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Charles Payne’s Goal Is to Help the Everday Person With Stocks

Charles Payne explained his biggest professional goal was to get regular people to buy stocks in an effort to change their lives.

Jim Cryns



When you’re an Army brat, the idea of a permanent home can be nebulous and difficult to imagine. There have been numerous people profiled for Barrett who had been Army brats as a kid. Speaking with Charles Payne, I’ve learned a few things; It’s not as bad as you might imagine, moving doesn’t totally suck, and experiences are unlimited. 

Payne was one of those ‘brats.’ He said he developed a lot of lifelong skills during those relocations. 

“I learned to make friends quickly and got to meet a lot of different people from all over,” Payne explained. “I think one of the biggest problems in America is we don’t know each other that well.”

During their Army years, Payne lived in a slew of zipcodes: Germany, Japan, Pittsburgh, and Texas. Through his travels, Payne said America is always described as a melting pot, but he’s seen it as more insular. “Each different part of the country has their own ways,” Payne said. 

“I don’t have any lifelong friends from my childhood. I don’t have a ‘Bobby’ I’ve known since the third grade,” Payne said. 

He supposes that could have been a liability, but what he lacked in lasting friendships, travel and exposure helped him grow in confidence. The schools he attended were good. 

Then one day, things changed. His mother told him she was divorcing his father. “Mom said we were leaving,”  Payne explained. “It was different this time because we weren’t going to fly to wherever we were going. We were taking the bus. I knew we weren’t going to an Army base. And I knew we weren’t bringing Dad.”

Now disconnected from the Army, they went directly to Harlem. The most shocking of culture shocks. 

“Now that was a new reality,” Payne said. “In the Army we were relatively shielded from racism and violence. My first girlfriend while we were in the Army was white. I don’t know, maybe it was some kind of fake world. I’m speaking of Army bases altogether. Cities were a different thing. When we moved to New York, I was a babe in the woods.” 

He said the first days were so amazing, full of wonder, excitement and trepidation, a dash of fear. Payne said there wasn’t a lot of racism on Army bases, instead, it was all about rank. The streets were a different story.

“These were the first times I took trains,” Payne said. “We always had a car and never lived in major metropolitan areas. Suddenly, I was on a hot subway train, rolling iron and metal rambling down the tracks.”

Food stands in the middle of the train platforms were also new to Payne. He’d never seen anything like it in his life. 

“On the street the first thing that hits you is the music,” he said. “It was amazing and seemed to be coming from everywhere. From cars, windows, storefronts. And it was music I’d never heard. On the bases I was listening to Elton John. From the windows and cars I was hearing funk, rhythm and blues. It was like walking into a time machine. For the first time I saw kids double-dutching with their jump ropes.”

Reflecting back, Payne said he guesses they were living in poverty with four people housed in one room. Then there was the violence in the neighborhood. 

One kid, in particular, gave Payne a hard time, but he ended up dying at a young age. 

Payne saw so many people moving at such a fast pace. Rows of apartment buildings ensconced the street, lined with cars. Payne experienced new and different smells from street vendors and restaurants. 

At just 13, Payne was now the man of the house and got a job at a bodega to help make ends meet. When he wasn’t working there, he was hustling. 

“I got paper towels and a bottle of Windex and cleaned car windows at red lights,” Payne explained. 

When it snowed, he shoveled snow. Payne packed bags at the supermarket. For the most part, he’s been working non-stop since.

“It was then I became determined to succeed, to make money to help my mom and family,” Payne explained. “I’d thought about the stock market. I began reading the Wall Street Journal. I was able to figure some things out. I bought my first mutual fund at 17, and at 18, I bought my first stock. I guess it was in my blood but I was thrust into that position. If we’d never left the Army bases, I don’t know if I’d ever have gotten into the financial field.”

He’d always wanted to be a businessman. A dream possible on an Army base, almost absurd in Harlem. 

“One Christmas all I wanted was a desk,” Payne said. “The next year I wanted a briefcase. I didn’t think my mother would be able to afford it, but she did.” 

During his early days on Wall Street street, he was an analyst. It was what he loved. Payne didn’t make a lot of money at first, but was with E.F. Hutton. 

When E.F. Hutton talked, people listened. Apparently, Payne did as well. 

The first years were lean financially. “I think I earned 13,000 a year before taxes, but I was doing something I loved,” he said. Payne was the lowest man on the totem pole. It was a long road but then ran into someone he’d known for a while. The friend had become a broker with a small firm but worked on 100 percent commission. Payne jumped at it. 

“It was crazy,” he recalled. “I passed the securities test and started cold-calling. I was literally calling people out of the yellow pages. I had a script and started calling people I assumed had money. I remember the first person I called, a lawyer. I was speaking to the guy and he said, ‘You read well. Now what do you want?’”

Payne was startled for a moment. The script wasn’t working. It was an awakening. The lawyer could tell Payne was working on preparing talking points. 

“I ripped up the script and decided to just be myself,” Payne said in a life-changing moment. “To be direct and honest from that phone call on. I just try to be honest with people. Have conversations. In the first full month I led the office with new accounts.”

When you’re working on commission, Payne said you’re taking away a security net, the net being a salary. “You quickly find out if you can fly,” Payne said. “Especially when you’re young, it’s designed that way. Your back is always against the wall when you’re working on commission. You want a new car, a new house, you have to go out and take it. I would go home at night and research. I opened so many new accounts.”

Payne explained his biggest professional goal was to get regular people to buy stocks in an effort to change their lives. He said he did this knowing the stock market is rigged in many ways; including insiders positioned to always make billions and protected by bought and paid regulators, financial media and lawmakers who mostly look the other way even if they occasionally sound tough.

Through grapevines, CNBC began to hear about Payne and he got a phone call asking if he’d like to go on the air. Payne went on and said it was fantastic. He was asked to be on more frequently. 

“This was when Neil Cavuto was on CNBC,” Payne said. “Then Neil went to a network called Fox. I thought he was nuts. What the hell is this guy doing? Fox?”

After a while, Payne got another call. This one from Fox telling him Neil Cavuto wanted him to come on his shows. 

“That little Fox thing?” Payne figured he’d check it out. “I get there and go down the escalator to the basement,” he explained. “The lighting was poor. The table had three legs and I was holding up the corner without a leg with my knee. I told Neil it wasn’t too late for him to go back to CNBC.”

He said they’ve got a mix of people tuning in to the show, Making Money with Charles Payne on Fox. 

Today, Payne said we could be on the cusp of a global recession. “It all depends,” Payne explained. “The fate is in the hands of Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve governor.” 

Payne said some are investors, other folks are new to the market. 

“We’ve also got some entrepreneurs,” Payne said. “My focus is changing lives. My expertise in the market, well over three decades, lends itself to that end. The overall goal is to take control of your life.”

Payne tries to bring brilliant people to his show. “I think we’re more nuanced than any other money-related program,” Payne said. “I’ll do whatever it takes. I’ll use a chart and describe what it means, what the implications are.”

Because of his personal background, Payne didn’t think anyone believed him when he said he wanted to work in the stock market. Everyone blew him off. “My dad told me jobs in the stock market were reserved for a bunch of white guys throwing paper in the air. He wasn’t wrong about that.”

Payne enjoys pressure and said he only gets four hours of sleep a night during the week. 

“I’m always researching for investors. I always needed to keep busy. 

When I was in the Air Force in North Dakota, there was only so much to do. I was interested in policy-oriented stuff. Here we are at the base and after four million games of Uno, shooting pool, I figured there had to be something else. There were a lot of great books in the library. Time magazine. That’s when I fell in love with politics. If I didn’t love it all, I wouldn’t do it.”

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Is the NFL Really an Unchallengeable TV Product?

If most opportunities to watch the NFL in primetime are regarded as miserable, is there really no way to beat the league in the ratings or has no one actually tried?

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When the NFL placed Thursday Night Football on a streaming service, I wondered if anyone in sports television would really take the opportunity to challenge the league. So far, no one has, and likely will.

But that leaves me asking the question: is the NFL really that unchallengeable? Is it really this 1,000-pound gorilla that can’t be toppled?

In some aspects, yes, absolutely, 100%. But in others, no, I don’t think so.

For instance, any TV executive would be a fool to try to beat the league in the 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM ET timeslots on FOX and CBS. And really, you can’t hardly attack the league on Sunday Night Football or Monday Night Football, either.

But Thursday Night Football? Earlier this month, our Ryan Brown argued that the NFL put a bad product on Thursday nights and usurped the evening away from the college ranks and ESPN. And he’s right to a certain degree. Once Thursday Night Football really got going, ESPN essentially abandoned the idea of putting marquee matchups against the package.

My pitch to ESPN, or even FOX (although both are unlikely to want to anger the strongest strategic partner in television), would be that Thursday Night Football is as vulnerable as its ever been. It makes nearly weekly headlines for its lackluster schedule, which in turn leads to headlines about the lack of enthusiasm legendary broadcaster Al Michaels has to broadcast the lackluster schedule.

Also, if you pull up X on a given Thursday evening, you’ll see your timeline flooded with complaints about the viewing experience being miserable, fans struggling through buffering and distorted pictures, and overall complaints about the product. Now, for the record, I don’t have those issues, I think everyone else just needs to get better internet, but that’s another column.

But if most opportunities to watch the NFL in primetime are regarded as miserable, is there really no way to beat the league in the ratings or has no one actually tried?

My contention is that if ESPN or FOX were to put up real, actual, truly marquee college football games on Thursdays in primetime, they would have a chance to do really well. And I think it’s something the Worldwide Leader should consider now that it holds the rights to the SEC. With the additions of Texas and Oklahoma, the league, and in turn ESPN, will have some of the biggest games in college football, and there are only so many Saturdays and only so many good timeslots to put those broadcasts.

Why not look through the schedule and say “Ok, LSU vs Texas A&M, we’re going to put you on Thursday night at 8:00 PM ET up against the 1-10 Carolina Panthers versus the 4-8 Chicago Bears“?

In true internet spitballing fashion, that question leads me to another one: who says no?

The NFL is the unquestioned king of live television. I’m not foolish enough to think otherwise. But the ratings from the league’s first-ever Black Friday game featuring the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets had to be, in my estimation, slightly underwhelming with 9.6 million viewers.

But, just because you’re dominant doesn’t mean you’re bulletproof, either. I think there’s a hole in the NFL’s armor. And I think the league knows it, too, but operates from such a position of strength it believes it can’t be toppled. All it takes is someone to have the gumption to attack it.

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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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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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