I've posted quite a few items in recent days about Randi Rhodes, the now-former host of now possibly defunct Nova M Radio. The reason for so much Randi news, is that her radio show was one of the highlights of my listening day. Actually, with rare exceptions, I now have no highlight in my listening day.
I started listening to liberal talk radio in 2004, during the thick of the oppressive Bush/Cheney/Rove alternate universe we used to live in. It was a lifeline to sanity; proof that I wasn't alone, and I wasn't (completely) crazy. Over the next five years, more and more of my friends started coming around to my point of view, culminating in the sea change election we had in November. And now, while I still listen, it is no longer in rapt attention. This is both because of the change in the political climate, and a vast change in the programming offered.
I listen while I work, on my computer. We have no progressive talk-radio in Las Vegas, and I couldn't get a decent AM reception in our building anyway, so it's a great solution. It also lets me pick and choose, which is--it turns out--necessary. Radio is a notoriously fickle business, with shows, hosts and entire formats coming and going willy-nilly. In liberal talk, the problem is magnified. Air America Radio suffered many publicly embarrassing scandals, and money problems, along with a constantly shuffling lineup. At the core though, were two of their best hosts, Randi Rhodes and Rachel Maddow. The hosts were completely different in style, but both had fantastically entertaining and informative shows.
Rachel's TV career took her (mostly) away from radio, and Randi's show has been beset by behind-the-scenes issues for a very long time. After a falling out with AAR, Randi took her show to Nova M Radio, with only a week of downtime. She seemed liberated there, and had no kind words to say about her former employer. But in recent days, there seemed to be a near-identical falling out with Nova M. Which raises the question: is it the employer or the employee that is the problem?
With the talk radio business so top-heavy with conservatives, you'd think there would be a market for progressive voices. And I think that there is, but there also seems to be two issues working at cross-purposes that prevent success. One, is that the radio industry seems unwilling to give the format a fair shot. And two, it would seem that anyone interested in running such a format is tremendously bad at the business. And now, with the absence of Randi and Rachel, and the imminent departure (at least from AAR) of Thom Hartmann, it doesn't leave much from my current outlet (KTLK-AM from Los Angeles) to hold my attention.
There are still some successful shows out there, notably The Stephanie Miller Show and The Ed Schultz Show. I listen to Stephanie (and she's great, by the way), but rarely get to hear more than an hour or so, since it is on so early. Ed sounds a lot like a liberal Rush Limbaugh, so I've never cottoned to him. So, while I anxiously await the return of Randi Rhodes (should it happen), I'm either going to have to sample some of the hosts I've never much listened to, or maybe just break my habit of all-day listening. And maybe it's time for that. After all, we've all known somebody who mainlines Rush, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage, right? Maybe I don't want that kind of reputation!
. . .For those of you keeping score at home, here's where it all stands:
1. Randi Rhodes and Nova M Radio are apparently through with each other. As mentioned in an update to a previous entry, she has issued a vague statement claiming that the problems that have kept Rhodes' show off the air are not of her doing. . .
Read (much) more at: LTR