Email: Don McDonald
Evolution of A Talk Show Host
For more than 20 years, Don McDonald has entertained his listeners and guided them through the confusing maze of day-to-day financial decisions. Don was once a stock broker (which gave him first hand knowledge of the abuses that plague the industry), who became a general talk show host, financial editor of a major business news network, renowned national financial talk show host, successful business owner, and financial advisor. All of these experiences and skills make Don one of the best sources for solid, sensible advice on managing money and life.
From Office to Studio
Don began his financial career the way so many did, as a broker for a major Wall Street brokerage firm. After a few years making the obligatory cold calls and building a good size client base, Don decided to quit the industry, as he felt it was doing investors a disservice.
In 1966, Don became a talk show host in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It wasn’t long until his program was the highest rated in its time slot. Within a year, he was also hosting shows on the 50,000 watt Denver powerhouse, KOA.
America’s First Financial Radio Network
Early in 1988, a fledgling radio network, Business Talk Radio, was looking for someone with both financial and broadcasting experience to become its new Financial Editor. Always looking for the next challenge, Don signed on.
On July 4, 1988 the network signed on and Don read the first financial report on BRN. Realizing that his talents as a talk show host were being wasted, Don started hosting a Saturday afternoon talk show called “The Ways and Means Committee” to help people find the “ways to the means.”
The show proved to be incredibly popular and the network decided to add a weekday version (airing in the wee hours of the morning). Leaving his position as Financial Editor, Don became a full time talk show host, six days a week.
The name of the show was eventually changed to “The Don McDonald Show” as stations starting requesting “that Don McDonald show.” As it’s popularity grew, the show began to air earlier in the evening.
Listeners wanted more of Don’s long-term, common-sense advice and many suggested he start writing a newsletter. He decided to do just that and in April of 1991, published the first issue of Mutual Fundamentals (later “The Don McDonald Moneyletter”).
The newsletter grew quickly. For many years, it went out to thousands of subscribers across the country. Don continued to write, design, and publish every issue for the next 15 years. The last issue was mailed out in April of 2006.
His Own Network
In the early years, Business Radio Network struggled to make a profit. The network changed hands many times. It was one of those new owners that decided the network could no longer afford Don’s salary and he was relieved of his hosting duties one August evening in 1993.
That night Don was on the phone with the folks at Walt Disney World in Florida. Having broadcast from Disney’s facilities many times in the past, the company like both Don’s friendly style and the type of audience to which he appealed. They often suggested that Don move to Florida and broadcast from their new studios at Disney-MGM Studios. Being a native Coloradan, Don wasn’t interested in moving. That all changed with his firing.
Within two days, Don was on a plane to Orlando and was sending his show out from the Disney Radio Studios, independently, via satellite to more than 90% of his previous stations.
Coming Full Circle
Meanwhile, the Business Radio Network was acquired by yet another new group of investors and renamed Business News Network. The principles in this new venture determined that the network needed “The Don McDonald Show” back.
After some negotiation, Don agreed to allow BNN to syndicate his show, but he maintained complete ownership of the program. In a few years, what remained of BNN was folded into what is now BusinessTalkRadio.net (BTR). However, the show continued, almost unchanged until October, 2000 when Don was approached by TalkAmerica Radio Network and made an offer he couldn’t refuse. The show changed syndicators and began broadcasting on TalkAmerica in late 2000.
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