This is a good time to be John Fredericks — the Trump-loving, central Virginia-based talk-radio show host who brands himself “America’s Godzilla of Truth.”
Fredericks is currently and successfully selling syndication rights for what he calls, “the hottest radio show in America” — Steve Bannon’s “War Room: Pandemic.”
“In December, Bannon was ahead of the pandemic curve, cutting edge, and there is tremendous interest in his show, but Bannon is not for everybody,” Fredericks said in a phone interview this week.
“War Room: Pandemic” on its website promotes, “Proud to be 100% BANNED by the truth-fearing Communist authorities in China.” Bannon’s show originates from, and airs daily 10 a.m.-12 p.m. on the John Fredericks Radio Network, (WJFN-FM 100.5).
In Oct. 2019, the station was bought by the MAGA Radio Network — owned by John Fredericks. For those living in a cave, MAGA stands for “Make America Great Again.”
Now for the back story, starting with Fredericks as the most influential talk-radio show host you have never heard of… but Donald Trump knows him well. And, at age 62, Fredericks has the president to thank for his mid-career upward trajectory that began in mid-2015.
Seneca, the ancient Roman philosopher, wrote, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” and John Fredericks proves that axiom.
After several decades of holding various positions in media and journalism, on Jan. 1, 2012, Fredericks leased airtime at a rural Virginia radio station,100.5 FM, and began hosting his own four-hour morning news-talk show.
In August, seven months later, John and I met at a “RedState Gathering” in Jacksonville, Fla. — hosted by Erick Erickson, then RedState’s editor. John told me how hard he was working to sell airtime, book guests, produce and host the show. Although his new venture was struggling, I distinctly remember he believed in himself. We stayed in touch, and annually I would greet him on “Radio Row” at the Conservative Political Action Conference known as CPAC.
Then on June 1, 2015, “luck met opportunity.” Fredericks was the first media personality to endorse Donald Trump, predicting that the brash New York businessman with no political experience would become our 45th president. Even more prescient was Fredericks’ timing — two weeks before June 16, the day Trump famously descended the Trump Tower escalator to announce his candidacy.
Five years later, Fredericks owns WJFN with a “robust digital platform,” is syndicated on seven Virginia radio stations reaching most of the state and holds a White House press pass. When I asked John about the status of his relationship with the president — since Trump was a guest on his show “about 20 times” during the campaign — Fredericks shyly answered, “I do meet and speak with the president at his request.”
Today, while Trump fights a brutal economic and health war against COVID-19 and the Real Clear Politics general election poll average shows Biden leading Trump by a margin of 5.3 percentage points — I asked Fredericks, “Are you still supporting the president 1000%?” His reflexive answer was “yes” — predicting that in November, Trump would capture a “bigger majority” than 2016, “winning New Hampshire and Minnesota.”
Such unabashed enthusiasm earned Fredericks a starring role in a complimentary January 23, 2020, Washington Post “Style section” feature story, accompanied by a four-minute video headlined: “Trumpworld has converted the nation’s regional talk radio hosts into a loyal army.”
In Trump’s “army” Fredericks is a 3-star general, broadcasting live weekdays from 6-10 a.m. at his now self-owned WJFN, reaching from Richmond to Charlottesville and licensed in Goochland, Virginia. Gooch-what? Gooch-where you ask? Approximately 115 miles south outside the infamous Washington Beltway, west outside of Richmond, east outside of Charlottesville and way outside the “Acela Corridor.” (Mainstream media’s cliquey term for the frequently traveled high-speed DC –NYC commuter rail symbolizing the insular concentration of media and political power.)
Goochland is home to “Deplorables,” a moniker proudly adopted by the most passionate Trump supporters. (Shortened from “Basket of Deplorables” — a phrase first mouthed by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on September 9, 2016, while describing “half of Trump voters.” Clinton soon apologized, but the demeaning attitude behind her words was unforgettable and thought to be a factor in her surprise election loss.)
“John Fredericks understands ‘the Deplorables’ in the same visceral way Trump does” said the host of “War Room: Pandemic,” former Trump White House advisor Steve Bannon in an email. “He gets that they are the backbone of the nation — what they think matters, what they do matters, and how they vote matters.”
For the record, Fredericks thinks Bannon is the leader of “the Deplorables”
Fredericks also knows when and how to throw just the right amount of “red meat” to his “Deplorable” audience — a key to understanding his outsized influence in “Trumpworld’s loyal army” without going off the rails.
Yet, broadcast waves emanating from Goochland go beyond pleasing Deplorables and national Republican office holders, “I have the unique ability to attract high-profile Democrats to come on my show regularly,” John told me. They “know where I stand, but I have a reputation for asking good questions, being knowledgeable, being fair, I don’t do gotcha. I am trying to get information and have a dialogue — not just a soundbite — big difference.”
He continues, with a message targeted to the Acela Corridor in this uber-polarized media environment, “If you don’t understand what the other side is saying, you have no way to beat it, or defeat it, or figure out how to work together.”
One would never guess those words emanate from an original MAGA-hat- wearer with stellar Trump Team credentials. In 2016 Fredericks was the Trump campaign’s Virginia State Chairman and a delegate to the R.N.C. convention. He is a Trump 2020 Advisory Board member and, again, will be a convention delegate. Oval Office photos with the president are displayed on WJFN’s Facebook page.
Access has opened doors and brought financial success to MAGA Radio Network —owned by John and his wife — who are awaiting FCC approval after recently purchasing some stations, with plans for more “aggressive expansion.”
Is the MAGA Network a nascent media “empire” in the making? I questioned John, “Do you see yourself as the next Rush Limbaugh?” He answered, “No, the first John Fredericks.”
Finally, I asked the “first John Fredericks” what happens to his career if there are not enough “deplorables” to forge a Trump victory in November?
He replied, “We represent a movement of which right now President Trump is the head. It is the ‘American First Movement.’ We aim to get our supply chains back in the U.S. We want to get our jobs back. Get our manufacturing back and get out of these Middle East wars. We want to put Americans and jobs first, increase wages and hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for what they have wrought on the world.”
Fredericks continued, “Whether Trump exits in 2020 or 2024, another leader will emerge because this is a philosophy, a belief system. It is not about a person.”
John would not predict the name of that next “leader.” Even though I threw out a few names, he did not take my bait.
Rest assured, when he does name a name, the Goochland airwaves will be buzzing, and perhaps you will remember the talk-show host’s name, “John Fredericks” America’s self-proclaimed, “Godzilla of Truth.”
But these days, “truth” is relative.
Myra Adams is a conservative writer and media producer with numerous national credits. MyraAdams.com She is also Executive Director of www.SignFromGod.org a ministry dedicated to educating people about the Shroud of Turin. Contact: [email protected] @MyraKAdams