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David Van Camp Is Always Giving Listeners the Human Angle

While talking with BNM’s Jim Cryns, David Van Camp noted that the trio on the show is always on the lookout for things that might be relevant.

Jim Cryns




I told David Van Camp he has one of the coolest jobs in the world.

“On some days, you can have it,” Van Camp quipped.

Van Camp is the youngest member of Markley, Van Camp & Robbins, a daily news talk show that can be heard in 125 markets nationwide. 

Van Camp is from Texas, and he supposedly loves Star Wars. “I play that up on the show. I liked the original trilogy of the franchise, but I’m not a complete Star Wars dork.”

His website says he’s a guitarist, a singer-songwriter, and a foodie. It also relates how a ‘real man’ rarely eats his steaks rare. He still technically owns but no longer plays a beautiful Gibson SG.

“Actually, it’s broken,” Van Camp said. “I’ve got a toddler, a one-year-old. 

Some things don’t survive if you don’t put them away somewhere safe.”

He got the guitar when he was 16, saving up money from tree trimming and lawn maintenance to spend close to 1,000 bucks on the guitar. 

“I guess I’ve always been a Gibson guy,” Van Camp said. “I thought the frets were a little larger than Fender necks. Have you ever seen Stanley Clark play the bass?” Van Camp asked. “I saw him at a jazz festival 15 years ago. His hands are huge, and he could palm a beach ball. He even does bar chords on the bass, so fast.”

He said Jamie Markley and Scott Robbins go back a lot of years together, with a show in Peoria, Illinois, on WMDB. Then, they got the chance to be live in Portland on a simulcast with KXL and WMDB.

That’s when the show took a terrifying turn. Scott Robbins had a heart attack. Van Camp was programming WMDB at the time and doing some producing for their show. 

“After Scott’s heart attack, we started looking for replacements,” Van Camp said. “I had no desire to be on the air. But it was hard to find someone that would come to the studio in the middle of the day to work a few hours.”

After about a week of Robbins being in the hospital, Van Camp knew they had to get the show back on the air. 

“Thankfully, Jamie came back,” Van Camp said. “I was a stopgap host, only to keep the seat warm until we could find a suitable host. Jamie and I clicked on the air, but Scott was in the hospital for a few months. His body was wrecked. He had a trachea tube in his throat. Not a good thing to have. His not returning to radio was the least of his problems.”

Van Camp explained Robbins’ kidneys were failing, and he was on dialysis. It didn’t look good. Van Camp was named as permanent co-host, and the station rolled with that. After a few months, Scott’s condition started to improve. 

“He got to the point where he could come in and do one segment a week to see if he could still do it,” Van Camp said. “He had some memory loss issues and his body still looked like he’d been hit by a bus. We wanted to ease him back in, perhaps use him as a fill-in when one of us was out.”

Did Van Camp think Robbins would make it back to the show? Early on, Van Camp thought he would. But when 2016 rolled in and he was in a wheelchair, barely able to walk, Van Camp didn’t think it would be possible.

Then things took a turn for the better. It wasn’t long before Robbins started coming in for a daily segment. In 2019, they worked out where he could return full-time. It seemed like yesterday he had been hallucinating in the hospital. Alpha Media figured if Scott could come back, bring him back.

“Nobody knew what was going to happen,” Van Camp said. “I didn’t know if I wanted to do it, and we were weighing options. From what his doctors and family were telling us, he’d never be able to come back. But he references it now and makes jokes about it.”

“I think the three of us clicked early on because we knew each other as friends. Jamie and I did a good show together, but it was missing that spark Scott could bring. We needed that spark. When Scott gets mad and takes to pounding on the desk, nobody is funnier.” 

Van Camp points out you don’t want to go over the top with that kind of thing, but Robbins knows just how far to push it. 

“He’s that good. The perfect bit of spice. He’s the Boomer. Jamie is the Gen X, and I’m the Millennial. Politically, we are fairly closely aligned. This is conservative talk, and we generally have conservative opinions. We disagree on some stories. But we’re not super-heavy politically. I think that’s the secret sauce of the show. You’ll never feel awful when you listen to us. You can feel better after listening. You can think, ‘Everything is going to be okay.’ A lot of why we’ve been successful is the humor we can throw out there.”

Van Camp said the show’s best segments come from the spontaneous, extemporaneous. They don’t script or format their show where each one says a line at a particular point.

“We just pal around a lot of the time. Sometimes you can really lean into a topic. We’re not trying to spark outrage. It’s more like we’re out to tickle their funny bone. We hear it all the time. A caller will say you were talking about You were talking about x, y, z, then Scott says something that doesn’t make any sense. You just get the feeling that it’s three guys who are friends giving each other a hard time.”

Off the air, they’re probably not the guy you think they are. Van Camp said Scott Robbins is probably the most gentle of the three. Jamie Markley is the hardass. Van Camp puts himself in the middle.

“We started to get a rhythm down,” Van Camp said. “There was a moment when Scott said something that has become rather legendary in our show. Jamie sprung a top 10 bucket list. Jamie asked Scott, ‘What’s at the top of your bucket list.’”

Robbins said hugging a dolphin was on his bucket list.

“I was floored,” Van Camp said. “We played around with that. It became this bit. We save all our audio, and that was one of the clips we’ve played tons of times. ‘Hug a dolphin.’ Scott was serious. I think that’s when we knew we were really going to work and brought Scott back full-time. He can say something, and we can make fun of him.” 

Van Camp moved down to San Antonio in 2019. They keep eye contact on Skype during the show, something he says is critical.

“Scott and Jamie came down for a market visit with the dolphin thing at SeaWorld in San Antonio,” Van Camp said. “I took him to hug a dolphin.”

“We aren’t just co-workers who got matched up. We were friends. That’s what makes this whole thing unique.”

The trio is always looking for ways to make the show better, always on the lookout for things that might be relevant. 

“We’ve got to try to transcend our own personal experiences,” Van Camp explained. “We take callers for two segments a week. Friday Five is a music-based countdown. We’ll take Labor Day and play songs with work or a job in the title. On a news talk, our phone lines are jammed. That’s a place where you can really see the generation gap. Where the three of us are really highlighted. One of us will always bite on the lure.”

The show doesn’t conduct interviews with guests. Van Camp said if you’re a solitary host, you’re having a conversation with someone who listens to your show when a listener calls. 

“I understand you have to do that when you’re a one-man band. We don’t have to. We will work off someone else’s audio. We did a couple of interviews a few years ago, but they didn’t work. You’ve already got three guys with options, and we didn’t want a fourth. That can destroy any rhythm you’ve got working.”

MVR is not a morning zoo. Van Camp said they deal with serious topics like the Uvalde shooting. 

“Sometimes the news isn’t fun and we’re not going to try to make it fun. It’s all about how we approach the subject. Give the facts. Here’s what we know. For me, you’re always looking for the human angle. Everybody is going to give the building blocks. For me, it’s asking about why some of the parents are handcuffed when all they want to do is rush in to save their child. I’ve had that conversation with friends. Jamie had that conversation with his wife. We’d ask what we would do in that situation. Once you get the news out, you can deal with the way people are processing, grieving. We’re all human.” 

Van Camp said after a few days; you’ve got all the time in the world to talk about the police response and that stuff. He said radio is more intimate than television. 

“We have real conversations that people have every day. They can listen to us talk and realize they’re not crazy. We don’t want to manufacture bits. Audiences aren’t dumb; they can smell that from a mile away.”

Van Camp estimates MVR can be heard in about 125 markets.

“I’m just really grateful that so many people like to listen to what we have to say. I never think of myself as anything special in that. We get to hear from people all over the country, and I love that connection.” 

One of Van Camp’s favorite comments came from a female listener in the Pacific Northwest. She is kind of a hate-listener. 

“She’d email me once every other week telling me what idiots we are. Then she sent an email that made my day. She wrote, ‘You know, I completely disagree with you, but you still make me laugh. You remind me of my idiot brother.’” 

Technically, that would be three idiot brothers.

BNM Writers

Dagen McDowell Is Ready For A New Adventure With Fox Business

“Every decision in America is born of policy, On the show, we bring that to our show. Talk about the news of the day.”

Jim Cryns




To know Dagen McDowell, you must understand what she comes from, where she comes from. You won’t know her until you know the lessons, kindness, and determination set forth by her parents.

Her parents operated a small grocery store, LW Roark and Company. Charles and Joyce McDowell were high school sweethearts and both went to college but decided to go back home and open a business. “This is in the middle of nowhere,” McDowell said. “It was a wholesale grocery store. They sold it in the late 90s.”

She said her parents were smart, encouraging, and took every opportunity to teach McDowell and her brother.

“They’d constantly talk up people who came into the store. Both of them have and had an insatiable curiosity about everything. They felt they learned things through their customers. It was more fun to learn about things from other people.”

McDowell’s parents never took a week off work. Never. The family took no vacations as most families would. Once while McDowell was in college at Wake Forest University, the family visited the Air and Space Museum on the Mall in D.C.

“Both of my parents were very interested in architecture and landscapes. We’d go to Williamsburg and just look at the buildings.”

McDowell joined FOX News Channel in 2003 and helped launch FOX Business Network as a founding anchor in 2007.

Her mother passed away three years ago and her father is still very much a part of her life. Her father was a constant teacher.

“One time my father, who we called Dowell McDowell, was putting up an outbuilding and asked me how long one line should be if the other line was such and such. He taught me the Pythagorean theorem when I was about 4 years old.”

McDowell was nurtured by parents with endless curiosity.

“I was raised by parents who would always debate and converse around the dinner table. We shared breakfast and dinner together every day. They loved learning, were always inquisitive, never afraid to ask a question. My parents shared a fearlessness and passed that on to me. I’ve never been embarrassed to ask people questions. I love talking to people and finding out about things.”

For a long time, McDowell had no idea what she wanted to do for a living. She knew if she worked at different jobs she’d eventually figure out what she was good at.

“I knew I was a decent writer, but I always tried to get information out of people, what they were doing. Ask if they were fulfilled and happy.”

At Wake, Forest McDowell majored in art history and had every intention of working in a museum, possibly as a curator.

“I interned at the Center for Contemporary Arts. I lived in Venice, Italy for a while. Wake Forest owns a house in Venice.”

After that it was Colorado. She moved back to New York during the recession of 1991 with a duffel bag. She took the Amtrak to New York City and sublet an apartment for six months.

“I had no TV, just a radio. I knew I could find something good to do in New York, there were so many jobs. I always wanted to live in the city. Either the city or way out in the country. Nowhere in between.”

She said being in New York made her feel anything was possible. This was January in 1994 when job ads were still in the physical newspaper, like the New York Times. McDowell interviewed at Institutional Investor through a referral from a friend.

“It was a brilliant magazine with terrific writing,” McDowell explained. “Very prominent in the industry. They were looking for someone to work with the newsletter written for the financial community.”

She’d cover topics like the bond business, Wall Street, and money management. The magazine made her take a reporting test where you’d make up a story and write it. She was offered a job and worked there for three years.

“I learned to be a journalist there,” McDowell said. “I could write but I became a better journalist. We’d break news, create our sources, and learn more and more about finance. People love to talk about what they do if you show interest.”

The next big job was, a resource and web newspaper for private investors. There McDowell wrote a personal finance column. She started doing commentary on television shows, the way a lot of people in different professions tend to do. “Then I started making more appearances on weekend financial or business shows,” McDowell said.

She got a call from Neil Cavuto about 20 years ago and he told McDowell, ‘Kid, you want a job? I know you don’t have much professional TV experience. We’ll give you some training and you’ll figure it out. If you do, you stay. If not, you go.’

McDowell said she was glad she was a writer first before she arrived at Fox. She writes her own scripts and has a background in finance and business writing.

“Before the business network was launched, they had only one business reporter and two senior business correspondents,” she said. “I’ve gotten to do so many different jobs, use different muscles, so to speak. As the years have passed I’ve discovered other talents I may have and I’m incredibly grateful for that.”

There’s a new show in town. McDowell and Sean Duffy will co-host The Bottom Line which will air on weeknights from 6-7:00 PM ET.

McDowell said she and Duffy come from extremely similar backgrounds. Duffy is from rural Wisconsin and McDowell is from Virginia.

“We know what small-town living is like, “McDowell said. “I might live in New York City but where I grew up affects the way I view the world. I’m still grounded in my hometown. On the show, we look south and west with everything we cover. You have to think of your audience. Rather than talking about them, we talk with them. That’s our shared background and vision. Sean is extremely down to earth and generous.”

McDowell said the show is not financially based, but steeped in business.

She said Duffy’s experience as a former U.S. Congressman, he understands policy as well as financial matters.

“Every decision in America is born of policy,” she said. “On the show, we bring that to our show. Talk about the news of the day.”

This is different from anything McDowell has done in the past.

“It’s a two-anchor show in the evening,” she explained. “This is not taking place during market hours. We tie all the business happenings together from the day. Again, it’s not about Washington or New York. It’s about the people we grew up with. We talk to them. Build a relationship with them on the air. For me, this is not just sitting in front of a camera. I can run off at the mouth as well as anyone, hang in there with the filibuster.”

McDowell says she is blunt, but hopes she isn’t rude. During a recent interview for the new show she used the terms ‘pig potatoes’ and ‘chapped backsides.’

“Those are terms I just made up,” she said. “I make up a lot of phrases and don’t always know what they mean. I have an entire repertoire of those kinds of phrases.”

Duffy assumed they were southern phrases he had to learn from McDowell, but she assured him she’d never heard them anywhere else.

“I’m just making stuff up,” McDowell said. “You can’t curse. Can’t say BS. At least you shouldn’t say BS on television. You don’t want to say manure. You never want to say something that makes people wince or evokes a smell.”

Dealing with people directly and bluntly seems to come from her mother.

“My mother had grit,” McDowell said. “She was also very kind, never syrupy. I used to say she had no magnolia-mouth.

That’s got to be a southern phrase.

McDowell said her mother was not a servile flatterer, but she was kind. Always there when somebody was in need.

“She had real grit. She’d stand and fight for her friends and family members.”

Her mother passed away after being diagnosed with stage-four cancer.

“She went through unimaginable pain,” McDowell said of her mother. “For nearly six years. You want to talk about somebody who was tough. There was nobody more pugnacious than my mother.”

She explained even with her illness, her mother was always on the go. Continuing to live her life. When questioned about being so active while she was ill, her mother continued to show grit.

“My mother would say she didn’t want to walk around looking like she had cancer. She asked, ‘What choice do I have? I could lay in bed and wait to die, or I can get up and do what I can .’”

McDowell said her mother’s illness taught her to be a caregiver in ways she never could have imagined. Her mother taught her to find moments of joy every single day, in the smallest of things.

“It can be as simple as telling a stranger to have a great day. Treat a perfect stranger with kindness. I do it all day long. I know it sounds corny, but I want to be known as a person who brings a casserole to a friend when they’re ill.”

A one-sheet from Fox tells you McDowell and the culmination of her background is perfect for The Bottom Line. The fact is, it’s true.

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BNM Writers

Airing The Tyre Nichols Video Was A Necessity

There were hard moments to watch in those videos, hard sounds to hear. But they aired.

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Far be it for me not to address this outrageous and embarrassing instance in humanity. After the videos of Memphis police brutally beating Tyre Nichols were shown on television there really seemed to be more outrage emerging from society this time than from the media, for a change. One would think that’s how we wish things to be.

In instances like this, where the video and audio images are far from brief but are instead chaptered as they unfold, there are few options other than to let them run their course. Clocks — breaks hard and soft — are out the window, just as in live coverage.

Because that’s what this was, only the live this time was us, and as we all absorbed and reacted to actions disapprovingly familiar yet somehow foreign at the same time, the impact was still becoming apparent even though we already knew the outcome.

It’s happened before.

Not always like this but we’ve seen it before, police encounters shown on the news overtakes and become the news.

It takes effect as the sights and sounds are digested, dissected, and discussed, often before their potential impact could really be imagined.

In 1991, when the Handycam footage crossed screens for the first time and we learned Rodney King’s name, we didn’t know then but we had a feeling.

We were on the right track, though as newsrooms evolved and street reporting incorporated a different type of storytelling.

I was a cop in 1991. Changes came. Some.

It’s 2023, I’m no longer a cop. Changes will come again. Some.

Turning points — or the overused watershed moments — mean just as much to the news media as they do to law enforcement.

The “why’s” that make this a turning point are more society and community based this time around than they were in 1991.

At least I think so. And I don’t think it makes a bit of difference who’s involved this time.

There were hard moments to watch in those videos, and hard sounds to hear. But they aired. Where they couldn’t air, they were described in great detail; descriptions sometimes can be worse than the real thing. Sometimes, not this time.

And they should air, they shouldn’t stop airing. This is what happened and this is what people need to see and hear and this is exactly why we are here.

Warn them, provide them with a heads up that they’re not going to like what happens next. It’s life and we show life, and we show what some of us do with it when it’s someone else’s.

Overall, I would say the news platforms held their composure, even after the videos were released. I saw, read, and heard some refreshingly neutral coverage, even from outlets where I expected hard turns into the lanes on either side of the road.

Legitimate questions were asked by anchors and reporters and much of the time, the off-balance issues were raised more by those on the sidewalks and those on the other side of the cameras and microphones.

As much as I find myself in disagreement with what I often see on the cable networks — all the cable networks — I did find a sense of symmetry watching CNN’s Don Lemon speak with Memphis City Council Chair Martavius Jones in the hours after the videos were released.

Regular protocols be damned, Lemon and producers lingered patiently as Jones, visibly overcome by emotion, struggled to regain breath and composure enough to be able to speak. Rather than cut away or move to other elements, they stood fast and it became an example of what often requires no words.

There were fewer punches pulled on other platforms as well.

The sounds of the screams, the impacts, and the hate-filled commands were broadcast through car radios.

As were Tyre Nichol’s calls for his mom. They aired. They had to.

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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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Barrett Media Writers

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