Friday, May 16, 2014

Liberal Talker Randi Rhodes Retires Today

Sigh. Yes, I know that Barbara Walters is retiring today. And as a pop culture icon, journalist and celebrity interviewer, Walters has really left a mark. If only the Saturday Night Live parodies of her were to be remembered, she would have really made it! But Barbara is nearing 85, so her retirement is no surprise.

Randi Rhodes, a liberal radio host with close to a 30-year career is also retiring today. And while she's not as well known to the American public, I'll miss her more. I understand that if you're a conservative, if you know of Rhodes at all, you probably have a negative impression of her. That's to be understood, because the only things you'd have heard would have been from right-wing sources. But Randi is not the liberal Rush Limbaugh. As brash and perhaps even abrasive as she might occasionally be, Randi never intentionally mislead her audience, or twisted a news story into  a pretzel in order to somehow blame the right for something.

In fact, routinely, Randi tells her audience that she knows the company she keeps on the radio dial, and that we shouldn't trust her contemporaries, or indeed she herself, and to do our homework. In fact, on her web site were homework links. Links to every important story she was discussing. I'm going to miss her a lot. As much as I love The Stephanie Miller Show, appreciate Thom Hartmann, and tolerate Ed Schultz, there's no one like Randi Rhodes. It's going to leave a hole in my day.

I've been listening since mid-2004, shortly after the 5-year experiment of Air America Radio started. Looking for The O'Franken Factor, less for its political content than because I was a fan of Al Franken, I found Randi Rhodes. And I've listened every work day since. On my computer of course, since Las Vegas has never had an outlet that airs liberal talk, though we can field more than one conservative station. And there's the rub. That's a big chunk of why Randi Rhodes is leaving while still at the top of her game: why put in 60-hour weeks of show prep, time on the air, and follow-up on the web site, when your outlets have dwindled to barely double-digits? As a hobbyist blogger, I get it. Why pump that much time and effort into something that has such a shrinking audience?

I've disagreed with Randi on several topics, so I'm no Rhodes ditto head. She has a dim view of bloggers, and other punditry. She has a dim view of people like Rachel Maddow and Franken, who used radio as a stepping-stone to career enrichment, rather than trying to grow liberal radio. But I'd be worried about myself if I found myself in 100% agreement with a radio host. And that's something I really dug about Randi: she makes you think, and occasionally scream back at the radio. She's engaging. And I doubt she'd ever have pulled a Rush, and made merchandise like bumperstickers saying, "Randi's Right!" or tell people they need no other source for news.

So, if you happen to be free and near a computer at 3:00 pm Eastern/Noon Pacific, tune into, and type Randi Rhodes in the search box. It's her last show. I'm recording it. And I'm really going to miss her. Randi, I hope you get some rest, enjoy your time off, and then return in some way, perhaps writing a--horrors--blog of your own, or at least calling into Steph's show on occasion, or even as a regular bit?


  1. I'm in absolute agreement with you that Randi's retirement will leave a gaping hole in her (admittedly, through no fault of her own,) audience. As much as I enjoy Hartmann and Miller and Malloy and Schultz, with Randi, I never felt like the show relied too much on fart jokes, or ever felt like she was selling us anything than her perceptive views of the world. I have neither the time nor expertise to make the connections she made on a daily basis, and I feel like I'm going to become somewhat less wise to what's going on around me.

    Heartbroken, here.

  2. I miss Randi too much to quantify the loss. Although, It does warm my heart that one day the pill-poppin-Fascist, Limbaugh, has to (by hook or crook), leave the LA mkt too!

  3. You certainly deserve to retire because you have taught so many people of all age groups how to research information before spouting it to the world. You will always have my respect and appreciation. Thank you for years of intelligent thought. Barb Alberts/Sacramento, CA/ 58 yrs old.


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