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Steve Sanchez is the Voice of the People on KDWN in Las Vegas

“Our job is to kind of remind the establishment and the powers that be that these people who look like me basically have built the country. And we can’t forget them.”

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A photo of Steve Sanchez and the KDWN logo
(Photo: KDWN)

From the Penthouse to the Dog House to God’s House, KDWN host Steve Sanchez believes he has the #1 radio show in Las Vegas because of God.

“I’m on a mission from God. You know, I really feel that I do, and not in a religious aspect,” Sanchez told Barrett News Media over a Zoom call. “I’m not against religion. I think there are beautiful religions around the world. But religions are man-made, man-made doctrine, man-made rituals, and traditions. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m just more a relationship guy.”

He later added, “I’m a believer in Christ. I was saved, I saw where my life was, and I see where it is now. Only God. That’s it. Only God. Because there’s no other explanation. There’s no other explanation of who I used to be to who I am today. And so that’s why that stays very important and is really a fundamental core for me.”

Steve Sanchez was born in Merced, California to an almond rancher. “[It was a] great, great place to grow up. And then went to college, graduated, moved to San Diego, met my wife, and then 25 years ago, relocated out here to the desert.”

He worked in the financial sector which he called The Penthouse, which sent him to the Dog House. “When you’re younger and you’re making a lot of money, you have a tendency to not discipline yourself. At least I did.” He added, “What we were doing was just spending everything we’d bring in, and yet I was advising clients to do the opposite.”

The now 54-year-old said, “We went from that penthouse living in terms of just making a ton of money and living the dream to facing bad choices, bad investment decisions, and practically losing almost everything. And so during that time, it started putting a strain on our marriage, because communication and finances are two of the biggest things that dissolve a marriage. We decided to say maybe we need to give this God thing a try. We’ve tried everything else.”

Sanchez said he and his wife were invited to a religious marriage retreat, “And it changed our lives. We became born again.” He later added “We’re not religious people. I’m just not a big religious guy, but just a real faithful relationship with Jesus changed our lives, our perspective, our thinking, the way we had money, the way we handled our marriage or life, our children, our business.”

Steve Sanchez also said “[When we] really started just putting everything down and the burdens on to God, as he says to do, our life changed. And not that it doesn’t give us challenges. Yeah, we’re humans, we’re going to have challenges. But it opened up doors of opportunity just like this.”

Soon after, Sanchez’s “Real, Raw, and Relevant” talk show all came about by chance. “Back in 2009, a buddy of mine had a radio show and he said, look, why don’t you just partner with me?” Sanchez said yes, telling BNM, “I came on as a frequent guest host for a financial talk radio show. And so I started doing that with him. And then he, after about a year, said, ‘Look, it’s not something I want to do anymore’ and the station manager said, ‘Look, we really like you. We think you’ve got something to offer for radio, but we would like to offer you a show on the weekends and do more of a talk radio show, not a financial show. Just talk radio.’”

The station’s reasoning for the pivot? “‘When you would come on with your buddy, you would talk a lot about what’s going on in the culture or politics.’ And so that’s what happened,” He added, “I was offered a weekend show on Sundays, that show two years later, is on in 73 markets and syndication on Sunday nights and here we are now.”

Steve Sanchez frames his show not for the left or right but for Americans as a whole. “When you look around today, the country is really divided. Left, right, this, that, and the other. And I got caught into that for a long time. For a lot of years, especially in the early days of radio.”

He added, “Everything has to just be the conservative way, the conservative ways, the way and I’ve learned that that’s not really the case. I’ve learned that even though I’m a conservative in values, there are some things that I’m more libertarian on. And so I started thinking maybe we needed to stop with the label stuff and start talking like Americans. And what did our framers envision for the country? God, family, country.”

Today, Sanchez keeps a few questions in mind when doing a show on KDWN.

“When I’m talking about something politically or culturally [relevant], I always try to go back and say, ‘How does God view this for me?’ And when I hear that, how am I going to present it to the audience? I don’t want to be preachy, because my job is not to be an evangelist and to turn people over to what I believe. My job is just to be authentic with people and say, ‘This is what I believe in. Here’s why’, and I can back it by here’s what our framers and our founders envisioned. Here’s what the Bible — which is my worldview — believes and I tie it in. But I’m very respectful of other’s opinions. And so we may have debates on it. But in this great country, the Constitution affords us to believe what we want to believe.”

Steve Sanchez said he likes to keep his 3-hour format simple. “What we’ve done is what we like to do is in the first hour of the show, we like to open up with something that is culturally appropriate for everybody… Our second hour of the show, that’s more of our political hour. We start talking about politics and, and how politics play a role into what we just talked about in the first hour.”

He then said, “Typically our third hour is let’s let the community get on a soapbox and voice their opinion, and we open up our show for calls. We get more calls than we can handle.”

Of his show structure Steve Sanchez said, “That recipe has worked really well that that recipe is, I think, a recipe for success.”

Another part of Sanchez’s success is because he’s not the normal talk radio guy.

“People relate to that because I think more people are like me, where we’re not [wearing] a suit and tie guy every single day, and those people are forgotten in America. Our job is to kind of remind the establishment and the powers that be that these people who look like me basically have built the country. And we can’t forget them.”

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BNM Writers

What to Do When Your Fear Your Media Career is Headed to the Graveyard

If you think about career death so much that it detracts from being in the moment, maybe it really is time to move on.

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A photo of a graveyard

“Do you guys ever think about dying?”

If you saw the Barbie movie, you know the line. Barbie is living the perfect and perfectly plastic life, perfectly choreographed and full of perfect smiles.

But the movie turns on that one line, basically shattering Barbie’s world with a concept no one there would ever have considered.

Death.

Why would you consider it when everything seemed in perfect order?

Well, when it comes to broadcasting and media, a lot of you think about dying … a lot. I do, too.

Of course, it’s not the stop breathing and get buried type of death but rather, the death of a career in media.

The truth is, when it comes to our business, very few people get to choose when it ends. Take a minute and consider a major media personality who truly “retired” after a multi-decade career.

It happens, but percentage-wise, it’s rare.

Take a minute and think. Name some. Name one. It’s not easy.

More often than not, you will get laid off or fired before you want to leave, and after a certain age, getting that next opportunity may be a bridge too far.

Then, you are done done.

That’s as much a music stopper as Barbie admitting she has considered her own mortality in the middle of the dance floor. Here on planet Earth, at least from the people in my orbit, the death of a media career often leads to even better professional options and more balanced lifestyle choices.

I have friends doing a million different things: Public relations, crisis management, content creation for large companies, political communications, fundraising, and teaching. Almost all of them tell me that it was such a stress relief to have a “normal” life, to not be worried about every pending contract or new boss.

Their work is appreciated. Their job is stable. And their schedule? Normal. Never has “normal” sounded so lovely than when they talk about watching shows with spouses, going out for a drink on a Tuesday, or having a regular pickleball game (or insert any middle-aged recreational sport).

I believe them.

Sort of.

The “sort of” comes from me not being able to actually envision that for myself. As enticing as it would be to see people on a more accessible schedule or play a weekly game with buddies, nothing beats talking and writing for a living. Nothing. And I am going to hang on until the lights are out, and we can’t pay to get them turned back on.

For me, I’m in too deep. I’m an indoor cat, incapable of survival outside.

Meetings. Deadlines. Reliant on other people. Meetings.

I’d be dead in a week. It’s beyond no, thank you. It’s, “I can’t”.

Sure, I have three teenagers and three college tuitions to pay. And two dogs. Two cars. And a mortgage.

Here’s where I am supposed to tell you that you should not only have thoughts about (career) death but also have a survival plan – a professional media-career living will if you would.

I should tell you that because you should.

But I don’t have one. And I don’t want one.

Why?

Because I don’t want to think about death anymore. I mean, I’ve already died twice. It wasn’t fun, and the third time most likely would be the charm in terms of getting me out of the business for good.

Why so stubborn? I don’t know.

Several times, I’ve said to myself, I need to make sure I have a backup plan … just in case. Each time, I find a reason not to get one.

Ultimately, what’s my point? Get a backup plan. Think about death. But it can’t take away from the essential joy of having the privilege of talking for a living. In that vein, don’t take it for granted. Ever. Even if the pay stinks and the schedule stinks. If you think about career death so much that it detracts from being in the moment, maybe it really is time to move on.

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BNM Writers

Is the Fairness Doctrine Even Possible in Today’s Media Landscape?

Is it right for media consumers to judge what is “fair” and what is “unfair” news?

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A photo of an equal scale

As many media outlets shutter their doors, some have clamored for the return of the Fairness Doctrine. Newsweek released the results of their new way to connect with readers, by asking if its reporting is “fair.” Since September 2023, readers were asked to judge stories on the site, 78% said the outlet is “fair.” Another 22% found at least one story they read to be “unfair.”

AllSides Media has judged Newsweek to be center. However, let’s not forget they are the same outlet that wrongly claimed President Donald Trump was golfing on Thanksgiving in 2019. As Sheryl Attkisson noted on Full Measure this week, on Thanksgiving in 2019 President Trump was visiting troops in Iraq and the Newsweek story was fabricated.

While the reader assessment of Newsweek’s content is on par with AllSides Media, is it right for readers to judge what is “fair” and what is “unfair” news? If outlets like The Daily Caller (Right) or Vox (Left) would ask the same of their readers, would their echo chamber subscribers find them “fair?” While historically print (and later digital) outlets could (and still can) embrace the political leanings of their owner(s), from 1949 till 1987 TV news had guidelines they must adhere to: The Fairness Doctrine.

Long before Americans argued about bias in news, every TV outlet (there were only three major ones at the time) would follow “The Fairness Doctrine.” The Reagan Library notes the doctrine was “enforced by the Federal Communications Council, [and] was rooted in the media world of 1949. Lawmakers became concerned that the monopoly audience control of the three main networks, NBC, ABC, and CBS, could misuse their broadcast licenses to set a biased public agenda.”

To put it simply, the Fairness Doctrine made it so all sides of any story were presented. In 1985, under the Reagan Administration, the FCC found “the doctrine hurt the public interest and violated free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.” Two years later, a panel under FCC Chairman Dennis Patrick repealed the Fairness Doctrine unanimously.

Keep in mind, at this point in time, CNN was the first and only 24-hour news network in the United States (it launched on June 1, 1980). Fox News wouldn’t be launched until almost 10 years after the Fairness Doctrine was repealed, on October 7, 1996.

Also happening at this time, large corporations (with lobbying power) were buying media outlets. General Electric purchased NBC in 1986. Westinghouse acquired CBS in 1995. One year later, ABC was bought by Disney. These purchases did not go unnoticed. Saturday Night Live even mocked the acquisitions in a now-banned short called “Conspiracy Theory Rock!: Media-opoly.”

The unwillingness of news organizations to cover both sides of a story has led to the creation of biased outlets including: CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, OAN, Newsmax, and others. None of these would be able to exist in their current form if the Fairness Doctrine wasn’t repealed.

News outlets that aren’t overtly biased use another trick to manipulate their viewers/readers, using emotionally charged verbiage. AllSides Media defines sensationalist words as presenting information in a way that gives a shock or makes a deep impression. This includes words like “shocking”, “heart-breaking”, “explosive”, “scathing”, “chaotic”, “desperate”, and “remarkable”… this list goes on but you’ve seen and heard these words from the news outlets daily. This is the media telling you how to react to a story instead of letting you determine how you actually feel after they present the facts of the story.

Today, what’s most concerning are outlets saying ‘fair and balanced’ news is a disservice to the public. An August 2023 NPR article explored just this, saying “Objectivity actually comes from an accurate examination of facts (actions, documentation, and even educated opinions) presented in transparent reports. Often, that coverage should also encourage audiences to examine supporting evidence for themselves.”

The problem with this is three-fold:

  • Selective fact presentation develops a one-sided narrative
  • An “educated opinion” is not a fact. It’s an opinion that is neither right nor wrong.
  • It is impossible for human beings to be completely unbiased (see January 31st column)

While it’s great Newsweek is asking readers if their reporting is ‘fair’ is the reader’s judgment neutral, or just as biased as the outlet they prefer to read? Sometimes when we are clicking to satisfy our own confirmation bias it’s hard to tell.

What the media and all Americans need to start recognizing is their own echo chamber. Knowing we all have some sort of bias is not a flaw but what makes us human. Our flaw is the inability to recognize our bias yet call out others for being biased just because they are on the other side of an issue.

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CNN Sees Biggest Viewership Jump During Super Bowl Parade Shooting Coverage

All news outlets spiked upon live breaking news coverage with Fox News — already the weekday afternoon leader in cable news — leading in total viewers.

Doug Pucci

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A photo of the CNN logo
(Photo: Getty Images)

The cable news outlets got increased viewership from two different news events during the week of Feb. 12, namely the shooting at the Super Bowl parade in Kansas City.

On Wednesday, Feb. 14, of the mass shooting at the Super Bowl celebration parade in Kansas City for the Chiefs football team. One person died and roughly two dozen others were injured.

All news outlets spiked upon live breaking news coverage with Fox News — already the weekday afternoon leader in cable news — leading in total viewers.

The following are what each network drew as the story unfolded on that Feb. 14 afternoon from Kansas City and how it grew from the same Wednesday time slots from Jan. 3 thru Feb. 7:

Fox News Channel

  • 3-4 p.m.: 1.656 million viewers (+18 percent)
  • 4-5 p.m.: 1.873 million viewers (+34 percent)
  • 5-6 p.m.: 3.175 million viewers (+7 percent)
  • 6-7 p.m.: 2.441 million viewers (+12 percent)
  • 7-8 p.m.: 2.250 million viewers (+4 percent)

MSNBC

  • 3-4 p.m.: 1.008 million viewers (+10 percent)
  • 4-6 p.m.: 1.504 million viewers (+7 percent)
  • 6-7 p.m.: 1.763 million viewers (+17 percent)
  • 7-8 p.m.: 1.474 million viewers (+13 percent)

CNN

  • 3-4 p.m.: 0.762 million viewers (+27 percent)
  • 4-5 p.m.: 0.913 million viewers (+35 percent)
  • 5-6 p.m.: 1.007 million viewers (+28 percent)
  • 6-7 p.m.: 0.985 million viewers (+43 percent)
  • 7-8 p.m.: 0.960 million viewers (+29 percent)

Newsmax

  • 4-5 p.m.: 0.343 million viewers (+23 percent)
  • 5-6 p.m.: 0.354 million viewers (+16 percent)
  • 7-8 p.m.: 0.547 million viewers (+13 percent)

Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, Feb. 13, the results were announced for the special election race for New York’s third congressional district between its former representative Democrat Tom Suozzi and Republican challenger Mazi Pilip. Suozzi left office in 2022 to run in the New York gubernatorial election but lost out to incumbent Kathy Hochul. Suozzi’s successor in Congress was the infamous George Santos who was officially expelled from office on Dec. 1, 2023 over charges of federal criminal laws including campaign finance fraud.

MSNBC and CNN were the only major national news outlets that provided live coverage of the special election results, stressing the significance of Suozzi’s eight-point win over Pilip as it reduced the GOP’s advantage in the House of Representatives by one.

From when the voting polls closed in New York at 9 p.m. ET, MSNBC easily topped CNN in total viewers at 9 p.m. (1.616 million viewers vs. CNN’s 0.847 million), 10 p.m. (1.903 million vs. CNN’s 0.879 million), 11 p.m. (1.112 million vs. CNN’s 0.541 million), and at midnight (774,000 viewers vs. CNN’s 299,000).

From 9-11 p.m. ET, though, both MSNBC and CNN scored the same performance among the key 25-54 demographic: a 0.15 rating at 9 p.m. and a 0.18 rating at 10 p.m. (Note: a 1.0 rating in 25-54 equates to 1.21 million viewers within the aforementioned age range.) 

For the 10-11 p.m. hour, when the New York candidate speeches had aired, CNN grew by 68 percent (in viewers) and by 80 percent (in 25-54) from its Tuesday 10-11 p.m. hour output from Jan. 2 thru Feb. 6 — a time period that included a Ron DeSantis town hall and New Hampshire primary results.

MSNBC was up as well at 10 p.m. hour — +16 percent in viewers, +33 percent in the 25-54 demo — using the same reference parameters.

Even though Fox News did not offer live coverage of New York’s special election results, Hannity at 9 p.m. (2.528 million viewers; 0.21 A25-54 demo rating) and Gutfeld! at 10 p. m. (2.357 million viewers; 0.31 A25-54 demo rating) still held the top spots in their respective hours on all of cable news.

Source: Nielsen Media Research

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