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Joe Rogan and the Influence of New Media

“Independent thinkers like Rogan are using intelligent, open-minded discussion and pointing the country back to a time when we could debate issues and come to conclusions.”

Rick Schultz



A photo of Joe Rogan
(Photo: Spotify)

In an era of fake news and purposeful audience manipulation, media consumers have learned how to fend for themselves. The good news is that they can increasingly find legitimate voices that are not controlled by a political party, a government, or a corporate entity.  Joe Rogan is one of those voices.

In today’s media landscape, independent thinkers like Rogan are using intelligent, open-minded discussion and pointing the country back to a time when we could debate issues and come to conclusions around a general set of shared, common-sense values. Rogan’s audience is drawn to his authenticity; he grapples on-air – in real-time – with many of the questions Americans have on their minds. 

Last week, Joe Rogan offered some thoughts on the current state of the nation and what we might expect in the upcoming months and years. To begin with, Rogan discussed the ongoing Republican primary nomination process.

“No one is going to run against Trump in the Republican side and win. Because you’re not going to get the Trump supporters. They are all-in on Trump,” he said. “Unless he has a stroke. Unless something happens that’s horrible. They’re all-in on Trump. If you run against Trump, you’re now the enemy of Trump. If I was friends with DeSantis, I’d be like, ‘Don’t do it. You can’t beat that guy. You just can’t’.”

Many of the factors behind Rogan’s assessment of Trump’s bond with middle-class America are the same notable dynamics the country witnessed in 2016 and, even more so, in 2020.

“When that guy gets out there and he’s waving to people and they’re going crazy, you’re not beating that. And the fact that he was the President for four years, and the country was in a great economic situation. And it looked like his policies were actually effective. And that it looked like unemployment was down. Business was building. Regulations were being relaxed. More things were getting done,” Rogan said.

While Rogan remains difficult to perfectly pigeonhole into either political party, he says the impact of Trump’s mostly-conservative policies speak for themselves. 

“You know, when you look at it from a policy perspective, if you just look at it on paper, what he did was effective. A lot of people think it was effective. You don’t like him as a personality so you ignore that. Don’t do that. Look at it in terms of a policy perspective. People liked the ideas that he was putting forward,” Rogan said.

“Everybody thinks there needs to be a wall. Even the mayor of New York City is now calling to stop immigration into his city. And this was a guy who called for it to be a sanctuary state. When the reality of what your policies — what kind of actions you put forth — what the results of that are, and those results are highly negative, you’re forced to recollect. Recollect your thoughts and come up with a new perspective. That’s what the Mayor of New York City is doing now.”

For those that take the results of the 2020 election at face value, the pandemic is seen retrospectively as the largest factor that influenced the outcome. Rogan thinks things will be different this time around.

“When you look at what Trump’s policies were, then Covid hits. There’s a lot to that. The lockdowns. The economic collapse. All the shit that came with that. None of that is good,” Joe Rogan said. “And then Trump holds up this hope to bring us back to where we were when he was in office. You’re not gonna beat that. I don’t think they’re gonna beat that.”

Many Americans have been amazed at Trump’s strength and resolution, under constant attack in a way no recent President has had to endure. Rogan seemed to link the Democrats and their media as a coordinated force that has been unable to succeed with their manufactured, false narratives. He also taps into this burgeoning dynamic  – increasing numbers of Americans are beginning to relate to Trump, seeing him unfairly treated by “the man.”

“When you look at the Russia collusion, when you look at the Steele dossier, when you look at all the bullshit they tried to throw at him that we now know is bullshit — not just bullshit, but coordinated bullshit,” Joe Rogan pointed out. “When you look at the fact that they suppressed the Hunter Biden laptop story and that 51 intelligence agency representatives signed off on that to say that this was Russian disinformation — which we know is not true — that’s scary.

“Because now you have the intelligence agencies colluding to keep a guy from being president, that was president at a time when the country was thriving economically. You’re not going to beat that guy.”

Recent surveys from reputable pollsters are showing that specific American demographic groups that have traditionally felt marginalized by the system are moving steadily in Trump’s electoral direction. 

“The people that love Trump, they feel like this is a witch hunt. And they feel like all the things he’s getting indicted for are bullshit anyway. Not only does it not work, but it kinda hardens their position that he’s being targeted. These are the actions of a banana republic. You take your political rival and you arrest him. Specifically, you charge him with things that you’re fu##ing guilty of! Like the documents, the classified documents, Biden’s guilty of the exact same issue,” Rogan said.

“You gotta respect the level of deceptiveness that’s been used. I mean, look at what Hillary did. Going and saying, ‘Hey it’s Russia’. Meanwhile, it was what she was doing. And now they’re using a similar play as well,” said Patrick Bet-David, author of Your Next Five Moves.

He was pointing out that the Clinton campaign paid for the phony Russia story that she and her complicit media then promoted as the truth before, during and after Trump’s historic victory.

Much like Trump, Joe Rogan has made his mark as an open-minded, pragmatic thinker, who represents everyday people. In speaking his mind in a thoughtful, common-sense broadcasting approach, he has formed a bond with a wide swath of listeners.

So does he plan to vote for Trump this time around?

“He’d get my vote before Biden. I said that before. I don’t think that, I never thought that Biden was going to make it. I never thought that he was going to be functional. Regardless of what kind of power the President actually has. And it appears, under Trump, that the President has a lot more power than we think they do. But under Biden, he’s handled. He’s just out there talking,” Rogan said. “It’s all nonsense. They treat him with kid gloves because they don’t want to prop up Trump. They don’t want to go after him because it will weaken the Democratic party.”

Rogan’s program, The Joe Rogan Experience, has grown to staggering heights in terms of its audience size and popularity. The cherry on top would be a ratings explosion if he were ever to host President Trump on his program.

Could it ever happen?

“Maybe. At a certain point in time, it’s just like, it would be interesting to hear his perspective on a lot of things. I would like to know what is it like when you actually get into office? I would like to know things like, what is it like versus perception. What is it actually like when you get in that building? What are you greeted with? When do you know that people are f—ing with you? When do you know that the intelligence agencies are lying to you?” Rogan asked.

“When you decided to fire Comey, what was the thought? How much did you know? What’s the machine like? What is the deep state really like? Really like. What is the machine that runs this country? Because it’s very clear that it’s not as simple as elected representatives that are doing the will of the people. It’s not.”

Forget about debates during the primaries or general election. The real ratings bonanza would be Trump sitting down one-on-one with Joe Rogan. Two guys who possibly agree on some matters and disagree on others, but who clearly know how to speak authentically and build a bond with an audience. 

That episode would be quite an experience.

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BNM Writers

The Time is Right For Rupert Murdoch to Leave, But Is it Right For Fox News?

Murdoch may have never wanted to retire but there’s probably no reason for him to stay. His work is finished.

Jessie Karangu



A photo of Rupert Murdoch

The writers of Succession couldn’t write the script we saw come into full display on Thursday. Out of nowhere, one of the most consequential media leaders of our time decided to resign. Rupert Murdoch will ride off into the sunset having left a legacy that has changed media and the state of our democracy forever.

Rupert Murdoch has elected presidents, changed mindsets, and caused hysteria and pandemonium for billions of people over the course of his career. It may not be hyperbolic to say he is one of the few media titans who could’ve had a direct impact on your personal life. Whether you love him or hate him, he was successful at the machine he wanted to create. He has decisively been a shadow emperor of the Western world for the past 20-40 years.

Because of the blueprint he has set in stone, don’t expect Fox News to ever change, even if he isn’t at the helm any longer. The fact is that numbers don’t lie. Fox News commands retransmission fees that are comparable to ESPN, TNT, and the USA Network without carrying any live sporting events. It is one of Fox’s biggest revenue generators despite losing an epic lawsuit to Dominion. It is one of the networks keeping the cable bundle alive and will help prolong it as much as possible because of its existing base.

Speaking of its base, the fact that it has a base in the first place speaks volumes. Fox News has something every other network on television only envies: super fans. There have been pitfalls along the way over the past three or four years but in general, Fox News finds a way to consistently beat its opponents in the demo as well as in overall viewers.

The network has had to switch out hosts for various reasons over the past couple of years but because of its formula of storytelling and team building, viewers don’t leave in droves.

It may not be journalism but it is the perfect way to keep allegiances and it has worked for Fox. Whether it was his tabloids, his syndicated shows, or his news network, Rupert Murdoch has always insisted on creating an environment of “Us vs. Them” for a group of people whose unique diversity is often underestimated. Murdoch has consistently found a way to turn anger and fear into dollars and if it ain’t broke, why fix the Fox?

The successor taking over for Rupert Murdoch also isn’t an unfamiliar seed of discomfort and madness. Lachlan Murdoch has had a say and has been in discussions about Fox’s direction for decades. Some reports say that his own way of thinking is to the right of his father. If there is any child of Rupert’s who supports the path of destruction and illusion that Fox News has created over time, it’s Lachlan.

One of the few problems that Fox may face is purely logistical. It has been reported that Lachlan enjoys living in Australia more than the United States. Operating a television behemoth from another continent could be risky, especially after the behemoth has allowed anchors to vomit election lies on screen and allegedly commit sexual assault off-screen. But that shouldn’t affect the network’s ability to operate because Lachlan has already been serving as co-chair even before this week’s announcement.

One of the biggest reasons you shouldn’t expect Fox to change is because they’re the only network that has broken the code. Newsmax, Megyn Kelly, Glenn Beck, and Tucker Carlson have tried or are trying. But they haven’t been successful. They achieved a level of prosperity in their own right but their numbers and margins of profitability are nowhere close to what Fox News makes. Their concurrent reach cannot even be compared.

The closest rival that has been able to penetrate some sort of mainstream relevance, although exclusively online, is The Daily Wire. And yet even with Ben Shapiro’s respective empire, it will be hard to match what Fox makes because of the business model Fox falls under. There isn’t any imminent competition that could drag Fox down and truly challenge the amount of viewers they receive or the kind of money they make. 

Murdoch may have never wanted to retire but there’s probably no reason for him to stay. His work is finished. His worldview has a daily effect on the lives of billions. As the business models for media continue to change, it’s better to leave at the top than to try to solve the next problem.

Titans like Bob Iger and Mark Thompson could look back at Murdoch’s decision years ago and wonder why they didn’t leave as a champion as he did. Unless there was a pie coming at his face during a hearing in the United Kingdom, one of the biggest strengths of Rupert Murdoch is that he always knew when the time was right.

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What News/Talk Can Learn From A Sports Host Like Mad Dog Russo

How are you taking the news that is relevant in our space and making it stand out to the audience and making it relatable to your audience?



A photo of Chris "Mad Dog" Russo
(Photo: Scott Cook, Rollins College)

Sports media had one of its best viral moments in recent memory this week when Chris “Mad Dog” Russo shared his Saturday college football plans with the audience of ESPN’s First Take

Russo was talking with Stephen A. Smith and Marcus Spears about this weekend’s game between Colorado and Oregon when Molly Qerim told Russo to share with the rest of the panel his plans for the weekend.

Russo went on to describe his Saturday afternoon, blow-by-blow, which included a cocktail and “half a THC gummy” for the noon ET games. After the first slate of games, Russo planned to make a call to his bookie, place a $10,000 bet on Colorado to beat Oregon, and then another cocktail, along with the “other half” of his gummy.

It was pure entertainment from Russo. He wasn’t trying too hard, it wasn’t over the top, but it was brilliant content.

The clip has been viewed millions of times since it aired because it was real, relatable, honest, funny, self-deprecating and delivered perfectly.

Only a handful would have seen or heard this clip, other than those watching the show in real-time, had they just done the standard “media talking heads break down the big college football game of the weekend”. But to Russo’s credit, he likely understands in today’s media landscape that the die-hards who want a full Oregon-Colorado breakdown can get that in a ton of different places in 2023. What’s he going to bring that’s unique, different, and stands out? And that’s exactly what he did.

As it pertains to news/talk radio, or news media at large, how do you have that Mad Dog-Gummy moment? It doesn’t need to literally be you talking about taking gummies before the next GOP debate on September 27th (although anything that helps get through one of those disasters would be welcomed). But how are you taking the news that is relevant in our space and making it stand out to the audience and making it relatable to your audience?

While it’s anecdotal, whenever I bump into KCMO listeners, the biggest feedback on the show is not my takes on Trump, Biden, Kansas City city council, or anything else for that matter, it’s, “I like when you talk about your girls.”

I have two daughters, four and two, who are absolutely incredible, entertaining, and yes, nightmare toddlers sometimes. When it’s relevant and topical, I will bring them up. I talk about them far less than the news, but they’re the “topic” that always gets the organic feedback.

Like Russo’s moment, it gives the audience insight into who we are as people, beyond what we think about the topic(s) of the day. 

This doesn’t mean that a four-hour show should be about your weekend plans or your kids throwing up in their beds at night (although I could rip off a few of those stories and kill a few segments). But picking and choosing those moments will help you stand out in an overcrowded media landscape where the audience has options galore and needs more reasons than ever to come back to you and your show.

Give them insight into not just you the host/personality, but you the person. 

I can’t think of the last time cable news or news talk had a viral moment like Mad Dog Russo. But maybe you can be next.

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A News/Talk Radio Autopsy After the BNM Summit

The news/talk audience is getting older. This is somewhat self-inflicted. We are still doing our shows in the same template Rush Limbaugh innovated in 1987. Time to change it up. 

Avatar photo



A photo of a panel at the 2023 BNM Summit

After the inaugural BNM Summit, I was more excited about our industry after the two-day event. Radio in many ways is a solitary pursuit.

Teamwork is sometimes not a factor in a morning show with a cast. You walk into the studio, put on the headphones, turn on the mic and go. I needed some excitement, some good news, and the chance to meet new friends and renew longtime relationships. I got it.

As an industry, we have been pummeled by bad headlines: some of which are self-inflicted, and some are challenges for our future. If you believe the headlines, smelting lead would be a better career choice. I don’t believe that, and you shouldn’t either. While smelting lead seems like an exciting career other than the whole lead poisoning thing, perhaps that is better than radio station break room coffee. 

Have you ever considered how bad radio station coffee is? I don’t drink it. I drink a pot of my own before I strut into the office. Perhaps, it is time to call any reputable health inspector in to inspect that thicker than tar swill. 

Radio is a terrific profession. How many jobs provide more laughs than broadcasting? It is fun.  I have worked a bit outside the radio industry. Real-world jobs suck. Our stations develop awesome advertising campaigns for clients. Why not us? We don’t publicize our strengths.  Podcasts are great, but when did a podcast raise money for the local foster children? When did a podcast show up at a client’s office with a smile and donuts? TikTok? Those Chinese Communist bastards are poisoning our kids. YouTube? Cool content, but the Google-owned platform is as likely to build commonalities with your neighbors as a lion is likely to lay down with a lamb. 

Radio is a cool job. One where you can make a difference. It’s not exactly like Mother Theresa….  but it’s better than being an influencer on Instagram. 

I am ranting.

You know who I am sick of? The radio coroner gang. Radio still reaches a majority of the American public. Your local big network TV affiliates may reach less than 40% of the public.  They are no longer a big deal. Don’t give them any respect. Those jerks don’t deserve it, except for that pretty reporter who would be lucky to be my next wife. I know that I am old enough to be her dad, but hey, old dudes need love, too. 

Radio is vital and needed. Radio needs to look itself in the mirror and say “We are essential”. I was in the room in Nashville with men and women who see a future. The BNM Summit delivered that.

By the way, the brother and sisterhood at the BNM Summit was strong. I haven’t been hugged this much since a family reunion. I wish that you could have been there. It was amazing. I really was pumped up. We matter. You matter. Your ideas are important. 

We have challenges. We need to address issues with Gen Z and the generations to follow them. Radio does have issues with innovation. We run the same clocks that we did in 1970. We sweep the corners, which is stupid and does not reflect actual radio listening. If you are in a PPM market and are sweeping the corners, reevaluate your tune-ins per hour. Look at that carefully. So, your host comes out of the break at :27, and news is at “30. I guarantee your tune-out rate is through the roof. 

You need 5 minutes of continuous listening to get credit. A listener is as likely to start listening at 23 minutes past the hour than almost any other time. Yet, we still sweep the corners. It’s insane. You may not like PPM. It is a fair assessment, but adapt or die. We have not adapted to PPM and radio has been using this technology for well over a decade. 

The news/talk audience is getting older. This is somewhat self-inflicted. We are still doing our shows in the same template Rush Limbaugh innovated in 1987. Time to change it up. PPM gives us tools. If you delight in being a political insider, you are going to demo old. Go to a political event. It is geezer-rific. Talk about the interests of a 45-year-old. You can beat this.  You have the tools, you have the data, and you have the talent.

I was watching a YouTube video on East St. Louis. That city in Illinois is now one of the most violent places in the USA. It was not always that way. East St. Louis was once a vibrant community with a bustling downtown, strong industry, and a great future. The community got complacent, and the employers started to leave. The city was not focused on growing and it has become a shell of the great place it was at one time. 

Radio needs to look at that. What is next? Where is the innovation? How do we change the momentum? It’s all up to us. There are thought leaders in our industry reading this. These are brilliant people. I don’t claim to have the answers, but I know where we need to focus.

Being in the room with amazing leaders in the radio industry brought me more excitement.  The BNM Summit was exactly what I needed. I could not be more enthusiastic about our future. Am I naïve? Perhaps. Do I understand the power of radio? Absolutely. 

The power is in your hands. May every moment on your radio station essential. 

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