Doc Thompson’s First Year On The Blaze: Lunch at Skip’s

I have never felt so bad for a person as I did for Doc Thompson while on his long-planned honeymoon when he was fired from 700 WLW radio.  The station wanted to make room for Eddie Fingers and Doc threatened the target market of Willie, and Cunningham had more leverage at the company.  Darryl Parks who hired Doc was on his way out after taking a corporate job at Clear Channel where he found himself also terminated a year later.  My involvement with WLW deteriorated quickly after Doc’s exit.  They sort of put on the table for me to fill the radio role of a villain/sexist as an on air personality, but I had no desire to play along with that Chuck Fredrick strategy.  My radio role was the Tax Killer as molded by Darryl Parks and put into play by Doc Thompson and I believed it with all my heart and sole, unlike the other radio characters at WLW who mostly put on an act for their audience.  I had no desire to become the Andy Furman of the air waves, or Carmine Guzman.  So after Doc’s exit I quickly lost interest in the station.  I had other things I could do in life so not appearing on WLW wouldn’t be a big deal to me—but for Doc, it was his life.  He lives, breaths, eats, drinks, and thinks talk radio 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  For him, I knew the termination at 700 WLW hurt and as brave of a voice as he tried to apply to the situation when he spoke to me about it on the phone—I could tell how much pain it brought him.  I felt terrible about it and was very resentful of WLW.  I tried to maintain business etiquette, but they were much diminished in my eyes.

Doc Thompson now works directly for Glenn Beck and has recently just completed his first year on The Blaze Radio Network.  Doc reminisced a bit about this experience celebrating his first year with his producer Skip LeCombe.  Glenn had joked with Doc about going to Skip’s for lunch.  The joke was in the context of when WLW fired Doc by inviting him to a Skip’s Deli for lunch to break the bad news.  Beck was poking fun with Doc and Skip—but in reality after their first year—it was the opposite situation from what was experienced at WLW.  Over the last year, Doc and Skip have traveled all over the United States and given hundreds of personal speeches to crowds of people on behalf of The Blaze making Doc’s new boss—Glenn Beck—very, very happy.  The Blaze Radio has grown tremendously and Doc Thompson has been a big reason why.  Have a listen:

Several months after the termination of Doc from WLW he had taken a job in Detroit, but that station was changing direction to an all sports channel leaving Doc and Skip on the out again.  Laura Ingram had announced that she was giving up her syndication show, and Doc positioned himself to fill that spot—but it wasn’t going well.  On the day after Thanksgiving in 2012 Doc hosted as a fill in for Glenn Beck and after he got off the air he called me to vent a bit.  I was taking my daughter out to lunch that day but we took some time to talk with Doc as I felt badly for him yet again the bad luck hovering behind him like an evil specter.  The job options for a guy like him were slim.  Stations were steering away from hard conservatives and libertarians as the FCC was applying indirect pressure to diversify the airwaves with more progressive personalities.  The job market for a guy like Doc was slim—really slim.

Doc wanted a syndication show and there wasn’t really a path to get there.  A month after that phone call, Glenn Beck offered Doc Thompson the chance of a life time—a chance to run the prime time spot of 6 AM to 9 AM on a new radio station called The Blaze Radio which would be internet based capitalizing on the new web-based media productions that could be experienced with mobile devices, podcasts, and satellite radio.  Doc would be the lead-in to Glenn Beck himself who has daily listeners in the millions—so this was the chance Doc had really been working for his entire life.

Now, a year later The Blaze has become a trusted news source for millions of people, and Doc has been at the helm.  Glenn Beck as Doc mentioned in his broadcast could have taken his hundreds of millions of dollars and sat on all that money for the rest of his life living comfortably.  But, instead, he has extended himself out to this freedom fight creating The Blaze for people who do not like the direction of the current United States.  Because of Glenn Beck, a person like Doc and Skip have a place to work—which is a market that is shrinking rapidly as machine politics is working behind the scenes to shut down any opposition to their way of thinking.  Glenn Beck with Doc Thompson has shown once again why he is so far out in front of the curve—The Blaze is now being picked up not just all over the world on iHeart Radio and Pandora, but conventional stations who are putting it into syndication.

Doc has a radio style that is the opposite of Howard Stern.  Both hosts are funny, and fought their way through multiple hardships to overcome tremendous opposition against them.  Both are very tall, and exceptionally intelligent.  But Doc is squeaky clean and very, very funny while Stern has resorted to pubescent jokes and shock jock material to advance himself.  Doc is to the radio world one of the best voices of liberty that there is—and it’s not an act—he is 100% authentic to his beliefs.  What he states on the air, he believes with his very soul—and that makes him a very sincere and genuine person that is quite exceptional.

I am proud of Doc and Skip for their willingness to fight it out the way they did.  I am proud of Glenn Beck for taking a chance on Doc, and I am proud off all the millions of people who have turned off traditional radio and turned on The Blaze.  That decision alone has forced traditional radio to grudgingly seek syndication of Doc and Skip’s show for the kind of content that radio listeners actually want—not the kind of crap the FCC wants to ram down people’s throats.  The kind of radio that WLW indicated to Doc that they were going to give to the world when they fired him at Skip’s Deli has turned out to be just another sports station with dying hosts barely shadowing their former self.  With the devastating news after an otherwise wonderful honeymoon and a chance to begin a life anew WLW did Doc and the world a great favor.  Doc could have rolled over and let the world crush him—but he didn’t—even in the darkest moments of his life—a period where he called me on the phone after concluding a fill-in for Glenn Beck the day after Thanksgiving where he would have been justified at being angry with the world—he didn’t give up.  It is that kind of resiliency that is taking The Blaze Radio Network to new levels of entertainment and professionalism changing forever the nature of radio entertainment.  It has been a good year—and the start of something truly special that will go down in history as a pinnacle moment for the human race.

Rich Hoffman