By Ellen Ratner
TALK RADIO NEWS SERVICE
WASHINGTON –– There’s a brand new radio talk show emanating from the offices of the American Center for Law and Justice on Maryland Avenue in Washington, DC (about as close to the capital of the United States of America as you can be and still be a private enterprise). Jordan Sekulow, the son of ACLJ chief counsel Jay Sekulow, is the director of policy and international operations for the center and co-hosts his father’s talk radio show, “Jay Sekulow Live,” heard on Christian stations all across the country.
Last month, Jordan began his own live talk show that is fed to affiliate stations immediately following his father’s program.
Jay Sekulow started his show more than 10 years ago in order to answer legal questions on religious freedom. The program evolved into an analysis of breaking news important to American Christian conservatives plus highlights of the ACLJ’s cases. While working with his father, Jordan Sekulow became interested in reaching a younger audience so he began his show. Jordan decided he wanted the program to air live so religious conservatives would get up-to-the-minute analysis of the most important news and discussions taking place in the U.S. and around the world.
Both radio shows have the ACLJ’s large media team of 15 people in Franklin, Tennessee working with them. There is also a weekly television show in which Jordan participates by having a camera crew come to his Washington ofﬁce to record segments of the program for use on TV.
As for his message and goals –– Jordan says he wants his show to be educational in the world of Christian talk. He believes his audience is interested in talking to politicians and elected officials for in-depth analysis rather than quick soundbites. His show has already welcomed notables like former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN), former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, presidential candidate Herman Cain and former Republican Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum.
Jordan, who is under 30, says he’s interested in creating new activists and new relationships with the next generation of Christian conservatives. “We are going to have to change our approach if we want to get them and keep them involved.” Catering to his younger audience, Sekulow posts podcasts of his show just one hour after it airs, giving his listeners full access to his content. He wants to get his audience educated, get older listeners to pass their belief system down to their children and to develop grassroots activism.
During our visit to ACLJ headquarters, the dealth of Osama bin Laden was the hottest story in media. On Jordan’s program a major topic of discussion was “Can Christians celebrate the death of bin Laden?” He clarifies, “We’re not ministers, but we’re trying to take the discussion on the show to another level.”
His goal is to have his audience become experts on domestic and foreign policy, gaining more than just plain talking points, in the 26 minutes he’s on the air each day. He knows his audience follows the news closely and hopes that the show enables them to critically evaluate their positions and explain them to others who may be less informed or engaged in the political process.
Jordan Sekulow has crossed many international boundaries and cultures. His father was raised in a Jewish family and became Christian when he was 18. They were always politically conservative. Jay Sekulow is a well-known attorney and is famous for arguing more than a dozen cases at the United States Supreme Court, including Los Angeles v. Jews For Jesus. After success in First Amendment law at the nation’s highest court, Pat Robertson asked Jay to become the ACLJ’s chief counsel, around the same time the Christian Coalition was forming.
Growing up in a Christian home that also observed Jewish holidays, Jordan went to undergraduate school at George Washington University where he graduated by age 20. He attended law school at Regent University and completed his LLM at Georgetown University. He was also hired on the Bush 2004 campaign to organize youth (National Youth Director) and consulted for former Governor Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign. He says he had a front-row seat for the rise of the Christian conservative political movement. He grew up surrounded by activists, protesters and national leaders.
In addition to his work with the ACLJ, Sekulow has his own blog at the Washington Post in the “On Faith” section and ties this blog into his show.
Although Sekulow’s program is carried primarily on Christian radio stations, his passion for politics and current events and his work to target younger Christian listeners makes it stand out from traditional “evangelisitic” programs and certainly makes Jordan Sekulow a young broadcaster to watch.
Ellen Ratner is bureau chief of Talk Radio News Service. She can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. Meet her at the New Media Seminar in New York City June 10-11.