Confirmed: Salem Buys Michelle Malkin's Hot Air Blog

Christian media company Salem Communications this morning confirmed reports that it had acquired Hot Air, the conservative blog started by author and journalist Michelle Malkin, for an undisclosed sum.

The news comes after Mediaite yesterday reported the acquisition as a done deal, although neither party confirmed the agreement until earlier this morning.

Hot Air was started by Malkin on April 24, 2006 as a “conservative Internet broadcast network” and is currently managed by editors Ed Morrissey and (someone who goes by the pseudonym) AllahPundit on a day-to-day basis. The Hot Air blog will join as part of Salem’s Internet division, Salem Web Network (SWN).

Combined, the two conservative websites will reach 3 million unique readers, Salem claims, although the media company didn’t specify whether those are monthly uniques.

Press release:

Salem Communications Acquires

Blog Site Joins With Townhall to Create Largest Conservative News and Commentary Voice on the Web

WASHINGTON, DC–(Marketwire – February 18, 2010) – Salem Communications (NASDAQ: SALM), a leading U.S. radio broadcaster, Internet content provider and magazine publisher targeting audiences interested in faith, family and conservative values, announced today at the Conservative Political Action Conference that it has acquired — the popular right-of-center blog showcasing the news, analysis and commentary of Ed Morrissey and AllahPundit — from Michelle Malkin. — combined with — creates the largest conservative commentary, analysis, and news network on the Web with more than 3 million unique readers.

Best-selling author, blogger, and syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin, who started in 2006, said of the acquisition, “HotAir has experienced phenomenal growth — beyond our wildest expectations. With its established radio platform and fast-growing Internet brands, Salem is perfectly positioned to take HotAir to the next level as a conservative multimedia powerhouse.”

Jonathan Garthwaite, VP & General Manager of Townhall/HotAir, commenting on the acquisition said, “I have always respected Michelle Malkin and the insights and opinions presented by HotAir. I look forward to working with Ed Morrissey and AllahPundit during a critical period in determining our country’s future. The combination of the #1 conservative opinion and news site and the #1 conservative news and commentary blog creates a real force for conservative values in 2010 and beyond,” he added.

Townhall/HotAir is a part of Salem Communications’ Internet division, Salem Web Network (SWN). Tom Perrault, Senior Vice President of SWN, said, “The addition of HotAir doubles the size of Salem’s expanding footprint in online conservative commentary. It’s a perfect fit for us, since we can leverage talk radio, print and other online assets to aggressively grow the site, while offering political organizations and advertisers an even more effective way to reach and engage the conservative audience.”

“The acquisition by Salem Communications is an exciting step for HotAir. I am looking forward to working with my good friends at Salem with their large radio network and websites,” said HotAir blogger Ed Morrissey. “I have worked for a very good friend and mentor for the last two years, Michelle Malkin. Congratulations to Michelle for her vision and hard work in turning HotAir into one of the most frequented political websites,” Morrissey added.

“It’s an honor to work with a company as respected as Salem and an amazing opportunity to expand HotAir’s reach ahead of the midterm elections,” said AllahPundit, who blogs under a pseudonym. “Eternal thanks to Michelle Malkin, for having taken a chance on me when no one else would. I can never repay her for her kindness.”