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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.

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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.”

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Scott Masteller Has a Gift for Spotting Talent Early

According to Masteller, everybody has their style, and he doesn’t try to change their core talent. 

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Scott Masteller has seen tons of talent, format flips, and changes during his more than 40 years of experience in radio as an on-air talent, program director, and executive.

He’s currently the program director for WBAL NewsRadio 1in Baltimore, Maryland. Additional duties include oversight of the production of the Baltimore Ravens Football on WBAL and 98 Rock Radio. He also started the ESPN affiliate in Dallas, Texas.

“After my time at ESPN, coming to Baltimore was the perfect transition for me,” Masteller said. 

From the first moment he arrived, Masteller said people were welcoming; he was impressed with the history and legacy of the station, something he’d followed since he began in radio. 

“When I decided to come here, I knew WBAL checked a lot of boxes.”

He always wanted to be in broadcasting. 

“I started by playing a lot of bad disco records on an AM radio station, “ Masteller said. 

Now that surprised me. Not only because he liked Michael Jackson, but I wasn’t aware there were any ‘good’ disco records. 

After he left ESPN, Masteller said he had plenty of opportunities to stay in sports, but WBAL was such an iconic brand. The station is news, talk, and sports, but he said he was a little apprehensive about the news and talk part. The sports part he had down.  

“In the end, I really wanted something different. After I took the job, they told me, ‘By the way, you’re in charge of Orioles coverage. Hearst is fully committed to what we’re doing here, as they are with all their properties.”

At WBAL, the station delivers award-winning newscasts and local talk shows all day and continues focusing on the weekend.

“I’m as busy with this job as I ever had been at ESPN and other places. We’re reacting to breaking news.” 

Masteller said he started in a small town. 

“I wanted to be an on-air announcer, and I began in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. I was there for 14 years doing remotes, afternoons, and music. I was also a wedding disc jockey.”

So that’s where the lousy disco comes from. 

“All of a sudden, I was doing sports,” Masteller explained. “I was a roving reporter for the Little League World Series. I got to interview Jim Palmer, and he was one of the nicest guys. I started to learn that stuff, eventually did some play-by-play.”

As in many small markets, his station ran out of money and shut down.

“It was a turning point in my career,” Masteller said.”I was excited about baseball and wanted to be an announcer. I sent tapes to every minor league team. One guy called and said he had an opening in Wichita, Kansas.”

Travel-wise that appears to be both a blessing and a bit of a curse. 

“I took the job over the phone,” Masteller explained. “I still have the letter from the GM. It was for almost no money, but it was the best experience I’d had, and it lasted for three summers.”

He broadcast for the Wichita Wranglers, the AA affiliate of the San Diego Padres, and traveled with the team on late-night bus rides and flights to Texas. 

In 2001, he was named PD at KESN, the ESPN station in Dallas. When he got to Dallas, Masteller started working behind the scenes, coaching talent, developing talent, and planning. 

“I remember I went for my first interview in Dallas. ESPN had not signed on yet. Just those four letters had that kind of branding. We went in thinking, ‘We’re going up against KTCK, The Ticket,’ one of the greatest stations of all time. A legacy station. We stuck to our plan, localized our product, generated revenue and ratings.”

Masteller put together a strong team at the startup, KESN, including Randy Galloway from the Star-Telegram and The Dallas Morning News on Galloway and Company. 

“I’ve seen what happens, ” Masteller explained. “One station will be successful, and the other station will try to emulate them and do the exact same thing.” 

He said that was a fatal mistake. The Ticket had its listeners and a culture that couldn’t be duplicated.

KVDT was branded as an ESPN station, and Masteller said they played that to the hilt. Mike and Mike were a significant franchise at the time. With the imaging, people thought the talent all lived in Texas. That’s how you merge your national shows with your local audience.

Masteller was recruited to go to Bristol as senior director of content in 2006 and stayed there until 2014. 

“I was overseeing radio and had interactions with television. It was a phenomenal place, and I learned so much. It wasn’t just ESPN; it was also Disney. By that, I mean the culture of the business, how to treat employees, and understanding what’s important. Those are experiences I’ll take with me forever.” 

Whether in sports or news, Masteller believes you must establish credibility with your talent, news anchors, or managers. He said you couldn’t do that on the first day, but the trust factor becomes hugely important. You gain that with open and honest communications.

Masteller knew of Dan Patrick in his early days at ESPN. 

“Dan is the consummate professional. I knew right away there was nobody better at conducting an interview. He knew the questions to ask. He’s got credibility. He treats people fairly but knows how to ask the tough questions. That’s what set him apart.” 

According to Masteller, everybody has their style, and he doesn’t try to change their core talent. 

“Every broadcaster is different. People used to ask themselves what their long-term legacy in the business was going to be. Today you don’t see that as much. People are always looking for that next opportunity.  One of the best things I learned from ESPN was feedback. Learn what I was doing right, what I could do better.”

A good host must know how to pivot to relate on more than just a sports level. The host must be able to react to the news of the day. 

“Sports transcends all aspects of media. It’s not just X’s and O’s anymore,” Masteller said. “You look at a big story today that has global implications. If you’re going to be a host, you’ve got to speak to different things. Things must be easy enough for an audience to digest, especially in broadcast radio. You’re always multitasking.”

Spotting talent early is a gift. Masteller said he’s instinctively known when people like Patrick came along. Then there’s Colin Cowherd. 

“Before Dallas, I was with KFXX in Portland. Colin Cowherd arrived there two weeks before I did as a midday talent. When I heard him the first time, he was a bit rough around the edges, but I knew he was going to be great. He was always thinking about the moment. Preparation for his show was second to none in terms of where he was going.” 

Masteller said Cowherd could talk about politics, social issues, family, and the stock market. Sports is what he does, but he could do a general talk show and do whatever he wanted. 

As the pandemic hit, we were looking at making a change in our morning show; we wanted to do something different. So we merged our two highest profile talents into one program with Bryan Nehman and Clarence Mitchell IV. Even though they were both working remotely, we made a move and created the C4 and Bryan Nehman Show. Sometimes it just clicks, and we all decided the best course was to get them on the air.

 “Because of the pandemic, for the first year, they never saw each other,” Masteller said. “When they finally worked face to face, I remember the first morning. I was listening and knew within 10 minutes they had chemistry. Sometimes it just clicks. All I had to do was get them in there.”

He said what makes him proud in his career is helping people get better, to achieve their goals, and to develop future leaders. 

“I remember starting a new job and wondering if I could really do it. It takes time. I’ve met some amazing people in this industry who want to learn every day. Make an impact.” 

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Chris Cuomo Interview Gives NewsNation Ratings Uptick

NewsNation hopes the upward ratings momentum continues as Cuomo joins their prime time lineup later this fall.

Douglas Pucci

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In his first interview since his CNN firing, Chris Cuomo appeared on the July 26th edition of Dan Abrams Live on nascent outlet NewsNation. Cuomo’s departure from CNN stemmed from an investigation which determined how he had advised his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, amid sexual harassment allegations.

Abrams pressed Cuomo on several matters concerning CNN, as well as on what he’s been doing since he left.

Cuomo stated he’s neither a victim nor guilty of many of the things that led to his ouster. Nor did he claim to be a victim of “cancel culture”, as he commented, “I don’t think I’ve ever been a victim of anything ever in my life…I don’t feel sorry for myself.”

Dan Abrams Live featuring Chris Cuomo drew 187,000 total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. While that pales in comparison to what the three major cable news networks deliver throughout the day, the figure marked a giant boost from the program’s normal levels — it more than tripled it; for July 18-22, the original 9 p.m. telecast of Abrams averaged 56,000 viewers per weeknight.

Time-slot wise, Abrams was able to best Newsmax’s competing Prime News (115,000 viewers). But on that evening, Newsmax’s Eric Bolling: The Balance (188,000) and Greg Kelly Reports (194,000) still managed to top all NewsNation fare.

NewsNation hopes the upward ratings momentum continues as Cuomo joins their prime time lineup later this fall. His former nightly show Cuomo Prime Time — although rated behind FNC’s Hannity and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show in the 9 p.m. slot — had been CNN’s No. 1 program during its brief run.

Cable news averages for July 25-31, 2022:

Total Day (July 25-31 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.378 million viewers; 182,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.688 million viewers; 71,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.485 million viewers; 95,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.190 million viewers; 55,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.147 million viewers; 38,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.122 million viewers; 10,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.110 million viewers; 13,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.106 million viewers; 22,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (July 25-30 @ 8-11 p.m.; July 31 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 2.139 million viewers; 277,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 1.138 million viewers; 101,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.620 million viewers; 129,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.227 million viewers; 68,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.205 million viewers; 55,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.138 million viewers; 24,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.137 million viewers; 14,000 adults 25-54
  • NewsNation: 0.057 million viewers; 6,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.055 million viewers; 6,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:

1. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 7/25/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.482 million viewers

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 7/25/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.286 million viewers

3. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 7/27/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.281 million viewers

4. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 7/26/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.204 million viewers

5. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 7/28/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.128 million viewers

6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 7/28/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.090 million viewers

7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 7/27/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.028 million viewers

8. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 7/29/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.951 million viewers

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 7/26/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.855 million viewers

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 7/27/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.706 million viewers

20. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 7/25/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.354 million viewers

171. Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN, Mon. 7/25/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.780 million viewers

220. Real Time With Bill Maher “Episode 606” (HBO, Fri. 7/29/2022 10:01 PM, 59 min.) 0.656 million viewers

337. Last Week Tonight (HBO, Sun. 7/31/2022 11:00 PM, 34 min.) 0.458 million viewers

344. The Daily Show (CMDY, Tue. 7/26/2022 11:00 PM, 31 min.) 0.448 million viewers

351. Forensic Files II “Unraveled” (HLN, Sun. 7/31/2022 10:30 PM, 30 min.) 0.432 million viewers

376. Varney & Company (FBN, Fri. 7/29/2022 11:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.386 million viewers

408. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee “Episode 7215” (TBS, Thu. 7/28/2022 10:00 PM, 30 min.) 0.346 million viewers

442. Shark Tank “Shark Tank 805” (CNBC, Sun. 7/31/2022 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.311 million viewers

694. Deep Water Salvage “(209) Salvage 911” (TWC, Sun. 7/31/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.191 million viewers

705. Dan Abrams Live “Chris Cuomo Interview 7/26/22” (NWSN, Tue. 7/26/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.187 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top  programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 7/25/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.501 million adults 25-54

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 7/27/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.494 million adults 25-54

3. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 7/27/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.415 million adults 25-54

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 7/28/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.413 million adults 25-54

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 7/26/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.403 million adults 25-54

6. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 7/25/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.397 million adults 25-54

7. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Wed. 7/27/2022 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.385 million adults 25-54

8. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 7/27/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.383 million adults 25-54

9. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 7/28/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.380 million adults 25-54

10. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 7/29/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.366 million adults 25-54

52. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 7/25/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.212 million adults 25-54

67. Forensic Files “Trail Of A Killer” (HLN, Thu. 7/28/2022 12:00 AM, 30 min.) 0.182 million adults 25-54

82. The Daily Show (CMDY, Tue. 7/26/2022 11:00 PM, 31 min.) 0.171 million adults 25-54

90. Don Lemon Tonight (CNN, Wed. 7/27/2022 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.165 million adults 25-54

114. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee “Episode 7215” (TBS, Thu. 7/28/2022 10:00 PM, 30 min.) 0.148 million adults 25-54

156. Last Week Tonight (HBO, Sun. 7/31/2022 11:00 PM, 34 min.) 0.134 million adults 25-54

166. Shark Tank “Shark Tank 614” (CNBC, Sun. 7/31/2022 12:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.128 million adults 25-54

318. Real Time With Bill Maher “Episode 606” (HBO, Fri. 7/29/2022 10:01 PM, 59 min.) 0.093 million adults 25-54

496. America’s Morning Headquarters (TWC, Fri. 7/29/2022 9:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.064 million adults 25-54

733. Newsnation: Rush Hour (NWSN, Thu. 7/28/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.038 million adults 25-54

745. Kudlow (FBN, Wed. 7/27/2022 4:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.037 million adults 25-54

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

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Katie Pavlich Has Experienced Success at an Early Age

Pavlich is a journalist, editor, and freak of nature regarding achievement and success. 

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She’s done more in her 34 years than my high school class combined. Katie Pavlich is a journalist, editor, and freak of nature regarding achievement and success. 

As a reporter, she has covered presidential and congressional elections, the White House, the Department of Justice, the Second Amendment, and border issues.

Her story gets better/more humbling, depending on where you stand. When she was 26, Pavlich was named Woman of the Year by the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute. Most 26-year-olds are consumed with growing out their man-bun or increasing their number of Tik-Tok followers. 

Did I mention she is just 34 years old? 

“I guess I was born older,” Pavlich said. “I’m kind of a grumpy millennial. I call myself an old soul that doesn’t really fit in with my generation. I was the youngest kid in camp when I was young.” 

She wrote a letter to Bill Clinton about taxes when she was eight years old.  

“My mom took me to Disneyland, and I broke down and cried because I was missing homework.”

Walt Disney’s frozen head must be sobbing. 

Pavlich grew up in the mountains of northern Arizona, rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon and hunting big game with her father in the forests and deserts.

She was an athlete growing up through high school but not a runner. But, as you might expect from the last few paragraphs, that didn’t deter her. In 2019, Pavlich ran the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. 

“I should have trained more than I did,” she explained. “It was one of those things I needed to do for myself. There were people from so many demographics running alongside me. It was special because I was running alongside people who were injured during their service to our country overseas. I was getting passed by runners with prosthetic legs.”

She still finds time to run with friends in D.C. 

“It’s fantastic to run past the monuments and all the history. I’m not sure if I’ll run another marathon. I probably don’t have the time to train for one. I’ll probably still run some ten miles.” Pavlich said there’s a sobering mile in D.C. while running past monuments dedicated to soldiers killed in action. 

Pavlich can do more than name all 50 states; she’s been to 45 of them.

“I haven’t made it to North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi, or Alabama,” Pavlich said. “It’s easier to remember the states I haven’t been to. I heard pheasant hunting in South Dakota is great.”

Pavlich has family in Westfield, Wisconsin, outside of Madison. It’s on her mother’s side of the family—a dairy farm with 800 cows. We celebrated my grandmother’s 80th birthday there. I haven’t been there in far too long.”

She was born in Flagstaff, Arizona, a place Pavlich says is a lot like Colorado.

“We lived on five acres in a house built in the woods. We had beautiful views of peaks and valleys. Surrounded by elk, deer. We had a lot of snow days from school. My father was a big hunter. It’s a way of life for our family. Dad  gave me my first rifle on my 10th birthday.”

For my 10th birthday, I got a baseball mitt.

The family is steeped in respect for the land, and Pavlich’s grandfather was a park ranger in Yellowstone. She said he removed a lot of problem bears from campgrounds. 

Instead of hanging out at the mall, Pavlich rode horses in the wilderness and camped. “Even in late June, it still snowed. We were a family that lived the outdoor life.”

Cable TV was not a thing in her home until she was in high school. They couldn’t run cables out to their house. 

“We only had three channels, so I was watching a lot of local news, Hercules and Xena. I wasn’t allowed to watch MTV. I was mostly outside anyway.”

In addition to being a fan of legendary heroes, Pavlich was always fascinated with debate and politics. “I was always in tune to what was going on. When we finally got Fox News on cable, I knew I wanted to be debating on the channel.”

After graduating from college, she drove from Tucson to D.C., hungry to pursue different avenues. 

“It was a pretty big culture shock going from Arizona to D.C.,” Pavlich said. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘what have I done?  Both places have a lot to offer, and it makes no sense to compare them. Virginia is beautiful and has a large black bear population. Fall is beautiful here. I’ve told myself I never want to take for granted the opportunity I’ve had to be here.”

Pavlich said she knows D.C. is known for a lot of corruption, but it’s an amazing place to see all the monuments and the National Mall. 

“This is the greatest country in the history of the earth, and so many people come here from all over to experience it. The day I can’t appreciate all of that is the day I should move somewhere else.”

After arriving in D.C., Pavlich became a contributing editor at Townhall.com, promoted to editor five years ago. “I started out low on the totem pole, but I dove in head-first. I manage a team with great writers and reporters. I’ve got some amazing columnists that submit every day. Producing new pieces by the hour. It’s exciting to see how they’ve grown in their careers. It has been very rewarding.”

Pavlich likes to give her writers and reporters a lot of freedom to pursue stories they are interested in, giving them some creative freedom. 

Keeping abreast of national news, Pavlich watched the video that recently emerged of a store owner in Narco, California. A man was protecting his store from a heavily armed, snot-nosed, wannabe robber. Before he could get close to the counter, the owner blasted the kid before he knew what hit him. 

“I loved it,” Pavlich said. “You never like to see an innocent person in a position where they have to defend themselves, but it’s great to see it when they do. It’s harrowing. The store owner had a heart attack afterward, but he’s doing okay.

I have very little tolerance for those who want to do innocent people harm. It’s our right to defend ourselves when a gun is pointed at us.”

Pavlich said the basic crux of the gun argument is that bad people will find a way to do bad things. She explained in her experience that people have a standard answer when they are asked why they choose to buy a gun. 

“The most common answer is self-defense. Surprisingly, involvement cuts across gender lines. The stats from the past few years show more women and minorities involved. As a white woman, I’m the minority there. Some of it is skeet shooting. Shooting alligators.” 

Alligators? By the way, do you know what type of gun is preferred when you prepare to shoot an alligator? An AR-15, of course.

“You shoot them right behind the jaw,” Pavlich said. “An accurate shot there will kill them.”

When shooting alligators gets a little boring, Pavlich is busy with her new Fox Nation show, “Luxury Hunting Lodges of America.” The show consists of four episodes where Pavlich and her crew visited Honey Break in Louisiana, Highland Hills in Oregon, Three Forks Ranch in Wyoming, and Gray Cliffs Ranch in Montana.

“What I love about our Fox Nation show is how we show people are more comfortable in a hunting setting. They can come back day in and day out. They can go fly fishing, ride horses.”

Shooting an elk and returning to the cabin for a glass of red wine might take away some of the ruggedness we’ve associated with hunting. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. 

“I’ve had a lot of experience with the rugged outdoors and hunting,” Pavlich said. “I know what it’s like to pitch a tent and cook over a fire. It’s not for everybody, but that goes both ways. What we convey on the show is the experience can be a lot like glamping but certainly a step up from tenting. (Glamping is when stunning nature meets modern luxury accommodations.)

“I’m excited we can show these hunting lodges. Every single experience was completely different. When we show the lodges, we also talk about the architecture, the history of the land. How people are using private conversation dollars, restoring properties.”

A lot of what they shot was predicated on weather, and what was available at that time. 

“I was actually surprised I caught fish when I was out there,” Pavlich said. “I caught a brown trout and a rainbow trout.”

Alligators must have breathed a collective sigh of relief. 

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