Rep. Rogers hopes for 'smart debate' on radio show

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 11, 2014 at 7:31 am •  Published: May 11, 2014
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Mike Rogers wants to be a "productive conservative" on the radio dial who fosters "smart debate" during the daily show he will host after leaving Congress in January.

The ex-FBI agent and outgoing House Intelligence Committee chairman might not be done with politics after more than a decade in Congress, so there's unquestioned value for him from the three hours each day he will spend fielding questions and reasoning with a mass audience.

"I'm not saying I am," Rogers, R-Mich., told The Associated Press when asked if he was preparing to re-enter politics in the years ahead. "But I do foresee myself back in government service in some capacity in the future."

For now, Cumulus Radio Group is betting that listeners and advertisers will find Rogers' hearty voice, contempt for right-wing ideologues and expertise in national security inviting.

Rogers' hope is to "move the needle" toward the political center on radio, which is crowded with conservative antagonists, and at a time when the division between the GOP's mainstream and right wings is deep.

"It may be that, even as this AM radio's audience ages and literally dies off, there's always going to be a diversity of voices available on the airwaves," said Hollande Cooke, a media and radio personality consultant.

Rogers, 50, will step down in January, when the next Congress takes over, and shift from Capitol Hill, his workplace for 14 years, to a studio elsewhere in Washington.

He has made his mark on the House Intelligence Committee, a rare collaborative group in a strongly partisan Congress.

"I think of this notion — a productive conservative host, with smart controversy, smart debate, where I turn off the radio and go, 'You know what, that was really interesting, I can't wait to turn it on tomorrow.'"

He said that during his time in the House, Republicans more concerned with maintaining a strictly conservative profile than with incremental changes have effectively ceded control to Democrats by holding out for ideological purity.

Chiefly, majority Republicans demanded changes in President Barack Obama's health law last year as the price for essential funding of the government that Obama and Democrats refused to accept, forcing a 16-day partial shutdown.