For Those Who Don’t/Can’t Listen to Free Talk Live

As you’re aware, last night we discussed the reason that the national LP refuses free national airtime on Free Talk Live. For those of you who couldn’t listen to the archive, here’s the email we were discussing from Shane Cory, LP Chief of Staff, and my response:


I’m glad you like the show, and if you come up with something we can work together on, do contact me. I have no intention of burning a bridge because you made a mistake. Allow me to explain.

Yes, I’ll stand by my previous decision and won’t be sending an e-mail to our list for appearing on your show. As I stated before, I’ve never been asked by any producer at any level to do such a thing and won’t make it a condition for me or my staff getting on a show.

That’s your mistake. As I will show, this is the LP’s loss, not FTL’s.

You are correct about “scratching backs.” Typically how it works is a guest takes the time to appear on a show to give a compelling interview that will please the listeners and improve a show’s content. In exchange, the organization that the guest represents earns media through the appearance. That is how this system has worked for many, many years . . . long before we came along my friend.

Argumentum ad antiquitatem – Just because something is old doesn’t make it right or good. FTL does not need guests at all. We invite very few and we appreciate them, and even archive their appearance on our Guests page, with permanent links to the guest’s organization/interest. Yep, the RLC has a permanent link from the FTL site, and the LP is nowhere to be found.

Aside from that, let me be clear that this isn’t simply about stubbornness (possibly on my part as I am a stubborn guy and vicious in protecting the organizations that I serve). We have a valuable e-mail list and every time we send out an e-mail we get unsubscribes. Every message that is sent must have a specific purpose and benefit to the LP or be seen as high interest to the recipients. By doing this, I’ve been able to keep the e-mail list subscriber numbers climbing for many months (ten to be exact).

Understood. Why is Alan Colmes of more interest than FTL? Or did you change your policy after announcing the last Alan Colmes appearance?

In regards to the email list, what makes you think the recipients would not be interested in the only national radio show with real libertarians on it?

If I start sending out radio show announcements it would happen nearly every day and turn into an annoyance immediately. That happened under the previous administration and I’m having to rebuilt the list after a strong decline.

I disagree with your policy. I used to enjoy the announcements, perhaps you should have more than one email list. One for people that like to hear things from the LP, the other for the people that don’t like emails.

More frequent releases make you seem alive. Releases about media appearances make you seem relevant, especially if they are happening daily.

Should I break that stance and send out an announcement for FTL? What about the next host or producer that does that same using the FTL message as the precedent? I sincerely hope that you see my point of view.

If there’s some other national radio show with a true Libertarian message, you should send out a release for them too.

Really, I’m only writing this since this was all ressurected by chance and to clear the air so you know where I’m coming from. I don’t expect anything from you, and I don’t need anything. If you decide to play ball, it will only help you.

I could care less what you do in regards to my show at this point, Shane. That’s why I wasn’t calling. We’ll do just fine without you, and keep promoting other great Liberty minded organizations that have figured out how beneficial appearing on our show is.

For the LP’s sake, I hope you come to your senses. It doesn’t sound good when things like this come up on the air. The good news is, we’ll draw people to you anyway by nature of being Libertarians, so enjoy the free members we send your way. Speaking of that, you’d be really wise to advertise with us. We’re the number one recruiter for the Free State Project, and we’re really affordable. ;)


  1. Just another example of how Toonces the Driving Cat and his ilk are taking the LP off a cliff. Today’s “Whatever happened to the Reform Party?” will be tomorrow’s “Whatever happened to the Libertarian Party?”

  2. Not sure I understand what the big deal is. FTL offered the LP a deal, and the guy representing the LP didn’t find the terms amenable. Case closed.

    And yes, it was a an offer of a deal, not an offer of a gift. “Airtime if you advertise us to your proprietary list” isn’t “free” airtime. It’s an in-kind trade with valuable considerations exchanged by both parties.

    I do like the show, though (what I’ve heard of it anyway — I’m on dialup and cant’t keep up with even the slow stream, so I have to download completed shows).

  3. I’m with Knapp, not really sure I understand the fuss… you wanted something in exchange for an interview… and the other end didn’t want to give it to you… so there was no interview.

    It wasn’t Shane Cory “turning down free air time” it was Shane Cory not making a deal.

    Now if you would have said “Hey Shane, want to come onto my show x day at x time?” and Shane said, “No, screw off” — that’d be refusing air time…

  4. I’m in agreement with Knapp as well that they shouldn’t have any obligation to send out an email to the main list as a prerequisite for being on the show.

    On the other hand, I’m in agreement with Ian that they should also have a media appearances schedule list or page somewhere (preferably also subscribable by RSS).

    So yeah, the LP is dumb here, but for another reason.

  5. Stephen,

    You can’t be in agreement with me on that, because I’m not in agreement with it myself.

    If FTL wants to do things that way, that’s their call, and not an unreasonable one. I just don’t think that LPHQ’s reaction to it should be mischaracterized as “turning down free airtime.”

  6. Sending an email is not a cost, and airtime is very valuable. The fuss here is simply the LP foolishly refusing to promote what is likely the best media outreach tool they will ever have. I just wanted to show their lack of vision.

    The RLC gets it, the LP doesn’t. As a life member of the LP I think that’s a shame.

  7. I agree and disagree on the cost of e-mail. As I run lists, I know that every time I use a list, the value drops a bit. This is because EVERY message upsets someone, and overkill of a list decreases its efficacy, as people start deleting instead of reading.

    By the same token, Shane and I have had some discussions (and several of us are debating the legal issues involved) currently. I do think it would be more adventageous for the LP to be more self-promoting.

  8. Ian,

    “Sending an email is not a cost”


    If the sending of the email didn’t have value, you wouldn’t be asking for it, would you?

    Last time I wanted to send a fundraising email for a candidate I was working for to another candidate’s list of prior donors, I certainly got quoted a price.

    If sending the email is the cost of the airtime, then it. Is. A. Cost. Period. You might think that it’s a damn good deal you offered. You might think the LP is stupid to turn it down. I might even agree (and if you ever want me on your show, I might agree to a similiar offer, although my list is probably smaller than the LP’s). But offering someone A that you have and that they want in exchange for B that they have and that you want is not offering them something “free,” it’s offering them a trade.

  9. I didn’t say it didn’t have value, but the only true cost is the time it takes to type and hit send. It’s free in that it would not cost them like it does for our advertisers.

    Plus, we never make requests based on email list size, we just appreciate any promotion, as we’re trying to grow the show. You’d think that the LP would realize the value in creating a relationship with FTL, but they don’t. I hope they figure it out before we hit 500 stations!

  10. After several re-reads I worked out what the actual debate was about. An opening introduction on the lines, ‘I invited Shane Cory to appear on my radio show, which is broadcast on (something?) As a consideration in exchange for the interview, I requested that the LP send out an announcement of the interview using its email list. The LP declined my request, so I will not be broadcasting an interview.’ might have helped.

    As a practical issue, the LP uses that list with some frequency. I hope. If it does not, the list is rotting away into worthlessness because it is not collecting corrections. An intelligent proposal would be that the LP will by and by send out a short email announcement, e.g. “Hours of CSPAN coverage of our national convention are at least…” Add a second paragraph “Hear Shane Cory interviewed on Free Talk Live. (details are).”

    Now there has been an announcement, the email was more interesting, and it was not used more times.

  11. So, what I’m reading is, FTL asked the LP to spam its members to advertise FTL’s allowing an LP rep to speak on the show.

    Ian, I’d have turned you down too. In Shane’s place I’d likely have announced the appearance without being asked… but making it a condition of the appearance rubs me the wrong way. I’d find a request for money LESS offensive than a request to email-advertise.

  12. As Ian said briefly on the show, the LP should support multiple email subscriptions, such as a list for people who want to hear about media appearances, a list for press releases, a list for public discussion, etc. Therefore, the LP won’t have to worry about people unsubscribing because of excessive emails and appearance promotion.

    For the LP to turn down a radio appearance for such a petty reason is pathetic to say the least.

  13. The LP does use its email list fairly frequently already, and if pointing out that Cory was to appear on FTL that night would have upset anybody, then the saying “I think, therefore I am Libertarian” doesn’t apply to a lot of people on the LP’s email list.

  14. Hi Kris,

    That’s not spamming, it’s targeted promotion of an appearance that would likely interest the recipients. (Apparantly their Alan Colmes appearance was more interesting, because they “spammed” that out!)

    My listeners likely find it very interesting that the LP is behaving in this manner. I wish we had more positive things to say about national, but they seem determined to get bad publicity from us.

    What do Downsize DC, the Advocates, Loretta Nall, and Steve Kubby know that the LP does not? That FTL is good publicity targeted at exactly the audience they want to reach. It won’t be long before we’re far more influential than the LP, and we’ll have done it in a matter of years, not decades.

  15. Josh,

    It does not appear as if the LP turned down the radio appearance, it appears as if the program refused to allow the LP on the show without them getting something for it.

  16. Yes, Trevor, that is exactly it. But, what Ian was asking of the national LP would have taken less than a min. All they had to do was write 2 lines and put it in an email that they were already going to send out. The LP would have got an add to over 10,000 listens (in markets that allow millions to listen) for less than a min. of work and a few min. of talking.

    What Ian offered the national LP was an amazing deal. The national LP had every right to turn it down but it did a massive disservice to us LP members by turning it down. Instead of spending countless hours promoting non-libertarian things like fighting the war in Iraq, the LP should be taking these sweet deals.

  17. Spam: to advertise a product or service electronically without the consent of the recipient of the advertisement.

    If what FTL was asking for wasn’t spam, it was pretty close.

  18. keith

    does it matter how little the bargain was? it was turned down and the proposing party is now publically whinging about it. and somehow this whinging is HELPING the libertarians? Fucking soap opera politics. may they all go to hell

  19. Either we’re in this together or we’re not. The LP has it’s purpose as does the radio show.

    The radio show is a place where all things Libertarian can be discussed. In the process the principles get promoted and hopefully both entities work in tandum and further the message to new supporters.

    Demanding that the LP promote an appearnce on a radio show is absurd. Either you have them on or you don’t. If the LP wants to pimp for FTL, that’s their decision. Nothing gets accomplished by going on the air and berading the LP for not living up to your demands for coming on the show. The show is important, but not that important.

    I am all about Libertarian ideals, promoting them and spreading the word, but some of the B.S. that many of you with the greatest influece get caught up in is embarrasing. This issue being one of them.

  20. Stephen Gordon writes: “By the same token, Shane and I have had some discussions (and several of us are debating the legal issues involved) currently. I do think it would be more adventageous for the LP to be more self-promoting.”

    While I don’t know the law it has always struck me as somewhat foolish that the LP doesn’t have an aggressive P.R. program. This is akin to guerilla warfare and we need to take advantage of every opportunity that we have to go after the bastards.

  21. On the immediate issue, certainly there’s “no news here”: there was an offer for exchange, which was turned down. One of the potential suitors felt slighted.

    On the larger issue, there is an as-yet unspoken “Elephant in the room”. That is the sense that the LP has spent 30 years on tactics that have failed to capture any significant political vicotry, and yet the LP policy seems eerily like the neo-con Iraq strategy: “Stay the Course!”

    In embracing the Free State Project, FTL is actively promoting a fundamentally different strategy: rather than cling to 5-6% of votes in 50 states, concentrate on fully implementing the LP platform in *one* state.

    By any objective measure, this strategy is succeeding beyond any reasonable projection; with less than 2% of the targeted 20,000 FSP migrants, we’ve already scored half a dozen pro-Liberty victories in New Hampshire.

    The flip side of this is what’s hard for the National LP to swallow: the other 49 states are inexorably sliding to Socialism

  22. The LP’s outreach is so poorly operated, OH MAN! What a joke. I’m glad Ian is putting this out there, because I used to send in my money (beyond dues, then after they made dues voluntary) now and then to the national LP, I’ve been a member for years, I’ve spoken to George Phillies and others at the Arizona conventions about this kind of stuff, but I’ll be sending my money to other organizations until such time as I see them doing something USEFUL like taking FTL up on this offer. Why not partner with a valuable ally with a wide audience, not only on live radio in several major markets, but one of the TOP 5 PODCASTS ever!?! For nothing more than sending out an e-mail. Personally, I’d like get an e-mail from the LP that something is happening, other than trying to gut the platform’s basic principles.