Alan Stock oral history interview, 2017 December 27. OH-03372. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada. http://n2t.net/ark:/62930/d1nk39n7c
Standardized Rights Statement
AN INTERVIEW WITH ALAN STOCK
BARBARA TABACH DECEMBER 27, 2017
REMEMBERING 1 OCTOBER
ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH CENTER AT UNLV LIBRARIES SPECIAL COLLECTIONS & ARCHIVE
Today is—what did we decide it is?
Twelve 27, 2017.
Okay, great. It's Barbara Tabach and I'm sitting with Alan Stock. Alan, spell your name for us, please.
Alan, A-L-A-N. If they spell it any other way, it's different and it's wrong. The last name is Stock, S-T-O-C-K.
Okay, great. We're chatting about how you came to Vegas, and what year was that and how did you make your way here?
It was in June '99. At the time I had worked in various radio markets—Santa Rosa, San Diego, Sacramento—and I was working in San Francisco at the time at the radio station KSFO, a very, very popular station, and given the fact that the Bay Area is as liberal as it is, we were the one conservative station in the Bay Area, so people glommed to that. It was an amazing followship that we had. Michael Savage was on live; that was before he went syndicated. He was on live four to seven and I was on seven to nine at night. It was a great, great time. It paid well and everything, but they wouldn't give me a contract. They just wouldn't, which meant no bennies and all that stuff, medical, so I started looking around.
I auditioned at a station, I believe it's KNUS, if I recall correctly, in Denver. The day I arrived I was being introduced on the air by the program director who was the news director. He did a show had the morning and he called me in the studio and he was introducing me, saying, "Alan Stock is going to be here for the next few days, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, doing a show for us. He's from San Francisco." He started talking to me and all the sudden the doors flew open and a guy came in and he said, "I hate to interrupt you." He said, "But I've got to stop you guys real quick." This is on the air, which you don't usually do. "There's been a shooting down
the street at Columbine High School." This was on April 20th.
So that day I spent the whole day driving around Denver figuring, wow, I could see
myself living here maybe. But I drove around and I just wasn't attracted to the area as much. Matter of fact, the more I drove it, the less I became attracted to it. But I spent the next three days doing shows for them, talking about school, school violence, about uniforms, gangs, guns; I mean, everything that could have been related in any way whatsoever—drugs, therapy— everything you can imagine.
They offered me a job. They offered me a job and a lot of money, a lot of money, a lot of benefits. I took the job on a verbal basis. Then Friday after my show I was going to fly out and there was a huge snowstorm coming in and we were delayed many, many hours. When we finally took off, the plane was thrown about in the sky every which way. I thought I was going to die over Denver. When we finally made it out of the Denver area, it was about a two and a half hour flight back to the Bay Area. I was going to have to commute, as I had been doing in other places, every week and this way it would be every couple or three weeks. My wife and family lived in the Bay Area. On that Monday morning next I got myself out of the verbal contract.
The following few days I got a hold of the people I needed to here at KXNT. They brought me in the following week after that for an audition. I went home. The following week they made me an offer and I started here on June 29th, 1999, doing Afternoon Drive for KXNT. Describe the nature of your broadcast, your show.
It's a lot of general topics. It's newsworthy, what's going on in the news, breaking news, issues, stories. There is politics. There is lifestyle. It's what people are talking about. What people are talking about, we're talking about and giving people a chance to respond, reflect, and be engaged on that level. That's what the show has always been about, giving people a chance to chat and me
giving my opinion and people then responding to me, telling me how much they agree or how crazy they think I am, either way.
When we are talking here about Remembering 1 October, where were you at when you learned about what had happened, the shooting?
My wife and I were sitting in our retreat watching some movie on HBO. It ended. About near ten after ten or so, I flipped on local Fox 5 News and there was what appeared to be pandemonium going on. You couldn't tell right away what was happening. But after the first minute or so, you could really tell something horrific was happening. Then it came out that there was a shooting; people were being shot; we don't know how many people are dead; we have no idea. That went on for the first couple of minutes. It seemed like it lasted forever, but it was only a couple of minutes or so. But I realized something big was going on here in our backyard.
I went to the phone and I called my program director, who is my news director, Andy Vierra, and then I called my producer, Mark Bania, and the three of us decided that we had to immediately go in. Within ten minutes or so, we all showed up at the station. We dumped whatever programming was going on at the time. We went live just before eleven o'clock that night, so it was actually on 10/1.
The television stations, our TV connections—we have six stations in our pod—all six stations, the TVs were out. I don't know whether they forgot the pay the bill or what it was. Anyway, the TVs were all out. We had no television to work with, which wound up being an asset to us more than anything because instead of going with any kind of rumor and innuendo and hysteria, we had to go with what we had and what we had was the police reports coming in from Metro, we had the Internet, and we had phone calls from listeners, what they saw and they heard. We asked people, "Please, you're our eyes and ears out there. You're our reporters. You
are the people who are out there. You are the people who are seeing what's going on. You, your relatives, your friends, what do you see? What do you hear? What do you know?"
We got some fascinating calls. Within an hour or so, maybe a little more, a broadcasting, we got a call from a doctor who said, "Listen, I'm going between two hospitals." I'm not sure he mentioned the names. But he said, "I'm going back and forth. The ER rooms are filled. People are waiting to get in. The thing we need most is blood, big time. We need blood."
Now, I understand that I'm sure the TV stations—again, I don't know; we didn't have any TV at the time—but I'm sure the TV stations were broadcasting that as well that they needed blood, so it wasn't just us. But the community in total came together and put the call out for blood at the various places. Our listeners and viewers of the TV stations and other listeners to whatever stations were broadcasting in our pod at the time, the listeners and the viewers responded. We were part of that effort to get people out to give blood as much as possible.
Well, it turned out there was an abundance of people coming out. It sounds almost foolish to say too much, too many, but there were too many and they couldn't take them all and they started handing out slips to people saying, "We can't take you today. Can you come back tomorrow at nine o'clock? Can you come back tomorrow at eleven o'clock?" Things like that. They started booking people for future giving of blood. Again, we're getting calls from people who were in line and they were being given these slips saying, "I am out here, but I can't do anything about it because they just don't have the personnel to be able to take all the blood." So we kept getting all of these calls.
There was one call I remember very vividly from a gal who was at the concert. She called and she was hysterical. She said that the shooting had gone on all around her and that people were lying dead all around her. She knew they were dead. I didn't ask how. She knew they were
dead. There were more people being shot who were not dead. She and another person piled, she said, six of these people into her car. They were hiding behind the car from the shots, but they piled the people in the car, and she took off to get the people to a checkpoint or to a hospital zone or something to the effect. It was a chilling call from her because, again, she was completely hysterical and was in the midst of what was going on and had called us just as she had dropped the people off. She was out of the so-called war zone, the fire zone, but the impact of what had just gone on was tremendous on her and you could tell that she was just completely upset about the whole thing and the experience was still with her big time. These were the calls that we were getting. We got calls from other people throughout the entire evening.
We broadcast from a little before eleven until nine that morning, straight ten hours, the longest marathon I had ever done. The longest before that was a seven-hour marathon for 9/11 back in 2001. This was ten hours on the air. Then I took a few hours off to come home and shower, clean up. Then I came back and was on from one to six that afternoon, an additional five hours, broadcasting and taking calls from people.
I've said it before. I know how significant 9/11 was to all of us in America, hugely. Again, I did seven hours on the air during that. It precipitated us going into a war and everything like that. I know how significant it was as Americans. But to us in Las Vegas, I really believe that 10/1 was even more significant to us, not to negate 9/11, but to say that 10/1 was in our backyard. It was in a place that a lot of us pass by every day and see the Mandalay Bay and the place across the street and everything else. For us it was very, very, very significant and emotional and upsetting and confounding because the information that came out—we all demanded answers, of course, as much as possible—but, meanwhile, the information that was coming out, there was a lot of confusion, there was misinformation to begin with, contradictions
that came out. What happened also was that people started getting other stations—I'm not mentioning names of other stations—but there was another radio station guy who was on the air who started getting hysterical about mass shootings on the Strip, seven other resorts there were shootings at simultaneously. Well, that turned out to be 150 percent false. It was absolutely not true. What had happened was—we find out later—was that one of the people who was shot at the concert made their way down Las Vegas Boulevard to Tropicana and then collapsed there and died. The body at the Strip and Trop, people were thinking, oh, that person must have come out of the Tropicana; therefore, they had to be a shooting at the Trop as well. Of course, then people were talking about other shootings going on throughout the Strip at the Bellagio and they just went and named all these places down the Strip. That misinformation and hysteria really continued for weeks and even for the next couple of months.
I had a call on the air a few weeks ago from someone who said to me, "Alan, what are you saying? How can you defend the fact that we're not getting information about the other shootings that occurred on the Strip?" My response was, "What other shootings?" "Well, you don't know. Are you covering it up, too?" I said, "Well, let me ask you something. There's a shooting that occurred here where a guy at the top of the Mandalay Bay shooting across the street. Over five hundred and some odd people shot, fifty-eight died. We all know that. Other shootings on the Strip? I want you to tell me the name of one other person on the Strip who was shot, not dead. Give me the name of one other person on the Strip who was shot that night, one, not two, one." "Well, I can't." "Okay, so there was no other shooting on the Strip that night. It was a matter of somebody starting this hysteria."
We didn't get involved in that and I pride ourselves on the fact that between Andy Vierra and Mark Bania and myself and the callers who called in with genuine information, we were able
to keep ourselves relatively calm and give out information that was pertinent and helpful and relevant as opposed to trying to blow it up into a big story and say, "Wow, look what's going on. We're under attack." We didn't do that. We didn't go there. I think we did the right thing that night and I'm proud of what we did.
You have really touched upon many topics. As a person in the media, you're trying to filter fact versus fiction and keep it clear. Your source of information was the police reports that were coming through.
The Internet and calls from listeners.
The people who were calling in, how did you verify what their relationship was with the event that was going on? Do you just take the calls?
We took them random on the air. People were calling either who were there at the event or whose relatives or friends were at the event or nearby. One person was in the Mandalay Bay and couldn't get out. We had all these calls coming in. I didn't think at all that any of those were prank calls or any issues like that. I didn't believe that that was the case whatsoever. I didn't feel that. Perhaps somebody may have said something about other shootings, but our information was there was no other shooting going on and Metro was specifically saying there was no other shooting going on. Again, there were no other incidents reported of victims anywhere on the Strip whether being just shot or dead. There were no other reports of any one person outside of that one person I just mentioned who died at Trop and the Strip that I found out later had actually left the concert and gone north on the Strip and then dropped dead at Trop. But aside from that there were no other issues. Somebody did call and say they were at the Trop and there was shooting and they had to duck down behind slot machines in another room and all that kind of stuff, but, again, a lot of that was nothing more than hysteria and people getting caught up in the
emotion of the moment.
We as conscious people, sentient beings, we want to try to understand our world around
us and make sense of it. What happened was we sometimes try to make sense of things in a way that if we can't make sense of it, we try to put things together that might explain it as bizarre as it may be. Unfortunately that is the case sometimes and unfortunately that means that people get into not only hysteria, but they get into stories and reporting things that never, ever happened, and that's how you have a lot of, quote-unquote, conspiracy theories for a lot of things in life, which is not to say that there haven't been issues in life where you can legitimately say there may have been some conspiracies. But I think people use that as saying, "Well, look, this happened in history and that, so how do you know? How do you trust the government? How do you trust the police? How do you trust the media? How do you trust anybody? So how do you know there weren't these things going on?" But as things unveil themselves in the weeks after and the months after, we know that there were no other victims whatsoever. We just tried to keep ourselves on an even keel basis.
My background also is in psychotherapy. I practiced for ten years before I got into media, thirty-six years ago. Before that I've spent ten years in the field of psychotherapy. I have a background of being able to keep someone calm in a situation and try to take information from people and let it come out and try to understand it as opposed to just interpreting it.
That's important to know, yes. You kept getting calls over days, over weeks of this. Have the conspiracy theorists kept calling in? Because people are asking still—we read it in the newspapers—that there are no answers, no clarity about motivation or any of that. What do you hear on the radio?
That's true. There are still no answers today. We're doing this on December 27th, 2017, and so it
happened about four months ago, and we don't have those answers at this point. Three months ago, actually. We don't have those answers, why he did it. Now, the FBI has said, "Well, we'll have those answers by next October first." Well, that's fine and dandy. Meanwhile, in the interim you're going to have a ton of people who are going to come out with all their conspiracy theories. As I said, it was just a few weeks ago that somebody did call me on the air and challenge me, what am I going to speak of about the conspiracies also and all the people that died? And my response was, "Who? Who was shot?" Again, I would say to anybody who says there were other shootings on the Strip, name one person who was shot, not even dead, just shot at another part of the Strip that night. Name one. Tell me who they are. Show me who they are.
There are people who have really gone overboard on this. There were two brothers shot—one was shot, I'm not sure about the other one, but two brothers. They were in the news a few weeks ago. Here is this guy, one's just getting out of rehab. They actually had people, whether it's posting on their Facebook or sending them notes or whatever, saying, "How much are they paying you to go through this? How much did they pay you to get shot? How much did they pay you to say you got shot there? How much are they paying you to say the things you said? Obviously you're working for the man, for the police, for the establishment." There are people that are doing this kind of crazy, crazy stuff.
The problem with that is that that takes away from the reality of what occurred and gives a false narrative. We were very careful that night and that next afternoon and the days after that to make sure that what we've said on the air was correct regardless of people calling up and ragging on us, saying, "Well, you're not doing the right thing. You should be talking about all the other people and how many people were involved in the shooting besides him. He couldn't have done it. And he was shot." One of the guys came and said the idea that the guard who found him
that was on Ellen Show actually shot the guy inside the room and that he did the killing himself. I can't begin to tell you the conspiracies that I've heard. This is just people that are reaching out for anything that they can find. "What kind of drugs was he on? Were the other people down at the concert drugged so they would see and hear certain things?" It went on and on and on. "Why was there only one exit? Why were the others locked off so the people couldn't get out?" This is how they are at concerts so people can't just make their way in and they didn't anticipate what was going on.
We know now; we've seen it in the news in just the last couple of days that they're now saying, "We realize that we were not adequately prepared for something like this; didn't anticipate something like this was going to occur." So there are changes that are going to have to go on here in Las Vegas, as they are throughout the entire world. There were concerts for years that they used to cancel in Tel Aviv because of threats to people. What they did then, they have had since then a lot of concerts and never had a problem. They do have, and people have to get used to the idea, a lot of military wandering around. They have people with not only long guns, but with AKs and automatic weapons and things like that in order to protect the people there, and there are a lot, there are a lot of them out there. The concert goers don't feel threatened by, oh my God, I see military; I see all these guns, because these people are there to protect you to have a good time out there at the concert. People here are going to have to start getting used to these kinds of ideas.
I've been to Israel three times. When I walked in Jerusalem, we were there on June eighth, 2014, the moment the war broke out. We had been in Masada that day; it was a Tuesday. It was seven thirty in the evening Israeli time. The first three rockets over Jerusalem came at seven thirty that night. Two were taken out by (indiscernible) and one went into the desert. I
turned to my wife. I was on the balcony of a seven-story apartment on the seventh floor looking out to Jerusalem with Ben Yehuda Street, a busy shopping street, beneath us, watching the pandemonium going down below. I turned to my wife and I said, "You realize, the war has just begun." They were already firing rockets from Gaza to southern Israel, to Beersheba and places like that, but now they were firing it to Tel Aviv and Haifa and Jerusalem and above. I said,
"You realize the war has just begun." Over the next two weeks that we were there, we saw lots of people walking around, armed people in squads of six, whatever, and they had their weapons on them of various types. I felt safer there at that moment than I probably have in most places in the United States.
You will have to get used to a new reality, which means outdoor concerts are going to have sharp shooters on roofs and other types of people with weaponry around the concert. That's the new reality. This is what it's like in this day and age when we're engaged in a war with not only Muslim fascists that we know of, but also with people who are just crazy. I have no idea why this guy did what he did, but obviously he had issues, for whatever reason. Some people thought he was connected; he was put up by ISIS and stuff. I don't believe that. But you look at what he did and you can never say automatically that it's not going to happen. Look what happened after that in Texas, the church in Texas. I don't think this guy was connected with ISIS, either. It had nothing to do with that. Again, these are crazies and you just have to readjust your life to a new reality.
It's interesting, the comparison. You were in Israel at a time actually witnessing that and security levels are different there out of necessity. Do you get a sense in Las Vegas that this episode is going to deter people from going to outdoor events here or anywhere? What do you hear about that?
We know the tourism broke off slightly in October. You and I are talking just days before New Year's Eve, and so we're being told that it's going to be a little lighter than they would expect in past years. Yes, I think that some people will be deterred from coming here although it could happen in Minnesota; it could happen in Bakersfield; it could happen anywhere at all if somebody really wants to commit...The shooting in Texas; it was a very small, little town; it wasn't Houston; it wasn't Dallas; it's a small, little town. Again, the reality is this could happen anywhere. Will it impact us? Yes, it will impact us. I think in the last couple of days you've seen some of the movement now, some of the admissions that we were not as prepared and we need to become much more prepared. Yes, I think that over time we will do that and I think becoming more prepared we ought to go ahead and make that announcement. We ought to make it loud and clear. There ought to be headlines in the paper, the front story in every television and radio and news broadcast that, yes, we recognize it and we've made changes and we still call ourselves the safest tourist destination spot in the world. We've got to become proactive in that sense. If we do that I think we can help stem that tide of people saying, "Maybe I shouldn't come to Vegas." It is still safe and it's going to have to become even safer and people are going to have to get used to the new reality of seeing more people in uniform, more people with weapons, more people going through casinos with dogs and things like that looking for explosives and elsewhere besides casinos, elsewhere. That's just how it is. We have a lot of concerts we do outside, a lot of outdoor concerts, and they're not going to go away. This town depends on tourism. That's what we are; we're the entertainment capital of the world and the hospitality city or town, and we can't let that go. We depend on that to run this state, the entire state. They're going to have to find a way to make sure that we can guarantee you're going to be as safe as possible. Nothing is a hundred percent ever, but you're going to come as close to that as possible.
The calls that you received, I thought it was interesting. You talked about the doctor who called in. We know there was a massive outpouring for blood donors. What is the compulsion—if that's the right word; I don't know—that a person has when they're in the midst of this event to call into a radio station? What does that make you feel like? Why do you think that happens? What do you see your role in all of that?
We got the chance to be the conduit for people to call in. What they were telling us was what they were seeing and hearing, again, as opposed to hearsay and innuendo and unnecessary hysteria. I don't know if there is such a thing as unnecessary. There was hysteria going on, but we wanted to report exactly what was happening as opposed to, again, making things up or reporting false information.
Why would people take the time to call in? Same exact reason I think people went down to give blood that night. I think that this community is a community that comes together in times of need. We've seen it before when there's been need, police officers being killed. People come together giving money to the family and everything like that. This is one of the most giving towns I've ever seen in my life. Las Vegas isn't just a gambling town, sex drugs and rock and roll and all that stuff. It is truly an incredible, incredible community. People are here because they want to be here and they want to be a great community and they participate in a way that if I can give information out to you or let you know where not to go or where they're not letting people...People are calling up saying, "They're blocking these various streets off; you can't get past Hacienda." You know certain areas so people know how to avoid not only the Strip in that area, but, also, is the whole Strip shut off? How far can you get up from the west going east on Hacienda before it shuts off? Some of the other—Sunset. So we're having people give us this information to give other people information who are driving around. Don't forget this happened
a little after ten and it wasn't but a couple of hours later that you have shift changes. Stay home if you don't need to go out. Don't be nosey; don't do this. What about the people who have a job to go to and they have a shift and their job is expecting there at that point? Now, what do I do? How do I go? What route do I take? People were coming out trying to help other people for that reason, trying to get that story out.
Is it cathartic in some ways getting it off your chest when you talk about what you've seen whether people have been dead or wounded? But it's catharsis. It gets it off people's chest in a certain way. It doesn't mean that it makes it all okay. It's just one way of being able to take a moment and breathe. People say, "Well, what about this town?" I say, "People come here because they want to be here." Oftentimes when people convert in a religion, they become much more observant in a religion than people who are born into the religion because they want to be there, they want to be part of it, and they want to be part of an observation and do the rituals that that religion offers. People that are born to any given religion might take it for granted and just think, well, yes, I'm so-and-so; that's how it is. I don't have to do this or that; if I want to, I can, whatever. People who become converts religiously oftentimes are much more observant—you could say religious if you like to—but more observant than people who are not. The same when people move to places voluntarily. I know the people I've talked to and work with who were born and raised here. "I was born here. I remember what it was like in the seventies. I remember, oh, yes, the Spilotros. I remember where you'd go up to Rainbow and we used to go shooting out there and stuff like that. Out west of Rainbow there was nothing at all there." I appreciate that history of what people went through. But there are those of us who have chosen to live here; we are the converts; we are the people who have adopted Las Vegas as our own, and the result is, is that we are fervent about this community, how much we love it, want to protect it, and feel so
much a part of it.
That's poignant. I'm a convert. Las Vegas was the last place in the world I ever wanted to live and now I've lived here over twentysomething years and I don't want to go anywhere else.
When I was at KSFO in San Francisco and I was going to audition in Denver, I didn't tell them. I went and auditioned and they offered me the job. I didn't take it and that was that. They didn't know I was doing that. Then I was going to audition in Las Vegas and I didn't tell them, but I went and I auditioned. I came back and they offered me the job. I went in to give notice. They said, "Where are you going?" I said, "Las Vegas." They said, "What?" You're in San Francisco. This is the number three or four market in the country. You're going to Las Vegas; it was number thirty-two, thirty-three at the time. I don't remember what it was. "Las Vegas? What the hell is in Las Vegas?" I said, "This is an incredible place."
When I came out for my audition show in June of '99, I can only tell you that I got off at the airport at McCarran, I got my car, I went down to the north part of the Strip, and I'm driving down the Strip all the way to Sahara. I made a left on Sahara, drove all the way up near Rainbow where the station was. I've never been able to really define it. I can only tell you that from that ride down the Strip and then up Sahara, I just felt an electricity that I had never felt before, very different than any other town I've been in—San Francisco where I worked, Los Angeles area where I grew up, in San Diego, which I do love and think it's a great town, and some of these areas. Nothing had the electricity that Las Vegas had and I felt that connection as I'm driving. I hadn't even auditioned let alone gone on the air yet and I could still feel that something that was there.
Now we're here and our daughters are married and they're here and they're here with our
grandchildren. This is our community. All of us took it very personally what happened on 10/1, very, very personally. We do want answers, we do demand answers, and we know they're trying to give us answers. We want truthful answers. We want to make sure that what happens is that they try and make sure to the greatest possibility that it never happens again, to the greatest possibility.
Did you visit the site or go down to that area at all?
You know what? Here's the irony. This is nearly three months later. I have yet to drive by there. I have not felt a compulsion to drive by there at all. I live in the far west side near Bishop Gorman and the station is over at Warm Springs and Tenaya. I drive to other parts of the city. I've had no occasion to drive over there. My daughters have. I just have not felt the need to. It wasn't anything I had to go and see there. I know what happened. We've all seen the video of that night, multi videos ad nauseam. How many times over and over and over again? There's nothing for me there to have to see. I've been at the Foundation Room many, many, many times and I've looked across the street. I know where the Route 91 concert was. I know where the airport is at. I know where the Trop is at. The view from the Foundation Room is a multi-million-dollar view. You can look down and I understand what it was like what it was like that night having somebody fire from Mandalay Bay across to that point, and I could imagine, because I've been in that area,
what it was like to actually fire at you having been where the concert was. I don't have a real big need to. Eventually I'll go by there and see it and go, "Wow." It's not going to change anything for me. I know how I feel, anyway.
I'm enraged by it and I'm glad the guy is dead. I know some people aren't. They would like for him to have been alive to find out what was going on. As far as I'm concerned that would have taken years and years and years and excuses and lawyers coming up and saying, "Well, he
had a hangnail that night," and stuff like that. He's dead and I'm glad. Now it's up to the detectives, the FBI and the police and all the other agencies, to try to piece this together. I don't have the answer.
One of the questions that we really find interesting to throw out to all of the participants in this project is about gun control. In your opinion, prior to this event happening in our backyard versus the future, you said you were at Columbine. I've been personally touched by what happened at Columbine and that seems like that's so long ago. These episodes continue to happen and get bigger and touch more and more people. If you can talk about your own opinions and what you hear on your show about gun control and what happened. We talk more about behavior control because that's what it is. It's the behavior of people that do these things. A gun is a tool and it can be used to save a life or take a life. A hammer can be used to nail a nail into a piece of wood that could help build a house to give protection to people or if it can be used as a weapon to beat somebody over the head. A tool is a tool and it depends how you use that tool. There have been people who have been killed—that has happened in New York just some weeks back—a guy drove a truck and he killed a number of people. It's not guns. And I know people keep going back to gun control and guns. It's not guns. The majority of places that have seen horrific things happen with a shooting, almost every single one of them have been gun-free zones. The church in Texas, people took their guns off and left them in the hallway or in the foyer before they went into church, gun-free zone. The concert we're talking about, 10/1, was a gun-free zone. Aurora, Colorado, the shooting in the theater, it was a gun-free zone. Columbine certainly, a school, gun-free zone. There have been instances in schools in the South over the last twenty-five, thirty years where people have initiated gun violence where other folks have gone out to their cars and retrieved their rifles and their weapons because they
have them in the cars there in parts of the South and they've stopped violence actually by using their weapon to stop somebody else from continuing to shoot. My opinion is not popular with people on the anti-gun left. I get it. But I think the more guns, the better. When I saw more guns, I'm talking about more guns by law-abiding citizens, law-abiding citizens. You're never going to stop bad people from doing bad things. If you told all good people to turn their guns in tomorrow and for some reason they all did, which we wouldn't do—as Charlton Heston said so well a long time ago, "We're not going to turn them in"—but if they said to turn them in and good people turned them in, not one bad person is going to turn their gun in, not one bad person. The bad people in Chicago that are killing numbers of people every weekend in Chicago, people being shot and the people being shot a lot of times are kids, gang violence, these people are getting guns and these people are criminals. These people are felons, people that have had prison records. They're not supposed to have a gun. Why are you having a gun? You're not supposed to have it. You're a felon. Okay, right, I'm going to abide by that. You say to some people, "You don't rob a bank." And some people will say, "Okay, right, you don't rob a bank; I'm going to go rob the bank, anyway." "But, wait a minute, it's against the law." "So what?" People who want to commit a crime are going to commit a crime whether they use a gun, a car, a knife, whatever. You've had people in Europe where they have huge trucks mow down tons and tons of people on boardwalks. Where was that? In France, I think it was, this last year. This goes on all over. Bad people do bad things. I think that the more people who have—good people I'm talking about— law-abiding people who have had background checks and everything who carry guns might have the chance to stop some of this stuff, as has happened in the South at some of the schools that I referenced a moment ago. The shooting at the Aurora theater in Colorado, who knows what would have happened had somebody had a gun to pull it out to stop that guy? We do know that
he searched out about three other theaters closer to his home and they were not gun-free zones and he chose one further away that was a gun-free zone.
I was here in June of '99. In July, about a week or two after I started here, so it was in July of '99—I forget the exact date—but I remember the story happened in the San Fernando Valley. There was a self-styled Nazi and he hunted out some Jewish centers to shoot them. He wanted to shoot them up. He went to one to shoot it with a long gun and there were guards there. I think they were armed. I'm not sure. But there were guards there. So he went to another place and the same thing. Then he went to another place and it was the same thing. I think it was the fourth one he finally found where there was no guard, no armed guard, nothing at all, and he positioned himself and started shooting up. This is during the summertime and kids are in a pool area. He started shooting stuff and some kids were injured and stuff like that. He wound up killing a mailman, I think, afterwards and then they arrested him and he's in prison today.
These cowards look for gun-free zones because they don't want to be shot themselves. They know that you don't have a gun, but I do and I can kill you and you have no chance to shoot me back. Would it have happened at the situation in 10/1? Could there have been a difference here in Las Vegas if somebody would have had a handgun? No, it wouldn't have made a damn bid of difference at all. What would have happened—just hypothetically I'm throwing this out— if they had the kind of protection that they have at the concerts in Israel, in Tel Aviv? What if? I'm not saying it would have stopped anybody from being shot. But what if there were squads of people walking around with long guns, sharp shooters with long guns, people with automatics or whatever who are military or were part of patrol? Could someone, a sharp shooter, have possibly identified a window and shot that window and maybe stopped the firing let alone kill that person? I have no idea. I have no idea. These are just ifs and suppositions. I can't say that
necessarily having a gun there that night would have stopped it. I do know the fact that there were no guns like I'm describing there that night, and, in fact, the shooting wasn't stopped, I know that the other places I described that are gun-free zones, if somebody had had a gun, could they have stopped these shootings in the church in Texas, in Aurora, the theater in Colorado? And the answer is I don't know. But I do know that without those guns these people were not stopped. When the guy came out of the church in Texas, he was shot by someone. A couple of times he was shot. He got into a vehicle and even called his father on the way—this came out right afterwards—and said, "I'm not going to make it." He knew he had been shot and that he was bleeding out. He crashed the car and everything like that. But a good person with a gun stopped a bad person with a gun. I know that anti-gun people hate that cliché, but that's the truth. The genie is out of the bottle; the guns are out there. This country would never settle, ever, ever settle for an Australia type of confiscation of weapons. They won't do it.
First of all, just quickly—I just found this out a few years ago; I don't know that—when Australia took all the weapons away from people, they allowed hunters to keep them if they had licenses. But the long guns for hunting, no handguns, the long guns, there could be no rounds in them at all and they had to be locked away in a safe. I had a guy that's been calling me from Australia since I came here. He's been calling me for many, many, many years. He's involved in media there and he listens on the Internet and he calls in long distance from Australia to be on the air sometimes, Samuel. Samuel came out here a few years ago and I had him co-host the show with me and we talked a lot about guns. One of the things that he talked about was the fact that if you're in your home—I asked the question, "What if you're in your home and somebody barges in with a gun, a bad person who, again, doesn't care about the law, what do you do?" Well, you don't have a gun to defend yourself. I said, "Let me ask you a hypothetical question,
just hypothetical. Let's say somebody is breaking into your home and the only choice you have is now you can run to the safe, open it up, pull your long gun out, load it up with rounds. The guy comes down the hallway to shoot you and you shoot and kill him. Is that okay? It's self-defense, right?" He said, "No. You would be tried for murder." In Australia you would be tried for murder.
We have a Second Amendment, which they don't have in Australia, which says that it's our God-given right. The Bill of Rights were unalienable rights, meaning that they came from God, not from the government. The government is there to protect our God-given rights. We have the God-given right to defend ourselves at all costs. Freedom of speech. We have freedom of religion. We have peaceful assembly. We have the right to bear arms to defend ourselves. People want to blame the NRA or somebody like that. The NRA is only protecting our rights to bear arms. I think more good people who have guns would help make this country safer because bad people with guns don't give a damn about the laws whatsoever and we do.
What about the topic of the bump stock that was used in the shooting here?
I have mixed feelings about that because, on one hand, people say, "Well, what do you think about banning the bump stock?" Well, I don't care. I really don't care.
You don't care if it's banned or not.
Right. I have my AK at home and I would never put a bump stock on mine. I understand it ruins rifles, and, besides, I have no desire to have an automatic weapon. To get a machine gun or an automatic weapon here, you have to go through a lot of background checks. It's expensive, also. A lot of background checks is very timely and only certain people can get them for certain reasons. I know people who have had it, who have been dealers and that and people who have been ex-military. But I have no need for that. I have no issue. You want to ban a bump stock, ban
the bump stock. The idea that people put together something that can flout the law, it doesn't surprise me because, again, bad people are going to be doing bad things, anyway. If you get rid of bump stocks, they are some other things they can use besides bump stocks to also convert a semi-automatic. Let's say you get rid of all that, I know of people who can actually take a semi-automatic weapon without anything you buy and they know how to be able to convert it to an automatic, anyway. I personally don't nor do I have any interest in it. But my point is that when somebody is determined enough to do something nefarious, they really want to do it, you're not going to stop somebody. So, yes, okay, ban the bump stock. Really that is okay with me. I don't care. But don't expect all the sudden that it's a panacea. They asked Senator Dianne Feinstein after the shooting—and she's really anti-gun supposedly—they asked her, what law could have stopped this? She said, "None." There is no law out there that could have stopped this whatsoever because you have a bad person wanting to do a bad thing. He's crazy. He does whatever he does. How are you going to stop it? I'm a gun owner. I'm a strong proponent of the Second Amendment. And it still scares the hell out of me that I have children and grandchildren driving around the valley. So you don't think it concerns me? It absolutely does. It absolutely does. The only way you can protect yourself is to make sure you're armed if you're a good person to be able to protect your family. God forbid you're out in a situation where stuff happens and you're a good person and you don't have a firearm to defend yourself. What do you do? You can hide under desks. You can do all that kind of stuff. But what do you do ultimately? You either acquiesce and you die or watch your children die, or you fight back. The Jews in the Warsaw ghetto had that same kind of a choice back in World War II. A lot of people went very willingly into the cattle cars and went to the camps and went to their deaths standing by the sides of big graves. We've seen pictures. They're standing there while people are shooting them in the back of
their heads. People in the Warsaw ghetto said, "We ain't going to do that; that's not us; never again; never again." They died, but they fought at least and they did not just go to their deaths like sheep.
That's really good. The calls that you got in—going back to any period of time—you did mention that you have a regular caller from Australia or wherever.
Oh, he's not regular. He calls in periodically.
More than once or whatever the right word is. In that immediate span of time, those first couple of days or so or weeks even, were you getting calls from outside our market?
Yes, I was getting calls from outside the market and I was getting requests for interviews from stations around the country as well to go on and tell us what do you see, what is happening. One station in Fargo in particular, I was on several times to keep them updated as to what was going on. They were interested in the shooting and interested in the fund that was being put together. Our head of the Clark County Commission, the president, Steve Sisolak, helped put together I think with Sheriff Lombardo this fund. They wanted ten million dollars. I believe now they've hit sixteen million if I'm not mistaken. I believe that they have. If I'm wrong on that, sorry about that. But I think they're hitting near sixteen. They put this fund together to help the victims out from 10/1. This Fargo station kept calling me back, "Well, how much are they getting? How are they going to distribute it? Who is going to decide that?" That kind of thing. I had no idea.
But, yes, people around the country were very, very interested. People around the world. People are wanting to interview us in England about what's happening. I was on an English radio station being interviewed. People around the world wanted to know what was happening. It was huge. It was a big story. In the last day or two some of the websites are saying, what is the biggest story of the year? That was on the list of them. That one did not make the top. The top
story this year has been the first year of the Trump administration. That's been the top story.
That's a hard one to beat.
You can't beat that. That's number one. Other ones were things like the Me Too, the revelations of the sexual harassment, Harvey Weinstein stuff, and then, of course, the shooting here, the shooting in Texas and various other things that were going on. But that was on the list. That was something that people have thought about, though.
Probably because Vegas is such an iconic entertainment capital, as you mentioned earlier, too. Everybody in the world knows or has an image of Vegas, it seems.
That's it and, also, because it was the largest modern day shooting in history, modern day, not the largest one we've had in history. People make a mistake on that. There was a shooting—it slips my mind. There was an Indian tribe that was slaughtered in the 1800s by the military and more were actually killed at that point; hundreds were killed. It's not the largest massacre in history, but it's the largest modern day massacre that has happened.
Yes, you're right, Vegas is special. We go to Hawaii every year with friends of ours.
They live down in Carlsbad near San Diego. We go to Maui every year. Boy, it's amazing how the people relate. I've been to all the main islands in Hawaii. No matter where you go, they say to our friends, "Where are you from?" Our friends go, "Well, we're from near San Diego." "Oh, it's a nice area, yes, yes. Where are you from?" "We're from Las Vegas." "Oh my God, I was there last week. My mother is going two months from now. My brother is there right now. My sister-in-law is going next month. My kids..." This is the ninth island when you talk to Hawaiians. They get excited about Vegas. No matter where I go.
I was in D.C. recently. "Where are you from?" "Las Vegas." "Oh, really, Las Vegas." I think at one time if you would have said to people back in the fifties, Hollywood, they would
have gone, "Hollywood, oh my God, oh, Marilyn Monroe and all the stars and all the Hollywood." That's what Vegas is today.
When I was in Israel, "Where are you from?" "Las Vegas." You don't have to say any more. I don't say Nevada. I don't say United States. I say Las Vegas and people go, "Oh, wow, Las Vegas." We've branded this thing big and we can thank people over the last many years like Oscar Goodman who has been a fantastic iconic figure for Las Vegas, between the two half naked girls on either side of him and the big martini glass and stuff like that. No matter how you look at it, it's Vegas and people recognize it and this is what people see. We're much more than that, too, but this is what tourists around the see. Those of us who live in the burbs, so to speak, realize what a great town it is that people come together when there's really a need. People on the outside still have their view of it.
When I moved here in June '99, my program director had started a couple of weeks before I did. He came from Massachusetts. His aunt had said to him, "How do you sleep at night with all the lights out there?" He lives in an apartment over at Rainbow and Hacienda. She wanted to know, "How do you sleep at night with all the lights?" Well, you pull the shades down, aunt, like you do anywhere else. But that's not how people see it. Everybody lives on the Strip. The people that live here, we all live on the Strip with all the noise and all the partying and all the lights. That's not the way it is. You know and I know, but when you're from other places in the world, you don't get it.
At that point in time on October first, were you thankful that you are in the career you are in?
Oh, I've been thankful I'm in the career I've been in for most of my life. I'd rather do this than be president of the United States unless I could be president for a day an issue one days' worth of
executive orders. That would be fine with me, one day, and then go back to doing what I do. I prefer this.
I was here when we went on the air for 9/11 in 2001 and when I was in Santa Rosa, KSRO, my first talk station, and the floods hit the year that I left there, that winter into spring, the Russian River in Sonoma County was flooding and literally towns were being flooded out. People were traveling down the middle of towns near the Russian River in canoes and things like that to escape. We were there to be able to assist at the last minute. It's been a fascinating career for me.
The first station I was ever at was at a talk station. It was a small station in Petaluma called KTOB, a one-thousand-watt station. We were actually talking to a lot of the cows in the North Forty. It was out in the country. People rely on radio for that instant communication about what's going on right now more than they do anything else, two-way communication I'm talking about, not newspapers, not TV, but radio, to communicate right now. It was on February 13th of the year that I was there. Why would I remember this? Because February 13th was a Thursday and I was doing Morning Drive. An FCC guy came in and he had done inspection. Somebody had dropped a dime on the people running the station about things that were not exactly kosher running with the whole station and everything. The station was in big violation of all kinds of rules and laws. He said to the guy running the station, "You can stay on until midnight tonight, but if you open up tomorrow, it's a ten-thousand-dollar fine." So the guy who was running the station said, "Fine, if you take me off, I'll find a way to do it. Just come in tomorrow." My shift was in the morning and everything. I went home and came back the next morning early. They had not found a way to get back on. The station never went back on and it was eventually sold. It's a foreign language station now or something.
But the point of it is that on that Friday morning, February 14th, Valentine's Day, because I had planned a Valentine's Day show that day, we were not on the air; there was nothing. We were getting calls. That morning, also, there was a tremendous storm in the North Bay and there were floods going on. We were getting calls from people who listen to that station and relied on it for information about evacuation of where to go. People were calling and crying. "Where are you?" Well, we can't go on. The FCC won't let us on, et cetera. "Because we don't know what to do." Older people were calling the station. I saw at that moment the interactive power of radio with people. By the way, this was not talk radio. I was doing fifties, sixties, seventies, doing jock work. People depended on the radio.
I came here and 9/11 hit and people depended on us to talk about what was going on. But it was with 10/1 here that it really, really was illuminated because you really felt and understood and saw the people using our medium as an interactive medium to tell us what was going on and then to find out what was going on. People were not only calling, but people were listening to callers to tell them which areas to stay away from and what's going on and what hospitals were overflowing, which ones to go to, and things like that.
I've been very blessed to be in the position that I'm in. It's a crazy industry in a lot of ways. It really is. I've said many times maybe I should have become a lawyer, which I wanted to be as a kid. But throughout my career, I look back and I've been very, very fortunate to be able to be where I've been at various times as things have gone on. Even when I auditioned after the shooting at Columbine, I feel I was able to be able to contribute to the dialogue of what we do, what we're looking at the answers to these things. People were wondering about guns, also. Columbine was so much more. The kids were on drugs, on drugs from psychotherapists, from psychiatrists, psychologists, whatever, drugs. People were concerned about gangs and about
shootings. I was most impressed, believe it or not, with Columbine, more than anything, about the idea that these kids were in their garage making these homemade bombs and they were smashing glass. It was on a cul-de-sac. And people from down the end of the block of the cul-de-sac were coming over from the noise that was going on, and the garage door was open while they was going on. The people from down the block coming down to look at all this noise going on, and these two boys in their masks look up to the neighbors and they give them the thumbs up. It's okay; it's all okay. So the neighbors go, well, okay, it's all okay, and they go away. Parents were in the house the whole time and they never bothered once to come out and see what the hell the noise is going on while the neighbors were concerned the parents never cared about it. If it sounds like I'm putting some responsibility on the parents, I certainly am. We had the chance to explore all of these things and that was what we got to do as an interactive note on those three days following the Columbine shooting.
Yes, talk radio is a very powerful tool and one I'm grateful for. I really am. I hope everybody else is as well and keep tuning in.
That's great. Any other stories that you'd like to share with me about this?
No. The community, we are healing. It will take a long time before we become much more healed. There will always be a scar. There will always be a scar, always, here. We're human beings and we're Americans and we're resilient. We are. We will get past this and move on. The important thing for us to do here is to make sure that we make every effort to make sure to the greatest possibility that it never happens again; that's our responsibility. If anything, God forbid, ever happened, that or similar ever again, we would be right there to head down, go right in. You knock off whatever's on the air and you go live with what's happening right now. That's the beauty of what we can do. We have other stations in our pod doing the same thing that are music
stations; they stop playing music and they're just taking calls and stuff like that. As I said, there were other stations in town that were doing the same, but there were other stations that were giving out misinformation, hysteria and things like that, which I resent because that reflects ill on our industry. We made it past it and I think that the coming year will be a year of healing.
Yes, I hope so. I really appreciate your sharing and coming in. I wish you a happy New Year.
I wish you a happy New Year, too. A happy and safe New Year to everyone. I hope it's healthy, prosperous and safe. Good luck with your project, this one and with the Jewish project you've got going, also.
We didn't talk about your cultural background at all. Just by coincidence, you talked about Israel. You have a Jewish upbringing?
I've been to Israel three times. Every time I've been there it's been a very moving and emotional experience for me. The first time was without my wife; I was with a bunch of talk show hosts and I was just overwhelmed. The second time my wife and I were there for a little over two weeks and we were there during the war. There were people in the stores in Israel that would say, "Gee, I'm so sorry that you have to be here during this." We go, "So sorry? This is the most time we'd want to be here more than anything." Then a lot of people canceled trips, so we tried to spend a little extra money with people. This last time we were there, we actually led a tour of Israel of about seventeen, eighteen people. It was earlier this year we put one together. It's not easy putting tours together, but we did and had a great, great, great tour and saw things we had never seen before. Each time we've seen the same thing and then we add on other things that we've never seen before. Again, when you talk about the shootings that have occurred and the violence and the bombs and the guns and the cars and the knives and everything, they've got that
there multiplied many, many, many times. It's such a small area. But, God, they have people right there to stop it immediately. If somebody were to stab somebody, there's somebody who runs over there, a citizen who has a gun, and takes somebody down. They'll stop them. It happened just two weeks ago. This is how it is. We've got to learn from that. I think we are to some degree. But there is the contention between the anti-gun and the pro-gun folks and it will remain for a long time. We debate that way.
I find the Jewish project to be very interesting, also, because this community was founded by a lot of people who are Jewish. I know a lot of the people, the boys back east, the mob who ran this, back there may have been Irish and especially Italian and Sicilian, but out here you had a lot of the Jewish guys in the mob running this area. I find that to be fascinating, also.
We have a fascinating history as a city. We're a young city. I tell people that.
It is. And people say, "Well, we tear down..." And it's true. If it's fifty years old or whatever, we implode it and we build something else. That's true. We don't do what they do in Boston. I've been in Paul Revere's house before. Wow, Paul Revere's house, how small it is and right there. I've been to all those places. We don't have that same sense of maintaining history here. We do have the Mob Museum now, thanks to Oscar and stuff. But, for the most part, we implode a lot of things and rebuild and modernize and update, and that's part of our legacy, what we do here. But our history, we're all aware of our history. People like me have seen Casino probably a hundred and fifty times. Wow, did that really happen here?
There's some authenticity to that story that they tell in Casino.
Oh, yes, I've looked up many times who those people actually are. You know who they actually are. I've had Oscar in my studio I can't tell you how many times. I think I started June 29th. He had been sworn in the day before for his first term. I had him on every Monday. It was Mondays
with the Mayor. I would have him on the phone every Monday once a month in studio, always, every month. He answered questions no matter what people would ask, no matter what was going on, and he would tell it like it is. I would ask questions about his time with the mob, what it was like for him. I had the chance to go to his house one time. His house was like a fortress. I said, "My God, this place is like a fortress out here. What's with that?" And he goes, "Well, because they broke in once before." I said, "The whole mob broke into your...?" "No, no, no, the government broke into my house and stole stuff and put on recording things." Really I had no idea. That's part of our legacy and our history here.
Now you've prompted me with a question I didn't ask before. Did you have special guests come on your broadcasting during October first, in those few days or weeks after?
I did. I had people like Randy Sutton out of Metro, a retired detective. I had some other people on. I could not get—people from Metro didn't want to come on and necessarily talk about what was going on, which was unfortunate. I did eventually get them on. Steve Sisolak came on, the head of the Clark County Commission. I had some other folks on, political dignitaries. I can't remember offhand who they all were at this point.
The most important calls, I thought, were the calls that came from the listeners. The one from the doctor telling us about the need for the blood right after this had all happened to me was the most important call. Then the call that stood out in my mind was the gal who was so hysterical after they had taken six people and put them in the car amidst all the firing and driven them away. Those are the calls—as much as it's nice getting the sheriff on and these people and all the politicos—the calls from the people in the field, people who are out there when it was all happening, to me was much, much more important. I'll be honest with you that's what sticks in my mind. So when you ask me about people I had on, I remember Sisolak being on, but I can't
remember many other people. I know we had some. It was more important to get the calls from the people who were witnessing that and they were out there.
I can imagine that for sure. Thank you very much.
My pleasure, absolutely my pleasure.
[End of recorded interview]