To promote public speaking engagements during the latter part of his career (he once delivered a speech to a crowd of 20,000 people), American literary giant Mark Twain would advertise with handbills carrying the provocative promise: "The Trouble Begins at 8!"
If I may borrow from the great man, I would say that because the nice folks at FOX News Talk Radio have given me my own radio talk show…"The trouble begins NOW!"
"The John Gibson Show" will air live all over America from 6 p.m. ET to 9 p.m. ET starting December 5th. May the trouble that ensues bring you great enjoyment.
Who am I? If you don’t watch my highly-rated, fantastic television show “The Big Story” (FOX News Channel 5 p.m. ET weekdays), you should. If not, begin doing so. Prior to joining FOX News in September of 2000, I worked at MSNBC hosting two of the network's news talk programs, including "Newschat" and "Internight." I was also a substitute host for CNBC's "Rivera Live." I have been a regular fill-in host for Bill O’Reilly's radio show and "The Tony Snow Show." In a previous life, I served as a West Coast correspondent for NBC News, where I covered a strange brew of key news events, including the O.J. Simpson criminal trial, America's involvement in Mogadishu, Somalia, and the siege of the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco, Texas.
Why radio, John? The subtitle of the Oliver Stone film “Talk Radio” is “The Last Neighborhood in America.” There’s not much from Oliver Stone I believe, but I believe that. You’re in your car going to, or coming home from, work. You’re heading out to the store. You’re cooking in your kitchen, relaxing in your chair, and there I am. I get to irritate, inform and entertain YOU one-on-one. Even better, I get to talk to you. That’s a recipe that isn’t available anywhere but talk radio.
What’s your show going to sound like? I can’t stand shows where everyone agrees. That won’t be happening here. Can’t stand to be bored. Don’t mind being obsessed, but can’t stand shows that beat topics to death without a good reason, like new information or a new player. That won’t happen here. Can’t stand shows that focus on the same myopic themes. Boring. If there’s a big story (war, politics, culture, immigration, religion — things that people care about), I’ll be all over it. I’ll get some of these people on the air and I can promise you I won’t hold back.
What about you? My wife and I have horses and cattle, dogs and cats. My son and his wife have children, so we are grandparents. I have a place in Texas; that is my official home, where I look after the animals and drive my tractor. I go to horse shows with my wife and talk to cowboys. Even though they might step in it, it’s hard to bullshit a cowboy. Actually, same is true with New Yorkers.
Don’t you have enough to do with a television show? I would have thought so before substituting for various radio hosts. A few hundred of those shows taught me that three hours is just getting started. In addition, it seems evident that many of today’s hot issues need that much time — and more.
Are you conservative or liberal? I think I’m conservative, and evidently most liberals agree. They scream bloody murder at me for many of the things I say (“Karl Rove Deserves A Medal” really jacked them up), but at the same time some self-proclaimed conservatives are occasionally hollering at me that I’m a raging liberal. These are the little mysteries of life. All I know is that I once was liberal, so I know what it is, and that I decided I wasn’t one when I saw people like Jimmy Carter and Jerry Brown say they were liberals. Well, I knew I wasn’t that, so I must be something else.
You lived the first 50 years of your life in California. How are your friends and family taking to the fact you are a FOX News Channel anchor, and a conservative radio host? They’re in shock. My brother, who lives in Berkeley and is occasionally asked if he is aware there is a crazy man on the radio whose name is also Gibson, has concocted a defensive reply: “It’s a common name. It’s a common name.” I worked in the music business for Atlantic Records more than thirty years ago, when I was in my twenties. I also wrote a column for the Hollywood Reporter, and another music trade paper, now defunct. Some well known artists who I worked with at the start of their careers seem especially chilly in their silence. Only a couple of closet conservatives, now retired from the business, still speak to me from my friends from a twenty year career as a California street reporter in San Francisco and Los Angeles, where the assumption of one’s personal politics defaulted to liberal, the cries of horror have sometimes been both hysterical and comical.
What do you bring to the party? I’m not an insider, proudly not. I don’t have private conversations with news sources which are kept secret from you. I talk to everyone out in the open. You hear it all. I know the issues, I know the facts, and I’ve got 35 years of parry and thrust with senators, mayors, cops, soldiers, surgeons, ministers and priests, stars, wannabees, perps, victims, lawyers, pros and cons. I’ve spent 20 years in floods, fires, quakes, crime and punishment. I’ve watched years and years of earnest lies spoken directly into microphones. Nine times out of 10 I can tell you exactly what’s going to happen next because history repeats itself with alarming regularity.