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 IHeart.com, 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?