Most people will not care about this but it is important to me and some others who call themselves Team Buck. Today marked the first day that there was not a live Buck Sexton show on at noon. As sad as it makes me at the moment it is cause for celebration for Buck and, dare I say, anyone who loves freedom. Let me start at the beginning. Get comfortable. This will take a while.
About five years ago I signed up for a trial of theblaze TV. It was the early days of over-the-top (OTT) video streaming when there wasn’t anywhere near the volume of quality content as there is today and I wanted to see if there was anything innovative so I tried a lot of things. Although I was familiar theblaze website and liked Glenn Beck, what really locked me into it was a little round table show where no one I’d ever heard of talked about the news. It took only a small handful of views to realize that these young people on the panel were wicked smart. The show was called Real News and I was hooked. I will be so bold as to say that never, before or since, has there been a better or more intelligent panel news show.
I mean it, and I will thumb-fight you to the death in my conviction.
Why? The content, the way it was formatted, and the people on the panel. The topics included the news in the cycle but it was addressed with a longer view than other shows, sometimes incorporating history and interviewing pundits to determine what the permutations of a story might mean to the world down the road. And the guests were fantastic. Deeply informed and almost completely unknown at the time, they included the likes of Stephen Yates, Andrew McCarthy, Gordon Chang and many others. They were not spinning narratives or talking points. They delivered the facts, unvarnished. It was refreshing.
This was all good, but the “secret sauce” that made it all work was the panel. The five of them sat around a tall, small, semi-circular table on a set that looked like someone’s half finished basement in which boxes of memorabilia exploded, landing almost everywhere. Face the Nation never looked like this. Nor did it sound like this. Three of the five were regulars with the remainder rotating through some usual suspects. S.E. Cupp, Charles W. Cooke, Ben Domenesch, Pete Hegseth and a host of others who might not be household names yet but are more well known now. Not a dumb bunny in the lot of them.
The glue that held it together and really made it go were the permanent hosts, Will Cain, Amy Holmes followed by Tara Setmayer and Buck Sexton.
One might argue that when these three and their guest hosts were on set that it was the smartest place in Manhattan. Beyond brains, they each had different skill strengths. Amy and Tara had passion and heart.
Will, trained as a lawyer, was uber-logical within the context of humanity and the real world with amazing mental agility. He also wasn’t above poking fun at himself like when he wrote “reansable” on the chalkboard instead of “reasonable”. He also was and is one of the best at conducting an interview I have ever seen.
Then there was Buck. The bookish and serious former CIA analyst with poofy hair and boat shoes. Although I always wanted to reach through the screen and tighten his tie that last half inch so that the top button of his dress shirt would not show, his mad skills were most prominent. On Real News,, he was basically a savant in two things. Maps and history. And with everything else, he just knew more about it than nearly anyone on the planet.
Performing interviews, he was not as confrontational as Cain. Where Will would challenge someone when their points were not congruent with the facts and if their responses contained inconsistencies, Buck ask informed questions to lead the guest down the path of information he wanted to traverse, letting the experts use their, well, expertise.
Real News was a must-watch each weekday and although it was cancelled about three years ago, I still miss it.
During the run of Real News, theblaze gave Buck a three hour network radio show each Saturday from noon to three. I was not there at the very beginning and by the time I started listening his studio was the “Freedom Hut” and the listeners were known as “Team Buck”. I knew that Buck’s show was different because I listened to it differently than I did others on talk radio. It was not on in the background while I did other things. I gave it my full attention. I had to or risk missing something important. But there was more.
Team Buck wasn’t merely a label affixed to the audience. It was a community that started with a hashtag. Not only could we all connect during the show with it but Buck interacted too with likes, shares and comments. Later in the run of the Saturday show he’d do something of a video chat, taking video feeds from us and talking about whatever was on our minds, and his. Team Buck was setting a trend long before Facebook Live was a thing. And we were meeting, out there in the real world.
Where team members lived near one another or where they were coming together for an occasion or event there were Team Buck meetups. I attended a couple in 2016 with the second being afforded a special tour of the Mercury One “Liars or Liberty” fundraiser at Mercury Studios. It was at that event that I learned that theblaze knew all about Team Buck. In fact it was Beth, the senior TV producer that set up the tour and arranged for Glenn to meet with all of us. But I am getting ahead of myself.
Three years ago Buck went to weekdays. Starting with two hours daily then up to three, this was big for Team Buck and, I also expect for the poofy-haired wunderkind since Real News had recently been shown the door and he was probably looking for more to do. This was it, but it changed everything. We got more Buck but most of us had to listen at work so we could no longer devote the same level of attention to each of his hours on air. It felt weird for a while but we adapted. Noon to 3 was the best time of the day for talk radio and Team Buck was growing. It wasn’t just the increased exposure from the five day a week show but Buck was filling in for the top three talkers in the country, Beck, Hannity and Limbaugh. In fact, if Rush was off, Buck was as likely to be filling in for him as anyone else and that was big. The more he was behind the golden mic the more Team Buck grew.
And then the inevitable happened. We all knew it would because in a world where the top talkers had all received their AARP cards, the search was on for young blood. Although I have no knowledge of what went on behind the scenes, Buck announced in February that had signed a deal with a national radio syndicator with 100+ stations from coast to coast each weekday from 6-9PM. Although his show on theblaze remained, we knew it wouldn’t last. The final live Buck Sexton show aired on theblaze yesterday.
Although there was no one more chuffed about the new show than I, the move is bittersweet. It means the five year ride is over, as is any hope for a Buck TV show in the near future. But that is not a really a big deal. Buck is kicking the new show with all of the smarts and energy he brings to everything he does. Callers to his new show give him major props and are getting comfortable in the Freedom Hut. For we, the “original squad”, the feel of the team is changing but that’s okay. Things change. Always do. And this change is good. Especially for Buck.
But before the light finally fades in the original Freedom Hut for the last time I wanted to remember where Team Buck has been over the last five years. Beyond what we needed to know in the news cycle, Spy Time and Buck Briefs, we’ve heard from Commie Bear, learned about the battle of Lepanto and watched Buck’s love life tick upward. We’re all the richer for the experience and I for one feel fortunate to have been a wee small part of it.
P.S. I found this early Commie Bear hit from Real News and although it doesn’t fit anywhere, I had to share it.