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Saturday, May 9, 2020
Media Lessons From Talk Radio Hall of Famer Barry Farber
Farber, a conservative radio talk-show host who made a living for decades as a
rabble-rousing, cantankerous, in-your-face media personality, died a day after
turning 90. The National Radio Hall of Fame inductee was one of my earliest
mentors when I interned for him in 1986 while in college. Learning of his death
yesterday made me think back not only to what it was like to briefly work for
this brilliant but controversial radio pioneer, but about what made his style
work so well. Authors marketing themselves could have learned a lot from him.
and I did not see eye-to-eye on politics, but as a journalist, I respected him.
The Democrat-turned-Republican was most identifiable for his ability to rant
with intense delivery and verbose prose, using his drawn-out Southern drawl and
quick wit to build up an us vs. them approach with any guest in a matter of a
nanosecond. Though one of his many talk shows debuted in 1960, it was not until
1991 that he was recognized as Talk Show Host of the Year by National
Association of Radio Talk Show Hosts. He was admired and respected, but not
always liked by his peers or listeners.
and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, New York City did not seem like a place
he belonged in, but there he was living in an amazing apartment by Central Park in
the West 70’s. My internship was in his home, where he sometimes did his show.
I remember sitting around his kitchen table, nervous to respond to his
questions. He always seemed to be weighing, analyzing, and judging anything I or
anyone else said. That was his nature – to observe, question, and then pounce.
recall him priding himself as a linguist. I think he spoke a dozen languages fluently
and had some type of command of a dozen more. He even wrote a book on learning
who once ran for Congress and Mayor of New York City, was a character and a
real personality of New York in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. His career was long and
deep, working for WINS, WMCA, WABC, and others.
He also worked on Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk Radio Networks.
what can authors learn from Farber? Here
are seven lessons to embrace:
to the point. Be concise and fast to state your strongest message point.
argumentative. State an extreme viewpoint.
Put someone down. You need to have an enemy and build them up so you can
tear them down.
with an accent or impediment, and in a non-monotone manner. Use inflection and feel
free to scream. Your voice must stick out and command attention.
quick to reference facts, public statements, or news events to support your
5.Do your homework.
He did. Being prepared will help you debate anyone and make strong points.
6.Argue the person,
not just the facts. Ad hominem attacks work.
7.Don’t look to
play it safe, Be willing to piss people off. Controversy sells.
Barry, you antagonistic, pompous, in-your-face
jerk, we will miss you. Thanks for supporting my dreams to pursue a career of words and ideas. May you keep broadcasting, wherever you are.