By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
NEW YORK — While conservative political talk radio still dominates the AM/FM commercial spoken word air waves, pharmacist Ben Fuchs proves syndication, and talk radio in general, can come in many forms. In the case of Fuchs, the host of the nationally syndicated Genesis Communications Network (GCN) radio program “The Bright Side,” he has become a thorn in the side of the pharmaceutical industry by becoming an advocate for better nutrition and a natural healing approach, because, as he says, “I look at the human body as a healing and regenerating system.”
However, Fuchs, or the “alternative pharmacy pharmacist” as he is known, has taken his beliefs a step further, taking to the radio to not only spread his belief, but to help others.
“I was always fascinated with radio, even as a kid. I studied broadcast journalism at Syracuse University, and after I graduated I couldn’t get a job [in radio]. I was able to get a few jobs outside of radio, but not what I really wanted,” says Fuchs. “Then I decided to go to pharmacy school, and as a pharmacist I began to realize what I was doing was selling regulated poisons to people, and people just didn’t know the truths about what was being prescribed for their bodies and the damage those toxins can do.”
Fuchs’ big break came when he appeared on a talk show on KSCO-AM in Santa Cruz, California, the highly-regarded independent news-talk station with a strong local following owned and operated by Michael Zwerling. The show Fuchs appeared on garnered a strong and positive response, which led Zwerling to offer Fuchs a show of his own. His show quickly built a loyal following.
For Fuchs, “The Bright Side” program allows him to reach people who believe in what he believes when it comes to alternative approaches to healing. What he found was that there are more people who share his belief, and many more who are interested in learning about the alternatives. In other words, interest in alternative approaches to health is huge in America and a potent platform for radio.
“The health process requires good thoughts and effective strategies involving food and lifestyle. We are told the only alternative is to medicate,” says Fuchs.
His show is described by syndicator GCN as a “fast-paced, entertaining and educational radio program that focuses on the latest, cutting edge ideas in health and fitness … featuring nutritional and wellness information about exercise, diet and supplementation, prescription drugs, psychological transformational tools as well as the timeless wisdom of all the great religions and philosophies.”
When it comes to the healing process, Fuchs says that should not be about jamming our bodies with pharmaceutical drugs, simply because it’s what we are told to do by a multi-billion dollar industry. Instead, it should be about letting the body do what it does best – heal itself.
“For thousands of years we medicated our bodies with foods and nutrients. My position as a pharmacist is we should be exploiting the best of the non-pharmacy. Only as a last resort should we use pharmaceutical solutions,” says Fuchs.
When you discuss the pharmaceutical industry with Fuchs, you find that for the alternative pharmacy pharmacist it’s not about a hatred of an industry. Instead, it’s a positive view of the human body and why in many cases, we should just let nature take its course.
“There are alternatives to the pharmaceutical paradigm,” says Fuchs, who believes the body’s own healing process is being overlooked. “The healing process is built into our bodies. The human body has always been a natural healing system. There are over 100,000 people who die each year from prescription drugs, drugs that do not reverse degenerative diseases. This proves drugs alone isn’t the answer.”
“The Bright Side” currently has about a dozen affiliates according to Fuchs, including Zwerling’s KOMY-AM in Santa Cruz, California; KCXL-AM in Kansas City and WPBQ-AM in Jackson, Mississippi. The show airs weekdays for one hour live from 10:00 am to 11:00 am ET. What Fuchs also has going for him is the interest, support, praise and belief of such industry movers as impresario Zwerling, GCN CEO Ted Anderson, and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. There seems to be a growing buzz surrounding him.
Fuchs, whose show is also streamed on the internet, gives listeners the chance to learn about alternative forms of medicines and natural healing, but also to discuss what concerns his listeners and together how to solve health problems in a language easy to understand, minus what you could call “medical terms.”
“We are told everywhere, in commercials, on billboards, from doctors and hospitals that the only alternative is to medicate. We have given clinical terms to everything because there is a profit to be made from it. Listeners to the show are looking for alternatives, and together we find them,” says Fuchs.
Fuchs believes that radio is extremely important not just for him to do the show, but to give listeners a chance to learn about alternatives to pharmaceuticals, answer their questions, and let people know if they feel the same way they are not alone.
“People who call in have great questions about nutrition and their bodies, and their questions help educate others,” says Fuchs. “I love doing ‘The Bright Side’ because it allows me to reach people I might not have been able to talk to and together we improve the health of our bodies.”
Can a program like “The Bright Side” make it in today’s competitive world of talk radio and shriveling advertising budgets? “Absolutely!” says TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, adding, ”Ben Fuchs is someone to watch in this business. He’s delivers on several levels: First, there is a significant interest in alternative health care in America. It crosses demographic and lifestyle boundaries and is indeed growing leaps and bounds. Second, there is a gigantic and thriving industry catering to this interest offering a wide variety of products to the public – products that sell well within a talk radio show context. And third, this guy has an abundance of broadcasting talent. He supplements his knowledge and passion for the subject at hand with a warm and communicative personality that touches many bases of the day-to-day human experience. Like the great ‘specialty show’ hosts in talk radio - Kim Komando, Clark Howard, Dr. Joy Browne, and of course the phenomenal Dave Ramsey – Ben Fuchs’ specialty is being able to bring much MORE than his specialty to the table.”
(EDITORS NOTE: Ben Fuchs is a registered pharmacist, nutritionist and cosmetic chemist who holds a BA in Broadcast Journalism from Syracuse University and BS in Pharmacy from the University of Colorado. He has practiced as a Registered Pharmacist and Consulting Nutritionist for over 15 years, formulating nutritional products and consulting with doctors and patients since graduating from the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy in 1986. Fuchs has also lectured nationwide on the importance of the strategic use of cosmetics and nutritional supplementation for healthy skin and bodies.)
Jeff McKay, a veteran New York-based operations manager, newsman and traffic reporter, is a special features correspondent for Talkers. He can be emailed at McKayway@aol.com. Meet Jeff McKay at TALKERS New York 2013 on Thursday June 6.