It’s Friday, Ya Bastids!

Today between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. I am not to be disturbed.

I will be sitting down during that time to tune in to the final broadcast of The Randi Rhodes Show.

I know, I know; let the snarky comments commence. Randi who? I thought she already quit. She’s still on the air? I thought he was dead. That kind of thing. Feh.

Since her Air America Radio debut, I have been an avid Rhodes listener. During the illegal, immoral incursion into a sovereign nation that was Iraq, Rhodes’ broadcast was indispensable. No broadcaster at the time was able to lay out the facts regarding Iraq in such a comprehensive, irrefutable manner. Rarely did a Randi Rhodes listener come away from her show without original insights regarding the news of the day. Her show was sublime, and I am really going to miss her.

Randi has stated that her departure is her own choice, and to a large extent I think it’s true. I suppose she’ll want to spend more time with The Howard and more time visiting her beloved Costa Rica, perhaps one day to even succeed at banishing the Brooklyn out of her Spanish. Her take was that she can move on to other ways to try to effect a difference. I hope that’s true, and I hope she does.

I think what she’s not saying is that the show no longer pays her. Her renewal earlier this year still seemed tenuous. XM-Sirius dropped her, and she’s sloughed off affiliates. Her only reliable outlet of late was the Internet network IHeart Radio, which does not offer advertising, only horrible music, during the breaks. Her salient observation regarding this is that these days, even talk radio is horribly polarized, and it’s not good for radio. Once upon a time, liberal and conservative talkers could coexist on the same station. No more. Now, it’s not enough to be able to draw an audience; now, you have to fit the format. This development may not be difficult for the cable news stations. For radio, it’s death.

It’s a shame. Of all the available media, radio is the most vital element to a national infrastructure. Think about it. The hurricane hits and your power is out. You can’t watch your television, you can’t surf the Internet, and your newspaper is not as up-to-the-minute as you require right now. But you do have that little transistor radio in that little junk drawer. And, if you’re lucky, someone will be broadcasting information you might find helpful.

This is not hypothetical for me, as I was in Raleigh for Hurricane Fran. My power was out for a week. Where do you think I turned to for my news and entertainment that week?

This is a country that is standing idly by during a severe commoditization of its vital national infrastructure. Bridges and roads are left to rot and fall down, the power grid is iffy, and, as reported last night on TRMS, our transportation industry has for decades been just dandy with sending out railroad cars that have a habit of exploding spontaneously. But media, too, is part of that infrastructure. It’s not just a business to be snapped up by the next media mogul. It is Revere’s midnight ride, and its strongest link, the radio, has been marginalized, to the point where after today, I will be denied hearing one of its best.

12 segments to beer. And that’s it.

Knockers up.

‘From the Belly of the Beast’

As many of you may not be aware, here in Washington, D.C. there was a big rally on Saturday. Bunch of damned liberals talking about jobs and shit. I didn’t go. I cleaned out my car instead. Watched it on C-SPAN.

There are several reasons I didn’t go, among them that I’m just not a city guy. I work downtown, and therefore I prefer my recreational efforts to take place closer to home across the river. Besides, a march is only as effective as the media coverage it receives. I think the media pretty much ignored this one, as I thought they would. No, this rally at the end of the month is the one to be at…I won’t be there, either, but I will be playing host to a lot of friends and family who are coming to town just for the Stewart/Colbert thing.

Speaking of media, it would be uncharacteristic of me not to say “I told you so” regarding something. And, here it is.

As you might recall, several years ago an effort was launched to create a national radio network that would espouse liberal ideas. Indeed, at the outset, you might recall that this blogger was a fervent fan of the network.

Of course, all Air America Radio fans are familiar with the slow-motion, bouncy tumble from jubilation to disappointment to disappointments. The network’s glory days were really something else, excellent content, a lovely buzz behind it, star power and emerging new talent. God, it was fun. But as AAR stumbled across bad decision to worse decision, many AAR fans also became little radio experts, thumbing our noses at the call to fire Mark and Marc, hissing when they RIF’d Kent Jones, and so on, and so on. And, it was true, mismanagement more than any other aspect is what finally saw the end to this marvelous network.

One of the biggest points on my “Fix Air America” list was thus: How can you be a national media entity whose entire content is made up of discussing public policy without a serious presence in Washington, D.C.?

It was weird. They just ignored us. It’s like the folks who ran the place were convinced that Congress meets in Manhattan. I’ll never forget the first time I understood this; there was this huge anti-war rally here, and did they bother sending a soul? Hell no. They just pushed the button on the “Ring of Fire” broadcast and went on. How the hell these people intended to be taken seriously as a media outlet for discussion of public policy without a presence in D.C. I’ll never know.

And, guess wot? These talkers are starting to figure out that shit all for themselves.

Bill Press has broadcast from here for a long time. Ed Schultz was here briefly until he got his TV show. Randi Rhodes moved her show here in May 2009. And, tomorrow, Thom Hartmann begins broadcasting from here with assistance from the Talk Radio News Service.

“This is a great opportunity for us, broadcasting from the belly of the beast,” said Hartmann. “For a political talk show it doesn’t get any better…”


Several years ago, this silly blogger suggested that a presence in Washington, D.C. would be a crucial aspect for a national radio network trying to frame policy debates. Said network should, perhaps, have talk radio programs based here, might establish a news bureau here, might even strike a deal with a locally-based satellite radio network for studio space and resources, for instance, argued silly little blogger. Now, it seems, these liberal talkers can’t wait to crack open a studio here.

One can hope this might mean that Press, Rhodes, and Hartmann might try to pool resources somehow, perhaps even use their combined presence here to get on the air here. That’s right. These three might broadcast from here, but if you’re a Washingtonian looking for moonbat radio, it’s off to the Internet for you. Sad, sad, sad.

Liberal Talk Radio Will Eat Itself

Another casualty in Moonbat Radio land, as reported by LTR: Peter B. Collins is retiring from the radio biz. Gosh, this economy is really starting to look like it’s whupping our asses. I like ol’ Peter B. all right. He guested for Mad Mike for a bit I think…or was he just guesting on XM while XM decided what to do with its America Left? Maybe that was it. I know I’ve spent a week or so listening to Peter B., and I didn’t mind it, as 1A1M shows go.

BradBlog comments thusly, and I sort of agree:

…the playing field is indisputably rigged against non-rightwing talk radio. It’s not a matter of “Progressive Talk” having failed in America, it’s a matter of progressives, to this day, not having been given a level playing field on which to compete. Period.

Of course this is true to some extent. Boss Limbaugh is owned by Clear Channel, and so therefore he gets syndicated to the universe. Steph argues that she consistently beats Meghan McCain Basher Laura Inghram but is in like a third of the markets.

But the fact of the matter is that the deck is usually stacked against liberals. Lookit all of the happy horseshit this country just lived through and how angry most folks were at the Booshies, and then lookit how hard we had to work to elect Barack Obama. We had to get everyone we could out to vote because only a thick healthy margin would yield us the White House because these boneheads own the voting machines. The playing field will always incline against us in whatever endeavor we attempt. Means we have to run harder, that’s all. So, ya’ll need to think about departing from the 1A1M* format. Try something different. Pluck from other broadcast models. I’m telling youse guys: You’ve got a tilted gridiron, sure, but also, you suck at radio. There, I said it.

Look, I’ve laid out my program here before to save liberal talk, but here it is again: Establish a presence in Washington, D.C. Develop a serious news-gathering arm and flex it. Cover protests, cover Congressional hearings, cover culture. Make a strong ensemble show for morning drive time and get behind it. Lose your tendency to be a bunch of starfuckers. Get Randi Rhodes back at 3. Depart from the 1A1M formula. Better exploit the Internet and your relationship with Sirius/XM. Syndicate ad teams should find advertising ideas in the aisles the local Whole Foods and in the backs of the Utne Reader and should not accept shitty advertising, especially get-rich-quick schemes that might just victimize your audience.

The fact is that if liberal talk radio is going to beat Boss Limbaugh, it’s going to have to be much, much better than he is. I still argue that AAR had the right idea in the beginning, placing bright, interesting personalities into the studios and seeing what sparks flew. Unfortunately, much of the liberal talk on the radio is just 1A1M unimaginitive programming, and that isn’t going to translate into an overflowing slate of quality.

If you take a crap on an uneven playing field, all the crap might do for you is run downhill a little.

*One Asshole, One Mic

Anecdotal Economic Indicators and Montel Williams

I have been a listener of The Howard Stern Show since he came to Cleveland in 1992. This morning, Stern’s show provided an excellent, albeit anecdotal and extremely distasteful, economic indicator.

Stern has a “game show” called the “Mexican Delivery Guy Game.” Here’s how it goes. There’s a hot porn star or two in his studio dressed in little. They order some food, and the gentleman who shows up with the food is given a choice: You may either take an extravagant propina, or tip, or you may feel up this beautiful woman.

I know. It’s dreadful. Here’s the thing though: Three for three this morning they took the tip.

That’s never happened. They always take the broad. And, the sad thing is that Howard usually ends up giving them a few bucks for their trouble anyway. But these fellas, 100 percent of them, leapt at the chance for a chunk of green rather than getting to grope boobies. I don’t know about you, but to me, that speaks volumes about the Busch Depression we’re in right now.


By the way, more power to South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford for his principled stand regarding funds allocated to his state by the graces of the Recovery & Reinvestment Act. I hope that more Republigoat governors will take their portion of the funds targeted for stimulus and use them for the practical purpose of paying down their states’ long-term debt instead of using it to shore up infrastructure and create jobs in a state where unemployment is at 10.4 percent. After all, Republigoat governors, nothing wins elections for you guys like a strong, principled stand even in the face of actual facts. So, come on fellas. Turn the money down! For Jesus!


Speaking of Jesus: God bless Frank Schaeffer, who writes on the Huffington Post to ask:

How can anyone who loves our country support the Republicans now?

That’s a question we here at the Serious Poo-Poo Institute of Technology have been trying to answer for years, sir. Good luck with that, and, welcome to the light.


Is anyone else here in utter awe and wonder at Bernard Madoff’s explanation as to how his “ponzi scheme” worked? Seriously, when one thinks of a “ponzi scheme,” one thinks there’s a bit of clever sleight-of-hand to it, no? Not in this case. Madoff would go up to you and go, hey, can I like have some of your money? I’ll invest it for ya and shit. And you’d go sure, Bernie, here’s some money! Invest it for me, please! And he’d take your money and he’d put it in the bank. Then he’d do that like 50 more times until he had a billion dollars in the bank. Then, a few weeks later, you’re all like, hey Bernie, where’s my money, dude? And he’s all like, yeah, I’ll get you man. And he’d run to the ATM and draw out like double what you gave him, and he’d bring it to you and be all like, yeah, man, I so invested it. I invested the HELL out of that mofo, beeyotch! And you’re all like, cool, Bernie, thanks? And that’s what happened until the little fartknocker ran out of money and got caught? Really?!? (With Seth and Amy)?

I find it rather disappointing, myself.


I don’t think Michael Steele is pro-choice, and I don’t think he’s “pro-life.”

I just think he doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground.


News on the moonbat radio front: LTR reports that Air America Radio has snapped up a new talent: Montel Williams. What is it with AAR hiring folks who previously did shitty afternoon sideshows with paternity tests and other freaks? Was it not bad enough to have hired Jerry friggin’ Springer? Who’s next? Rikki Lake? Sally Jesse Raphael? Judge Judy? And when’s AAR going to get it that they need to stop facilitating nothing but 1A1M* shows? Come on, dum-dums. Let’s do some radio here!

Well, I guess I should listen before I judge. But still. Jeez.

*One Asshole, One Mic

Sweet Merciful Crap!

So, NovaM Radio, home to Randi Rhodes and Mad Mike Malloy, has not only (allegedly) failed financially, but there’s a little bit of batshit crazy going on over there, allegedly. LTR has the scoop, as usual, in the form of a letter from Rhodes’ attorney. They’ve gone bankrupt. They stopped paying people two weeks ago. And Sheldon Drobny has had a nervous breakdown and has tried to off himself. (Allegedly.) Holy shit.

I mean, I’ve stopped being such a faithful Randi listener. I’m more inclined these days to aspire to hear Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, and Ron Kuby. Rachel’s radio show is essentially no longer and she’s better on the TV machine anyways. Randi can be one of the best in-depth folks on an issue, but she’s often not, not these days. I am utterly sorry she’s apparently on the fall because that broad taught me a lot. This blog wishes her and Mr. Drobny well.

Again With The Moonbat Radio Bloviating

I have written lyrics to the theme music that introduces “The Ron Kuby Show.” I must write to Mr. Kuby and ask him what that music is. It is awesome.

Sing along:

Hey, Ron Kuby!
You’re so groovy!
Rockin’ Ron Kuby!
Do you like movies?
You…don’t have cooties.

Of course it’s stupid. But it is a piece of music that seems to me to demand stupid lyrics.

I recently heard Kuby interview Andrew Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital, who argues against government stimulus. Schiff begins with a very good point: Where the hell does the money come from? He concludes, correctly, that the government will have to borrow it or to print it, neither good options.

Schiff then argues that a stimulus will be injected to maintain artificial growth and to interrupt a natural correction. We are, he says, and I’m paraphrasing, floating on a bubble of wealth that is sorely overvalued. Government intervention, he says, will only prolong the bloat.

However, I am sorry to say, both interviewer and interviewee here have missed a vital point. The bloated wealth of the USA is not homogeneous. It is polarized, the effect of 40 years of war on the middle class. Opposing a stimulus bill—the purpose of which is to get cash into the hands of the middle class, who are more inclined than any other actors in our economy to spend it—based on a theory of overall wealth and a need for correction, is misguided. Believe me, I’d love for the Paris Hiltons of the world to face a correction in the states of their wealth. Not a good idea, though, if it ends up that those at the top feel it as a pea through 92 mattresses while the middle class ends up with its dick in the dirt.

Which reminds me: I’d like to once again bloviate about moonbat radio.

Bad news, liberal talk is dead in D.C. The station 1260 AM will flip or has flipped to biz talk. Of course, the right-wang blogs are giddy.

Air America Radio ought to have read this blog years ago, when it argued this: When AAR made its deal with XM (with offices right here in The Nation’s Capital), it ought to have leveraged the deal to have a real on-air presence here. An entire radio network dedicated to discussing public policy cannot be taken seriously without some sort of broadcasting presence in Washington. It is one of a few reasons I think AAR has not been everything we’d hoped it’d be.

It has me wondering if Big Ed did read KIAV when we laid out that plan. He’s made the move. Too late to save 1260 AM, though.

As previously noted, there are right-wang bloggoos who are giddy about this development. Take note of that. These are folks who are elated out of their minds when the idea marketplace shrinks and who are consternated as hell that AAR and other liberal radio outlets even exist. Again, the official KIAV definition of the terms “liberal” and “conservative:”

A liberal is somebody who, when he first encounters Voltaire’s declaration that “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it,” gets misty-eyed and says, “That’s beautiful.” A conservative is somebody who, when he first encounters the quote, clenches his fist and says, “Who’s this Voltaire faggot?”

The fact is that liberal talk failed here not because it lacks merit. If it did, would Danny Snyder bother giving Big Ed a try on WTNT? No, it failed because a guy with a bullhorn has more broacasting power than does 1260AM. I would have loved to support my local affiliate rather than turning to satellite and Internet and podcasts. But it was not possible. And what sort of promotion went behind that station? Any? Any at all? Hello?

Of all the markets where liberal talk should flourish, one would think it’d be here. D.C. is a democratic stronghold and a town of wonks. But AAR set itself up as a New York market first and foremost and didn’t ever seem to care about supporting its lineup here or about being present here. Now, there are two liberal yappers based here, Bill Press and Big Eddie. Which is great. Now they need to be on the radio here.

Liars Liars

Joe Klein is very observant.

Politics has always been lousy with blather and chicanery. But there are rules and traditions too. In the early weeks of the general-election campaign, a consensus has grown in the political community—a consensus that ranges from practitioners like Karl Rove to commentators like, well, me—that John McCain has allowed his campaign to slip the normal bounds of political propriety. The situation has gotten so intense that we in the media have slipped our normal rules as well. Usually when a candidate tells something less than the truth, we mince words. We use euphemisms like mendacity and inaccuracy…or, as the Associated Press put it, “McCain’s claims skirt facts.” But increasing numbers of otherwise sober observers, even such august institutions as the New York Times editorial board, are calling John McCain a liar. You might well ask, What has McCain done to deserve this? What unwritten rules did he break? Are his transgressions of degree or of kind?

Keith may be sorry that MSNBC brought the Good Doc on board:

“The Rachel Maddow Show” was MSNBC’s top-rated broadcast Tuesday night, unseating Keith Olbermann’s “Countdown” as the network’s top show. Maddow drew 1.8 million total viewers compared to Olbermann’s 1.6 million. Maddow also outdrew Olbermann in the advertiser-friendly 25-54 demographic, taking 25,000 more young adults than her lead-in “Countdown.”

Even Joe Scarborough, who sparred with Ms. Maddow during convention coverage, had terrific things to say about this development.

TV folk are some of the craziest folk I know, as Krusty the Clown might say. But she is a good, good person. We probably don’t agree on anything politically. But she’s respectful of people, and it’s great. File this under, one of those good people doing well.

Which underlines why Maddow is destined for superstardom. She is a scrappy liberal who is so obviously smart, talented, and attractive that she can’t be denied, not even by those who disagree with the progressive world view vehemently. My lady friend swears I have a crush and will give me heck for this entry. But who amongst us doesn’t have a little Rachel crush goin’ on? Who?


Damn I'm Good

On Nov. 8, 2007, KIAV made the following prediction.”I predict that Rachel Maddow of the Air America Radio will have her own television program within three years.”

If you’ve been watching MSNBC this week, you know we’re a step closer to seeing my prediction bear fruit. Ms. Maddow has filled in for David Gregory on “Race For The White House” and for Keith on “Countdown.” In the latter role, she has been nothing short of leviathan. I always enjoyed Keith’s former favorite sub, Allison Stewart, and not just because Allison is, well, damned hot. Allison didn’t just show up and read, she understood the show and reflected its core character the best she could. Ms. Maddow, though, takes that a step further, infusing Keith’s chair with her own awesome broadcast personnae. Months ago, she initially took the gig and was obviously finding her TV legs. After this week, it is safe to say that she is very comfortable in the TV anchor chair. It was a joy to watch.

Even a greater joy:

For clues about who might be next to get a show on MSNBC, viewers need not have looked further than “Countdown” earlier this month. For eight nights beginning just before the Fourth of July, Rachel Maddow, the host of a program on Air America, the liberal talk-radio network, served as a substitute for the vacationing Keith Olbermann.

“At some point, I don’t know when, she should have a show,” said Phil Griffin, hours before he was promoted on Wednesday to president of MSNBC. “She’s on the short list. It’s a very short list. She’s at the top.”

At the moment every slot at night on MSNBC is taken, with David Gregory at 6 handing off to Chris Matthews at 7, and with Dan Abrams at 9 following Mr. Olbermann at 8. But some shuffling could be in the offing; Mr. Matthews’s contract, for example, is up next year.

For her part, Ms. Maddow, who has been a ubiquitous presence as a political analyst on MSNBC this campaign season, said she is ready whenever the call should come. To hasten that process, she recently hired Mr. Olbermann’s agent, Jean Sage.

“They know I would love to do it,” Ms. Maddow, 35, said over a recent lunch below 30 Rockefeller Plaza. “I’m going to let them decide what they want to do about me. I’m saying yes every time they ask me to be on television.”

Except of course when Fox “News” wanted to ask her about the Madonna/Britney smooch. Heh.

Don't Let The Door Bounce Your Boobies On Your Way Out

I was far far away from Leftblogistan last week. I was in Las BlahBlah, Nev., schmoozing and conventioneering for my day job. So. Did anything happen in radioland while I was gone? Artie Lange tried to kill his assistant? You don’t say.

Seriously. I am utterly proud of Randi Rhodes; I was last week and I am today as I anticipate her first Nova M broadcast (note in this updated entry that I had hoped she’d go to Nova M and give the stealth upstart network a shot in the arm).

Too often these days our media darlings, who make livings spending hours a day in front of live open microphones, say things that go against the grain and are expected immediately to repent or die. Too often, they repent, as if society at large has the pinkies in a thumb-lock. I am the last person in the world to defend Don Imus, for example, but I don’t think the man had to meet with Sharpton, I don’t think he needed to cry, I don’t think he needed to hire black people for his new show. I think every step Imus made after the NHH incident was only so much “I have lots of black friends.” I don’t think David Shuster needed to apologize. I don’t think broadcasters should have to apologize for accidentally saying “shit” into a mic they didn’t think was live. And I certainly don’t think Randi Rhodes owed anyone in the universe an apology for things she said on a stage before an audience in San Francisco that was * not for air *.

Air America Radio has really painted itself into a ceiling corner here. When AAR first started, it created, owned, and/or vigorously branded its programs. Now, it hardly owns anything it broadcasts. Lionel was its own show before AAR grabbed it, and half the listeners don’t like it anyways. The Thom Hartmann Show is owned and operated solely by the broadcaster. Randi had honed her craft for years in Florida, but AAR had branded her show, giving her the national syndication and prominence she wanted. AAR created TRMS, but the Doc has her eyes on a career in television.

So now today AAR will broadcast The Celebritard Hour with Det. Munch (shocked, I’m just shocked that the network doesn’t have a new program together and ready to go and/or that they don’t use the most obvious solution, to give the spot to Sammy Seder, about whom most AAR listeners are rabid and fiercely loyal), and the Nova M stream will get absolutely slammed at 3 p.m. The network’s Founders Club will grow by leaps and bounds, helping the network prosper and become downright competetive with the increasingly corporate and punchdrunk Air America Radio, which will continue to strip down its programming schedule until it’s just Richard Greene and his “Every Breath You Take” bumper music 12 hours a day. Greene will go mad and rip out his own eyes, but it will make very interesting radio for a minute.

I have figured out how to stream Nova M on my Treo, so I will be listening to Randi on Nova M today. I think it’s the beginning of something really great.

4:06 p.m. I have this to say for Nova M’s flagship: Their ad department is certainly on the ball; more on the ball than any AAR affiliate I’ve ever heard. They’ve clearly used enterprise and creativity to grab advertising dollars in their community, and they do it with an awareness in mind of their intended audience.

Editor’s Note: This entry was updated since April 10.


  • I am glad to have been away and very busy last week because I still do not know what the hell Barack Obama said or why some people think it’s bad, and I do not care. The week has disconnected me from the presidential race, and for that I am thankful and wish to remain so for as long as is possible. I am so sick of it I could vomit. Screw it: Larry Craig for President!