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Chris Stigall Looks to Listen Rather Than Thinking of Next Destination

Stigall said it’s a skill to actually listen to what guests say instead of thinking ahead to where you want to go next. Then take it in a different direction that can’t be planned.

Jim Cryns

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There’s nothing worse than a guy who grows a little beard. Tufts of hair in odd places don’t scream masculinity–or even good grooming. Chris Stigall can grow a rather formidable beard, but it comes with its share of grief.

“I couldn’t believe the audacity of people who touched my beard without asking, like people touching a woman’s belly. Now I know what pregnant women mean,” Stigall said. “People wanted to comment whether I solicited their opinion or not. They’d say they dug the beard. Or hated the beard. Always unsolicited.”

He started growing the beard as a Covid protest. “I decided if people were going to act insane, I would lean in and look the part. It got pretty long.”

Stigall took his beloved beard to get trimmed. “She cut it to pieces,” he lamented. “I got really irritated. My kids pointed at me and laughed. So, I started over and shaved it down to the skin. I’ll be damned if my kids didn’t want me to grow it back. They’re used to it now.”

Stigall said he quit drinking 3 ½ years ago, and things have been better all around. “I’ve lost 90 pounds, and I feel great. Now I can wake up functioning, I sleep better, more soundly. I drank entirely too much. Almost every day.”

Since he quit drinking, he’s been more aware. “I’ve become more conscious of everything and everyone. Especially God,” Stigall said.

That awareness has caused him to see the change in humanity as of late. “I can feel the heaviness of it all,” he said. “It’s not all fun and games like it used to be. I feel there is a genuine heaviness among people today. The human spirit is in jeopardy. The collective psyche of our country has taken a lot of hard knocks. When we talk, I feel what they’re feeling.” Of course, I still want to entertain and laugh, but not for zaniness’ sake anymore. I prefer sincerity.”

Stigall’s interest in radio started in 4th grade. He remembers his parents waking up and getting ready for their day.

“My dad was shaving, and my mother was putting on makeup. They were laughing hysterically while listening to a morning show. That made such an impression on me. I recognized the power of that, and I knew I wanted to be part of it. Throughout school, any time I had a chance to announce or broadcast or address an audience, I took it.”

In high school, he tried football. His father was very good at football and played in college. Stigall said he wasn’t that interested in playing the sport but wanted to make his father proud.

“I was a big enough kid, so they put me on the line,” Stigall explained. “If you’ve played the game, you know those guys are hungry for blood, grunting at each other. That wasn’t me. I got mowed over like I was hit by a dump truck.”

Stigall realized he hated playing the sport instantly and tearfully approached his father to break the news after the first game.

“I remember his reaction so well. He asked, ‘Then why are you doing this?’ I told him I wanted to make him proud. He reminded me he never even suggested I play. Ever. It was all in my head. I learned I’m not a physically aggressive guy.”

Stigall said his parents were always supportive of his choice to go into radio. However, his father was adamant about his son finishing school.

“In my sophomore year in college, I was offered a monster 20-grand to work for a morning show in Kansas City with Randy Miller. My father went ballistic. He insisted I finish school first, so I did.”

Randy Miller was huge in the 90s, making big money. He wanted to hire Stigall to produce his show. Stigall interned with him throughout college. Stigall’s radio career has spanned over twenty years as a producer, writer, news anchor, and DJ prior to making the transition to talk radio.

Part of his journey took him to a late-night talk show.

“I was a huge David Letterman fan when I was 16,” Stigall said. “I was enamored with what seemed to be the irreverence of his show and personality. It was also the unconventionality of it all. It wasn’t racy or political. Letterman did bits like The man under the stairs. Jumping against Velcro. Throwing stuff off the roof. It was all benign by today’s standards. I also loved watching awards shows strictly for the hosts. That’s what appealed to me. The person in charge of keeping things moving.”

While in college, he learned The Late Show with David Letterman was looking for interns. He responded to the search and was rejected. They thanked him but told him they were full for the summer. He surmised they were looking for a pedigree, an Ivy League intern. Turns out they discovered over the years they preferred the work ethic of small school, Midwest kids.  

His friends encouraged him to apply again.

“I was in a conventional headspace where you only did your internships during the summer,” Stigall said. “I realized I could also take a semester off instead. I reapplied and was invited to fly out with 30 other kids.”

Stigall interviewed with Letterman’s staff, who whittled it down to 15 students, and he was one of them. Stigall interviewed every department on the show. While sitting with human resources, he was asked which department he wanted to intern.

“I told her I was just happy to be there,” Stigall said. “I knew I might get stuck in the mailroom if I sounded too aggressive. I didn’t want to make a mistake in the interview. She told me to drop the politically correct answers and just tell her which department I wanted. I told her I wanted the writing department. I interned with the writers on the show in the fall of ’98, and it was a high honor.”

He quickly learned show business is terribly cynical. Comedy isn’t all the fun and games you may think it is.

His biggest lesson with the Letterman show? Don’t meet your heroes.

“I’ll just say I had hoped to shake the hand of my hero, David Letterman,” Stigall said. That did not materialize. He figured at that moment; Letterman didn’t have a lot of time for that kind of stuff. Then the interns got a bit of good news. There was a scheduled day on the semester calendar to have Lunch with Dave.

“I thought I was finally going to meet the guy,” Stigall said. After lunch was served, his personal assistant came in and asked, ‘Ok – what questions do you have for Dave that we can answer?’ 

“I was devastated. I did meet him years later at a charity event and I told him I was once his intern. He was lovely. We took a photo, and he gave me his autograph.”

As a result, Stigall said, when he meets young people interested in the business, he goes out of his way to encourage and help them. While Letterman came up short on a personal level, Stigall admires the man’s mastery of the craft.

One of the primary components of being a good host, Stigall said, is an insatiable curiosity more than anything else.

“You have to be able to listen and react. Conan O’Brien is tremendous at it. When guests talk, he takes in every word, just waiting for a word or phrase to knock it out of the park. He hears a keyword in their response and turns that into a joke. That’s been my focus throughout my career.”

Stigall said it’s a skill to actually listen to what guests say instead of thinking ahead to where you want to go next. Then take it in a different direction that can’t be planned.

Stigall is on the air mornings from 6-9 ET in Philadelphia on AM 990 The Answer. After a short break, he broadcasts on KCMO Talk Radio in Kansas City from 10-noon CT.

“It’s really the same type of show in each city,” Stigall explained. “I keep up on the information and goings on in each city. I have very talented producers in both cities to make sure I don’t miss anything.”

He stays abreast of the national issues while his team helps him stay connected to both cities. Stigall said he repurposes a lot of information but needs the local flavor, too.

“That balance helps to get it right. I communicate with my producers by text. We know each other well enough to create a little shorthand with our messages. I’ve been fortunate with great producers.”

The business can cause you to take an inventory of yourself. Stigall talked about Michael Savage when he did a nationally syndicated show.

“There were times Savage was moody and maudlin on the air,” Stigall said. “One day, he described his audience by saying ‘the tent is empty,’ and I knew exactly what he meant. Sometimes you just feel like nobody is listening. You think, ‘it’s summer or the holidays, or people are burned out, and you convince yourself people have checked out. You feel like a psychopath just talking to yourself alone in a room some days.”

Covid has changed the way Stigall sees some things and affected the tone of many of his shows.

“During COVID, I began taking calls from people who were frightened about losing their job or those without a job. People who were genuinely terrified of illness,” Stigall explained. “Or they were scared and hurt for their kids. It was extraordinarily heavy. I personally feel I’m connecting with people like never before. Many people feel like they are in this alone.” He said many are still grieving and stunted. Covid has taken a toll on all of us.

“It seems like sometimes we’re campaigning to keep people away from each other. Psychologically I think it’s the kids who have lost the most, and we’re only beginning to understand it.” 

“I wish I could tell you that I pray every day. I hate that I don’t. That’s one thing I want to improve. I’m surrounded by a wonderful church home and pastor as well as a group of guys who meet once a week on Saturday mornings. I think it’s important we’re all a little vulnerable when we meet. There’s a value in men helping other men through their spiritual walks. We talk about our struggles in our study conversations and in prayer.”

With devotion to his faith, Stigall said he’s grateful to work for the Salem Media Group. “I’m not blowing smoke. I’ve worked for most of the broadcast companies, but Salem is the only faith-first broadcaster in the country,” Stigall said. “We’re very mission-oriented and make no apologies for that. When I signed with them, it became clear my walk with God was steering me that way. He wanted me to have a home where I was free to be fully open.” 

How do listeners in Philadelphia and Kansas City relate to his beliefs?

“I get lovely emails and notes from people who say they appreciate it. Occasionally I’ll get someone who tells me they don’t appreciate what they hear as me’ preaching.’ I earnestly never mean to sound like a sermon. I simply try to explain – when I think it fits – what carries me through when things feel bleak. If you’re lost in despair, what I now try to freely talk about is how Christ helps me. That was never something I did or was encouraged to do most of my career.” 

Stigall said he hasn’t always been on the right side of his faith.

“One of my great failings with my drinking was when I got a DUI several years ago,” Stigall explained. “Fortunately, I didn’t hurt anyone, but that doesn’t excuse it. I was mortified. When I was put in the squad car and detained, the cop was actually listening to my radio station. He recognized me. I’d never been more ashamed of myself in my life.”

He said it was a divine conversation in worship one Sunday when a sermon focused on the question, “do you truly want to get well? Do you mean what you say about your trust in the Lord?” If so, he had to get serious.

“Drinking was my escape. Sometimes the anxiety of our business can get to you. I’m not nuts about being out and social. It’s strangely difficult for me. The mixed company makes me uneasy. I figured the best way to deal with that was to get plastered and not be there. To numb myself.”

Since he’s been sober, Stigall said he’s on point at all times.

“When I’m uneasy and think I want a drink, I lean on Christ instead. I’ve never had to wake up the next morning and apologize to someone for my prayers.”

BNM Writers

Does the Republican Establishment Get It?

For many it seemed that the Republican establishment stood idly by as Democrats changed the rules and worked behind the scenes to alter elections.

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In a move that seemed to go against the wishes of the patriotic American grassroots, the Republican party on Friday re-elected RNC Chairperson Ronna McDaniel. 

The media immediately took notice, as many on television and radio are now wondering why the party would re-elect a chairperson who has been so unpopular with the base of its party. 

Grant Stinchfield discussed this issue Friday night on his program, Stinchfield Tonight, which airs on Real America’s Voice network.

“Ronna McDaniel holds on to her chairmanship of the Republican Party. By a whopping total of — what were the numbers– 111 to 54. Harmeet Dhillon only received 54 votes. Mike Lindell 4 votes. This is proof to me that the Republican establishment is dug in,” Stinchfield — formerly of Newsmax — said. “Don’t tell me they’re out of touch. See, you tell me they’re out of touch, that implies ignorance. They’re not ignorant about anything.”

As sentiment for Dhillon grew in the days leading up to Friday’s vote, many influential politicians and party donors publicly offered her their support and endorsement. These included Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), as well as donors Mike Rydin, Dick Uihlein, and Bernie Marcus.

Also on board were musician and outspoken conservative John Rich, along with the state GOP of Nebraska and Washington State. Countless journalists and media personalities, such as Charlie Kirk, Miranda Divine, and Lou Dobbs, also came out publicly in support of Dhillon. Former President Donald Trump remained neutral, not making a public choice of either of the three candidates.

For many of Dhillon’s supporters, the deciding factor was public sentiment across the party’s base.

“They’re reading the same chat boards. They’re getting the same emails I’m reading. I will literally post something about this race when I was supporting Harmeet Dhillon. There was not one comment – not one – that supported Ronna McDaniel. Everyone wanted change,” Stinchfield said, noting that the party elite saw the same groundswell of support for change.

“Now, nobody has an issue as Ronna McDaniel is some evil kind of person. I don’t believe she is. I believe, though, that she is part of the establishment. She’s been around too long as far as the establishment goes. And she’s been ingrained in doing business as usual. It’s not working.”

In making their choices known, many Dhillon supporters simply pointed to the scoreboard during McDaniel’s reign.

“Think about where we are. 2018, we lost the House. 2020, we lost everything. 2022, we won the House, but we should have really steamrolled the House and we should have taken back the Senate, which we didn’t do,” Stinchfield said. “That means we’re on a real losing track since she took over. I don’t like being on a losing track. I like being on a winning track.

“Something has got to change when you talk about all of this. So how does Ronna McDaniel get 111 votes and Harmeet Dhillon only get 54 votes, when everyone, every Republican voter I talk to said it was time for change?” pondered Stinchfield.

And even more than the losses, for many it seemed that the Republican establishment stood idly by as Democrats changed the rules and worked behind the scenes to alter elections. The most recent example of which came in Arizona, where presumptive gubernatorial favorite, Kari Lake, was “defeated” when countless voting irregularities occurred in some of the state’s most deep-red areas.

“Under her watch, Democrats instituted a mail-in ballot scheme. That may be even worse than losing, when you talk about the House and the Senate and all these things. The fact that we now have a junk mail-in ballot scheme across the country under Ronna McDaniel’s watch is serious trouble. Very serious trouble,” Stinchfield said on Friday. “And so the reason it is is because the Democrats are rigging the system.”

For years – until Donald Trump descended the golden escalator and took the world by storm – the Republican party had the reputation of being the party of the rich. Rush Limbaugh used to refer to this wing of Republicans as “the country club crowd.” President Donald Trump flipped the narrative completely, offering a clear vision of hope and patriotism to working-class America.

Reputable polling — such as Richard Baris’ Big Data Poll — consistently showed Trump running well ahead of almost every Republican candidate during the 2022 mid-term election cycle. In other words, Trump still maintains considerably more support across the country than most of the individual Senate or House candidates experienced.

Many experts believe this is because voters still view Trump as an outsider, while they view the Republican party much less favorably.

“Let’s tell you how out of touch they are, how elitist they are,” Stinchfield said, calling out the GOP establishment. “This meeting that went on, do you know where it is? It’s at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch in California. One of the most expensive resorts in America. You’re lucky if you get a room for a thousand dollars a night down there on Dana Point. Now, it’s a beautiful hotel, but why is the Republican Party holding an event there? Then I went back and I looked at what RedState did. RedState went back and looked at some of the expenses that the Republican Party under Ronna McDaniel’s leadership was spending money on.

“Take a look at this. $3.1 million on private jets. $1.3 million on limousine and chauffeur services. $17.1 million on donor mementos. $750,000 on floral arrangements. Now you compare this to the Democrats. The Democrats spent $35,000 on private airfare. A thousand dollars on floral arrangements. A thousand. Not $750,000. A thousand. And the $17.1 million they spent on donor mementos, the Democrats spent $1.5 million.

“Democrats know where to put the money. It’s not giving donors gifts. Donors shouldn’t want gifts. If you give money, give money. You don’t need the fancy pin to put on your lapel.”

Following her loss, Dhillon warned her party that it must listen to the base, saying, “if we ignore this message, I think it’s at our peril. It’s at our peril personally, as party leaders and it’s at our peril for our party in general.”

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BNM Writers

The State of the Radio Industry and Technology

“As the industry continues to evolve, radio broadcasters must find new ways to monetize their digital offerings and adapt to changing listener habits.”

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After writing some three-dozen columns for Barrett Media, I often hear that I don’t provide a balanced view of the radio industry. Therefore, this week, I will write about the strengths and weaknesses of the radio industry. It may be a little simplistic, but it will make sense at the end. I promise.

The radio broadcasting business continues to evolve in the digital age, with strengths and challenges to consider. One of the most significant strengths of radio is its ability to reach a broad audience. Radio waves can travel long distances, allowing local stations to reach listeners beyond their immediate area. This makes radio a powerful tool for both local and national advertisers. Radio also reaches audiences in their cars, at work, and at home, providing advertisers with multiple touchpoints. According to the Radio Advertising Bureau, radio reaches 93% of adults in the United States each week, making it one of the most widely consumed mediums. Furthermore, radio is a cost-effective form of advertising, with lower ad rates than other media forms. This allows small businesses to reach a large audience without breaking the bank.

Another strength of radio is its role in emergency communication. In times of crisis, radio can provide important information to listeners quickly and efficiently. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires all radio stations to have emergency alert systems, allowing them to disseminate critical information to the public promptly. Radio can be a lifeline for communities during natural disasters, power outages, or other emergencies, providing updates on road closures, evacuation orders, and other important information. Radio can reach remote areas where other forms of communication may not be as reliable. This makes radio a vital tool for emergency responders, who rely on it to coordinate responses and disseminate information.

Despite these strengths, the radio industry faces several challenges in the digital age. One of the biggest challenges is competition from other media outlets, such as streaming services and podcasts. The rise of these digital platforms has led to a decline in traditional radio listening, which is likely to continue. 

According to a Nielsen report, traditional radio listening among adults aged 18-34 has dropped by 20% over the last decade. Additionally, many radio stations are struggling to monetize their digital offerings, which has led to a decline in revenue. However, radio has been able to adapt by incorporating streaming services, podcasts, and other digital platforms, which allows them to reach a wider audience and cater to changing listening habits.

Another challenge is the consolidation of the radio industry. In recent years, there has been a significant amount of it, with a small number of companies owning multiple stations. This has led to less programming diversity and less market competition. This can lead to a homogenization of content, with less local flavor and less opportunity for new voices in the industry. However, many smaller independent stations have survived by providing unique and localized content catering to the needs of their community.

Despite these challenges, the radio industry continues to generate significant revenue. The Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) says that radio advertising revenue in the United States reached $18.9 billion in 2019. The radio industry has been able to adapt to the changing market, with many stations now offering a combination of traditional and digital programming. The industry has also been able to monetize digital offerings by incorporating targeted advertising, sponsorships, and other revenue streams.In conclusion, the radio broadcasting business is facing challenges in the digital age, but it continues to have an enormous audience reach and role in emergency communication. 

Additionally, the industry continues to generate significant revenue. As the industry continues to evolve, radio broadcasters must find new ways to monetize their digital offerings and adapt to changing listener habits.

If my analysis seems a little simplistic or this column doesn’t seem like my typical style, it’s because I didn’t write it. The column was written using artificial intelligence (AI). More specifically, by the hottest tech trend these days, ChatGPT.

How hot? Here are a couple of data points from a report in Axios.

  • In June, generative AI was covered in only 152 articles. Just six months later, the topic has generated roughly 12,000 news stories, according to MuckRack data.
  • At this year’s CES trade show, 579 exhibitors were listed under the show’s “Artificial Intelligence” category — more than double of those categorized as “Metaverse” (176), “Cryptocurrency” (19), and “Blockchain” (55) combined.

ChatGPT is AI technology that allows you to have regular conversations with a chatbot that can answer questions and help with tasks such as writing columns. 

ChatGPT is what Siri wants to be when she grows up.

ChatGPT is currently open and free while it’s in its research and feedback collection phase. If it’s not perfect, it’s certainly a lot of fun. It is also quite helpful when researching a topic (as long as the information you need is pre-2021). It is much more efficient and precise than Google, any other search engine, or Siri. I find myself obsessed with seeing what it knows and can do. If you try it, you probably will be too.

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BNM Writers

WTIC’s Todd Feinburg Caught The Radio Bug At An Early Age

“I don’t do Fox imitation radio, which is the backbone of a lot of talk. I want to think. I want my brain to be turned on.”

Jim Cryns

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The man is familiar with turbulence, air pockets, and I hope to god he’s never experienced wind shear. You see, early in his career, radio talker Todd Feinburg was a helicopter traffic reporter in Boston.

“I love to fly, but hated being in the air in that contraption,” he said. “It was like a VW bug, a little bubble with a blade on top. If the wind wasn’t blowing too hard, it was fine. It was an amazing way to get to know Boston. I always loved being on radio, and got a charge out of it.”He was seemingly destined to be involved in radio, in one form or another. Feinburg’s mother tells him a story about when he was young that explains a lot of his future endeavors.“My mother is 92, but still very alert and intellectual,” he said. “She tells me how they had borrowed a tape recorder more than 60 years ago. It was a reel-to-reel and they had set it on the dining table. I was two years old and sitting on my father’s lap.”His father was an engineer and took an opportunity to explain a contraption on the table.“He described to me how a voice went through the microphone and onto the tape,” Feinburg said. “I guess my eyes lit up, even though there was no way I could have understood what he was describing. They said they knew right then I was going to be involved in radio in some way.”Isn’t that how all news talkers get started?As a former restaurant owner, along with his wife, Feinburg can be critical, or at least wary of new places. He wants restaurants to deliver on what they promise.“We went to a restaurant in Cambridge, MA last week,” Feinburg explained. “We didn’t know what it was, but it was described as a New American restaurant, whatever that means. We decided to give it a shot. They had a knack for making all the usual dishes seem different.”That causes some immediate skepticism about the delivery of a promise. Feinburg said he’s kind of a traditionalist and wants his pancakes to be pancakes. The pancakes he was familiar with and grew up eating.“But these guys made theirs with cornmeal instead of wheat corn. I could actually see the corn and I should have been appalled. But they were amazing. My wife is a believer that a restaurant experience can be magical,” Feinburg said. “She has an uncanny ability to do that and she’s been cooking since she was a kid.”Feinburg said cooking can be totally intuitive, like radio. No two meals are exactly alike, just as no two radio shows are alike. “I feel that to be effective you have to maximize potential. Access both sides of the human brain. Get both sides firing.”Some restaurants run a great kitchen but can’t run the front of the house. Feinburg said gone are the days when you should expect service like we did 10 years ago. Covid may have had something to do with that.“Hosts used to thank you when you came in,” Feinburg recalled. “Today you get some teenager chewing gum or on their phone. Often in an outfit that is too sexy and just ask, ‘Two for lunch?’ Then she starts walking toward the table and is there when you arrive.”He said he tries to calm himself before he goes out to a restaurant. Prepare myself for any possible experience. He and his wife prefer to go to a particular restaurant where the staff has been tested by Feinburg, so he really gets it his way.Feinburg said artisanal pizzas are hard to make and expensive to produce. If a pizza sits too long before it is served, it loses a lot of its quality.“I try to develop a relationship with the server upfront,” he said. “I acknowledge I know they’re busy, but explain how the chef wants us to enjoy his special pizza hot. They get the hint and bring it out right away. It’s a win-win because I often leave them a much higher tip.”When he’s not out eating hot pizza, Feinburg can be heard daily from 3-6 on WTIC NewsTalk 1080. He also hosts a podcast, a longer segment where he can extend solid conversations that need more legroom.“If I find something going in a good direction on the air, or if I think there’s a lot more meat to a topic, I’ll find a way to pick it up on my podcast,” Feinburg said. “Sometimes a story might be long-winded but still going in the right direction. I’ll find a place to stretch it out. By the same token if I’m interviewing someone on a podcast and come across some interesting stuff I can cut that up and use it on my live broadcast.”On the air Feinburg enjoys bouncing off audio cuts saying it adds life and energy to the spoken word format.“You can make fun of some cuts and that gives you a lot of direction and momentum. As a host you learn to adapt. I’ve done morning drive for five years in Boston. It’s a tight clock and you get six minute segments if you’re lucky. Then you’re off to traffic and weather. You want a guest to give you a good six minutes, but some people can’t talk and that stalls the segment.”Feinburg attended Tufts and majored in political science. His mother was a professor at the university in early education and child psychology.Everything changed for Feinburg when he discovered the school’s radio station, WMFO. “We’d call it WM F*** Off,” Feinburg said.Feinburg said these days Tufts is probably more prestigious than when he attended in the 1970s. “It’s not quite an Ivy League school,” he said. “I don’t think it had as strong of an identity when I was there, but a lot of schools have been elevated since then. We’ve got so much Federal money going into schools. It wasn’t an irrelevant school, but now it’s well thought of in Boston and is synonymous with Ivy League. You get the benefits of the city without having to be in the city.”Perhaps from exposure to his mother’s work, Feinburg said he enjoys politics from a psychological point of view.“I like to see how psychology is responsible for what happens in our lives,” he said. “Particularly with politicians and how they’re always running a two-bit hustle on constituents. I don’t do Fox imitation radio, which is the backbone of a lot of talk. I want to think. I want my brain to be turned on.”He said it’s politicians who have enabled Connecticut to go ‘down the tubes.’“It used to be one of the great states from a fiscal perspective and economic position,” Feinburg said. “It was an economic actor. Companies wanted to go there. They liked the geography. Now it’s gotten to the point where the governor has ravaged the state. It’s too expensive to live here.  Companies are moving out. Young professionals don’t want to move here.”He said he blames the Democratic party for the mess. “The Democrats destroy the poor people while trying to appear to advocate for them,” Feinburg said. “They entrap people in these violent places. That is where my politics differ from them. We suffer from sluggishness. Everything is failing to function. We need to do better than our founders did. If you’re poor, you’re trapped. Struggling. If you’re new to the country or area, people move to Hartford. Then people you know or relatives are looking for a place to live, and you tell them to come to Hartford. So, they go there. You have violence that wouldn’t be accepted anywhere else in the state. You’ve got the worst schools. You get sent enough government money to make sure you don’t starve. There’s no capital, no way to start a new business. There’s no education. You speak some kind of dialect, and there’s nobody who tells you the right way to speak.”Why would Democrats push for and work for such entrapment?“They’ve created a core constituency,” Feinburg explained. “They prioritize desegregation and that’s not an achievable goal. They funnel billions of dollars into a model that is stupid that doesn’t help anyone. They’ve ruined public education. You can’t have a top-down school system and have it work well. We don’t do anything that way.”According to Feinburg, we know how to fix the crippled educational system, but don’t.“We know how the market works. Give the 10,000 dollars allocated to a student to the parents and let the parents spend it where they want to spend it,” Feinburg said. “If it’s a charter school, or in-home schooling, let them do that. “We’d have the education problem fixed inside of 30 years. You’d have the whole thing fixed. Political parties are evil. Parties are middlemen. It’s supposed to be ‘We the people’. Politicians have their hands on the levers, and they don’t tell us the truth.”Feinburg said some lawmakers who voted on legislation aren’t even privy to legislation they’re voting on.“This goes for both parties,” he said. “Leaders want it to get something passed, they don’t even tell others it’s coming up for a vote. They just want to push something through. People may find they’ve voted for something horrible, against their ideals.”When we talked about the tragic experience in Memphis, Feinburg quickly pointed out how police departments are unduly violent toward black people.“But how are the police departments controlled?” he said. “It’s the same as with schools. It’s the unions that get in their way. It all goes into collective bargaining.”Feinburg doesn’t listen to a lot of talk radio, with one exception.“I listen to Tom Shattuck, who comes on before me,” he said. “He’s a friend and he approaches things differently. Otherwise, I dabble in listening.”Dabbling isn’t a bad way to go.

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