Lionel (radio personality)

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Born Michael William Lebron
(1958-08-26) August 26, 1958 (age 58)
Tampa, Florida, United States
Residence Manhattan, New York, United States
Nationality American
Education University of South Florida Stetson University College of Law
Occupation Trial lawyer & media analyst
Employer The Lebron Firm
Known for American radio & television personality
Awards 2015 Emmy Award for Writer: Commentary/Editorial
Website Lionel Media, Official Website, Lionel Media, on Twitter, Lionel Nation, on YouTube

Michael William Lebron (born August 26, 1958), popularly known as Lionel, is a trial lawyer, Emmy Award [1] winning nationally syndicated American radio and television personality, media, political, and legal analyst, news decoder, actor, author, essayist, (out)spoken word artist, standup comedian, bluegrass musician, speaker, lecturer and voice actor.


Born in Tampa, he attended Jesuit High School where he was voted Class Wit. After graduating magna cum laude from the University of South Florida in 1980, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, Lionel worked as a District Aide for Florida United States Senator Richard "Dick" Stone and in his unsuccessful campaign for reelection. Lionel graduated from the Stetson University College of Law, and as trial lawyer worked as both prosecutor for the Hillsborough County Florida State Attorney's Office (13th Judicial Circuit), and a criminal defense trial lawyer thereafter. He is admitted to practice law in Florida, New Jersey and New York as well before the U.S. Supreme Court.[citation needed]

He began his radio career hosting a show at WFLA 970 AM in his hometown of Tampa from 1988 to 1993.[citation needed] The Lionel Show debuted in Tampa, Florida, on weekends on 970 WFLA in October 1988. For years, Lionel had been a frequent caller to local shows, eventually becoming a "chronic", which is industry vernacular for frequent callers. He was noted for using various aliases and personas to get on the air. His most enduring moniker, "Lionel", alludes to Francis Lionel "Lion" Delbuchi, the character played by Al Pacino in the movie Scarecrow.[citation needed]

When WPLP (WFLA's rival station across Tampa Bay) offered Lionel a talk show, he declined, due to WPLP's rather meager offer—and his trepidations about how a radio show would affect his law career. In October 1988, WFLA management gave him an irresistible offer to move behind the microphone as a Sunday afternoon radio host. In January 1989, his show moved to middays (9am to 12pm), Monday through Friday. Seven months later, he took the afternoon drive slot, where his lively mix of current events and dry humor proved to be a ratings success. In 1993, he was hired away by WABC 770 AM, a major talk radio station in New York City when a former ABC network president, Jim Arcara, heard Lionel's show while vacationing in Florida and lured him to the Big Apple. Lionel manned the morning drive slot on New York's heritage WABC 770 AM in early 1994. He set ratings records for WABC as its morning-drive host during the mid-1990s[citation needed]. For a time, Lionel did both morning drive and afternoon drive for a period immediately following talk radio legend Bob Grant's departure from WABC.[citation needed]

In the late 1990s, toward the end of his tenure at WABC, Lionel also hosted the CourtTV law show Snap Judgment. He also provided daily updates on WCBS 880 AM during the Clinton impeachment process. In 2000, he began his national radio show, The Lionel Show, originally syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks through 2001. His show was then syndicated by independent Rex Broadcasting until 2003, when it was picked up locally and nationally syndicated by the WOR Radio Network in New York City. It was broadcast six days a week (9 pm-midnight ET weekdays, and 5–8 pm ET Saturdays). In 2000 and 2001, in addition to his radio work, Lionel was a morning host on an Internet-based talk radio site, until 2001.[citation needed]

Talkers Magazine included Lionel In their list of Talkers Frontier Fifty and the "HEAVIEST HUNDRED: The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America" at number 23, and estimated the show's audience at 1.75 million unique listeners per week.[2] The magazine described him as "a uniquely witty and intellectual personality" and "defying categorization".[3]

He released a comedy album titled You Don't Look Like You Sound in 1996, and fronted a bluegrass band called Lock 'n' Load. Lionel wrote a book, "Everyone's Crazy Except You and Me...And I'm Not So Sure About You: America's Favorite Contrarian Cuts Loose". It was published by Hyperion and was released on August 5, 2008. On March 22, 2010, Lionel began a nightly commentary[4] on New York's WPIX Channel 11 and was a regular contributor to the morning and late night newscasts, as well as the station's legal analyst. He then launched on June 23, 2010, containing podcasts, audio, video, essays as well as his YouTube channel "Lionel Nation." In August 2012, Lionel began hosting the morning show on The New IQ 106.9 in Philadelphia. In 2015, Lionel began regularly appearing on RT and RT America as a legal and media analyst.[citation needed]

In 2015 Lionel won a commentary/editorial writing Emmy Award.[1]

Lionel has appeared on Court TV, PBS, Tribune Media, C-SPAN, CBS, ABC, NY1, BBC, Bloomberg TV, MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, CNBC, Newsmax TV, HuffPost Live, RT America, Arise America, Food Network, CrossTalk, The Alex Jones Show, Coast to Coast AM, SiriusXM, Cumulus, iHeartMedia, 92nd Street Y and France's Canal+.

Lionel also appears in the 2016 fourth season of the Netflix television series House of Cards.


Originally espousing a largely libertarian political philosophy, Lionel describes himself as a political atheist.[5][6] Libertarian has all too often been coöpted by those espousing personal freedoms while ignoring many of the draconian and crypto-austerity features of Austrian School policies. He personally eschews such labels and repeatedly criticizes those who hold opinions simply out of allegiance to a word like “conservative” or “liberal.” He repeatedly professes the notion that the left–right paradigm is but an illusion.

He opposes the death penalty on the grounds that the justice system is far too unreliable to be entrusted with that power,[citation needed] and favors decriminalization of drug use and possession as well as prostitution, gambling and victimless offenses.[citation needed] He long supported gay and “intragender” marriage and strongly opposed the Iraq War since around 2004.[citation needed] He asks callers to take the Lionel Challenge: Try explicating or describing a political philosophy or point without using a label. Some, he contends, find it impossible.[citation needed]

Lionel appears as a political commentator and news decoder, legal analyst, renaissance lawyer and (out)spoken word artist around the country. He performs with his trio named “Lock 'n' Load.” Lionel is a voice actor[7] sought-after emcee and speaker and provides lecture series around the country.[citation needed]

Newsweek described Lionel as “[a]n intellectual known for his irreverent political and social humor.”[citation needed]

Famed record producer Jerry Wexler describes Lionel thus: “He wears the mantle of Lenny Bruce, with Lenny's own tropisms: The Oblique, The Irreverent, The Tangential, The Concupiscent, The Polymorphous Perverse, The Arcane, The Numinous. And yet Lionel brings to the table his own savory: A love of the mother tongue and a gonzo vocabulary that puts his logo on all his works, whether talk-show hosting, standup-comic spritzing, or hanging out – with himself a minor art form.”[citation needed]

The Lionel argot and assorted miscellany[edit]

  • Theme song: For years Lionel adopted "Nina Morena" by the Gipsy Kings as his theme song. The song's opening line, which sounds like "Lionel" repeatedly,[8] caused him to "fall out of his chair" the first time he heard it.[citation needed] The closing theme song was for years "Soul Makossa" by Manu Dibango.[9]
  • Barstool Diplomacy: The type of diplomacy advocated by those who endorse the use of overwhelming military force, not excepting nuclear weapons, as the first move. A ham-handed and bellicose approach to any world event where critical analysis and strategy prove problematic.[citation needed]
  • The monkey's dead, the show's over ... Sue ya!: Lionel's end-of-show catch phrase, used since the early 1990s. "Sue ya" is a reference to his former profession. "The monkey's dead, the show's over" was originally spoken by a defeated political candidate in Tampa when asked for an election-night comment about his failed campaign (this phrase is an inversion of a quotation from the Tennessee Williams play Orpheus Descending.) Lionel saw the quote in the next day's newspaper and has used it since.[citation needed]
  • Comment as you see fit!: Lionel's signature valedictory following his television, YouTube,[10] and audio commentaries and analyses.
  • The myth of the left–right paradigm. Inspired by the works of Professor Carroll Quigley,[11] it speaks to the myth that real choice exists between and among political parties.[citation needed]
  • Lionel's Law is a rule he coined that says, "The law always lags behind technology."[12] Lionel is alarmed by society distracted by immediate novelty without future consideration of rapidly developing and unregulated technologies (iPhones, drones, robots, bio-signatures, artificial intelligence) with profound potential for Orwellian deep state cyber-surveillance abuse.
  • Attributed quotes frequently used by Lionel include:
    • "History would be a wonderful thing, if only it were true."[13] ~ [[Leo Tolstoy[14]]] (unsourced attribution as of 2016-08-18)
    • "If voting made a difference it would be illegal." ~ unknown (often misattributed to Emma Goldman,[15] Mark Twain,[16] and Philip Berrigan[17])
    • "I'm not a conspiracy theorist - I'm a conspiracy analyst."[18] ~ Gore Vidal[19]
      • "There will come a day where it is an article of faith to be an American to say that there are no conspiracy theories."[18] ~ Gore Vidal (unsourced attribution as of 2016-08-26)
      • "Conspiracy theory has become a code word for the unspeakable truth."[18] ~ Gore Vidal (unsourced attribution as of 2016-08-26)
    • "Never believe anything until it's officially denied." ~ Claud Cockburn[20] via John Pilger[21]
    • "When the facts change, I change my opinion." ~ John Maynard Keynes (originaly, "When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?"[22])
    • "When you remove all that is impossible, the remains, even though they're improbable, tends to be the truth."[23] ~ Arthur Conan Doyle's[24] Sherlock Holmes[25] featured several variations
    • "You're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts." ~ Daniel Patrick Moynihan[26]

The Lebron Firm[edit]

In 2015 The Lebron Firm was launched headquartered in New York. Described as a "renaissance law firm" dedicated to the representation of plaintiffs in civil actions including auto accident, medical and professional negligence, products liability and civil rights violations including police misconduct and wrongful conviction.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b PDF - New York Chapter Of The National Academy Of Television Arts And Sciences Announces Results Of The 58th Annual New York Emmy Awards, May 2, 2015 - listed 3rd from bottom, Writer: Commentary/Editorial - Lionel, September 25, 2013. (WPIX-TV).
  2. ^ "The Top Talk Radio Audiences"
  3. ^ "2009 Talker's 250, Featuring the Heavy Hundred". Talkers Magazine. February 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  4. ^ Lionel bio at the WPIX website
  5. ^ "Lionel On Trial for Anarchist Thought Crimes". YouTube. James Corbett and Lionel on The Corbett Report and Lionel Nation. 2015-05-14. Retrieved 2016-08-17. 
  6. ^ "We're Anarchists!". YouTube. Lionel Nation. 2015-05-10. Retrieved 2016-08-17. 
  7. ^ "The Voices of Lionel". YouTube. Lionel Nation. 2014-09-06. Retrieved 2016-08-18.  from 0m00s to 2m55s
  8. ^ "Gypsy Kings - Nina Morena". YouTube. Daman Chadha. Retrieved 2016-08-21. 
  9. ^ "Manu Dibango - Soul Makossa". YouTube. M-YAMI. Retrieved 2016-08-21. 
  10. ^ "Lionel Nation YouTube Channel". YouTube. Lionel Nation. Retrieved 2016-08-15. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "The Cops Don't Need No Stinkin' Warrant for Cellphone Location Data". YouTube. Lionel Nation. 2016-06-01. Retrieved 2016-08-11.  from 1m25s to 1m32s
  13. ^ "Trump's Blueprint for Destroying a Hillary Presidency". YouTube. Lionel Nation. 2016-03-20. Retrieved 2016-08-26.  from 0m14s to 0m24s
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  18. ^ a b c "Lionel and Alex Jones Globalism's Worst Nightmare". YouTube. Lionel Nation on InfoWars. 2014-08-12. Retrieved 2016-08-26.  from 8m44s to 9m22s
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  23. ^ "Lionel on RT's 'Breaking the Set' with Abby Martin". YouTube. Lionel Nation on RT. 2014-09-26. Retrieved 2016-08-17.  from 7m07s to 7m21s
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