Bob Shallit

Radio show fuels big expansion for Sacramento financial planning firm

Scott Hanson, left, and Pat McClain record an episode of their “Money Matters” financial planning show.
Scott Hanson, left, and Pat McClain record an episode of their “Money Matters” financial planning show. Jonathan Coyne

Sacramento financial planning company Hanson McClain Advisors is embarking on a national expansion, with a radio talk show serving as the key engine of growth.

Partners Scott Hanson and Pat McClain started the expansion last May when they inked a syndication deal to take their long-running, local “Money Matters” show to KGO (810 AM) in San Francisco.

That led to plenty of new business in the Bay Area, the hiring of one financial adviser there and plans to hire two more.

This month, the call-in show – which runs live Saturday mornings on Sacramento’s KFBK (1530 AM) – began airing in Los Angeles, San Diego and Denver.

As many as three advisers are now being added in each of those markets to meet with listeners who may want to hire the firm for their financial needs. (The company requires investment assets of $100,000 for new clients.)

Next up, the partners are looking to go into Portland, Seattle and Dallas, then into Arizona and points farther east as opportunities arise. The five-year goal: Double, to $4 billion, the amount of money Hanson McClain manages for clients.

McClain said the partners use a soft sell on the show, which features answers to questions from listeners who call in.

The only direct pitch is for listeners to check out the firm’s website,, which has been retooled into an “academy” with webinars, ebooks, financial tools and video and audio clips.

“I never say, ‘Come see us,’” McClain said of his on-air approach. “I think that’s cheap. It ruins it.”

But the company does radio and digital advertising in each new market – with impressive results. In Los Angeles, for example, nine appointments with potential customers already have been scheduled since the start of the year.

The plan for now is to have employees in new markets operate out of day-use offices, like Executive Suites, instead of locations with long-term leases. Costs also are reduced by having back-office functions – like scheduling and financial transactions – handled from Hanson McClain’s Sacramento office.

The company’s guide to hiring: Bring in experienced, analytical people with good communication skills.

As McClain put it, “If you can’t say it like my mother would understand it, you shouldn’t be in our industry.”

McClain said he and Hanson began thinking about expanding the business after they sold their offshoot company, Liberty Reverse Mortgage, in 2007 for $50 million.

“We realized we really enjoyed building that company,” he said.

The remaining Sacramento financial planning business was successful “by any stretch,” McClain said.

“But,” he added, “it’s more fun when you’re really, really growing.”

Wine talk

Speaking of radio shows, local wine writer Rick Kushman and Napa wine expert Paul Wagner are developing a following for “Bottle Talk With Rick & Paul.”

The 15-month-old show, which airs on KVON (1440 AM) in Napa and streams online at, is sort of a “Car Talk” for wine enthusiasts – a funny, irreverent look at a business that takes itself way too seriously.

Kushman, a wine commentator on Capital Public Radio and former Sacramento Bee reporter, said the one-hour show’s main goal is to debunk the idea you have to be an expert to order a bottle of wine or talk about it.

“We want people to think of wine as a fun thing and that whatever they think about it is OK,” he said. “There’s no wrong thing to do except maybe drink from the bottom of the glass instead of the top because that would be hard.”

Each show features a bit of wine history and a segment with listeners’ questions, ranging from the meaning of “oaky” to how many bubbles are in a bottle of Champagne. (The somewhat tongue-in-cheek answer to that one: 5 million, according to Kushman, who was able to cite a French university study on the topic.)

But the most popular segment is called “Really Horrible Wine Writing” and pokes fun at pretentious critics who use “weird, unfathomable” language.

A recent example: The pair laughingly took to task one writer who said a certain chenin blanc had hints of wax melon and accents of granite.

First off, Kushman said, there’s no such thing as wax melon. And granite?

“What does that taste like?” he asked. “Granite’s a stone.”