Some comments on my departure

December 23rd, 2015 - 10:43pmby FTL_Markin

I’ve been called a lot of things over the last few days: whiny, bitch, cunt, entitled, murderer, asshole, unrealistic, cuck and pathetic to name a few. You can mix and match them at your pleasure. It could be a fun little game of Mad Libs.” The whiny, pathetic murderer is acting like an unrealistic entitled cunt.”

Obviously, there has been an outpouring of support, but I can’t say that much of this doesn’t sting.

So, Ima splain myself as best I can. Your emotions about my departure are relevant and important. But if your emotions and thoughts are important, then mine are too. So, here they are.

Free Talk Live is a mission, not just a radio program and a business. We want to spread the Ideas of Liberty to anyone that can listen. We give away what others charge for, with the intention that people are able to easily hear it. No one has shown more dedication to the mission than Ian and I. I have likened us to street preachers and I think it is very apt. We have a passion for the mission, but we need support to do the mission. We can’t simultaneously do the mission and support the mission at the same time. The AMP program is the way that regular listeners can support our mission.

The AMP Program has not grown for many years. The radio stations have more than doubled in that time. The advertising has grown to support a middle class living and then dipped. We at FTL, have done the job but the AMPlifer dollars haven’t caught up.

A few years ago, you may recall, Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut. That act caused a lot of advertisers to leave Talk Radio. iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel)  and Cumulus’s practices of excluding radio shows that they don’t own has changed the industry landscape to the point that FTL’s business model isn’t viable anymore. I have been dipping into savings to live for more than a year.

So, either FTL is a business, which is struggling mightily, or it is an activism project, which hasn’t seen improved listener buy-in for years. Either way, it needs help that I just can’t provide.

I work from 8:30 am to 10p pretty much daily. I don’t have a day off. I live, happily, in an 800 sq ft house, so you can forget blaming this on an extravagant lifestyle. My wife leaves the state for 3 months out of the year, to stay with her parents in FL, because she can’t stand snow, but I stay in NH to do the show. I can’t do more, I can do different, but only if different works.

The AMP program is intended to advertise, market and promote FTL, getting us on more stations, bringing the message of Liberty to people who have never heard it articulated well. I don’t get a penny of it and nor do I control how it is spent. I do benefit in that if we add a big station or 2 it will drive up ad rates and demand and maybe we can live without dipping into savings in a year or so. I am willing to wait and stick around, but I need to see the support to do that. That is why I have given you the opportunity to choose. Do you want me to stay? Yes? Great! 5 bucks a month will make it happen.  No? Then feel free to call me an entitled prick. 


December 24th, 2015 - 2:32am Permalink

I love you , man. I really do.  I find myself agreeing with you on most occasions. Far more than Ian.. though I love him too.  However, I  think something you are missing out on is how diffcult the last decade has been on most folks. I AMP when I can. I don't when I can't. I think this is probably common among your listeners. I know you are a family man, so you know what it is like to provide... it ain't easy. I get your point man... I do... but your tirade... COULD... have cost your more than you gain...  Alas, I could not prove my own point, because your tirade caused me to restart my AMP donations... I seriously need you and Ian.... you two are the only "radio personalities" who make sense.....

deltatide in AL

December 24th, 2015 - 8:27am Permalink

It certainly is possible that my ultimatum, that is in essense what it is, will result in fewer AMPs. It hasn't so far, but it was an initial fear of mine. When I asked myself about that possibility, I decided that I wanted the information. I wanted to know if I had the support for my sacrifice. We will see if I do. 

Thanks so much for taking the time to post. 

December 24th, 2015 - 10:00am Permalink

Thank you Mark,

Thanks for your tireless work. Thanks for sacrificing more than you have to on a personal level for a cause we believe in. I wish I could AMP more in an amount commensurate to what I think you and Ian's efforts are really worth. Rest assured when I can AMP more I will. I hope FTL can become more viable from a business standpoint soon so that the important work you, Ian, and the other hosts do can continue on such a wide scale.


December 24th, 2015 - 4:15pm Permalink

Kev, all I am asking for is $5. I'm grateful for more. Thank you. 

December 25th, 2015 - 12:03am Permalink

"I’ve been called a lot of things over the last few days: whiny, bitch, cunt, entitled, murderer, asshole, unrealistic, cuck and pathetic to name a few."

The word "cuck," is a ridiculous term, but Cantwell can't use it enough these days. 

My own reaction to your ultimatum is that it was petulant to hinge the question of your departure on a 65% increase in AMP monthly funds that you must know isn't going to happen in the course of just a few weeks. It reminded me of scaled down version of the evangelist, Oral Roberts', ultimatum back in 1987 when he said God would take him home if his Medical Center didn't receive $8M in donations. Of course, you never claimed God told you anything, but this drama is overwrought and Ian deserves a big tip in the bitcoin jar for putting up with it. With that said, you've done such a good job on the show for so long that you should be able to leave or stay without hard feelings on the part of any of your listeners. I hope you stay with FTL, but I wish you the best, whatever you decide to do.

December 25th, 2015 - 1:33am Permalink

"My own reaction to your ultimatum is that it was petulant to hinge the question of your departure on a 65% increase in AMP monthly funds that you must know isn't going to happen in the course of just a few weeks"

December 25th, 2015 - 1:40am Permalink

You were at, what? 2.5k, and you want to get to 5k? We look to be about 3.5k, so that's a 2/5ths of the way there! Howaabout you come on for Saturdays, Sundays, and Thursdays? Kinda... split the difference if you will....

FTL without Mark is like watching a boxing match without a ref. Madness. Sheer madness....

December 25th, 2015 - 8:20am Permalink

If I would have quit without an ultimatum, I would have been called names too. Its emotional for people. I have a relationship with the listeners on a very personal basis. So, if that is true, and I do all of the work in the relationship, is it not fair to ask that the listener do something as simple as $5 a month? I feel like my work is unappriciated and that I am giving everything to tred water. Call it petulant if you will. 

December 25th, 2015 - 8:22am Permalink

"Howaabout you come on for Saturdays, Sundays, and Thursdays?"

I have thought about this.

December 25th, 2015 - 8:25am Permalink

I've been listening to FTL since 2004 when I was in high school.  Its hard to say for sure but without FTL I might be a state loving liberal right now.  I decided to AMP when I heard Mark's ultimatum.  If I can help promote liberty to more people its worth the few bucks a month.  Also FTL is not the same without Mark.  Keep up the good work Mark, Ian, and co-hosts.  Much appreciated.

December 25th, 2015 - 11:39am Permalink

I read that more that the ultimatum itself is petulant given the inherant difficulties in the mechanics... not that *you* are petulant for choosing it. You gotta do what's right for you. Work to live not live to work etc etc. I was just +1ing the pointing out of the difficulty in such an extreme ultimatum.

December 25th, 2015 - 9:39pm Permalink

I hope things work out for you for the best.
You and Ian certainly have done extremely much to peacefully promote liberty.
I have up my monthly AMP from $25 to $35 because I agree that the work there is quite effective in reaching most people with the ideas of liberty, and I want to let you know I think the work there is important.
As far as AMP and the support for liberty.
It is a shame how little people undervalue liberty until it has been taken away replaced with tyranny and poverty.
This seem to be a weakness I wish did not exist.

Certainly AMP is a peaceful and less expensive then taking up arms against oppression.
I too have problems understanding why there is little AMP support considering the alternatives.

Best wishes for your future,

"Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day."

Thomas Jefferson


December 25th, 2015 - 11:12pm Permalink

Thanks mgr44nd and glennboyer!

Conrad, we get 4000 downloads on a good day. If a quarter of those people find me important enough for $5 a month, the goal is made. That doesn't count any extra from any other AMPlifiers or people that no loner listen that AMP. Its achievable if people take responsiblity for their lives and if they think I am worth keeping. This isn't hard at all. 

December 26th, 2015 - 3:02am Permalink

This is the problem: If you have 4k downloads, my experience in ecommerce, email marketing, and general systems development show that roughly 10% (400 people) even know that they're receiving the podcast. Now, if we skew things because of the fanaticism of libertarians (wtf not be fanatical?), we might say that roughtly 25% (1k people) know that FTL is so goddamn awesome. so if those same 1k people donate the $5 you desire, then we'd have lollipop trees and steaks deposited on the stove like taxes. Either way, if we go on then to say that half the people donate the amount desired, we'd be at less than where the FTL pages show. Frankly, I think $5k is a great goal, but also a pipe dream for the current viewership.

Finally, I think that your absence removes the final stepping stone that so many people need. If you will not be continuing your reign, I do believe you should be training DWP to not be such an Ian.

December 28th, 2015 - 8:27am Permalink


You are absolutely critical to FTL as a radio personality. You leaving the show would be terrible for the future of FTL as a product. Honestly, I want all my FTL shows to have you and Ian in them. It just isn't FTL without the interplay between you two. That is the magic formula. And the sad thing is, I don't think either of you even realize it. 


Mark, you are much more down to earth and patient with callers than Ian is. I like the fire in Ian's belly, but you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. And that is the vision of the show, right? Your target audience isn't hardcore libertarians, it is non-libertarians driving in their cars listening to the radio. In this regard, FTL without you is far too radical (and I'm a complete radical). When callers call in, they should be shown patience and FTL should seek to educate the public using those questions. Especially considering how many people may have had the same comment/question and didn't call. This was the old format for sure, but man - now its just shutting down callers and preaching to the choir. Like one woman who called in against immigration the other night. You can't just start shouting: "fugitive slave act  = anti-immigration = caller supports anti-immigration/slavery, goodbye" and expect anyone but libertarians to connect those dots. There is not nearly enough explanation anymore, and that is the purpose of the show and AMP and everything, right?  Mark you've been saying this all along, but I don't think anyone is hearing you. I know I didn't quite "get" it until you said it directly. And the reason I don't think I understood this was because the show has  gotten away from that.  It's just another libertarian show for libertarians to a large extent now - and that is a crowded market lately. 

As a hardcore ancap/libertarian, I rarely listen to the show anymore. I get it. I'm the choir. You guys are partially responsible for that and for that I'm subscribing to AMP indefinitely. My apologies for not doing so sooner.  But I'm not your audience anymore and I think that needs to internalized.  Back when I listened every day (Manwich :P), I didn't understand the value  fully and didn't donate (plus you had commercials). Now that I can chip in a little and get the "vision" , I have to criticize the show by that standard: 


I really think the show has to stop talking to ancaps and start talking to the general public again.  I think the problem is every host except for you just echoes Ian. Which is understandable considering we all bloody agree, but that is sort of dull isn't it?  Only you challenge Ian - if only to play devil's advocate, and that is why you are indispensable.  My one suggestion is to bring in some hosts with slightly different views so the "straight guy routine" doesn't fall wholly on your shoulders.  It's no good if the callers are the only source of conflict in the program when you are not there. So,  why not a minarchist, big LP libertarian or a libertarian-socialist (whatever that means), or any other liberty-whateverist co-host? Right now, it's all on you to provide a bridge into these ideas for the listening audience. 


Anyway, Mark, the thought of you leaving FTL upset me enough for all this.  Don't do it man. Be patient. Put your foot down. Your vision is true and right.  The WHOLE appeal of FTL and AMP is reaching the non libertarian audience. I think the show needs to remember that as well.