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Tucker Carlson Is Out At Fox News: How Did We Get Here And What Happens Next?

“Was it fallout from the settlement with Dominion? Was it a result of his true feelings about Donald Trump coming to light? All there is to do is guess until Tucker Carlson is ready to tell his side of all of this.”

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Unless you work inside the halls of Fox News, you probably did not wake up Monday morning thinking you had already seen Tucker Carlson’s last show on the network. But that is the case, as we found out shortly before noon that day on the East Coast.

Fox News Media issued a statement saying that Carlson and the network had agreed to part ways. There would be no farewell, no chance to thank the audience. His last show has already happened.

We can speculate as to why all day. Was it fallout from the settlement with Dominion? Was it a result of his true feelings about Donald Trump coming to light? All there is to do is guess until Tucker Carlson is ready to tell his side of all of this. 

The opinions on what this means and what happens next vary wildly. That is why we have created this column. 

THE CONSERVATIVE POINT OF VIEW by Ryan Hedrick

The political left has repeatedly tried to cancel Tucker Carlson for years, but these attempts have intensified recently. This is due to Carlson’s courage in asking House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for the 44,000 hours of surveillance tapes from the U.S. Capitol Police, which the mainstream media had neglected to request. The subsequent airing of this footage on Carlson’s show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” has furthered the narrative that he is a conspiracy theorist who promotes racist views and communicates with white supremacists who participated in the January 6th insurrection.

To understand the extent of Tucker Carlson’s popularity among conservative Republicans, consider my mother-in-law’s reaction to his departure. When I informed her on Monday afternoon that Carlson had been fired from Fox News, she was playing bingo with 30 friends at a fire hall. She put me on speakerphone and asked me to repeat the news. After I finished speaking, the room fell silent, and people started screaming and crying in disbelief.

If I had to create a conservative pundit Mount Rushmore, Tucker Carlson would be my foundation. He provides the bedrock of honest, original, and thought-provoking insight that is difficult to find elsewhere. Carlson’s monologues have become legendary because he challenges the status quo. While it would be remiss not to acknowledge the late Rush Limbaugh’s impact in this regard, I have been asked to write about Tucker Carlson. Few commentators on his former network challenged the mainstream as Carlson did. He always did what was right, and regardless of which side of the aisle you find yourself on, you would have agreed with him at some point. Those who criticized him likely never watched him and instead consumed what the mainstream media disseminated and repeated slanderous talking points, which eventually became the prevailing opinion of him.

The departure of Tucker Carlson is a significant blow to conservative media. The news of his firing on Monday shook the media landscape, with many national news and talk radio shows devoting hours to the topic. Fox News employee Clay Travis said he did not notice anything unusual when he appeared on Carlson’s show on Friday night. After the news broke, I listened to several radio stations across the country and the consensus was one of shock and disbelief. Carlson addressed important issues, such as challenging the narrative about the effectiveness of COVID vaccines. He frequently challenged the mainstream media to report on the Hunter Biden laptop story. When other networks dismissed the story as “Russian disinformation,” Carlson invited Tony Bobulinski, Hunter Biden’s former business partner, to discuss the Biden family’s ties to foreign adversaries and how they benefited from those relationships.

Without Tucker Carlson, Fox News may struggle to fill the void left by his departure. They may need to find another host who can similarly challenge the mainstream media and provide thought-provoking commentary that appeals to conservative viewers. In the short term, they may experience a dip in ratings as Carlson was one of their most popular hosts. As for Tucker Carlson, he may continue his work independently, possibly starting his own media company or joining a different news network. His loyal fan base and unique perspective on current events may attract viewers and listeners wherever he goes. Alternatively, he may focus on other projects or pursuits, such as writing or public speaking.

THE LIBERAL POINT OF VIEW by Demetri Ravanos

The Republican Party isn’t a political group anymore. It’s a cult, not dedicated to anything, simply hell-bent on making everyone else’s life worse. No one personified that more than Tucker Carlson and nothing hammers that home better than the fact that FOX is now out of the bow-tied dingus business.

What was the last straw? It wasn’t a problem when Carlson aired a special trying to re-write what everyone saw with their own two eyes on January 6, 2021. It wasn’t a problem that he turned his show into the Kyle Rittenhouse Variety Hour or demanded that the governor of Texas pardon a murderer simply because the victim supported the Black Lives Matter movement.

No, his sin was being too loosey-goosey with his feelings about Donald Trump. 

Fox could live with some parts of his text thread that were exposed during the discovery phase of Dominion Voting Systems’ lawsuit against the network. He and the network’s other primetime hosts called for the firing of people that made it harder for all of them to lie without consequence. A problem? Hardly. Honestly, even the network’s most ardent fans expect no better. What Fox News couldn’t live with was anyone acknowledging that “hey, maybe this guy that thinks we should all be drinking bleach is a moron.”

The conservative media was not shy about its hope that Ron DeSantis be their excuse to move on and bury Donald Trump in the annals of history. Then Disney exposed how little of a plan there is to anything involving Ron DeSantis and he largely became an afterthought, even in his own state.

When you stand for nothing, anything can be your downfall. Tucker Carlson built a career out of shilling for whatever the opposite of the liberal point of view was. It didn’t matter if it had value. None of this is real and there are no consequences to anything when you grow up with fish stick money! 

In the end, the cult that Carlson was shouting to became a cult of personality for someone other than himself, and he made the fatal mistake of letting his true feelings for the cult leader become public.

WHAT ARE FOX’S OPTIONS?

The answer kind of depends on what Fox’s goals are and how it sees its business in the wake of the $787 million settlement with Dominion. Does the network need to spare expenses or does it need a home run?

Owning Outkick gives Fox News some wiggle room. Maybe there is a deal to be done with Clay Travis or Tomi Lahren that doesn’t break the bank because of their respective current relationships with the network.

Could Fox look at an earlier daypart? What if The Five moved into primetime? What if Brian Kilmeade left Fox & Friends to go solo? 

Maybe the answer is actually looking at a later daypart. Gutfeld! has thrived in late-night. It isn’t your traditional late-night show though. It could find a much larger audience in primetime and frankly, it may be a better fit. 

Fox also has a bench full of weekend talent that could get a shot. Will Cain seems like the most likely candidate in that group. 

With ESPN going through layoffs, and Stephen A. Smith making a lot of money and now hosting a podcast that explores issues beyond the sports world, could he be an option? What about the new king of talk media, Joe Rogan?

The options are endless. This is a company with deep enough pockets to go after whoever it wants. If the Murdoch’s want to make a big splash, you would have to think anything and everything is on the table.

WHAT ARE TUCKER’S OPTIONS?

What does Tucker Carlson value? Does he want the biggest possible audience? Is his priority more creative and editorial freedom? He will have no shortage of suitors. Which ones are viable largely depends on what he wants to do next.

No matter what you think of Carlson or what employees at other cable networks think of him, his ratings are strong. That means he has plenty of fans in the C-suites. 

Fledgling conservative networks like OAN and Newsmax will have to break the bank, but would likely tell you that it is worth it to land a star like Carlson.

Don’t rule out CNN either. The network is trying to remake its image and boy, would that be a remake. He also worked there before.

NewsNation has also been investing in higher-profile talent, and this could be the move to catapult them to the next level. Think people would tune in to a network featuring Tucker, Chris Cuomo, and Dan Abrams, with frequent appearances from Bill O’Reilly?

If Carlson wants more freedom, he could decide that digital is the way to go. Does that mean turning to Spotify or Apple? Does it mean teaming up with Ben Shapiro at The Daily Wire or with Glenn Beck at The Blaze? One could also make a case for radio with either Westwood One, Premiere Networks, or SiriusXM but that seems less likely.

But why give your content to anyone? Tucker has a track record of success and loyal fans. He wouldn’t have any trouble finding backers if he decided to create a DTC subscription service. The question is, will that be enough for him?

If Carlson’s ultimate goal is to regain the platform and power he had at Fox, and take them on head-to-head, it’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out. Either way, America will be tuning in.

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BNM Writers

Soledad O’Brien Has Public Service at Heart in Her Reporting

O’Brien admits she didn’t fully grasp what public service reporting looked like until her coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

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A photo of Soledad O'Brien
(Photo: Hearst Media Production Group)

“Fearless,” “determined,” and “kind,” is how many former colleagues would describe Soledad O’Brien. Awarded the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation Insight Award this year at the NAB Show, the veteran journalist spoke with Barrett News Media about her career and what makes her work so impactful. 


Her love of people and figuring things out initially had O’Brien headed to Medical school. Realizing she wanted something else in life, the broadcaster found her passion translated nicely from medicine to journalism.

“I started working in a group called Centro, which was a Spanish language program at WBZ-TV. I just loved going into the newsroom because I loved the energy and the action,” O’Brien recalled. Another appeal was, “No matter if you had a great show or a terrible show, it was over and you started again.”

From WBZ-TV, she moved on to NBC News, KRON in San Fransisco, MSNBC, and back to NBC before joining CNN. For the last 11 years, the native Long Islander has been running a production company along with her own show Matter of Fact, a podcast (Who Killed JFK), and several documentaries.

This year she was honored with the LAFB Insight award for her outstanding journalistic body of work. The award comes after winning several honors in 2023, including a Peabody Award for her documentary on Rosa Parks, plus an Independent Spirit Award for a series mostly centered on Black women who are missing. Also in 2023, O’Brien was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame.

Soledad O’Brien was humble about her accolades, saying “It’s always a really amazing thing when your colleagues give you an honor. When people who actually understand the business and know what it takes to do the work that you do say ‘We want to celebrate the work that you’re doing.’”

She noted how beautiful the ceremony was. “It just made me feel, outside of the 10 million hairstyles I’ve had over the years, the range of stories I had the opportunity to tell and be a part of. And, hopefully, I brought some insight and some perspective which was maybe different than what other people brought.”

She noted her most meaningful story was her time in New Orleans.

“I think as a reporter, it was a big turning point. I sort of figured out that reporting was about serving the public, and I’m not sure I 100% understood that before,” Soledad O’Brien admitted. “And it was an opportunity in a story to help people understand not just the storm and the damage, which was massive.

“If you thought Hurricane Katrina was about a storm, it really wasn’t. It was about the have and the have-not in America, right? It was about access, and it was about whose voices get heard, who gets elevated, and what does it mean to be in a relatively large city in America that doesn’t seem to be getting any help pretty fast. And it was about race in America, too, and all those things which made it a very dynamic and complex and complicated story.

“I got a lot of awards for covering that story, but I really enjoyed interviewing people and helping people understand. One question we get, ‘Why don’t people just leave?’ Well, if your parents and your grandparents all live on the same block, where are you going? Can you just pick up and move into a hotel for a month? Well, no, it just doesn’t really work like that. So, I think we were able to bring a lot of insight in that story, and also help people see the lives of people who honestly we don’t really spend a lot of time covering in daily news.”

Swapping out with her co-anchor every month, O’Brien recalled leaving the area.

“We were walking through the Baton Rouge airport, and I remember I had my CNN baseball cap on and there were no showers. I remember packing baby wipes. My kids were little. And I took those big bags of baby wipes, and that’s how we cleaned ourselves up. There were no showers, obviously. We lived in an RV on Canal Street. And I remember we got a standing ovation walking through the airport. I felt like it just was a sign that what we were doing was really valuable and important, and people needed us to help them understand what was happening.

“It was really remarkable. It was very it was very emotional. We felt like, ‘Oh, this job is about serving your viewers and also serving the people whose story is unfolding in their backyards. And they need help to get assistance to understand what’s happening and to get their own perspective out.’”

Today, Soledad O’Brien said she serves the public in several different ways, including on her show Matter of Fact.

“The whole entire ethos of our show is stories as diverse as America. So in an environment where the nation is quite divided and things are often tense and unpleasant, we’re actually, kind of cutting out the middleman.” She went on to say, “We don’t really focus on politicians. We really dig into how policy lands on people. So we’re much more interested in what people have to say about their experiences. And I think that’s been a very interesting perspective for us.”


With her and her team’s focus on voices that are often ignored in the media, she believes this niche is “Exactly an example of serving the public.” Her show is also able to avoid the typical talking heads saying her show is, “Helping people understand complicated issues and stories versus, the two people on TV, they’re diametrically opposed and let them yell at each other for four minutes. And then I’m going to say, ‘Oh my goodness, thank you so much for joining me. We got to go to break now.’ I’m not doing that. And I think because we’re focused on that service, it’s really made the show very successful and popular.”


Part two of Barrett’s conversation with Soledad O’Brien will be coming to a screen near you at a later date.

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Talk Radio Talent and Producer Coaching Tips From A Master — Part 2

“Mostly with the work that I do in spoken word, I think a producer is strongest when they help pull out your point or the best part of a topic.”

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David G. Hall is an international radio programming consultant who achieved fame in 1991 when he reinvented news and talk radio at KFI, Los Angeles.

I recently shared his insights into coaching talk radio talents.

In part two of our conversation, DGH talks about coaching producers and talent of shows
with multiple hosts.

DW: How do you coach producers? What do you need them to do for the talent?

DGH: Well, mostly with the work that I do in spoken word I think a producer is strongest when they help pull out your point or the best part of a topic. So you say, ‘Oh, we got to talk about this bridge collapse in Baltimore, man. I don’t really know what I want to say.’ And then the producer says, ‘Well, what pisses you off about it?’ Or, ‘What’s the thing that nobody gets?’ And you go, ‘Well, nobody understands X.’ Then the producer says, ‘That’s what you start with right there. There’s your way in and then you can explain it.’

So, (the producer’s job is) to kind of pull out from you what you really want to say, because sometimes it’s hard to find that on your own when you’re just doing everything in your head. So, your producer says, ‘Ok, that’s where you want to start right there,’ and then does whatever research is necessary to help you back that up or to come up with examples or come up with audio.

DW: What about two or three people shows? How do you get them on the same page consistently, learning to think like each other, and not make those hard left turns in conversations?

DGH: I have to deal with that a lot with shows where there’s more than one person. It’s important to help people in multiple-person shows understand you don’t have to say too much to get a lot of attention. A lot of people in that second chair want to keep talking because they feel like if they don’t talk, they’re going to be invisible. But it doesn’t work that way.

So I spent a lot of my time coaching people I would call the second chair people, but they’re really co-hosts, on how to be engaging in a certain way and how to not make a hard left where then all of a sudden you have the listeners, and worse, your co-host, going ‘What the hell? How do I respond to that?’ That comes up a lot. And in music morning shows, I try to keep them from talking over each other and stuff like that.

But the hard part comes with the payoff because when they’re doing a bit or they’re doing a benchmark, I want everybody laughing and smiling as the song starts, and as soon as everybody’s laughing and smiling, get the hell out and start the song. What happens is, especially if there’s more than two people, they one-up each other, right?

So somebody has the perfect out where they should hit the song and then the other person goes ‘Oh, no, no, no,’ and then they say something that causes the first person to try to beat that and before you know it you’ve got four punchlines, each one worse than the one before. Start the song, get the hell out, and prepare for your next bit.

DW: This is great stuff. What would you add or how would you summarize all of this for radio talents and the people who coach them?

DGH: I have three things. The first is you have to be consistent and regular. So if you’re gonna tell me to do this differently, you better show up in a week to remind me because all of us on the radio get stuck in habits and in a comfort zone, right?

So I’ll do what you say today and maybe tomorrow, and by the next day, maybe half. And then by the day after that, by Friday, I’m not doing it at all. So you better show up on Friday to say, ‘Hey, I heard you on Monday, man, you sounded great!’ Then help me break bad habits and set new ones, because we all are creatures of habit when we’re on the radio.

Second thing I would say is: be as specific as possible. It was never helpful to me when someone would say ‘Great show.’ Yeah. Ok, thanks, but that doesn’t mean anything to me.

But, when the market manager or PD says, ‘Yesterday when you interviewed that guy and you asked him this question, oh my god that was fantastic!’ As a talent with ego, I’m assuming he heard the entire show, even though he’s commenting on one thing. But that one thing is much more valuable than just ‘Hey, great show’. And then the third thing I would say is Joe Crummey. I don’t know if you know the name Joe Crummey.

DW: Yes, we’ve never met but we’ve become online friends. I love his work.

DGH: When I was first PD (at KFI), Joe Crummey said something key that I think about all the time when I’m working with talent and from when I was on the radio. He said, ‘When you’re on the radio, you walk a plank every single day and you just hope to God that you don’t fall off.

‘Because, unlike television, unlike Jon Stewart or Jimmy Kimmel or Stephen Colbert, we don’t have a writer’s room of 22 people sitting behind us thinking of every brilliant word we’re gonna say. You have to mostly do it yourself and mostly do it right off the top of your head. And if you’re on the radio three hours a day, five days a week, you are coming up with 15 hours of original content every week, walking a plank, not making a fool of yourself, not humiliating yourself, and not losing your train of thought.

It’s tough to create that much original content and to keep your train of thought and not humiliate yourself.’

DW: And to do it with no real-time feedback from the audience.

DGH: Right, exactly. You have no idea how it’s landing. That was one of the most valuable things anybody has ever said to me in this business. And to this day, I think about that. When I work with talk show hosts who are on the hook for hours without anything to hide behind, no songs, maybe a newscast at the top of the hour, but not much else I always think, ‘Man, you are walking a plank and it’s all original content.’

I really respect that, I really respect the talent necessary to be able to do what we do without humiliating ourselves, without getting sued, without getting fired, and with our toes dangling off the end of that plank for hours a day, every single day.

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News/Talk Radio Hosts Need to Remember It’s Ok to Act Your Age

This same strategy can apply to a story that may pre-date your time in the market where you’re hosting your show. Study up, but lean on those who know.

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For many, we all can fall into a groove of trying to be something we’re not. And the audience is bound to sniff you out as inauthentic. The older radio guy wants to seem hip when discussing social media and refers to his account as “Face-Chat” and “You-Book.” Oops. The younger guy wants to pretend he knows everything about the 1980 election, including the myth that Ronald Reagan came from 10 points down in late October to beat Jimmy Carter. You can read about it here.

I bring this up in the wake of last week’s breaking news story surrounding the death of O.J. Simpson. Social media exploded with reactions and hysterical memes, while talk radio re-lived “The Trial of the Century.”

As someone who was six years old during the White Bronco chase and seven years old as the trial unfolded, I have little memory of the trial itself. I remember it, but the day-to-day details are meaningless. As someone interested in historical events, I’ve read plenty about it and watched documentaries, but I wasn’t there. My only memory of it is watching O.J. on the news in my parents’ kitchen.

So, the day after O.J.’s death was announced, I had minimal anecdotal stories to share. And if you’re a younger host, there’s no reason to be embarrassed by this. After all, it was 30 years ago at this point. Now, someone over 55 might think it was 20 years ago, but my dad, pushing 70, believes 1978 was 30 years ago. It was over 45. So, I rest my case. Time is a blur. You have nothing to be ashamed of. 

But at the same time, don’t pretend to be something you’re not.

I spent Friday morning discussing how infatuated I was diving deep into YouTube archives, finding old local TV clips in Los Angeles from the Rodney King riots, mentioning New York Times articles I stumbled upon during the trial in 1995, and weaving that into the content of the day. My approach was to be the authority on the topic since that’s the job, but not pretend that I lived through it in any meaningful way.

That’s when I tapped into guests. Gregg Jarrett from Fox News covered the trial for Court TV. His stories were outstanding. On a whim, I reached out to Randy Cross, a former 49ers player who spent two seasons as a teammate with O.J., and he shared insights that only he could share.

Then, we worked from our local angle, with a great story from former Kansas City sports anchor Frank Boal, who talked about the Bruno Magli shoes that were a centerpiece in the trial. Coincidentally, a photo was used from when O.J. Simpson was on Monday Night Football broadcasting a game at Arrowhead Stadium where he was wearing… you guessed it, Bruno Magli shoes.

So, let your experts be experts. And don’t try to trick your audience into being something you’re not. Let them share their stories as well. Several California transplants to the KC area shared incredible stories from their lives. Let them be the stars and have their moment, assuming it’s compelling content.

This same strategy can apply to a story that may pre-date your time in the market where you’re hosting your show. Study up, but lean on those who know, let your audience participate if and when appropriate, and don’t be the know-it-all, especially when it’s obvious you can’t be on the same level as some of those listening.

Your audience will thank you for it because you’re being authentic with them, and that’s what they want. If you lose your authenticity, you’re done. 

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