Geraldo Rivera Thinks He Can Reach ‘Substantial Audience’ on 77 WABC

Some personalities are known simply by one name, like Rush and Hannity. Well, Geraldo Rivera is certainly another where just one name says it all! Geraldo has had many years in TV and multiple awards for his work.

But as he begins a fifth decade in front of the camera, Rivera begins a new career path.

It was announced this week that he’ll join WABC radio as the late morning host starting January 3.

“The WABC gig, I expect, will be hyper-local, block-by-block,” Rivera tells FishbowlNY.

Rivera, 68, will continue to host a one-hour Sunday night show on Fox News.

“It’s very difficult to have any kind of dialogue and leave any kind of lasting impression in terms of policy and philosophy with the public,” Rivera says.  

 Rivera, who also is a war correspondent for Fox, will keep that same mentality, going directly to the story. Occupy Wall Street is one such story with which Rivera would have been front and center.

“I could envision if they were in Zuccotti Park, I’d just camp out and do the whole show there,” Rivera says. 

The United Nations’ General Assembly in session or even a smaller event within New York are other possible examples for Rivera to take the show on the road. But for the Brooklyn-born Rivera, he’ll never be far from home.

“I’ve been on every street in New York…I expect to bring lots of local lure to the program,” Rivera says.

He is going into the WABC opportunity wielding two slogans: “Geraldo, I’m not always right” and “I’m not Red. I’m not Blue. I’m Red, White, and Blue.”

Beyond the marketing ploys, Rivera says there is a niche for the veteran broadcaster.

“I think that talk radio has become very insular. It’s become very predictable,” Rivera says. “It’s the same talking points from morning till night. Even the callers tend to be similar from show to show… I just think that there’s room for different points of view.”

However, with his longtime TV presence, Rivera now wants to build a national vision for his radio show. Ultimately, he’d like to join his WABC colleagues Hannity and Limbaugh with a syndicated program.

“I hope in success that other cities might be curious enough to give me a listen, give me a try,” Rivera admits. “First and foremost, I want to come straight on 77 WABC.”

Those famed call letters are not lost on Rivera.

“There’s cosmic symmetry going back to WABC [Channel 7] where I started 42 years ago, even though it’s a different WABC,” Rivera admits. “It’s a great lead-in with [Don] Imus, who ironically was my first announcer when I started in national TV with Good Night America in 1973.”

Rivera, though, is not living in the past. 

“I think I’ve got a fairly good shot at reaching a substantial audience here in town,” Rivera says. “We’ll just see if they what to hear someone they don’t necessarily always agree with.”

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