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Mark Levin: The Voice We Need

For years Levin has been one of the leading voices in conservative talk radio. Given recent events, it makes sense that more people are turning to him in an unsettling time in American history.

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Photo by Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0.

Mark Levin is asking the questions that impact everyone in the news broadcasting medium. Where there are many heroes that speak up on issues that are profoundly significant to the future of the political spectrum, the grenade that was thrown into the the center of the conservative media and social media world and what is going to happen if this downward spiral continues? He dispels fake news and more.

“I’m going to do something now. I want to strongly discourage any of you from attending the Biden inaugural or any of these other events that these capitals within our various states are being planned, as I read this FBI internal memo. I don’t know what’s planned, but the inauguration is. But I’d stay away from it. That is a form of protest, although that’s not a problem. But there may be violence there that’s caused by outsiders, it may be violence there that’s caused by morons.” Levin explained, even looking out for those who aren’t typically interested in much else than listening for finding an opportunity to further the narrative at hand inside the beltway.

“I intend to fight every one of these left-wing agenda items that these Democrats intend to impose on us. I intend to fight it with every fiber in my body, and we will do so under the Constitution and we will do it. And in 2022, it is my expectation we will take the house back and perhaps even the Senate. And put the brakes on all of this and as you know, I was one of the leading voices and wrote an entire book on convention of the state, so we need to get that thing fired up again.

We need to get these legislatures working. Republican legislatures. But if I were you. I would not attend any of these events. And they are going to be used against us no matter who’s behind them, and if some Trump people are behind them against the desire of the vast majority of the Trump people. That’s my view now. We’re now facing repression and oppression by the corporatists, not just big tech, but by banks, by big companies, by golf.”

“Now these media companies are interfering with my business, torturously interfering with what I do here, they’re interfering with my free speech and they are libeling me and I am monitoring them, as are others. They’re all thrown in, they’re all revealing themselves, and we need to sort through that to who’s going to get our business and who isn’t.”

Levin continued, as he spoke with conviction and eloquence that was as rousingly enticing as listening to your team hitting a buzzer beater or pick-six to beat their rival in the final seconds of the big game.

“But, we stand by our principles and good days and we stand by our principles and bad days, so we must continue to argue for freedom of speech. We must continue to argue for private property rights. We must continue to organize at the lowest levels of our system, of our communities and our government. We need to take this government back.”

The crescendo was followed by the facts that have been unfortunately difficult to accept by many; but Levin wouldn’t be the champion he is if he didn’t follow it up with a hopeful call to action that I truly believe was meant with the utmost sincerity.

“The electors have been counted. It’s over. But there’s two years from now and there’s four years from now, that’s the genius of the constitutional system, nothing is final. Will it be harder? Of course it’s going to be harder.”

Levin follows up his message with some advice for his audience.

 “I’m just saying, stay away from the hard hits, stay away from the fools. There have now been ninety arrests as a result of what happened last Wednesday– ninety. I’m sure hoping that The Washington Post or The New York Times will identify all these people. So far, they have done nothing, almost nothing. Cable TV, I sure hope they do too. But I’m a law and order conservative, I believe in civil society and I believe in the Constitution, and so do the tens of millions of you who listen to this program and read my books and watch me on TV.”

When you allow your politics to destroy your moral system. Then you have no moral system. That’s why you condemn violence and you defend the civil society.” Levin says of the importance of not trying to make any excuses for people who were involved with the events at the Capitol.

Bringing some amazing Bill Pullman style energy who just so happens to be my favorite President of all time, as he played the role of Commander in Chief in Independence Day, Levin reminds listeners down isn’t out and the future isn’t etched in stone.

“We’re not going to be dragged down by the thugs and the buffoons.”

Reminding listeners that dissent is not illegal but it is American, it’s not inciting violence to express oneself, effectively negating the constitutionality and legality to the bizarre, methodical design in which each of the dominoes fell; first silencing President Trump, second removing content that involved political analysis that showed any support for Trump and finally led to the thwarting of social media alternatives from personal devices, big technology.

“We’ve got to be smarter and more strategic.”

Though Levin is not planning to get down in the muck, nor does he make any unreasonable, historically inaccurate comment to further his agenda. This has been the loose framework exhibited by a select committee who’ve led a witch-hunt to silence the President—particularly when the President-Elect would have been another individual who’d have failed the arbitrary assessment enacted on the basis of handling the tragic events last week at the Capitol.

Meanwhile, President Trump’s hands were tied and his ability to communicate, speak with this country’s citizens to which he still represents as the Commander in Chief. A dynamic that even if this was flipped around, I would insist reverence and respect for an acting President. This dynamic and these asinine consequences have emulated a witch-hunt and lumped in essentially all conservative talk show voices and at times, all conservatives in general.

“This summer, when our streets were on fire and police were under attack and individuals were dying through these riots by Black Lives Matter and Antifa; Joe Biden never told people to stand down. Pelosi called police, storm troopers, Clyburn called police, storm troopers, but I’m telling people to stand down, I’m doing more than any of them have ever done. No violence.”

The reports that have been alleged in an article that was shared by Mark Levin on his show Monday, come on the heels of other private entertainment/tech companies barring the mention of content supporting President Trump from the airwaves. The company being accused has not responded to the claims according to the news outlet that initially made the report. But, Levin explained that the factors at okay here didn’t seem to be aligned with his experience or reflected in his or other coverage by conservative talk show hosts—rather, carefully placing a lit match on the pile of oil-soaked rags deliberately draped over the constitutional rights as they are set ablaze.

“Now, here’s the problem. I never got a memo. I never got any memo. Nobody threatened me. Nobody told me what I could and couldn’t say. Because if they did, you’d be hearing about it, but they didn’t. I don’t promote violence, but The Washington Post has a narrative.” shared Levin.

“And I have four years of broadcasts on our website MarkLevin.com. I have no idea what this article is about, nobody told me to stop dog whistle talk.

‘Cumulus Media Talk Radio Company with a roster of popular right wing personalities, including Dan Bongino, Mark Levin and Ben Shapiro, has warned its hosts to steer clear of misinformation about election fraud.

I’ve never been warned about anything and I don’t need to be warned about anything. That’s The New York Times.”

Mark Levin reads the narrative aloud for listeners and discusses the libelous dynamic at play and the intention at the center of things.

“They’re after talk radio and they’re after Fox News. They have shut down Parler. Parler hopes to be back at the end of the week. They’re not going to try and pick off hosts on Fox or hosts on conservative radio by lying about them.”

“Now, these media companies are interfering with my business, torturously interfering with what I do here, they’re interfering with my free speech and they are libeling me and I am monitoring them, as are others.”

“They’re not going to shut me up under any circumstances. If something happens here or something happens on Fox or something like that, I will have digital TV and I’ll have my podcast. But nobody has threatened me. None of them. They’re trying to create a controversy where there is none whatsoever. None whatsoever. That’s The Washington Post, that’s The New York Times, that’s the corrupt media in America. It’s a disgrace, an absolute disgrace.”

Despite these incredulously totalitarian efforts, Levin has the hope that all hope is not lost and it’s not too late to rectify the future but it isn’t going to be an effortless process to prevent the political vitriol from engulfing our government’s political future in flames.

“In 2022, it is my expectation we will take the house back and perhaps even the Senate. And put the brakes on all of this. And as you know, I was one of the leading voices and wrote an entire book on convention of the state, so we need to get that thing fired up again.

“They’re all thrown in, they’re all revealing themselves, and we need to sort through that to who’s going to get our business and who isn’t. But we stand by our principles and good days and we stand by our principles and bad days, and so we must continue to argue for freedom of speech. We must continue to argue for private property rights. We must continue to organize at the lowest levels of our system, of our communities and our government. We need to take this government back.”

“The First Amendment’s under attack. Biden says the Second Amendment is going to be under attack. We have Democrat senators, some of whom have been utterly irresponsible, some for decades, wanting their colleagues expelled. Or censured or otherwise punished. You have lawyers, legal groups, students trying to disbar senators. Basically, doing what communist China does and they will bend to communist China, Amazon does. Apple does. Twitter does. Facebook does. But here, they are free. To target people with whom they disagree, if you look at this company Parler is not right wing / left-wing. Parler is any open platform.” explained Levin.

“And yet, The Washington Post and The New York Times—Twitter, which is its competitor, Amazon, Google and Facebook, have managed to to define it. To create a narrative around Parler that it must be a ‘proud boy site,’ when, in fact, there are millions and millions of people there now and it’s growing. And once it’s back at the end of the week, I think it’s really going to take off.” Follow Mark Levin and The Mark Levin Show airing daily on WW1.

BNM Writers

Possible Reversal of The 1973 Roe vs. Wade Decision Dominates Network TV Coverage

“Surprisingly, the overall cable news landscape remained relatively steady in prime time on May 2.”

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News of Justice Samuel Alito’s initial draft majority opinion that would have the Supreme Court overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision — which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights — immediately spread like wildfire on the evening of May 2nd.

The development, first reported by the website Politico starting within the 9 p.m. ET hour, holds monumental implications for the nation if the Court officially does overturn the law.

Yet, surprisingly, the overall cable news landscape remained relatively steady in prime time on May 2. Compared to the three prior Monday nights (averaging Apr. 11, 18 & 25), MSNBC’s flagship program “Rachel Maddow Show” slipped 4 percent to 1.94 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. Its lead-out “Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” (1.45 million) was down 7 percent. 826,000 then tuned in to “The 11th Hour” up 3 percent.

Over at CNN, the 9 p.m. hour of “Anderson Cooper 360” (660,000 viewers) ticked up one percent. “Don Lemon Tonight” grew ten percent in the 10 p.m. hour (689,000 viewers) but fell two percent in the 11 p.m. hour (517,000 viewers).

Fox News Channel’s coverage focused on how the leak from the Supreme Court occurred. “Hannity” (2.79 million) stayed even, while the subsequent two lead-out programs on the night jumped up the most (of all cable telecasts) in raw figures — each increased by two million viewers: “The Ingraham Angle” (2.4 million; +9 percent from the 2.2 million average of Apr. 11, 18, 25) and “Gutfeld!” (2.15 million; +10 percent from the 1.95 million average of Apr. 11, 18, 25).

Cable news averages for May 2-8, 2022:

Total Day (May 2-8 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.484 million viewers; 241,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.631 million viewers; 69,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.478 million viewers; 102,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.183 million viewers; 52,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.132 million viewers; 32,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.132 million viewers; 18,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.112 million viewers; 12,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.111 million viewers; 22,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (May 2-7 @ 8-11 p.m.; May 8 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 2.286 million viewers; 352,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.996 million viewers; 107,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.605 million viewers; 131,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.223 million viewers; 26,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.206 million viewers; 57,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.149 million viewers; 54,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.142 million viewers; 25,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.059 million viewers; 8,000 adults 25-54
  • NewsNation: 0.052 million viewers; 10,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top MSNBC and CNN programs with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 5/3/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.449 million viewers

2. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 5/3/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.431 million viewers

3. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 5/2/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.371 million viewers

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 5/4/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.284 million viewers

5. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 5/5/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.220 million viewers

6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 5/2/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.188 million viewers

7. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 5/4/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.182 million viewers

8. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 5/6/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.151 million viewers

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 5/5/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.047 million viewers

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 5/4/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.876 million viewers

36. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 5/2/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.941 million viewers

159. Real Time With Bill Maher “Episode 599” (HBO, Fri. 5/6/2022 10:01 PM, 55 min.) 0.870 million viewers

161. Stanley Tucci “Piedmont” (CNN, Sun. 5/8/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.859 million viewers

290. Last Week Tonight (HBO, Sun. 5/8/2022 11:01 PM, 42 min.) 0.567 million viewers

356. The Daily Show (CMDY, Wed. 5/4/2022 11:00 PM, 31 min.) 0.434 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top  CNN, MSNBC, HBO and HLN programs with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 5/3/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.623 million adults 25-54

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 5/2/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.553 million adults 25-54

3. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 5/3/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.533 million adults 25-54

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 5/5/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.503 million adults 25-54

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 5/4/2022 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.480 million adults 25-54

6. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 5/3/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.475 million adults 25-54

7. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 5/4/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.474 million adults 25-54

8. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 5/2/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.445 million adults 25-54

9. The Ingraham Angle (FOXNC, Tue. 5/3/2022 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.444 million adults 25-54

10. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 5/5/2022 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.441 million adults 25-54

76. Last Week Tonight (HBO, Sun. 5/8/2022 11:01 PM, 42 min.) 0.231 million adults 25-54

81. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 5/2/2022 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.228 million adults 25-54

96. Don Lemon Tonight (CNN, Mon. 5/2/2022 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.211 million adults 25-54

129. The Daily Show (CMDY, Tue. 5/3/2022 11:00 PM, 31 min.) 0.167 million adults 25-54

152. Real Time With Bill Maher “Episode 599” (HBO, Fri. 5/6/2022 10:01 PM, 55 min.) 0.154 million adults 25-54

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

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BNM Writers

What Would a Jeff Warshaw Consortium Takeover of Cumulus Mean?

When the news of Warshaw’s consortium became public, some of us looking for a knight on a white horse wondered if this was what we had been waiting for. The announcement led to the question: would a Jeff Warshaw-led Cumulus be an improvement over the current management?

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On April 14, 2022, reports became public that a consortium led by Connoisseur Media CEO Jeff Warshaw made an unsolicited, $1.2 billion bid (including debt) to acquire Cumulus Media.

Reuters reported that Warshaw planned to take the company private with a bid of $15 to $17 per share. As a result, Cumulus shares which traded in the $10 – $11 range over the past year, jumped to $14.21, a 40% increase and a level not seen since July 2021.

Cumulus management responded to the reports by acknowledging the indication of interest and stated it was “reviewing the letter.”

During Cumulus’s Q1 22 earnings call on May 4, President/CEO Mary Berner announced a $50 million stock buyback program and rejected the Warshaw consortium acquisition bid.

Radio companies have lagged the overall financial markets for over a decade. I have participated in conversations with groups that already own radio stations and others currently outside the industry who have considered buying radio groups.

In 2013 music streaming service Pandora bought an FM station in Rapid City, South Dakota. Upon first hearing that news, some of us thought perhaps they realized how undervalued FM signals were and would invest in the medium. Alas, Pandora thought they had found a backdoor means to lower its music royalty costs but otherwise had little interest in broadcast radio.

As somebody who has been involved in every facet of the radio industry for nearly 40 years, I was interested in far more than just the investment implications of the proposed buyout.

When the news of Warshaw’s consortium became public, some of us looking for a knight on a white horse wondered if this was what we had been waiting for. The announcement led to the question: would a Jeff Warshaw-led Cumulus be an improvement over the current management?

To answer that question, I used reviews from the website Glassdoor. Reviewers can rate the company on a one to five bases, with five the best and one the worst.

These reviews have to be taken with a grain of salt as former employees may have an ax to grind, but this caveat holds equally true for all employers.

The company Jeff Warshaw currently runs, Connoisseur Media, receives an average of 2.9 stars (out of five) on Glassdoor. This rating is based on just 32 reviews, so the low sample size is a factor to consider.

Cumulus currently has an average of 3.2 stars on Glassdoor based on over 800 reviews.

These Glassdoor reviews suggest that a new Cumulus led by Warshaw wouldn’t be an improvement over the current management. If it takes a knight on a white horse to make Cumulus a better company to work for, it will have to wait for another day.

To be fair, I don’t know Jeff Warshaw. I have never spoken with him. I would appreciate the opportunity to talk to him at the appropriate time (assuming that his attempted takeover remains ongoing). I also welcome employees of Connoisseur or Cumulus who feel the average reflected on Glassdoor is unfair to contact me (andy@andybloom.com). I will accept comments and input anonymously regardless of whether it is more positive or negative than Glassdoor poses for use in a future column.

While we’re looking at the reviews for Connoisseur and Cumulus, it’s a worthwhile exercise to see how the other major radio broadcast groups fare:

iHeart also rates a 3.2 with over 2,200 reviews.

Audacy receives a 3.5, which is misleading as it’s based on 23 reviews. Entercom had 691 reviews and rates a 3.1.

The best I can find in the industry among the majors is Cox with 4.1. Again, this may be deceiving. Apollo Global Management scores a more modest 3.1.

Hubbard has no reviews. I’m not sure why.

SiriusXM appears to have the highest current score at 3.6.

You’ll find common themes, positive and the negatives are dizzyingly familiar across the companies throughout these reviews.

The main reoccurring negative themes include:

· Low pay

· Long hours

· No chance for advancement

· Doing the work of too many people

· Management pays lip service to feedback but doesn’t do anything

The main reoccurring positive themes include:

· The people

· Fun place to work

· Perks – such as free tickets

· Glad to be working in the industry

I was curious about the differences between the companies employees rated higher and lower to work for. Listening to a couple of recent earnings calls revealed some of the variations. In next week’s column, we will examine some of the differences.

Are the pros and cons listed above familiar to you? I welcome your input and anonymous comments for next week’s follow-up column. Please reach out to me at andy@andybloom.com.

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BNM Writers

Dave LaBrozzi Knew What He Wanted From Day One

LaBrozzi has nearly four decades of experience in radio, most recently as Vice President of Programming for WABC Radio in New York City.

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Dave LaBrozzi was very high on my interview ‘wish list,’ second only to the guy who does the insurance commercials with the nasty emu. There seems to be little LaBrozzi has not accomplished in his career (with the exception of doing an insurance commercial with an obnoxious emu.)

He’s got that voice that hits you like a freight train. That radio voice, even if he doesn’t sit in front of the microphone these days. One of those booming set of pipes you’re just born with.

LaBrozzi is one of those guys who knew what he wanted from day one. Or at least when he was ten years old. Truth be told, he said he was one of those kids who sat at his mother’s kitchen table talking into a wooden spoon as though it were a microphone. 

“I wanted to be the next Pirates play-by-play voice,” LaBrozzi said. “Working as a disc jockey was right up there too. The spoken word has always been a passion for me.”

Future moves in his life were made with one eye focused on a career in radio. It’s the only career he’s ever been involved with. Today he’s with KDKA Radio News, the world’s first commercial broadcasting station. “It’s an honor to be here with these legendary call letters,” LaBrozzi said. “It’s become a second home and a thrill to be sitting in this office.”

LaBrozzi has nearly four decades of experience in radio, most recently as Vice President of Programming for WABC Radio in New York City. Prior to WABC, he was Program Director of WPLJ-FM. In addition to his work in New York, Dave spent 14 years as Vice President of Programming for Audacy’s Baltimore stations and has also spent time programming in Nashville, Austin, San Antonio, and Pittsburgh.

LaBrozzi was appointed brand manager for KDKA, overseeing the content strategy, talent, operations, and branding. 

KDKA was launched in 1920. It started as an opportunity to instantaneously provide news and information about the presidential election returns in the race between Warren G. Harding and James M. Cox. 

LaBrozzi said he’s extremely proud of his current on-air lineup. “Larry Richert has been here for 25 years. Kevin Battle has come back. In all, we have a really solid staff that’s deeply entrenched in the community.”

When LaBrozzi drops into his chair behind his desk in the morning, he checks the stories to make sure they’re talking about what matters to people on any given day. “We’re working hard to get back with the community, checking in with people one-on-one.” 

LaBrozzi said they grade stories after they’ve aired, deciding whether they hit their mark and if they mattered. He said it’s important to talk with people and visit neighborhoods.

“I hope local papers hang on; they play such a vital role in the community.

I started in a small station in upstate Pennsylvania with 2,000 people. It was an oldie’s station. The first record I played was ‘Here Comes that Rainy Day Feeling Again,’ by The Fortunes.” 

That song must be like a first love for LaBrozzi. If he’d played a Lawrence Welk song, he might not be where he is today.

His father was a high school administrator and was able to identify his son’s strengths and weaknesses from the get-go. 

“He knew my academic career wasn’t going to send me to Harvard,” LaBrozzi said. “He also knew I had the passion and drive to succeed.”

LaBrozzi tells his on-air folks to connect with listeners one-on-one. “It’s all about being authentic,” he said. “I want them to share their life experiences. Audiences can tell when a person is disingenuous. You can have a different sound on the air, but you have to be real.” He went on to say his staff is very passionate and believes in what they’re doing.

He was born in Emporium, Pennsylvania. Today the town boasts a population of close to 2,000 people. Compared to Andy Griffith’s Mayberry, that’s a metropolis. He went to Mansfield State College, but the radio bug called, tugged, and pulled. “I tell people I got thrown out of college because of what I didn’t do,” LaBrozzi jokes. He said he’d intended to get a business degree, but the math requirements sent him running for the exit.

Why radio? “I think it’s a passion, drive, not that different from being an athlete. It’s something deeply within our souls. “My wife was in the business but gave it up to home-school the kids.”

When he’s not busy being a radio executive, LaBrozzi likes to indulge in books. “I’m reading Ernest Hemingway right now,” he said. “I’ve watched some of the Winning Time series on HBO. It’s entertaining if not factual.”

Then came the dreaded question. Where do you think radio is going?

“I think social media is doing so much to help our industry,” LaBrozzi said. “We need to embrace all it offers. There’s always a need for more information on a local level.”

With LaBrozzi ‘in the can,’ now I have to track down that Emu guy.

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