I'm so happy that Randi Rhodes has departed Air America. I liked her politics, but hated her radio talk show style.
I used to have to grit my teeth when I tuned in KPOJ, Portland's Progressive Talk Station, during the late afternoon hours when Rhodes held forth -- egotistical, interrupting callers, unorganized, factually challenged, irritatingly shrill.
(Comments on this blog post echo my feelings about Rhodes.)
Now Nancy Skinner has replaced her.
Skinner is much easier to listen to: calm, well informed, thoughtful, respectful to guests (even conservative ones), focused on events of the day rather than her own self.
What's disturbing, though, is how Skinner came to be on the air in the fashion she is, because this shows the shakiness of progressive talk radio.
Listening to KPOJ while driving home tonight I heard Mike Malloy speaking about how he understood the problem of job losses, because he'd had three jobs recently.
Malloy and Rhodes were syndicated by Nova M Radio, which has filed for bankruptcy. Rhodes was involved in some sort of contract dispute with Nova M.
In a February 16 KPOJ blog post (ALL CAPS, echoing her over-the-top demeanor) Rhodes said she couldn't reveal details about the "disabling event," but assured her listeners that she wasn't responsible in any way for the dust-up that was keeping her off the air.
Here's some additional news and gossip about the Rhodes-Nova M controversy. Apparently Sheldon Drobny, the founder of Nova M and a co-founder of Air America, attempted suicide a few days prior to the dispute.
At first Nancy Skinner filled in for Rhodes. Then, she took over for Rhodes on Nova M -- joining a sinking broadcasting ship.
After Nova M went bankrupt, a company called On Second Thought took over. Its CEO was Mike Newcomb, a doctor from Arizona (I believe). The takeover announcement was made on the Nova M web site, which now is no more.
As is the short-lived On Second Thought, according to Mike Malloy. Now he's broadcasting independently, as is Nancy Skinner -- based on her tale I heard a few days ago about all the work it took to set up a national satellite feed from Detroit.
Malloy said that he isn't being paid, along with most (if not all) progressive talk show hosts.
Conservatives like Sean Hannity make millions, he said, while liberals like him have profit-sharing deals with radio stations. And sometimes even sell ads themselves.
That's sad. Democrats outnumber Republicans in this country by quite a bit. Obama is riding a cresting wave of progressive politics. Yet progressive talk radio is hanging on by a thread.
I don't undertand it. Nor does this blogger, who is equally disturbed at the situation. Unlike me, he wants Rhodes back on the air, and says:
One thing is clear. (NOT channel) If liberal talk radio is going to continue to exist, there needs to be a concerted effort to gather a consortium of “rich liberal” investors to finance it, and they should hire radio PROFESSIONALS to manage it. There are just too many instances where good-intentioned, but inexperianced people buy networks as a kind of hobby and run it into the ground, and the talent WITH it.
Please, KPOJ, don't bring back Randi Rhodes. You'll lose this Salem listener again if you do.