Radio host Michael Yorba talks with the Opportunist’s Managing Editor Leslie Stone about how he became an on-air personality, what makes his show unique and why he believes we are on the verge of one of the biggest bull markets people have ever seen.
Michael Yorba is the host of the fast-paced, high energy The Traders Network live radio show, where he interviews front-page business titans about the latest in trading tools and market trends and presents stocks, commodities, bonds, forex and derivatives in a new light. “If someone asked me to describe Yorba media in one phrase, I would have to say ‘Ultimate Networking,’” he explains. “We are all about personal branding. We allow the companies and the CEOs and the hedge fund managers and the people on our show to control their own message. All the major networks typically want their guests to follow their lead, and it’s a monologue for the most part. They aren’t creating commerce; they are reporting the news. With our broadcast, we are pro-active and are creating commerce by doing things outside the box in something that has never been done in this environment before.” His show airs on Clear Channel’s KFXR, 1190-AM in Dallas at 2 p.m. on weekdays.
Opportunist: What sparked your interest in the commodities?
Yorba: Well, my family has been in the commodities industry since probably the 12th century. They were the first registered family in California and helped establish missions up and down the West Coast. My forefather José Antonio Yorba was one of the original ranchers-mapmakers and received one of the first land grants in California. So, being a cowboy, technician and the business of trading seems to run in my blood. Our home is on a ranch in North Texas, where we spend off time with our animals, but I grew up in Southern California—I practically lived on a surfboard—so I guess you could say we are country people with an urban flair. [Laughs] I became a commodity broker in 1980 when I was 20 years old, and I had the good fortune to learn about technical analysis the second or third year into the business. That started my quest for knowledge about trading and learning how to forecast the markets.
Opportunist: Do you consider yourself a mathematician?
Yorba: Yeah, I guess you can call me that but I am self-taught. I really accelerated my learning when I started my radio show and started to meet different people—some who are world-renowned and successful in the commodity and stock markets. While interviewing four different guests a day five days a week, I am constantly learning about the markets.
Opportunist: What advice do you have for those who want to achieve what you have accomplished?
Yorba: Find your dream and stick with it!
Opportunist: So how did you end up on the radio?
Yorba: Self determination and seizing the right opportunities in Dallas.
Opportunist: When did you launch Yorba.TV and The Trader’s Network?
Yorba: In 2005, but there has been a whole litany of different milestones that we’ve gone through. Would you like to hear a punch-list of what happened?
Opportunist: Sure. Please fill us in.
Yorba: Actually, I have to give credit where credit is due. What happened is my partner, Donna, and I opened an introducing broker office in Dallas and when she realized that being a commodity broker meant picking up the phone and making cold calls, she said “We really need to do something different to attract clients to our products and services so…Let’s just create a radio show focused on financial news.”
Opportunist: Was it easy to build a following?
Yorba: No…it really took off when we turned from radio to IPTV. That was a really exciting time, July 2007 through October of 2008. Our broadcast grew the network’s viewership from 350,000 audience members to 3.5 million viewers in three months.
Opportunist: What happened with your IPTV show?
Yorba: We took a hiatus and re-launched as a radio show back in August 2011 on Clear Channel. Then in June 2012 Premiere Networks/Clear Channel paid Glenn Beck a hundred million dollar contract and scheduled his show right in front of The Traders Network. Some people use the phrase ‘Glenn Beck Sets the Stage and Yorba Delivers’ [Laughs]. It’s been a long, hard road but it’s starting to pay off. I believe that if you can survive long enough that’s success in itself.
Opportunist: What makes your show unique?
Yorba: The content we provide is different. It’s not homogenized; it’s raw, but it’s real.
The wave of the future is for entities to control their own message in a more prolific fashion. They can say it the way they want to say it and not the way their press agent thinks they should say it in sound bites. Here’s an example of what I mean: do you know what a sub-advisor is?
Opportunist: Sure. An Investment Advisor typically hires an investment manager (i.e., sub-advisor) to oversee the day-to-day portfolio management of a mutual fund, right?
Yorba: Yes. When Goldman Sachs says I want to use an ETF [exchange-traded fund] they don’t send it to the advisors, they send it to the sub-advisor. Anyway, I had a client who asked me to introduce him to Guggenheim to expand his business. I told him he might as well throw a rock at Air Force One because that was going to be difficult. As an experiment, I called up the director of international product development of Guggenheim and succeeded in booking him on the show with my client and, therefore, invented a new process for radio: Introduce a potential client to my existing client and conduct a three-way conversation so we are networking live on-air.
Opportunist: How did you pull that off?
Yorba: By being honest about my intent. I picked up the phone and asked if they would like to be on the show with my client and me, and the next thing we know they are doing business together. I believe we are unique in Ultimate Networking on live radio and live TV.
Opportunist: Do you utilize social media to promote your show?
Yorba: We have our own private social network via our website. We have been building this platform since 2007 and we have some impressive members. I personally approve everybody—not saying I can vouch for everybody—but I certainly look at them as close as I can.
Opportunist: What do you enjoy most about your work?
Yorba: Meeting extraordinary people!
What really makes you feel good is when you do something for somebody and it takes off. They win because of you. That is so rewarding. One time I had a guy on the show who is a mathematician, who gets phenomenal returns for his clients. He was on the show before Christmas and I recently invited him to come back. He was a little hesitant because he thought his appearance generated less than stellar results. So, I suggested that he call his accountant and see how it worked out. Two weeks later, he called me back and said, ‘You know Michael, I did a little bit better than I thought — I doubled my money.’
Opportunist: Who was your most impressive interview?
Yorba: That’s a hard question to answer because they are all impressive.
Opportunist: Who was your toughest interview?
Yorba: Last spring when the tornado rolled through Dallas during my live broadcast. I had to double as a weatherman that day.
Opportunist: Are you recognized around Dallas?
Yorba: Perhaps after this article is published. Ha!
Opportunist: What motivates you to succeed?
Yorba: A burning desire to change the face of Financial Media.
Opportunist: Are you bullish on America?
Yorba: I think that we are on the verge of one of the biggest bull markets people have ever seen.
Yorba: Most people would disagree due to negative press, but I think there are underlying factors involved—on a global scale. When the mortgage problem hit back in 2008 we were one of the first people to break that story prior to any of the major networks. We told our listeners to watch out and, sure enough, it unfolded just the way we predicted.
Most people are looking at the market to pull back but I disagree. There is a move in the stock market, which I believe will continue into 2016. There will be leveraged buyouts and this will set the pace for a huge employment boom because of all the money that has been backed up since 2008, and now the rest that has been hidden in bonds and pension funds is going to go to work, in my opinion, in the stock market. I am not doubting that we won’t have huge inflation or that the dollar won’t pull back on the currency crisis going into April, but they might really know what they are doing at the top and this is going to push private equity higher and that sector is going to outperform everything. New technologies and mergers, etc., are going to do better than most people ever imagined. The new superheroes of the new millennium are the venture capitalists and the investment bankers because they are going to create commerce.
I enjoy talking to the people who make jobs. Trading stocks is exciting, but interviewing people who make jobs for other people is going to be really exciting as we go forward. Mergers and acquisitions are huge and that is where we are going to kick off a huge move in the equity markets, especially in the United States.
Opportunist: Do you feel the global economy will follow suit?
Yorba: There will still be pockets of extreme poverty—the South African rand is crashing through the floor as we speak—but I think the United States, Europe and Asia have figured things out and they know how to make the market move in their direction. It’s like starting a fire with flint and fanning it until it turns into something you can actually work with.
Unless something unforeseen shows up, we are looking at one of the biggest rallies in the real estate market. Money from Europe and Asia is finding its home in the United States stock market and I believe we will have a big move. Every time it pulls back, more money is being plowed into it. The ratio between the debt and equity market is seven times more money in bonds than it is in stocks. It’s all coming out and going into the stock market.
Opportunist: Tell us about a typical day in the life of Michael Yorba.
Yorba: Mach 9, 50 feet off the deck. [Laughs] Let’s see…I get up and check the markets and emails and prepare for the show with preproduction work and sales. Then I jump in the car and make a mad dash—in the HOV lane—to the studio in Dallas. I host the show and then after post production, head back home.
Opportunist: What’s in store for Yorba.TV in 2013?
Yorba: There are a lot of publicly traded companies finding their way to us. I wish I could tell you about more of the exciting changes but I cannot do that just yet due to SEC rules about insider trading and publicly traded companies. Just stay tuned to The Traders Network to find out.
Opportunist: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Yorba: With an IPTV network and multiple shows covering multiple genres that would have a global reach.
Leslie Stone is an award-winning writer/editor with more than two decades of experience covering business, finance and lifestyle issues for newspapers, magazines and online publications. Originally from Virginia, she currently resides in the Orlando area.
The Traders Network
Broadcast Live – Weekdays at 1 p.m.
Clear Channel – KFXR/1190-AM - Dallas