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For Jamie Markley, Hosting MVR Feels Like More Than a Job

When Markley talks about MVR, you get the feeling he’s talking about a daily event he loves to be part of, more than a job. 

Jim Cryns




If you hang out with friends and talk about life, politics, and goofy stuff, you should get a radio show. Jamie Markley did. 

“Our show is extremely natural, I think that’s one of the things we hear a lot,” Markley said. 

He’s talking about Markley, Van Camp and Robbins, heard on more than 125 radio stations across the country. Three ostensibly different guys from different generations that just like to shoot the s***.

“It sounds like three friends who get on with each other like only friends can. To me, maybe it’s because I had a big brother growing up, it’s the jawwing back and forth. It’s endearing, never mean spirited.”

He was a jock in Peoria for 10 years, married for three, when a morning job in Rockford opened when his station in Peoria was sold. He spent two years there, then he heard a station was looking for a morning person in Peoria. 

“My wife and I were just starting out with our kids and both of us had family in the Peoria area,” Markley said. We didn’t know what we were going to do. At the time I had an offer to do afternoons in Indianapolis. We were trying to take on The Bob & Tom Show. My wife wanted to get back home to Peoria. Nine months later we got back there.”

Before a career in radio, bands like KISS meant a lot. Markley wore a KISS shirt as a kid, and that can speak volumes about a person. I know because I wore one too.

If you didn’t listen to KISS, then you weren’t a kid in the 70s. Markley reminded me of a rock adage: ‘Rock and Roll is either going to hit you in the eyes or the heart, but it’s going to resonate with you somewhere.’ 

“Not only was KISS not your parent’s band,” Markley said, “they weren’t your uncle’s band either. It was something you hadn’t heard. When most people hear Rock and Roll All Nite, they still turn it up on the radio to this day. It’s music that keeps you young.”

Markley said one of the first albums he purchased was KISS Destroyer

The band KISS indirectly got Markley in trouble in Sunday school. 

“I grew up in the Methodist church. One time I had a KISS belt buckle and my Sunday school teacher went crazy. It was a Gene Simmons dragon belt buckle. I think I wore it on purpose.”

Alive was already out. One of my first albums was Aerosmith’s Toys in the Attic. I don’t think there’s a bad track on the album with songs like Uncle Salty.” 

According to Markley, Aerosmith was in bad shape in the mid-80s, doing lots of drugs. Joe Perry left the band after the album “Night in the Ruts.” Then Aerosmith came out with “Done with Mirrors” in 1985.  

“It was an album only Aerosmith fans bought,” Markley said. “It had a horrible marketing campaign. I saw them on that tour and they were terrible and wasted. Then they did the duet with Run DMC in 1986, got clean and sober, and released “Permanent Vacation,” their big comeback record in 1987.

Once in the radio business, Markley had the perk of meeting a lot of touring rock acts. “Eddie Van Halen was very cool,” he said. Pushed to choose between David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar incarnations of the band, Markley said he had to go with Lee Roth.

“When I was on rock radio, I was just a ‘rock dog,” Markley said. “All those guys were my heroes.  I was at Alpine Valley for Van Halen. Scorpions, Metallica, I was turned on to rock by my older brother and sister. It was Boston, Eagles, a lot of different stuff.” 

When Markley talks about MVR, you get the feeling he’s talking about a daily event he loves to be part of, more than a job. 

“It’s smart to be informed, but I think it takes more work these days to figure it out,” Markley explained. “There are so many differing agendas being played out. When you look around, with just the people you know, there’s a lot of amazing people. A lot of the conflicts are things covered by nose. I’m not saying there aren’t awful things going on. The difference is how we approach it on the show. We’re just honest and tell people how we feel.”

Just because Markley is on the radio, people seem to feel his opinion on a matter might mean more than most. Markley said that’s way off base. 

“If I’m going to a family gathering, or meeting old friends from high school, I don’t feel like I need to talk about my political perspectives or comment on everything in the news. I’m just there to have a good time. Sometimes people say they’ve got to get my opinion on something. I’ll tell you if you want my opinion, but I don’t feel any need to talk about it. There are some people who hear my opinions who never want to talk about that topic with me ever again. But I promise you’ll know how I feel on the air about every single issue.”

Markley was in no shape or form pushed our conversation to a higher plane, it just went there.

“When I was younger and said I was a Christian, I’m not sure what that meant,” Markley said. “I recall talking to my mom when I was 20 years-old. Some girl I knew had gotten pregnant. The conversation was rolling and my mom said you shouldn’t have sex before marriage. I told her that wasn’t realistic.” 

Markley questioned how someone could go to Sunday school and not know the basic tenets of Christianity.

“There were a lot of things that happened to me in a 36-hour period when I was 31 years old,” he said. “My mother was dying, my wife became pregnant, and the radio station I was at closed. A few weeks later my mom died and I started to spiral. I was in a different town, away from support.” 

Then came the booze, and Markley said things got pretty bad.

“I knew if my family was going to make it, we had to go back to Peoria,” he said. “I thought that would fit all our issues. I wasn’t ready for all that came my way.”

His path to spirituality was realized through all things, an MMA fighter. The man is Ryan Blackorby, who is also from the Peoria area.

“He truly had faith,” Markley explained. “My wife had been babysitting their first child. At the time he was doing some work for a children’s home.”

Markley said Blackorby had come to discover his faith a year or two earlier. The two friends started talking and Markley told him he’d never really read the Bible, and he’d never really been involved in Bible study in his life. 

“I think that turned out to be a good thing because we could talk. I saw him as a guy I liked,” Markley said. “When you think of people who have faith, you sort of envision a stereotype. But here was a real Christian guy and I wanted to know what that believing was really like. I can remember us getting together for lunch and I’d ask some basic questions.”

Blackorby told Markley to start with the gospels. Then they could discuss his interpretations. 

“I remember reading Matthew one day,” Markley said. “It was a Saturday in January of 2001. Suddenly, I realized all of what I was reading made sense. I realized I couldn’t fix things on my own as I was still drinking way too much. 

My wife and I talked and decided we should start reading the Bible. She jokingly called me a ‘Bible-thumper.’ I was trying not to be too pushy about my new realizations. She said that was good as I’d gotten drunk a few nights before.”

Markley knew his drinking had to stop, one way or another. He kept establishing drinking limits, like getting in a few quick ones. You’re not an alcoholic if you can stop, right?

“I might have a couple, and sometimes I’d just go ‘all in.’ Finally I realized, ‘Okay. I can’t do this anymore. As far as my career has gone, I think audiences perceive you a certain way. The subject of drinking pops up occasionally. You have to know my co-host Scott Robbins and I used to party a lot.” 

Markley said when he shares something about his drinking problems on the air, listeners would thank him for sharing. They’d say, ‘I had a drinking problem and when you said you had the same thing I felt God was coming through.’

“It’s so hard to seek sobriety when you’ve been doing it for such a long time,” Markley said. “Scott Robbins and I come from music radio. Especially when you’re doing a morning show, you’re trying to develop an on-air relationship with a friend. Alcohol was a buffer.”

When Markley talks about something personal on the air with Scott Robbins or David Van Camp, he is talking to a friend. 

“In the end, that’s what it is,” he explained. “ That’s what makes our show special. When you admit to your friends you have a problem.”

Markley said the Bible is complex. For instance, when you’re reading about the Garden of Eden, is that supposed to be taken in a literal sense? Or is it a metaphor? There’s got to be some wiggle room in there.

“There are all types of writing styles in the Bible,” Markley said. “One disciple tells a story about the history of man. Another talks about the creator. When I hear different people get their take on the Bible, it’s fascinating. Having someone like Blackorby get me through has been very fortunate for me.”

He never went to AA. When he quit, he went to a counselor who urged him to go to AA. 

“I understand it works for a lot of people,” Markley said. “If I fall off the wagon, I’ll probably go. There’s a Christian version of AA.”

Even though he’d never attended an AA meeting, he said it was an eerie experience. An alignment of powers that sure looked like they wanted him to go to a meeting.

“I was going to try to quit smoking. It was the last vice I needed to quit,” Markley explained. “I wanted to take a drive, and it was okay because I was sober. I remember it was New Year’s morning. I drove by the river just to sit. I was thinking about the coming year. I thought maybe I’d map out some goals for the year.”

Markley said a car pulled up and out popped a guy who was wearing a veteran’s jacket. 

“I figured I’d have just one more cigarette before I quit. I went up to him and told him I’d give him five bucks for a cigarette. He told me to just take one.”

Markley did. In mid-smoke, another person with a veteran’s sticker on his bumper pulled up and Markley figured it was some kind of veteran’s meeting. 

“I thought that was cool. Then I saw a woman pulling up who didn’t really look like she’d served in the military.”

Soon, other people started showing up at the same time. A light went on for Markley.

“I’m like, “Oh, this is an AA meeting.” I’m like, okay, I give. I understand why I was in this place. That’s the only one I ever attended. People went around and introduced themselves. I had actually commented to friends “I saw more love in that room than in a lot of churches I’ve been to.”

BNM Writers

Dagen McDowell Is Ready For A New Adventure With Fox Business

“Every decision in America is born of policy, On the show, we bring that to our show. Talk about the news of the day.”

Jim Cryns




To know Dagen McDowell, you must understand what she comes from, where she comes from. You won’t know her until you know the lessons, kindness, and determination set forth by her parents.

Her parents operated a small grocery store, LW Roark and Company. Charles and Joyce McDowell were high school sweethearts and both went to college but decided to go back home and open a business. “This is in the middle of nowhere,” McDowell said. “It was a wholesale grocery store. They sold it in the late 90s.”

She said her parents were smart, encouraging, and took every opportunity to teach McDowell and her brother.

“They’d constantly talk up people who came into the store. Both of them have and had an insatiable curiosity about everything. They felt they learned things through their customers. It was more fun to learn about things from other people.”

McDowell’s parents never took a week off work. Never. The family took no vacations as most families would. Once while McDowell was in college at Wake Forest University, the family visited the Air and Space Museum on the Mall in D.C.

“Both of my parents were very interested in architecture and landscapes. We’d go to Williamsburg and just look at the buildings.”

McDowell joined FOX News Channel in 2003 and helped launch FOX Business Network as a founding anchor in 2007.

Her mother passed away three years ago and her father is still very much a part of her life. Her father was a constant teacher.

“One time my father, who we called Dowell McDowell, was putting up an outbuilding and asked me how long one line should be if the other line was such and such. He taught me the Pythagorean theorem when I was about 4 years old.”

McDowell was nurtured by parents with endless curiosity.

“I was raised by parents who would always debate and converse around the dinner table. We shared breakfast and dinner together every day. They loved learning, were always inquisitive, never afraid to ask a question. My parents shared a fearlessness and passed that on to me. I’ve never been embarrassed to ask people questions. I love talking to people and finding out about things.”

For a long time, McDowell had no idea what she wanted to do for a living. She knew if she worked at different jobs she’d eventually figure out what she was good at.

“I knew I was a decent writer, but I always tried to get information out of people, what they were doing. Ask if they were fulfilled and happy.”

At Wake, Forest McDowell majored in art history and had every intention of working in a museum, possibly as a curator.

“I interned at the Center for Contemporary Arts. I lived in Venice, Italy for a while. Wake Forest owns a house in Venice.”

After that it was Colorado. She moved back to New York during the recession of 1991 with a duffel bag. She took the Amtrak to New York City and sublet an apartment for six months.

“I had no TV, just a radio. I knew I could find something good to do in New York, there were so many jobs. I always wanted to live in the city. Either the city or way out in the country. Nowhere in between.”

She said being in New York made her feel anything was possible. This was January in 1994 when job ads were still in the physical newspaper, like the New York Times. McDowell interviewed at Institutional Investor through a referral from a friend.

“It was a brilliant magazine with terrific writing,” McDowell explained. “Very prominent in the industry. They were looking for someone to work with the newsletter written for the financial community.”

She’d cover topics like the bond business, Wall Street, and money management. The magazine made her take a reporting test where you’d make up a story and write it. She was offered a job and worked there for three years.

“I learned to be a journalist there,” McDowell said. “I could write but I became a better journalist. We’d break news, create our sources, and learn more and more about finance. People love to talk about what they do if you show interest.”

The next big job was, a resource and web newspaper for private investors. There McDowell wrote a personal finance column. She started doing commentary on television shows, the way a lot of people in different professions tend to do. “Then I started making more appearances on weekend financial or business shows,” McDowell said.

She got a call from Neil Cavuto about 20 years ago and he told McDowell, ‘Kid, you want a job? I know you don’t have much professional TV experience. We’ll give you some training and you’ll figure it out. If you do, you stay. If not, you go.’

McDowell said she was glad she was a writer first before she arrived at Fox. She writes her own scripts and has a background in finance and business writing.

“Before the business network was launched, they had only one business reporter and two senior business correspondents,” she said. “I’ve gotten to do so many different jobs, use different muscles, so to speak. As the years have passed I’ve discovered other talents I may have and I’m incredibly grateful for that.”

There’s a new show in town. McDowell and Sean Duffy will co-host The Bottom Line which will air on weeknights from 6-7:00 PM ET.

McDowell said she and Duffy come from extremely similar backgrounds. Duffy is from rural Wisconsin and McDowell is from Virginia.

“We know what small-town living is like, “McDowell said. “I might live in New York City but where I grew up affects the way I view the world. I’m still grounded in my hometown. On the show, we look south and west with everything we cover. You have to think of your audience. Rather than talking about them, we talk with them. That’s our shared background and vision. Sean is extremely down to earth and generous.”

McDowell said the show is not financially based, but steeped in business.

She said Duffy’s experience as a former U.S. Congressman, he understands policy as well as financial matters.

“Every decision in America is born of policy,” she said. “On the show, we bring that to our show. Talk about the news of the day.”

This is different from anything McDowell has done in the past.

“It’s a two-anchor show in the evening,” she explained. “This is not taking place during market hours. We tie all the business happenings together from the day. Again, it’s not about Washington or New York. It’s about the people we grew up with. We talk to them. Build a relationship with them on the air. For me, this is not just sitting in front of a camera. I can run off at the mouth as well as anyone, hang in there with the filibuster.”

McDowell says she is blunt, but hopes she isn’t rude. During a recent interview for the new show she used the terms ‘pig potatoes’ and ‘chapped backsides.’

“Those are terms I just made up,” she said. “I make up a lot of phrases and don’t always know what they mean. I have an entire repertoire of those kinds of phrases.”

Duffy assumed they were southern phrases he had to learn from McDowell, but she assured him she’d never heard them anywhere else.

“I’m just making stuff up,” McDowell said. “You can’t curse. Can’t say BS. At least you shouldn’t say BS on television. You don’t want to say manure. You never want to say something that makes people wince or evokes a smell.”

Dealing with people directly and bluntly seems to come from her mother.

“My mother had grit,” McDowell said. “She was also very kind, never syrupy. I used to say she had no magnolia-mouth.

That’s got to be a southern phrase.

McDowell said her mother was not a servile flatterer, but she was kind. Always there when somebody was in need.

“She had real grit. She’d stand and fight for her friends and family members.”

Her mother passed away after being diagnosed with stage-four cancer.

“She went through unimaginable pain,” McDowell said of her mother. “For nearly six years. You want to talk about somebody who was tough. There was nobody more pugnacious than my mother.”

She explained even with her illness, her mother was always on the go. Continuing to live her life. When questioned about being so active while she was ill, her mother continued to show grit.

“My mother would say she didn’t want to walk around looking like she had cancer. She asked, ‘What choice do I have? I could lay in bed and wait to die, or I can get up and do what I can .’”

McDowell said her mother’s illness taught her to be a caregiver in ways she never could have imagined. Her mother taught her to find moments of joy every single day, in the smallest of things.

“It can be as simple as telling a stranger to have a great day. Treat a perfect stranger with kindness. I do it all day long. I know it sounds corny, but I want to be known as a person who brings a casserole to a friend when they’re ill.”

A one-sheet from Fox tells you McDowell and the culmination of her background is perfect for The Bottom Line. The fact is, it’s true.

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BNM Writers

Airing The Tyre Nichols Video Was A Necessity

There were hard moments to watch in those videos, hard sounds to hear. But they aired.

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Far be it for me not to address this outrageous and embarrassing instance in humanity. After the videos of Memphis police brutally beating Tyre Nichols were shown on television there really seemed to be more outrage emerging from society this time than from the media, for a change. One would think that’s how we wish things to be.

In instances like this, where the video and audio images are far from brief but are instead chaptered as they unfold, there are few options other than to let them run their course. Clocks — breaks hard and soft — are out the window, just as in live coverage.

Because that’s what this was, only the live this time was us, and as we all absorbed and reacted to actions disapprovingly familiar yet somehow foreign at the same time, the impact was still becoming apparent even though we already knew the outcome.

It’s happened before.

Not always like this but we’ve seen it before, police encounters shown on the news overtakes and become the news.

It takes effect as the sights and sounds are digested, dissected, and discussed, often before their potential impact could really be imagined.

In 1991, when the Handycam footage crossed screens for the first time and we learned Rodney King’s name, we didn’t know then but we had a feeling.

We were on the right track, though as newsrooms evolved and street reporting incorporated a different type of storytelling.

I was a cop in 1991. Changes came. Some.

It’s 2023, I’m no longer a cop. Changes will come again. Some.

Turning points — or the overused watershed moments — mean just as much to the news media as they do to law enforcement.

The “why’s” that make this a turning point are more society and community based this time around than they were in 1991.

At least I think so. And I don’t think it makes a bit of difference who’s involved this time.

There were hard moments to watch in those videos, and hard sounds to hear. But they aired. Where they couldn’t air, they were described in great detail; descriptions sometimes can be worse than the real thing. Sometimes, not this time.

And they should air, they shouldn’t stop airing. This is what happened and this is what people need to see and hear and this is exactly why we are here.

Warn them, provide them with a heads up that they’re not going to like what happens next. It’s life and we show life, and we show what some of us do with it when it’s someone else’s.

Overall, I would say the news platforms held their composure, even after the videos were released. I saw, read, and heard some refreshingly neutral coverage, even from outlets where I expected hard turns into the lanes on either side of the road.

Legitimate questions were asked by anchors and reporters and much of the time, the off-balance issues were raised more by those on the sidewalks and those on the other side of the cameras and microphones.

As much as I find myself in disagreement with what I often see on the cable networks — all the cable networks — I did find a sense of symmetry watching CNN’s Don Lemon speak with Memphis City Council Chair Martavius Jones in the hours after the videos were released.

Regular protocols be damned, Lemon and producers lingered patiently as Jones, visibly overcome by emotion, struggled to regain breath and composure enough to be able to speak. Rather than cut away or move to other elements, they stood fast and it became an example of what often requires no words.

There were fewer punches pulled on other platforms as well.

The sounds of the screams, the impacts, and the hate-filled commands were broadcast through car radios.

As were Tyre Nichol’s calls for his mom. They aired. They had to.

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BNM Writers

Does the Republican Establishment Get It?

For many it seemed that the Republican establishment stood idly by as Democrats changed the rules and worked behind the scenes to alter elections.

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In a move that seemed to go against the wishes of the patriotic American grassroots, the Republican party on Friday re-elected RNC Chairperson Ronna McDaniel. 

The media immediately took notice, as many on television and radio are now wondering why the party would re-elect a chairperson who has been so unpopular with the base of its party. 

Grant Stinchfield discussed this issue Friday night on his program, Stinchfield Tonight, which airs on Real America’s Voice network.

“Ronna McDaniel holds on to her chairmanship of the Republican Party. By a whopping total of — what were the numbers– 111 to 54. Harmeet Dhillon only received 54 votes. Mike Lindell 4 votes. This is proof to me that the Republican establishment is dug in,” Stinchfield — formerly of Newsmax — said. “Don’t tell me they’re out of touch. See, you tell me they’re out of touch, that implies ignorance. They’re not ignorant about anything.”

As sentiment for Dhillon grew in the days leading up to Friday’s vote, many influential politicians and party donors publicly offered her their support and endorsement. These included Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), as well as donors Mike Rydin, Dick Uihlein, and Bernie Marcus.

Also on board were musician and outspoken conservative John Rich, along with the state GOP of Nebraska and Washington State. Countless journalists and media personalities, such as Charlie Kirk, Miranda Divine, and Lou Dobbs, also came out publicly in support of Dhillon. Former President Donald Trump remained neutral, not making a public choice of either of the three candidates.

For many of Dhillon’s supporters, the deciding factor was public sentiment across the party’s base.

“They’re reading the same chat boards. They’re getting the same emails I’m reading. I will literally post something about this race when I was supporting Harmeet Dhillon. There was not one comment – not one – that supported Ronna McDaniel. Everyone wanted change,” Stinchfield said, noting that the party elite saw the same groundswell of support for change.

“Now, nobody has an issue as Ronna McDaniel is some evil kind of person. I don’t believe she is. I believe, though, that she is part of the establishment. She’s been around too long as far as the establishment goes. And she’s been ingrained in doing business as usual. It’s not working.”

In making their choices known, many Dhillon supporters simply pointed to the scoreboard during McDaniel’s reign.

“Think about where we are. 2018, we lost the House. 2020, we lost everything. 2022, we won the House, but we should have really steamrolled the House and we should have taken back the Senate, which we didn’t do,” Stinchfield said. “That means we’re on a real losing track since she took over. I don’t like being on a losing track. I like being on a winning track.

“Something has got to change when you talk about all of this. So how does Ronna McDaniel get 111 votes and Harmeet Dhillon only get 54 votes, when everyone, every Republican voter I talk to said it was time for change?” pondered Stinchfield.

And even more than the losses, for many it seemed that the Republican establishment stood idly by as Democrats changed the rules and worked behind the scenes to alter elections. The most recent example of which came in Arizona, where presumptive gubernatorial favorite, Kari Lake, was “defeated” when countless voting irregularities occurred in some of the state’s most deep-red areas.

“Under her watch, Democrats instituted a mail-in ballot scheme. That may be even worse than losing, when you talk about the House and the Senate and all these things. The fact that we now have a junk mail-in ballot scheme across the country under Ronna McDaniel’s watch is serious trouble. Very serious trouble,” Stinchfield said on Friday. “And so the reason it is is because the Democrats are rigging the system.”

For years – until Donald Trump descended the golden escalator and took the world by storm – the Republican party had the reputation of being the party of the rich. Rush Limbaugh used to refer to this wing of Republicans as “the country club crowd.” President Donald Trump flipped the narrative completely, offering a clear vision of hope and patriotism to working-class America.

Reputable polling — such as Richard Baris’ Big Data Poll — consistently showed Trump running well ahead of almost every Republican candidate during the 2022 mid-term election cycle. In other words, Trump still maintains considerably more support across the country than most of the individual Senate or House candidates experienced.

Many experts believe this is because voters still view Trump as an outsider, while they view the Republican party much less favorably.

“Let’s tell you how out of touch they are, how elitist they are,” Stinchfield said, calling out the GOP establishment. “This meeting that went on, do you know where it is? It’s at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch in California. One of the most expensive resorts in America. You’re lucky if you get a room for a thousand dollars a night down there on Dana Point. Now, it’s a beautiful hotel, but why is the Republican Party holding an event there? Then I went back and I looked at what RedState did. RedState went back and looked at some of the expenses that the Republican Party under Ronna McDaniel’s leadership was spending money on.

“Take a look at this. $3.1 million on private jets. $1.3 million on limousine and chauffeur services. $17.1 million on donor mementos. $750,000 on floral arrangements. Now you compare this to the Democrats. The Democrats spent $35,000 on private airfare. A thousand dollars on floral arrangements. A thousand. Not $750,000. A thousand. And the $17.1 million they spent on donor mementos, the Democrats spent $1.5 million.

“Democrats know where to put the money. It’s not giving donors gifts. Donors shouldn’t want gifts. If you give money, give money. You don’t need the fancy pin to put on your lapel.”

Following her loss, Dhillon warned her party that it must listen to the base, saying, “if we ignore this message, I think it’s at our peril. It’s at our peril personally, as party leaders and it’s at our peril for our party in general.”

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