Doc Thompson and Skip LeCombe: The Henry Reardens of talk radio

Doc Thompson and Skip LeCombe on their Morning Blaze radio show have been doing daily wrap-ups for the topics they covered during their 6 AM to 9 AM time slot on a video summary. Below is a sample of their show from April 1st 2015 which I picked because at the end Doc shows off his Rearden Steel t-shirt. The two of them have done a great job keeping a lively and informative broadcast that has become for me essential to beginning my day. Breakfast just wouldn’t be breakfast without Doc and Skip on The Blaze Radio Network.

One of the best parts of the Morning Blaze Show is the police blotters that come on at around ten minutes to 7 AM. Doc reads various news stories featuring police arrests in an old-fashioned style that is laced with rhyming comedy. It takes some work everyday, but they put their time in and do it right leaving me openly laughing during the segment much of the time. The segment encapsulates to what extent Doc and Skip do just a little bit extra above everyone else in talk radio to give their audience something fresh.

Most radio hosts show up on the radio and talk for 1 to 3 hours—take a few calls and essentially read the news to listeners, which for me is a valuable service. But Doc and Skip go just a bit further every day consciously mixing comedy with some rather pointed commentary on contemporary events. They know their subjects and relish in breaking down some of the most complicated topics of the news cycle.

In a lot of ways the Doc and Skip Show on the Morning Blaze reminds me of something that would come out of Atlantis in the book Atlas Shrugged. I know Doc enjoys that book—I wasn’t sure how much over the years he had retained his enjoyment, but obviously he enjoys it enough to wear a shirt featuring it. Ayn Rand for many conservatives is tricky stuff, mainly because she was an atheist, and I know that Doc is a Christian. In my own life, I wouldn’t call myself a Christian, and I wouldn’t say I’m a libertarian—I’m certainly not a social liberal. I’m not loosy goosy on topics of conduct. There is a lot I like about Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism just as I like a lot about the Christian faith as a religion, but neither tenant of thought goes far enough for me. The problem with Christianity is that I love the values, but I hate the notion of surrendering life to a deity in a spirit of sacrifice. Ayn Rand is really one of the only writers to emerge to capture the spirit of productivity and to embrace capitalism as a moral premise. But the religions of the world—Christianity included—are at odds with it. Rand dared to ask why sacrifice was necessary for a productive society, as capitalism is the mode of the creative. If people are creative and make things from their minds, why is sacrifice needed in a culture at all? That is the greatest moral dilemma of our age and humanity is facing it for the first time.

Over the years I have become less religious not leaning toward atheism in any fashion, but in developing a thought process that has the values of Christianity, but the empowerment of Objectivism. Current religions don’t go far enough in my opinion to solve the riddles of our age—and instead stay too far anchored into the past. I want to see more responsibility out of individuals instead of just pointing to the heavens and declaring that God wills something to be done in my life, so thus it shall be done—good or bad. That doesn’t work for me and never has.

Henry Rearden from Atlas Shrugged, the head of the company on Doc’s shirt—was a very self-empowered person, and there is a serious lesson to be learned from that book which should be expanded and promoted in a much greater fashion.   Of those in modern media, there aren’t many like Doc who has not run away from an association with Ayn Rand’s philosophy. He may not agree with everything about Rand’s Objectivism—but he understands the message of personal responsibility that pours from it in defining why some people do things that are really important in life, and why some just become parasitic entities for their entire existence. Without that very important distinction, there would be no proper identification in our art to properly explain why capitalism is important to societies.

Much of what Doc does on his show is paint the world from a vantage point as though he were broadcasting from a real life Atlantis featured in Atlas Shrugged. Viewed through the prism of a person who has read and understood the Ayn Rand classic, the news on the Morning Blaze is unquestionably in that spirit—which is why it has become a must in the morning for me. As the world crashes down around us, there are pockets of sanity popping up around the country that are migrating to The Blaze to live our lives independent of the wrecked economies of socialism, including the embrace of American culture of more European style collectivism.

In my own life I feel like every character who was a protagonist in Atlas Shrugged wrapped up into one person—and I’m living that life currently. I have a little Ragnar, a lot of Rearden, but even minor characters like Richard Halley I understand all too well. In my own work I am seeking to step beyond Rand’s musings, which is now over 50 years old and explore topics spawning off her initial concepts. I am less interested in pleasing the masses of society, and have instead come to broadcast them to a much smaller audience in a metaphorical Atlantis for the same reasons that Halley did in Atlas Shrugged. My Curse of Fort Seven Mile is one of those projects that I know going into it that will not be accepted in New York literature circles, and I don’t care. I write those stories for people like Doc Thompson—not for the pop culture icons of progressive definitions of coolness. Since I read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead I have wanted more to the story, but there just isn’t many writers out there who can write that kind of material with the authority and definition that Ayn Rand did. First of all they lack the experience, but mostly they lack the personal conviction and couldn’t write such a thing in their wildest fantasies. Just as there are a lot of talk radio hosts, there really aren’t any like Doc Thompson who puts forth just a bit more effort shown proportionally throughout his endeavors, like his police blotters.

Doc Thompson could be a talk show host at the level of Howard Stern if he wanted to be. I remember when he was brought to Cincinnati to take over as the primary man on WLW. But Doc has never really played well with others, not where it had to compromise who he is—even if the opportunity for more money and fame threw themselves at his feet. He has stubbornly been like Henry Rearden from Atlas Shrugged and conducted his radio show his way for his own purposes, and it took someone like Glenn Beck to recognize the benefits and to give him a prime slot on a global network. But even with the reach of The Blaze, the primary audience is an extreme minority—like the members of the fictional Atlantis from Atlas Shrugged. For those people Doc and Skip put on a great daily show. To the rest of the world, they are sadly being left behind. Even though the broadcast is easy and free to them, most of the time they will find themselves the butt of Doc’s jokes, instead of on the side of the typical audience member—and laughing intellectually at the follies of the world.

Rich Hoffman


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