Ladies and gentlemen, Freedom Fest 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada officially wrapped up two weeks ago. My apologies for posting this so late after the fact, but Life happened to intervene as it most certainly always does.
The Freedom Fest is typified as:
FreedomFest is an annual festival where free minds meet to celebrate “great books, great ideas, and great thinkers” in an open-minded society. It is independent, non-partisan, and not affiliated with any organization or think tank. Founded and produced by Mark Skousen since 2002, FreedomFest invites the “best and the brightest” from around the world to talk, strategize, socialize, and celebrate liberty. FreedomFest is open to all and is purely egalitarian, where speakers, attendees, and exhibitors are treated as equals.
And with that, the SHR Media Network was there — for the second year — to cover Freedom Fest 2016.
It’s no secret that, many years ago, I was in radio. I started in college radio at WWSU, then worked for other AM and FM stations. I took any shift I could for any reason I could as many times as I could though few knew me. After moving back west, I worked for KERS, KEG, KOBO in Yuba City, KNDE and KFBK in Sacramento. I met Morton Downey Jr and, briefly, much later, a new guy from back east whom I knew was pitching a show.
That was “back in the day” when radio consisted of now-primitive analog Sparta boards, a central VU meter, numerous pots, two turntables, a Shure or RCA microphone, two vertical Sparta cart deck arrays, cart holders, and production room editing conducted using Ampex reel-to-reel recorders on metal editing splicing blocks with either vertical or diagonal cuts utilizing razor blades and white splicing tape.
In May, after having corresponded with Sack Heads Radio owner Shaun on Twitter (@EdgeofLiberty) we met, had lunch, and he and co-owner Clint (@SackHeadClint) were willing to try me out on their radio media network.
I thank them for their confidence in me and, with that, I was taken in to the SHR Media Network team (@SHRMediaGroup), which includes two other very important members that I met whilst at the Freedom Fest, to include The Exceptional Conservative and The UnderGround Professor.
Hence my appearance at Freedom Fest on behalf of the SHR Media Network, because they quite closely mirror my beliefs and philosophies.
Shaun (L) and Clint (R), the great nucleus of the Sack Heads Radio Show.
Both Clint and Shaun, co-owners of SHR Media, are talented, devoted, and have a passion for Conservatism, America, discipline, sacrifice, and the founding documents of this nation. It also doesn’t hurt that they’re great friends and play off each other wonderfully. They live by their motto, “Conservative Media, done right.”
Whilst at Freedom Fest, the SHR Media Network team, of which I am now quite luckily an emerging part — with luck — had occasion to interview not only a massive number of Libertarians — including the Chairman of the Libertarian Party itself — but supporters and freedom fighters too numerous to count.
But first, the drive; I had volunteered to transport the SHR Media broadcast equipment in my automobile to Las Vegas whilst Shaun and Clint boarded a Southwest 737. That drive was a journey unto itself as I had never before driven to Las Vegas and opted to enter Nevada and then, from Reno, drive south on Highway 95. Yes. One of the most damned desolate roads I’d encountered.
The miles rolled by as did the drudgery and the lack of pee and poo stops. I was thankful I hadn’t had crab cakes and broccoli the night before or my customary tankard-o-cola to start the morning. But I knew I was finally approaching civilization when the road opened from two to four lanes and I spied what appeared to be a very small private plane hugging the nap of the earth about a mile to the east. How very odd and quite dangerous, I thought. Then it crested a tall ridge and disappeared. Once I passed the ridge there appeared to be an airport or some sort of installation to the east of Highway 95. The next thing I knew there was a prop-driven Predator drone pacing me southbound paralleling 95, about 150′ above the ground. It wasn’t a private plane I had watched vanish over a ridge. It was a Predator drone and I was adjacent to Creech AFB, home of the USAF UAV-Logistic and Training Facility. I can say this unequivocally: a Predator drone is larger and creepier than I ever suspected.
Because of a somewhat lethargic lack of planning on my part, it took me three passes around Planet Hollywood before I found somewhere to park. I had apparently rather adroitly managed to completely avoid the proper place to unload my bags and equipment with the help of PH staff and, instead, parked in the voluminous and confusing public garage to the massive Miracle Mile Shopping mall (remember that word: confusing; you’ll see it applied again shortly).
Not knowing quite where the holy hell I was, I exited and walked from one end of the mall to the entire opposite side before locating the PH lobby. I checked in, told them where my car was stashed and, after pointing and larfing vigorously at me because I could only have parked farther away if I’d stopped in Boulder City, they relented and disgorged directions to their valet service. All went well — somewhat well — afterwards, having tramped around in 110-degree heat at my advanced and febrile age.
So endeth Tuesday, my driving day. I had dinner at some forgettable Mexican food place because I could find it from my hotel room on the 12th floor. The mall was confusing, finding my car was confusing and certainly the interior of Planet Hollywood was confusing as well. Of course, that is purposeful because, as a gambler, the casino’s goal is to welcome you in, have you spend copious amounts of cash, forget about the time, and waylay you to another table or another locale in which to part you from your cash. That said, it’s not just Planet Hollywood; it’s been the goal of every casino ever built.
Frankly, the room was great. Spacious, a king bed, no smoking, lots of Judge Dredd memorabilia stashed around the room and in display cases. The pièce de résistance? A wonderful, deep jetted tub in the bathroom.
Clint and Shaun enroute Las Vegas, as opposed to leaving Las Vegas.
Wednesday saw the arrival of Shaun and Clint, and we gathered the equipment from the back of the Kraut Kar in order to reassemble it in the rotunda of the Planet Hollywood mezzanine. Ably aided and abetted by Valerie and Mim (shoutout to both!), we were able to — ahem — “liberate” and “acquire” what we needed. Ahem.
Bit by bit the booth took shape as we arranged tables, draping, chairs, signs, banners and the various accoutrements that comprise a burgeoning radio network.
The next day, Thursday, I had occasion to meet two unique radio personalities on the SHR Media Network — Ken McClenton, The Exceptional Conservative, and Dr Michael Jones, the Underground Professor.
The effervescent, ebullient and ubiquitous Sir Kenneth McClenton at Freedom Fest.
Ken McClenton lives and broadcasts on the SHR Media Network live and direct from Washington DC, the proverbial belly of the beast, every Monday through Thursday from 9 to 11 PM Eastern, and 6 to 8 PM Pacific. Ken is on Twitter @MrExceptional1. Ken’s site says:
Kenneth McClenton is an Urban Conservative whose mission Is to spread the good news of Christianity, Conservatism, Capitalism and Constitutionalism throughout the world. Devoted to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, Ken believes that in order to save the United States, we must mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor to save Urban America.
Ken broadcasts with Sackheads Shaun running the board, at the SHR Media booth.
Ken with Salem Radio Network’s Larry Elder, the Sage of South Central, both displaying astounding sartorial splendor and elegance.
Colorado Senatorial candidate Lily Tang Williams and Ken.
Ken interviews former presidential candidate Steve Forbes prior to the Bourbon Smackdown. But wait; more on that in just a bit.
Kenneth McClenton, The Exceptional Conservative.
Having never met Ken before, I must say it was a pleasure to encounter he and his wife. They are two of the kindest and most considerate persons you would ever want to meet. Ken’s laugh is loud and infectious (necessitating, later, a painful series of injections to counter same). Truly, if there were ever a Great Guy placed on planet earth by God, it would be Ken. And, of course, someone should ask Ken two extremely important things: 1) how he managed to acquire the moniker of “Kitten,” and 2) how the interview with Ali’s fight promoter, Don King, went.
It was my next pleasure to meet Michael Jones, the Underground Professor, whose site indicates:
Host Michael Jones comments on political commentary on current events, tidbits from history, comparative religion, literature, philosophic arguments, and scientific progress. Because while current events are important, UGP Radio is about more than entertainment and political intrigue. Our goal is to deliver a liberal arts education through a one hour broadcast every day. Each episode spans a series of subjects that will enable you to draw conclusions, rather than fuel you with talking points. Learn more about the Underground Professor at undergroundprofessor.us or catch him on www.shrmedia.com.
Once I met Dr Jones, I immediately understood why I overheard some of the Sack Heads personnel — specifically, the personal servants for both Shaun and Clint (Shaun and Clint travel with a retinue of three private assistants each) — say: “they look like twin sons of different mothers” in reference to myself and Dr Jones.
Dr Jones, the Underground Professor, live at Freedom Fest (with Ken McClenton).
Dr Jones, possessing three doctorates, always displays a serious and professional mien.
Operating under the banner of the Underground Professor.
Dr Jones, I presume, interviewing Steve Forbes.
Wyatt McKee interviewed by Dr Michael Jones, the Underground Professor.
The Underground Professor, a frightening conglomerate of knowledge packed into his brainulus, can be heard on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 6:00 PM Central — and Sundays at 8:00 PM Central. You can listen in at blogtalkradio. Dr Jones can also be found, Saturdays, on WNJC 1360 Philadelphia, New Jersey, Delaware at 5:00 PM Central.
In all, a great and wonderful time was had. On the wrap-up night, however, a rather interesting event occurred. On the cusp of hosting the Bourbon Smackdown at the SHR Media booth in which persons of all stripes — vertical and horizontal — were invited, Steve Forbes ambled towards the booth having just spoken to a massive audience. He was corraled by the UP and Shaun, whereupon he sat for an interview as documented above.
Shaun mentioned the upcoming Bourbon Smackdown and produced a glistening and pristine glass for Mr Forbes, introducing some Bookers into same. Mr Forbes, not knowing who the hell we were at all, accepted the glass with grace and proceeded to speak to us and knock back some bourbon.
Please note the glass in the hand of Mr Forbes — a remarkably brave and courageous man. His bodyguard was a rather nice (and attentive) individual as well, professional and unobtrusive. We heaved a collective sigh when he decided not to Tase each and every one of us for handing his principal a glass of untested liquid.
Ken, tenuous, awaits the stinging barbs of a Taser gun, knowing the black guy would be the first recipient of any electronic ire.
Steve Forbes was kind enough to sign Sack Head Shaun’s box of Booker’s bourbon — which is now prominently displayed at the SHR studios in beautiful downtown Burbank.
In all, it was a grand time and I was made to feel welcome and part of the team, thanks to the gracious and stylish ministrations of Shaun, Clint, Ken and Michael.
Some random photographs and memories of the Las Vegas Freedom Fest 2016, for all to peruse. Many thanks once more to Valerie and Mim for their timely and appreciated assistance on every level imaginable.
Shaun with Larry Elder.
The Sack Heads Radio team of teams.
Interviewing Mim on the Exceptional Conservative show.
Sack Heads Clint, Lily Tang Williams, Dr Jones, Ken and Sack Heads Shaun. Yes, we liked Lily a lot; she was fun, animated, intelligent, driven and inspiring.
Judge Andrew Napolitano at the Freedom Fest — one of the finest speakers I’ve seen.
Shaun was kept busy most every hour, posting the shows to the SHR Media Network website, updating the social media, sending out Tweets and attending to Facebook.
Steve Forbes interviewed by Dr Jones, with Shaun taking a photo in the background.
The SHR team interviews Heather Wagenhals, financial advisor. Please note the great, toned, ripplingly-muscular calves and legs of Dr Michael Jones.
Even Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton came to call upon the SHR Media booth.
The SHR Media team interviews George Foreman during the Bourbon Smackdown.
Sack Heads Clint speaks to boxer and entrepreneur George Foreman.
The conclusion to a great Freedom Fest at Planet Hollywood, as glasses clink during the Bourbon Smackdown.
Your SHR Media Network team at the 2016 Freedom Fest in Las Vegas, under the Planet Hollywood rotunda — remarkably apropos for BZ.
Breakfast, before we all head back to our homes at the conclusion of Freedom Fest.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, my most humble thanks to Shaun, Clint, Ken, Michael, Mrs Ken, Valerie and Mim, as I wrap up coverage of the 2016 Freedom Fest.
I look forward to becoming an integral part of the growing SHR Media Network, and to attending next year’s Freedom Fest as well.