My long-time friend Jerry McGlothlin is quite a character. When he’s not producing feature films, he’s busy booking guests on radio talk shows. He owns a media booking service called Specialguests.
Occasionally he teases me about all the guests he books on talk radio because he’d like my PR firm’s business, yet I keep telling him “Jerry, that’s what we do for a living at TransMedia Group.”
Still, he’s forever sharing these “by the way” emails like the other day telling me he has two different guests on Trish Regan on Fox Business News. One of them is Mayor David Rubin of the former Shiloh Israel (a settlements community) and then John Taylor of the House of Lords in the UK Parliament upper chamber. And adds he’ll have David Horowitz on later in the week.
Once in a while he shares some trade secrets like “Sweet Baby James,” who is both brother-in-law to Sean Hannity and his senior producer for his radio show (although Lynda McLaughlin sometimes picks the guests).
He tells me: “James Grisham is the nicest, sweetest radio show producer out of the entire lot of the big national shows. He truly lives up to his name, ‘Sweet Baby James.’ Behind every great host is a terrific producer and James is that man.”
Then he shares this funny anecdote about his highness, the entertaining, instigating, incendiary radio talk show king and conservative political commentator Rush Limbaugh.
When former PLO chairman Yasser Arafat died, no one wanted to admit he was dead, so Jerry sent out a news release announcing “Arafat is dead.” That allowed Rush to quote Jerry rather than personally saying that Arafat was dead just in case those reports of his death were greatly exaggerated.
So Rush said live on air, “My good friend Jerry McGlothlin says that Arafat is dead and if Jerry McGlothlin says Arafat is dead, Arafat is dead!”
Here are some observations about other talk show impresarios.
Michael Savage is a three-trick pony: borders, language and culture. His success over the years can be attributed to that three-humped camel, a.k.a. a horse designed by government committee!
Mark Levin lost a large amount of his audience by being so cold toward Trump early on. In fact, I can’t think of a single talk show host whose doing very well who was a Trump basher.
All Things Considered is doing well. Jerry says he gets a great response from guests he books on that show. Not sure if it is considered a talk show, but it is formidable.
But the best kept secret in this business is that the best pulling talk show in the USA is Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. He gives his guests a full two-hour long interview and is never adversarial to his guests. Just being interviewed by Noory is a de facto endorsement of the guest’s goods, services and brand.
And now a word about one of my favorites, Bill O’Reilly, whom I watch almost every night, although he’d never have a spin doctor like me on his radio or TV shows on FOX. You see, I once wrote a book entitled “Spin Man” about myself, while he enjoys presiding proudly over his famous “No Spin Zone.”
While O’Reilly is a gifted and talented journalist and a celebrated radio and TV talk show host, I have to take issue with his Spinophobia.
Spin is an essential ingredient in any form of talk. It’s natural to give any subject a kind of direction or tone. Actually, it’s healthy to inject some meaningful color and imbue a message with direction and some energy called spin. Does this disqualify or impugn its accuracy? Is not the glass half full the same glass half empty?
So admit it, Bill. If you’re Lord of the no spin zone manor, it must not be a no spin zone as you, your lordship, spin as much as I do. And you do it quite well, thank you. So well it doesn’t even sound like the mortal sin you call SPIN!