Cosby’s only pretrial interview. Smerconish’s outlook goes beyond “liberal” or “conservative.” His thought process continues to evolve and change, and as it does, he aims to provoke audiences to do the same.
Michael A. Smerconish is the host of "The Michael Smerconish Program" on SiriusXM Channel 124, the host of CNN’s Smerconish on Saturday mornings, newspaper columnist and author.
Smerconish has often been recognized for his radio work. Talkers Magazine has consistently named him one of America’s most important talk show hosts. In 2009, prior to his syndication, Radio and Records named him the nation’s Local Personality of the Year. In 2011, the National Association of Broadcasters selected him as a Marconi Award finalist in the category of Best Network/Syndicated Host. He has often been the recipient of several (Philadelphia) Achievement in Radio awards, including Best Talk Show Host and Best Evening Program. Philadelphia Magazine has named him the City’s best talk show host, as well as one of the City’s most powerful citizens.
On August 20, 2009, Smerconish became the first radio host to interview President Barack Obama live from the White House. The thirty-minute interview was conducted in the Diplomatic Reception Room and televised live on MSNBC, CNN and Fox News. Smerconish has interviewed President Obama on seven different occasions. He has also interviewed Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, as well as Vice Presidents Al Gore, Dick Cheney and Joe Biden.
Smerconish hosts a weekly Saturday TV program on CNN fittingly called Smerconish and in the past has been an MSNBC contributor and frequent guest-host of Hardball for Chris Matthews. He has been a guest on virtually every television program where politics is discussed, including: the NBC Today Show, Colbert Report, O’Reilly Factor, Larry King Live, The View, and Real Time With Bill Maher.
Smerconish is the author of seven books, two of them New York Times’ best sellers. He donated all author proceeds from three of those manuscripts to charity. His published books are: Flying Blind: How Political Correctness Continues to Compromise Airline Safety Post 9/11 (for which he donated his proceeds to the Garden of Reflection, a 9/11 tribute garden in his native Bucks County, Pennsylvania); Muzzled: From T-Ball to Terrorism, True Stories that Should Be Fiction (a Times best seller); Murdered By Mumia: A Life Sentence of Loss, Pain and Injustice (a Times best seller which he co-authored with Maureen Faulkner and for which he donated his proceeds to the Daniel Faulkner Educational Grant Fund); Morning Drive: Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Talking; Instinct: The Man Who Stopped the 20th Hijacker (the story of Jose Melendez-Perez, for which he donated his proceeds to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania); and TALK! (his first novel). Additionally, through a promotional partnership with jeweler Steven Singer, Smerconish has raised in excess of $300,000.00 for the Flight 93 National Memorial. Smerconish's newest book, Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right: American Life in Columns, will be released in June 2018.
Smerconish also authors a Sunday Column in the Philadelphia Inquirer. His columns have been re-printed in various newspapers across the country, including the Washington Post, Dallas Morning-News, Denver Post, Boston Herald, Charlotte Observer, Sacramento Bee, Kansas City Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Austin American-Statesman, Savannah Morning News, Tallahassee Democrat, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Providence Journal, Deseret News (Salt Lake City), Akron Beacon Journal, Wichita Eagle, Arizona Daily Star, Green Bay Press Gazette, Winnipeg Free Press, and Gulf Times (Doha, Qatar)
Smerconish became a radio and television commentator after experiences he had at an early age in Republican politics. While still in college he was an advanceman for (then) Vice President George H.W. Bush. At age 29, he was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to a sub-cabinet level position (Regional Administrator for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he reported to HUD Secretary Jack Kemp).
Prior to turning to broadcasting as a full-time endeavor, Smerconish practiced law for ten years with James E. Beasley, a legendary Philadelphia-based trial lawyer, who is the namesake of the Beasley School of Law at Temple University. Today Smerconish is of counsel to the Philadelphia law firm of Kline & Specter. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and remains a member of the Bar of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. When actively practicing law, Smerconish was a trial lawyer specializing in complex tort litigation. His work spanned various subject areas, including contracts, medical malpractice, and products liability. His clients ranged from the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police (in an action against a music group responsible for publishing an FOP photograph on an album cover that advocated the murder of police) to the City of Rome, Italy (in a contract dispute). He is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Trial Lawyer’s Association.
Smerconish is a 1984 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Lehigh University where he majored in government and journalism.
He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters when delivering a commencement address at Widener University on May 26, 2016.
He lives in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, with his wife and their four children.