CNN Anchor Chris Cuomo Is Trying His Hand at Radio

Courtesy of Turner Broadcasting
Chris Cuomo

"I can say whatever I want," he told THR. "I don't have to worry about my language the same way."

Chris Cuomo has lots to say and will now get two more hours each day to say it.

The CNN anchor, who took over the 9 p.m. slot on the network in June, is getting a daily, afternoon radio show on SiriusXM's non-partisan P.O.T.U.S. channel called Let’s Get After It with Chris Cuomo.

"This is an opportunity to do something that's precious, which is to actually talk to the basis of people that I'm trying to get on the same page with at night," he told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview.

Cuomo said he's "always" been interested in doing radio and was pleased to be presented with a "great" opportunity to realize those ambitions.

He said he sees the show, which debuts on Monday, as an opportunity to talk to listeners and figure out what matters to them. "I believe in engagement," he said. "You can't just ignore what you don't like."

Those who despise his evening television show are forced to use social media to let him know that he sucks, but with his radio show, he will have an opportunity to hear from his haters directly. 

"I have no absolutely no problem with that," Cuomo said. "I actually welcome that. It's obviously easier to bullshit without doing it with me directly. ... People will get the same as they give."

The radio show will also be a "testing ground" to see what topics work for his evening show, which is an approach that Cuomo's competitor on Fox News, Sean Hannity, has mastered with his three-hour-long daily radio show.

But Cuomo said he won't be doing what Hannity and his primetime colleague Laura Ingraham do every day. "They're selling something," he said. "That's what they do. They're pundits. ... That's not what I'm doing. I actually want to access where people are. I don't want to find ways to make them go places. I don't want people to believe or disbelieve anything unless it's a matter of fact. Most people on the radio, they are in the business of persuading people that only certain things are right or good. I'm not in that business."

It's early days for Cuomo's nightly television show, but the early metrics are positive: Cuomo Primetime was the network's top-rated news show in both August (1.238 million total viewers) and July (1.147 million total viewers).

While great for CNN, those numbers pale in comparison to what Hannity does on Fox News and what Rachel Maddow does on MSNBC.

"Did I expect it to go this well early on? No," Cuomo said. "But I have the biggest two people in the history of cable news in the same time slot. That's the challenge. And I knew that that was the challenge. And I'm open to the challenge. I'm doing a lot of experimenting. Some shit works, some doesn't. I'm nowhere near where I want to be. These are like warm-up blocks for me."

The new radio show can help. "I want more people to watch at night, and I'm hoping that this is an opportunity to get more people in the fold," he said.