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Mark Levin: The Voice We Need

For years Levin has been one of the leading voices in conservative talk radio. Given recent events, it makes sense that more people are turning to him in an unsettling time in American history.

Chrissy Paradis

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Photo by Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0.

Mark Levin is asking the questions that impact everyone in the news broadcasting medium. Where there are many heroes that speak up on issues that are profoundly significant to the future of the political spectrum, the grenade that was thrown into the the center of the conservative media and social media world and what is going to happen if this downward spiral continues? He dispels fake news and more.

“I’m going to do something now. I want to strongly discourage any of you from attending the Biden inaugural or any of these other events that these capitals within our various states are being planned, as I read this FBI internal memo. I don’t know what’s planned, but the inauguration is. But I’d stay away from it. That is a form of protest, although that’s not a problem. But there may be violence there that’s caused by outsiders, it may be violence there that’s caused by morons.” Levin explained, even looking out for those who aren’t typically interested in much else than listening for finding an opportunity to further the narrative at hand inside the beltway.

“I intend to fight every one of these left-wing agenda items that these Democrats intend to impose on us. I intend to fight it with every fiber in my body, and we will do so under the Constitution and we will do it. And in 2022, it is my expectation we will take the house back and perhaps even the Senate. And put the brakes on all of this and as you know, I was one of the leading voices and wrote an entire book on convention of the state, so we need to get that thing fired up again.

We need to get these legislatures working. Republican legislatures. But if I were you. I would not attend any of these events. And they are going to be used against us no matter who’s behind them, and if some Trump people are behind them against the desire of the vast majority of the Trump people. That’s my view now. We’re now facing repression and oppression by the corporatists, not just big tech, but by banks, by big companies, by golf.”

“Now these media companies are interfering with my business, torturously interfering with what I do here, they’re interfering with my free speech and they are libeling me and I am monitoring them, as are others. They’re all thrown in, they’re all revealing themselves, and we need to sort through that to who’s going to get our business and who isn’t.”

Levin continued, as he spoke with conviction and eloquence that was as rousingly enticing as listening to your team hitting a buzzer beater or pick-six to beat their rival in the final seconds of the big game.

“But, we stand by our principles and good days and we stand by our principles and bad days, so we must continue to argue for freedom of speech. We must continue to argue for private property rights. We must continue to organize at the lowest levels of our system, of our communities and our government. We need to take this government back.”

The crescendo was followed by the facts that have been unfortunately difficult to accept by many; but Levin wouldn’t be the champion he is if he didn’t follow it up with a hopeful call to action that I truly believe was meant with the utmost sincerity.

“The electors have been counted. It’s over. But there’s two years from now and there’s four years from now, that’s the genius of the constitutional system, nothing is final. Will it be harder? Of course it’s going to be harder.”

Levin follows up his message with some advice for his audience.

 “I’m just saying, stay away from the hard hits, stay away from the fools. There have now been ninety arrests as a result of what happened last Wednesday– ninety. I’m sure hoping that The Washington Post or The New York Times will identify all these people. So far, they have done nothing, almost nothing. Cable TV, I sure hope they do too. But I’m a law and order conservative, I believe in civil society and I believe in the Constitution, and so do the tens of millions of you who listen to this program and read my books and watch me on TV.”

When you allow your politics to destroy your moral system. Then you have no moral system. That’s why you condemn violence and you defend the civil society.” Levin says of the importance of not trying to make any excuses for people who were involved with the events at the Capitol.

Bringing some amazing Bill Pullman style energy who just so happens to be my favorite President of all time, as he played the role of Commander in Chief in Independence Day, Levin reminds listeners down isn’t out and the future isn’t etched in stone.

“We’re not going to be dragged down by the thugs and the buffoons.”

Reminding listeners that dissent is not illegal but it is American, it’s not inciting violence to express oneself, effectively negating the constitutionality and legality to the bizarre, methodical design in which each of the dominoes fell; first silencing President Trump, second removing content that involved political analysis that showed any support for Trump and finally led to the thwarting of social media alternatives from personal devices, big technology.

“We’ve got to be smarter and more strategic.”

Though Levin is not planning to get down in the muck, nor does he make any unreasonable, historically inaccurate comment to further his agenda. This has been the loose framework exhibited by a select committee who’ve led a witch-hunt to silence the President—particularly when the President-Elect would have been another individual who’d have failed the arbitrary assessment enacted on the basis of handling the tragic events last week at the Capitol.

Meanwhile, President Trump’s hands were tied and his ability to communicate, speak with this country’s citizens to which he still represents as the Commander in Chief. A dynamic that even if this was flipped around, I would insist reverence and respect for an acting President. This dynamic and these asinine consequences have emulated a witch-hunt and lumped in essentially all conservative talk show voices and at times, all conservatives in general.

“This summer, when our streets were on fire and police were under attack and individuals were dying through these riots by Black Lives Matter and Antifa; Joe Biden never told people to stand down. Pelosi called police, storm troopers, Clyburn called police, storm troopers, but I’m telling people to stand down, I’m doing more than any of them have ever done. No violence.”

The reports that have been alleged in an article that was shared by Mark Levin on his show Monday, come on the heels of other private entertainment/tech companies barring the mention of content supporting President Trump from the airwaves. The company being accused has not responded to the claims according to the news outlet that initially made the report. But, Levin explained that the factors at okay here didn’t seem to be aligned with his experience or reflected in his or other coverage by conservative talk show hosts—rather, carefully placing a lit match on the pile of oil-soaked rags deliberately draped over the constitutional rights as they are set ablaze.

“Now, here’s the problem. I never got a memo. I never got any memo. Nobody threatened me. Nobody told me what I could and couldn’t say. Because if they did, you’d be hearing about it, but they didn’t. I don’t promote violence, but The Washington Post has a narrative.” shared Levin.

“And I have four years of broadcasts on our website MarkLevin.com. I have no idea what this article is about, nobody told me to stop dog whistle talk.

‘Cumulus Media Talk Radio Company with a roster of popular right wing personalities, including Dan Bongino, Mark Levin and Ben Shapiro, has warned its hosts to steer clear of misinformation about election fraud.

I’ve never been warned about anything and I don’t need to be warned about anything. That’s The New York Times.”

Mark Levin reads the narrative aloud for listeners and discusses the libelous dynamic at play and the intention at the center of things.

“They’re after talk radio and they’re after Fox News. They have shut down Parler. Parler hopes to be back at the end of the week. They’re not going to try and pick off hosts on Fox or hosts on conservative radio by lying about them.”

“Now, these media companies are interfering with my business, torturously interfering with what I do here, they’re interfering with my free speech and they are libeling me and I am monitoring them, as are others.”

“They’re not going to shut me up under any circumstances. If something happens here or something happens on Fox or something like that, I will have digital TV and I’ll have my podcast. But nobody has threatened me. None of them. They’re trying to create a controversy where there is none whatsoever. None whatsoever. That’s The Washington Post, that’s The New York Times, that’s the corrupt media in America. It’s a disgrace, an absolute disgrace.”

Despite these incredulously totalitarian efforts, Levin has the hope that all hope is not lost and it’s not too late to rectify the future but it isn’t going to be an effortless process to prevent the political vitriol from engulfing our government’s political future in flames.

“In 2022, it is my expectation we will take the house back and perhaps even the Senate. And put the brakes on all of this. And as you know, I was one of the leading voices and wrote an entire book on convention of the state, so we need to get that thing fired up again.

“They’re all thrown in, they’re all revealing themselves, and we need to sort through that to who’s going to get our business and who isn’t. But we stand by our principles and good days and we stand by our principles and bad days, and so we must continue to argue for freedom of speech. We must continue to argue for private property rights. We must continue to organize at the lowest levels of our system, of our communities and our government. We need to take this government back.”

“The First Amendment’s under attack. Biden says the Second Amendment is going to be under attack. We have Democrat senators, some of whom have been utterly irresponsible, some for decades, wanting their colleagues expelled. Or censured or otherwise punished. You have lawyers, legal groups, students trying to disbar senators. Basically, doing what communist China does and they will bend to communist China, Amazon does. Apple does. Twitter does. Facebook does. But here, they are free. To target people with whom they disagree, if you look at this company Parler is not right wing / left-wing. Parler is any open platform.” explained Levin.

“And yet, The Washington Post and The New York Times—Twitter, which is its competitor, Amazon, Google and Facebook, have managed to to define it. To create a narrative around Parler that it must be a ‘proud boy site,’ when, in fact, there are millions and millions of people there now and it’s growing. And once it’s back at the end of the week, I think it’s really going to take off.” Follow Mark Levin and The Mark Levin Show airing daily on WW1.

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BNM Writers

Market Still Finding 2023 Footing

After some rigorous data analysis, the thoughtful, numbers-based host was able to formulate some potential conclusions.

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While it’s hard to imagine 2023 being as painful for investors as 2022, experts still cannot say for certain we are destined for blue skies ahead. Many in the media are starting the year by sifting through the stock market tea leaves; trying to figure out what historical data can tell us about probabilities and expectations for the next twelve months.

Some think the United States is poised for a market rebound, while others remain quite bearish, feeling that negative policy implications have yet to be fully realized.

Peter Tuchman of Trademas Inc. joined Neil Cavuto on his Fox News program Friday, to offer his thoughts about where the American stock market might be headed in light of the newly-divided United States Congress.

“Markets have a sort of a gut of their own,” Cavuto opened. “Today’s a good example. We’re up 300 points, ended up down 112 points. What’s going on?”

“Markets don’t like unknowns, and markets need confidence. The investing community needs confidence,” Tuchman said. “And I think it’s going to take a lot of work to rebuild that. And as we saw the other night with what went on in the House, it feels like people should get busy governing as opposed to all this posturing.”

Six months ago, Tuchman didn’t have a solid feel for the direction of the market. And just two trading weeks into the year, he still doesn’t believe any real trend has been established.

“The market has yet to find its ground. It’s yet to find its footing,” Tuchman told Cavuto. “And still, even coming into 2023, the first week of trading we have not found our footing. We have come in on a couple of economic notes that were a little bit positive. We opened up with a little bit of irrational enthusiasm. By the end of the days we were trading down.”

Meanwhile, some financial outlets, such as CNBC, have dug into the data showing what a market rise during the year’s first week – such as what we experienced this year – potentially means for the rest of 2023. They published a story last week with the headline, Simple ‘first five days’ stock market indicator is poised to send a good omen for 2023“.

On an episode of his popular YouTube program late last week, James from Invest Answers dug into 73 years of stock market data, to test that theory and see if the first five days of yearly stock market performance are an indicator of what the market might do over the full year.

“Some analysts pay attention to this, the first five trading day performance, can it be an indicator of a good year or a bad year,” James began last week, “I wanted to dig into all of that and get the answer for myself. Because some people think yes. Some people swear blind by it. Some people think it’s a myth or an old wive’s tale. Some people think it’s a great omen.”

After some rigorous data analysis, the thoughtful, numbers-based host was able to formulate some potential conclusions.

Based on James’ analysis…

If the gains from the first five market days of the year are negative, the market rises 86 percent of the time over the full year, with an average gain of 6%.

If the first five days are positive, the market increases 92% of the time, with an average yearly gain of 16%.

Most importantly, in this year’s scenario, where the first five days saw a jump of more than 1%, the market traditionally ends positive for the year 95 percent of the time. Those years see an average yearly gain of 18%.

“Is it a good omen, does it look bullish?” James asked. “Well, yes, based on history. But remember, there are factors like inflation, interest rates, geopolitical turmoil, supply chains, slowing economy. All that stuff is in play. But history also says that the market bounces bounces back before the market even realizes it’s in a recession. That’s an important thing to know.”

On his Your World program, Cavuto wondered if the recent House speaker voting drama has added to the uncertainty facing markets.

“Historically, Wall Street definitely is a bit more friendly to a Republican administration,” Tuchman said. “We’re in new ground, there’s no playbook, Neil. And I went over it with you the last time. There’s no playbook for coming out of a pandemic. No playbook for what’s gone on over the last two and a half years. Let’s think about it. March 2020, the market sold off so radically. We had a rally of 20 percent in 2020. 28 percent in 2021, in the eyes of a global economic shutdown due to the Federal Reserve’s posturing and whatnot.

“And now we’re trying to unwind that position. In tech, and in possible recession, and inflation and supply chain issues. So, there’s no way historically to make a judgment on what the future looks like in that realm, let alone what’s going on in the dis-functionality of what’s happening in Washington. I would like to disengage what’s going on in Washington and try and rebuild the confidence in the market coming into 2023.” 

So while the data might indicate a strong year ahead, the fact is that many analysts still won’t make that definitive call amidst such economic turmoil gripping the country. 

Along with U.S. markets, they remain steadfast in their search for solid footing.

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BNM Writers

Does Radio Need A Video Star?

If there’s revenue attached, the debate is over. If there isn’t a deal on the table, and there aren’t already orders to monetize a video stream, it’s likely coming soon.

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Last week numerous stories about using video with broadcasting or audio podcasting became a hot topic of discussion.

A Morning Consult poll found that 32% of Americans prefer podcasts with video, compared with 26% who like just audio better. Among podcast listeners, 46% said they favor them with video, compared with 42% who said they would rather listen without video. It’s worth noting that these are podcast listeners, not radio listeners.

Video has become the latest trend in audio. Almost everybody is trying to do some form of video. Many shows already stream online. A few others simulcast on a television or cable channel. It seems nobody believes in pure audio anymore. It’s a wonder everybody didn’t go into television instead of radio.

Before everybody else starts adding webcams in the studio, it’s worth weighing the reasons to move ahead versus slowing down.

The first person to realize they could use video of their show may have been Howard Stern. In June 1994, Stern started a daily half-hour show on E! network, featuring video highlights from his radio show. Stern added slick production values and faster pacing on the E! show.

Don Imus started simulcasting on cable during the same month. It’s possible others that I’m not aware of started earlier.

Stern’s E! show made sense. It answered the most common questions people asked about the show, in addition to what’s he really like; the first questions people usually asked were: 1) Are the women really as good-looking as he says? 2) Do they really take their clothes off? The E! show answered those questions. In addition, it gave a backstage glimpse of the show.

The same month Stern’s E! Show began, Imus began simulcasting his show on cable networks. I would have feared losing ratings. In fact, Imus’ program director did!

I spoke to my long-time friend and colleague Mark Chernoff (Current Managing Director of Mark Chernoff Talent and on-air talent 107.1 The Boss on the NJ Shore, Former Senior VP WFAN and CBS Sports Radio, VP Sports Programming CBS Radio) about the impact simulcasting Imus’ show had on WFAN. Chernoff may have the broadest range of experiences with simulcasting radio programs with video. 

Imus began on CSPAN but shortly afterward moved to MSNBC. Chernoff told me: “When we started simulcasting Imus, I suggested we’d lose about 15% of our radio audience to TV, which we did.” Chernoff added that there was a significant revenue contribution and that the company was content with the trade-off.

WFAN had a different experience simulcasting Mike and the Mad Dog on YES in 2002. “In this case, TV was helpful, and we increased listenership,” said Chernoff. WFAN also benefited financially from this simulcast.

Imus was on in morning drive while Mike & the Mad Dog were on in the afternoon. Keep the era in mind, too. Before smartphones and high-speed streaming, it was not uncommon for people to have televisions in the bed or bathrooms and have the tv on instead of the radio as they got ready for their day. In the afternoon, fewer people would have had video access in that era.

Ratings measurement moved to Portable People Meter (PPM) by the time WFAN started streaming middays on its website. Chernoff reported streaming had no ratings or revenue impact – positive or negative – on middays. However, the company did provide an additional dedicated person to produce the video stream.

The early forays into video by pioneers such as Stern, Imus, and Mike & the Mad Dog are instructive.

There are good reasons to video stream shows. Revenue is a good reason.

If there’s revenue attached, the debate is over. If there isn’t a deal on the table, and there aren’t already orders to monetize a video stream, it’s likely coming soon.

Another good reason is if the video can answer questions about the show, as the E! show did for Howard Stern.

On the other hand, audio companies are going to throw a lot of money at video, based on the notion that it’s what they “should” do because:

  • It’s the latest trend. Being late on this trend is different from missing the Internet or Podcasting. Industries already revolve around video; television and film come to mind.
  • Podcast listeners like it (by a slight plurality).

Before turning on webcams, see what viewers will see. The studios at many stations I’ve worked at were better not seen. Considerations include; the set, lighting, wardrobe, visuals, and a plan.

Too many video streams of studios feature the fire extinguisher prominently in the shot or the air personalities milling about during terminally long breaks.

Before going live, watch the video with no audio. Is it interesting? Compelling? Does the video draw you in, or is it dull?

With program directors now spread so thin handling multiple stations, a dedicated person to oversee streaming should be a requirement for stations streaming shows.

Other considerations:

  • How could this help us, and how could it hurt us?
  • How does the video enhance the show?
  • Will personalities do their radio show or perform for the cameras?
  • What production values are you able to add to the video?
  • What happens during those seven- eight-minute breaks if it’s a live radio show (vs. a podcast)? What will people streaming video see and hear? Does everybody on the show get along?

Do you have revenue attached? What do you expect will happen to the ratings?

WFAN earned significant revenue for two. Therefore, the company wasn’t concerned when the ratings took a hit for the first one and were surprised when they helped the second one. They didn’t see any impact on ratings or revenue the third time.

After all the budget cuts and workforce reductions over the past decade-plus, before audio companies invest in video, shouldn’t we get: people, marketing, promotion, or research monies back first?

Most of us decided to get into radio (or podcasting) instead of television or film. There’s a reason they said, “video killed the radio star.”

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BNM Writers

Streaming Platforms Cannot Be Forgotten By News/Talk Program Directors

BNM’s Pete Mundo writes that if you’re a News/Talk program director, you run two radio stations and what comes through the streaming platforms.

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If you’re a News/Talk program director, you run two radio stations. Didn’t you know that? Oh. Well, you do. 

I’m not just referring to our over-the-air broadcast but also what comes through our streaming platforms. Alexa, Google Home, apps, computers, etc., are all streaming platforms of our radio stations, which for most of us, are airing different commercial inventory than what is coming through the radio.

I understand none of us are unnecessarily looking to add to our plate, but our streaming platforms are the way we are getting more people to use our product. So neglecting, or forgetting about it, is a bad business decision, especially in the talk space. 

Across all clusters, talk radio is far more likely to have high streaming use when it comes to total listening hours. Listeners are more loyal to our personalities and often can’t get the AM dial in their office buildings during the day, or even if they can, they don’t want to hear our voices through static, so they pull up the stream. 

It’s never been easier to listen to talk radio stations, thanks to our station apps and websites (although welcoming some sites to the 21st century would be a good idea). So, given the challenges many of us face on the AM band, why not push our audience to the stream and make sure the stream sounds just as good as the over-the-air product?

The tricky part in putting together a quality stream sound is trying to balance what ads are programmatic, which ones are sold locally, where is the unfilled inventory and what is filling that gap?

And unlike your over-the-air product, where you can go into a studio, see what’s coming up, and move inventory around, that technology is not available in most cases. So yes, it’s a guessing game.

But as the talk climate continues to change, the best thing we can do to build our brand and trust with the next generation of talk radio listeners is to find them and engage them where they are, which may not always be next to a physical radio. That will be on a stream. How do I know that? Because if they have a smartphone, they have (access to) the stream.

Of course, the over-the-air product remains the massive revenue generator for our stations, as in most cases, the streaming revenue is not close to comparable. But then, if we look years down the road, that will likely start to change. 

To what degree? That’s unknown. But double-digit growth on an annual basis should not be out of the question when it comes to stream listening. It should be a very achievable goal, especially in our format. So our listeners who are P1’s, love the station and want to consume as much of the content as they can, can be on the AirPods in the gym, desk at work, or in their home office and listen to our radio stations. 

Heck, with Alexa and Google Home, they don’t even have to turn a dial! They just speak. So if they’re there, let’s keep them there.

There are simply too many media options today to lose our listeners due to sloppy streaming quality that makes us sound like a college radio station. Instead, listeners, who find us there should be rewarded with a listening experience that is just as high-quality as what they would get on the AM or FM band.

And if we play our cards right, it will be better, serving the industry incredibly well through a new generation of listeners.

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