Houston MoneyFair 2009 is hosted by BizRadio 1110 AM, and I have with me Dan Frishberg, who is the man behind this network.
Dan, I’ve known about BizRadio for 3 or 4 years, but many Houstonians are not really aware of your network; let’s talk about BizRadio first, and then move on to the Money Fair.
Vijai: When and how did BizRadio actually evolve to become this very successful network?
Dan: We originally started in Houston radio on the old Business Radio 650. When then-owners CBS Infinity Broadcasting decided to eliminate the money format in Houston, my listeners were very vocal in their protests. I promised them I’d somehow continue my broadcasts, even if it meant starting my own radio station. In fact, many of those listeners literally became owners in the new company we formed, which we now know as BizRadio. It’s quite rare to see that kind of listener loyalty, but here we are.
Vijai: What was the main vision/motivation behind this radio network? Was it started to attract wealthy investors or to help people seeking financial literacy?
Dan: Depends what you call wealthy. Our audience is made up of people who take responsibility and know they must use their brains to survive and prosper in this very complex world. Some of them are rich, but many are rich people who haven’t received the money yet. They learn how to think rich, and they become rich.
What we don’t offer is invalid, anachronistic boilerplate financial planning ‘Pablum’. Such baloney has no value, and the proof of that lies in the fact that it has never helped create more rich people. BizRadio content is a little more demanding, but it actually makes people richer, by teaching them to think like rich people. There are tens of thousands of salesmen, young businessmen, homemakers, new and experienced investors who have learned to think like the successful people they wish to emulate.
The U.S. economy has changed dramatically, and the ideas behind successful investing from years gone by are no longer valid. There was a time when anyone with a few bucks to invest could grow that money by buying stocks and holding on to them – the companies were growing by leaps and bounds. This was especially true in the 80’s and 90’s – the years that saw tremendous growth in the technology industries. So yes, we do speak directly to what you refer to as ‘wealthy’ investors. (We like to think of them as ‘savvy’ investors.) On the other hand, we dedicate ourselves to financial literacy and the idea of initiating the uninitiated into the world of investing or “growing their money”. Education is a big part of our philosophy… education at many levels. But we consider all of our listeners as members of the union of people who use their brains “To Get a Better Deal”.
Vijai: If the intention is to educate people, I don’t see any shows that target a normal or ordinary person. It all talks about high end investing, trading and so forth.
Dan: Actually, one of our hosts (Vince Rowe) is the president of the Online Trading Academy. It’s an excellent teaching facility. Del Walmsley is really a real estate investor, which brings a lot of listeners who aren’t so adept or interested in buying and selling stocks. Ray Lucia, who’s on mid-days in Houston, refers to himself as a financial ‘planner’… his investment material is about a variety of plans for long and short term investors. Today, ‘normal, ordinary’ people simply MUST face the fact that knowing what to do about your money means knowing how to plan for your future. Like it or not, even for ‘normal, ordinary’ people, gone are the days of hiding cash under the mattress. And again, it depends what you consider ordinary. We are probably not right for people who wish to STAY ordinary, but we appeal to people from all walks of life.
Vijai: What are a few shows you like to recommend to listeners — apart from your MoneyMan Report at 4pm?
Dan: Wow, that’s a tough one. Let’s see…. OK, all of them!
Vijai: I know BizRadio has now expanded to Dallas, San Antonio and all over Colorado, etc. How do you feel about this accomplishment?
Dan: Well first of all, if I may, you’ve understated the reach of BizRadio. Many weeks, we have hundreds of thousands of our segments downloaded via podcasts by people all over the world. Our hosts are constantly invited to contribute on national and international TV, and people find us there – they search for us and become hooked via the internet.
Next, several new stations are in the process of signing up to take our programs through our syndicator, Global American. We’ve grown this company using the same principals we try to convey to our listeners in terms of how they should grow their business. We did what everyone should do… we found a niche that we’re very good at, and that no one else was doing very successfully, and we filled that niche. In fact, our audience is quite the niche audience. They’re the very cream of the crop, they know what they want out of life, and they’re not so vain as to believe they know everything about how to achieve their goals. They’re very willing to listen to what we have to say, and conversely, we get some great ideas from them. It’s a great audience.
Vijai: What about your BizRadio Academy — what’s the goal behind this educational center?
Dan: Well, using your terminology, it’s to help turn normal or ‘ordinary’ people into ‘wealthy’ individuals. The whole educational center was built around a Basic Financial Literacy course, and the aforementioned Online Trading Academy.
Vijai: I know The MoneyFair is coming up at the end of this month. What else is online for the Houstonians?
Dan: I have to say that we plan our events, seminars, workshops, and classes around the immediate needs of our audience, which translates to keeping up with the changes in our economy and the flow of money. Sometimes that means we’ll plan an ‘emergency strategy session’, but typically, we have something going on, generally speaking, at least monthly. We have these events on a pretty regular basis.
Vijai: Now, moving on to The MoneyFair 2009. Tell me about it… is it a seminar or a workshop or a discussion forum?
Dan: It’s a full day of globally famous and successful financial celebrities, giants, icons – whatever you want to call them. It’ll be a combination seminar/carnival-of-the-brain, or any other metaphor you wish to use. It’ll certainly be the largest assembly of famous celebrities and innovators to arrive in Houston in years.
We’re particularly focused this year on the issue of globalization. The theme in fact is wrapped around the idea that economic borders around the world have fallen – and continue to fall every day. There’s no longer any such thing as a U.S. economy or a U.S. stock market. Things that are happening all over the world, especially in China and other Asians countries are affecting all of us much more than ever before. Some people have a tendency to want to worry about that. The truth is the doors have been opened to a vast world of opportunities. The Biz Radio 2009 Money Fair is about those opportunities and how to take advantage of them.
Vijai: Is this fair only for expert investors or novices who are just starting up investing?
Dan: I’m afraid that most of the real ‘expert’ investors will probably be on their yachts sipping adult beverages, or stretched out on any one of the world’s most beautiful white sand beaches. Let’s say there’s an ‘intermediate’ group that’s aiming to reach those levels… they’ll certainly be at the Money Fair. And I suspect that the “start-up investors” will be anxious to see what effect falling economic borders will have on them too. It’s for those who wish to opt in.
I have to say that your questions seem to betray a lack of respect for the average American that I just do not share. In fact, when we started, most media types predicted we’d be gone in six months. They believed there was no audience for such “targeted content.” The people continue to prove them wrong, and our audience continues to get richer.
Lots of our listeners have told me they avoided the recent crash, navigated successfully through the past several years, and they attribute their success to BizRadio. That’s about the best endorsement I could have hoped for.
Vijai: What can one expect from this MoneyFair?
Dan: You’ll see hundreds of Houstonians walking around in, somewhat in a state of rapture because of the pure enjoyment, stimulation and excitement to be had from being at a one-of- a kind event like this. There will also be plenty of education – which is not to be confused with free advice. Advice is a very scary thing in the world of money… you should only take it from your grandfather. But there will be lots and lots of free information. And I’m talking about the kind of information you can actually use to make your own decisions about your money.
Vijai: Money fair is advertised as free to register. As you know, nothing is free in America. What is the catch?
Dan: Sorry. It’s advertised as free – that means it’s free. Actually, if it weren’t for your driver’s license, you wouldn’t need your wallet at all. Feel free to leave your checkbook, your credit cards, and your skepticism at home. The only problem with the fact that it’s free is that when the seats are gone, they’re gone. We’re actually just about sold out now… if you hear it on the radio or TV later today, there may still be a few tickets available. Oh, I almost forgot. There IS a catch. You have to make reservations.
Vijai: Why is this event happening on a week day? Is it to avoid too much of a crowd or any particular reason?
It’s happening on a weekday because the only alternative is weekends. Don’t you play golf?
Vijai: What’s your final word to encourage people to attend the MoneyFair?
Seriously speaking – we’ve been at many crossroads to the future over these past few years, but none like the place where we are today. Yes, the economic borders are falling all around us, but if you look closely, you’ll find that the people of many, many nations are not hesitating at all. They’re opportunists. They saw what we Americans are able to do, and now many of them have learned to do it themselves… in some cases, they’re already doing it better than us. They came here to be educated, and then took those skills they learned home with them. They’ve become a force to be reckoned with. You know, there are about six billion people on the planet. Which means we’re now facing six billion competitors. But guess what? We also have six billion new opportunities. We’re going to dissect that thought thoroughly at this year’s Money Fair.