Glenn talks with Goldline CEO Mark Albarian

The latest Beck Talks, brought to you by Goldline

GLENN: I want to start with a, I guess there is a press conference at noon today in Washington with Congressman Weiner. Congressman Weiner who, is it his executive assistant or chief of staff or whoever that used to work for Media Matters? What was — we’ll look into it, Tony. But he has launched an investigation now in the most McCarthy sort of way. He is using the power of congress to come after me and a sponsor on my program, Goldline. Mark Albarian is on the phone now. Mark is — go ahead and pick him up, please. Mark is the president of Goldline. Goldline is a sponsor, but I am also a — am I a rather large customer of yours, Mark, or are there —

ALBARIAN: You are a rather large client but there are actually larger.

GLENN: I’m sure there are. You are saying there are crazier people than me?

ALBARIAN: Well, maybe not crazier but there are people that —

GLENN: More committed to their philosophy?

ALBARIAN: That’s fair.

GLENN: Yes. Mark, let me just go over a couple of things in our relationship. How long have you been a sponsor in this program?

ALBARIAN: I believe it’s been about three years.

GLENN: Do you remember a time when we had a conversation at the beginning where I said if you don’t treat our customers — if you don’t treat my customers, my listeners with respect, it isn’t going to end well for you?

ALBARIAN: Yes.

GLENN: Yes. Do you believe me when I said that to you?

ALBARIAN: Yes.

GLENN: Okay.

ALBARIAN: I take you very seriously.

GLENN: We’ve had a great relationship, but I have also been a customer of yours and purchased gold. Now let me reverse the roles. Do you remember telling me when I told you what I wanted to buy that I’m buying the most expensive, the hardest to get and I’m paying a real premium for it. Do you remember saying that?

ALBARIAN: I do. You purchased a coin where the round trip costs of buying and selling it are about 36%. So about 18% to buy and about 18% to sell. That’s the category that you’re in.

GLENN: And the category — and that is the most expensive way to buy it?

ALBARIAN: That’s the most expensive product we have.

GLENN: Okay.

ALBARIAN: 36% round trip, both in and out.

GLENN: Okay. And let me ask the listeners. Do you remember me saying on the air that the way I buy gold coins, the way I buy gold is expensive and some people would say it’s nuts. Listeners, you’ll have to decide for yourself if you remember me saying that.

ALBARIAN: Well, Glenn, I frankly don’t think they’re nuts. You are buying coins with certain features and benefits. Some of the coins are, as you refer to them, as antique coins. Other coins are small, small in size. Other coins are private meaning that when you sell them back, you won’t have to give your home address and your name and Social Security number. There are certain features and benefits to these coins that you are paying these higher premiums for and people make that choice. You could have purchased a one ounce Krugerrand, for example, and the round trip cost would have been, you know, less than 5% in and 5% out. So about 10% round trip. And many, many people who listen to you make that choice. So it’s really up to them and it’s really up to you.

GLENN: And I think they’re crazy, but that’s their choice. As I say on every commercial, you’ve got to — not only do you have to find out if it’s right for your family, you have to find out how to buy it, how it’s right if it is. It’s not right for everybody. Okay. So now, do you have any idea what this investigation is going to be all about, I mean other than another hatchet job by the inside — it’s an inside job really with the progressive movement and Anthony Weiner. Do you have any idea what this investigation is?

ALBARIAN: We’ve gotten some highlights. One of them is I’m telling you and all the people listening that our round trip spread for our most expensive product is 36%. You could look at that like 18% when you buy and 18% when you sell.

GLENN: Okay. Hang on just a second. Let’s say you go in to a coin dealer because that’s what this one is. It’s a very expensive, it’s an old coin. You go in to a coin dealer. How much do they charge you to sell it to you?

ALBARIAN: You know, the great thing about America is they can charge whatever they want but my guess is they are going to charge you somewhere between 10 and 20% when you buy and 10 and 20% when you sell.

GLENN: Okay. That’s the way they —

ALBARIAN: Some might charge more, some might charge less.

GLENN: That’s the way they make a profit and it’s up to each individual. Do they disclose it; do you disclose it?

ALBARIAN: We absolutely disclose it and we have a written agreement that every client signs. That puts us probably in the top 1% of all dealers because most dealers do not disclose it and they do not have any type of a written agreement where you can say, hey, this is what the terms are; I’m signing it; I understand it.

GLENN: These are also coins that, because I know I’m not getting American coins from you anymore because that’s a really hard coin to find now.

ALBARIAN: These are just, these are generally smaller sized European coins. Some of them are more recently made, some of them are older.

GLENN: Right.

ALBARIAN: And when you buy, it’s like buying a big bag of potato chips. It’s less expensive to buy the big bag than a bunch of smaller bags but some people like the smaller bags, the smaller coins.

GLENN: Now, they are saying that you are not disclosing that you are a profit making company or what?

ALBARIAN: There’s some allegation. I don’t know what the final thing will look like but that somehow are markups are much more than that, that we are in some type of an unholy alliance with conservatives where we are scaring people to buy gold meaning that in some ways they are not using their own free will in making these decisions and that through our advertising and through our markups, they are saying that we’re nothing but a gold peddler and although I’m not —

GLENN: Hang on just a second. Isn’t that what you do?

ALBARIAN: We are a gold peddler, Glenn.

GLENN: Goldline.

ALBARIAN: I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that. And in addition to that we don’t — I say that we’re a financial counselor. We don’t sell stocks or bonds. We believe we’re the largest. We believe we’re the best person to help individual investors own gold. And in some way they are trying to pervert that in that we’re doing something wrong by being linked with conservatives, by encouraging people to buy our product.

GLENN: They say that I am fear mongering and then driving up the price of gold. Could you give some handle — do you have any way to explain how utterly ridiculous and impossible that is?

ALBARIAN: Yeah, you are an important person but let’s look at Goldline. We sell a million dollars let’s say in a day of gold. The gold, paper gold product called an ETF may sell a billion dollars. We’re doing a million, they’re doing a billion. The gold market is such that Goldline’s purchases on any given day doesn’t have any effect on the gold market.

GLENN: Okay. But hang on just a second. But they could make the deal that — I mean, talk radio says that the dollar is going to — I mean, there’s no evidence that what we’re doing is inflating the money, and gold is the hedge against inflation traditionally. They are saying that we’re the source of driving the price of gold up may be just because of all the fear that we cause.

ALBARIAN: It’s ridiculous because actually the people that listen to conservatives are individuals like you and me. And frankly we don’t have enough buying power to truly move this gold market. When you look at the amount of gold that’s being sold, it’s sold because institutions are buying it and they are buying it because of things like Greece. I mean, Glenn, did you cause Greece to fall?

GLENN: Well, yes, I think I will be blamed for that.

ALBARIAN: Well, then maybe you — then they can blame you for the gold market. If they can blame you for government spending, if they can blame you for Greece, if they can blame you for the Euro falling, then they can blame you for the gold market moving. I mean, these are very large macro economic issues that are pushing gold higher.

GLENN: How much, how much to move gold as much as it has in the last week or two, how many dollars are required to move it up?

ALBARIAN: Billions, with a B.

GLENN: I’m sorry. What?

ALBARIAN: Billions of dollars with a B.

GLENN: Billions of dollars?

ALBARIAN: Billions of dollars. I mean, Goldline’s annual sales are less than a billion dollars all year.

GLENN: So I would —

ALBARIAN: You’d need —

GLENN: I would just like to announce here that the reporter working on this story that is going to, you know, do it, I would just like to use this, please. Talk radio has the wealthiest audience ever in the history of planet Earth because we’re taking reasonable people that have money in this audience would take 10% of their savings and possibly put it into gold. We — that means talk radio listeners are investing billions of dollars to effect the global price of gold. Wow. Thank you. That’s why people should advertise on talk radio, because of the extraordinary wealth of this audience, end quote.

PAT: (Laughing).

GLENN: So Mark, are you enjoying, so far are you enjoying the — are you enjoying the McCarthy like era that we’ve — that we’re now having in Washington?

ALBARIAN: Well, I think that everybody gets their five minutes of fame and I think the situation is that when people really understand that Goldline’s been in business since 1960, we’ve been conducting our business for several years in the way that we conduct it today, that nothing has really changed except in the last couple of years our support and our advertising on talk radio and conservative radio and I think that’s why people are looking at us.

GLENN: Why would that be, Mark? Why would you, why would you all of a sudden become talk radio? Why wouldn’t you go to Air America other than the fact that they are not on the air anymore?

ALBARIAN: Glenn, if you look at the largest five or six radio shows in the talk radio market, they just happen to be conservative.

GLENN: Do you ever —

ALBARIAN: And although Goldline advertises on CNN and we advertise —

GLENN: Where? What?

ALBARIAN: — on Fox News —

GLENN: Wait. CNN?

PAT: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

GLENN: Not like the New York Times. You don’t ever run an ad in the New York Times, do you?

ALBARIAN: We don’t do generally very much print advertising but we don’t, you know, we don’t exclude the New York Times. But we advertise on the Internet, we advertise in lots of places to build a company, and it just so happens that our advertising on talk radio has been very, very good. It’s been a very good business decision. What’s come with it, though, is some of this kind of negative political, we’ve gotten a little bit into the political war. Even though our company isn’t really a political company. We’re, I guess just a gold peddler.

PAT: But you have advertised on CNN?

ALBARIAN: We actually —

PAT: The conservative

ALBARIAN: do advertise on CNN.

PAT: nut jobs on CNN? Oh, wow. Oh, boy.

ALBARIAN: I’m sorry if that offended anybody.

GLENN: Have you done MSNBC?

ALBARIAN: I believe we actually have.

PAT: Even though — I mean, don’t you normally have to have more than 30 viewers?

GLENN: I was just going to say that’s a bad investment. I don’t know if I trust you now to talk to me about money.

ALBARIAN: We test lots of things, and I don’t think you’ll see as many of our —

GLENN: Right. Yes, I see that. I see that. And I do have to make sure that I point out that he did say he doesn’t give investment advice. So there you go. I guess —

ALBARIAN: The only products we — the only products we sell are gold, silver, platinum, palladium, rare coins and rare currency. We’re not a stockbroker, we’re not a financial planner and those are the only products that we sell. And we think we do a good job of it.

GLENN: May I —

ALBARIAN: We think we’re the larger and we’re proud of what we do.

GLENN: May I ask for percentage of — are the other hosts, do they invest in the product as I do?

ALBARIAN: Yeah.

GLENN: You probably can’t say.

ALBARIAN: I’d say many, if not close to all of them do. And the way we pick a host is we’re much more concerned about their passion for our product than we are for their political views. So — and this may make a lot of people angry, but if a person was more liberal and they had a passion for gold and their listeners were potentially interested in investing in gold, we would consider advertising with them.

GLENN: Okay. Mark Albarian from Goldline, thank you very much. I appreciate it, sir.

ALBARIAN: Thank you, Glenn.

GLENN: And we’ll be watching together this McCarthy like hearing that starts at noon today. Thanks a lot.

ALBARIAN: Thank you, Glenn.