In May of 2015, while on a family vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, my wife & I decided that I would launch a conservative talk show. While it had been a dream of mine to host my own talk radio show for many years, I had no experience in radio or radio production.
While I didn't have radio experience, I did have experience articulating conservatism. And in teaching religion, Christian apologetics, politics and philosophical concepts. And in making arguments in support of my conservative Christian worldview, in many cases in front of a less-than-sympathetic audience.
I had a message and worldview that I wanted to share. And I thought I could make it entertaining. Educational. And energizing to the conservative base.
So I spent the next few months researching & studying the technical components of creating a podcast. Intensely. And by August 10, 2015, I was ready to produce my first show.
I was nervous. I was paranoid of making a making a mistake. And after listening to my entire show & editing out the 'uhs' & 'umms,' I was ready to submit it.
I did this every day for the first six months. And then someone recommended I reach out to an online conservative radio station about the possibility of carrying my show. After several attempts to make contact, I was able to speak with the late Premo Mondone of Red State Talk Radio about carrying my show. And a short time later, on February 22, 2016, my show aired for the first time on that station.
Over the next several months, my show started to air on other online conservative radio stations. But talk radio is still predominantly consumed on traditional terrestrial radio stations. So I started contacting talk radio stations in Indiana about the possibility of airing my program.
While I was looking for any opportunity any station could afford me, I decided I wanted to get my show on Freedom 95 in Indianapolis. I'll spare telling you all the reasons for this, but suffice it to say that I thought it would be a great fit & it was one of the closest stations to me.
So I made a concerted effort to get my show on Freedom 95. And I'll be candid: the first phone call didn't go well. At all. But the Program Director (Jeremy Beutel) saw past that and told me to stay in touch with him. So I did.
I should say at this point that Freedom 95's hadn't changed their weekday lineup for 10 years. Freedom finds high-quality national programs & airs those programs consistently for it's very loyal audience.
But all of Freedom's programs are nationally-syndicated. By big-name hosts like Dave Ramsey, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin & Michael Savage.
And none of their hosts are from Indiana.
But I still thought Freedom was the perfect station to air my show. So I continued to stay in touch.
After a few months of staying in regular contact with Jeremy, I was offered an opportunity. A weekday time slot had opened up. It wasn't the best time slot (it was at 2am). And it wasn't the ideal situation (it was available because a fellow talk show host named Jerry Doyle passed away). But the station was interested in giving me a chance, and I was ready.
So on October 3, 2016, my show officially launched on Freedom 95 at 2am (ok, it was technically on Tuesday morning, October 4) and has played weekdays ever since. And to help me reach more people & grow the show, Freedom 95 also plays my show over the weekend - even though they never promised me to do that. (Freedom 95 has always been very good to me.)
In another gesture of goodwill & trust, Freedom agreed to let me provide Election night analysis on November 8. Contracts with existing programs (Levin & Savage) precluded Freedom from giving me a full evening of airtime, but they did allow me to provide updates during commercial breaks.
That is, until the Michael Savage feed went down at 10pm.
When this happened, Jeremy (the Program Director) walked into the studio and asked me, "Do you want to take the last hour?" I replied, "What do you mean: the whole thing?" He nodded & I replied, "Of course!" He then asked, "How long do you need?" All I could envision was dead air on what had to be one of the busiest nights of the year, so I responded, "Sixty seconds?"
And sixty seconds later, I heard the intro playing in my headset - and it was time to take advantage of yet another opportunity that had been afforded me.
The Election Night coverage ended up going so well that I was given an extra hour (until 12:06am). The Program Director was pleased. I was pleased. And, yes - Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. All-in-all, it was a great night!
While there were many exciting things happening on the radio, there were also many exciting things happening behind-the-scenes.
I was contacted by producers interested in working with me. They have helped produce some of the most popular talk radio programs in America today.
I've also had the good pleasure of speaking with a syndicator who is interested in carrying my program after secure a daytime slot in Indianapolis.
And I've also spoken with a consultant for Premier Radio Networks (this is Rush Limbaugh's & Sean Hannity's network). I was completely humbled when the consultant told me that he considers my program to be one of the best new shows he's heard. He even mentioned the possibility of considering me as a fill-in host for Premier Radio Networks down the road. Truly humbling & exciting stuff!
With all the things happening with the program, it was well past time to find the right person to help it grow. So it was a great honor to welcome Shane Williams to the team as Sales Director on January 16. We've met with many people about advertising on the show since Shane started - and many of them have started sponsoring the show - or soon plan to do so.
It's been a whirlwind. And because of our loyal listeners, committed advertisers & great partner station, the whirlwind is just beginning. Here is a quick synopsis of the next steps with the show. (Some of these steps may be interchangeable as far as the order is concerned, depending upon specific opportunities that come along.)
- Secure a better time slot for my show.
- Add a 2nd hour to the program & hire a quality engineer/producer.
- Syndicate our weekday program in Indiana.
- Conduct (more) interviews with fascinating, insightful guests.
- Take phone calls from our loyal listeners.
- Syndicate a weekend program nationally.
- Syndicate our weekday show in the Midwest.
- Add a 3rd hour to the program.
- Syndicate our weekday show nationally.
- Use Dave Ramsey's model to teach everyday Americans about our history, our government & what makes it so special.
So there you have it: a review of where we've been in the last 18 months - and a road map of where we're going.
Interested in taking this journey with us? We'd love to chat.
Conservative, not bitter.