If you didn’t know this is a sad day for radio… Randi Rhodes is calling it a career and I totally feel her pain. It’s always said that progressive radio cannot work and the flop that was AirAmerica proves it… Well let me tell you that, that premise is an outright LIE! Progressive radio was hijacked by everyone along the way – even today when you look at what passes for the format! It should have been about discovering and discussing ideas with a chance at uncovering answers along the way… Instead it became a stepping stone and a propaganda tool for the self-indulgent rich that wanted to be marketed differently to the masses. They know, that you know that something is very wrong with the system,,, so they created a voice that was totally beholden to themselves in order to give YOU the illusion of a debate.
I have to be honest; I haven’t listened to the format in quite some time. Maybe it’s because progressive radio then and now only wants to be a place that rich non-brown people go to get their “hood pass” validated or it’s a safe place to go to have a good cry with a nice reassuring pat on the back for the troubles they’ve seen.
In the case of our local “progressive” voice – it’s no wonder its ratings are the worst in Chicago radio… It is hard to believe with such strong programming as “constant gaps of silence”, “commercial glitches” and mega rich lawyers championing everything EXCEPT anything that substantively empowers women, blacks or Latinos… Randi leaves an arena that supplies ample fart jokes, cable news propaganda and sex organ shaped sippy cups…
It was a great thing that could have been and knowing that Randi has finally had enough of the game really says a lot because she IS a true believer and a warrior.
I am grateful, honored and lucky that I got the chance to be part of the AirAmerica brand back in 2004. I WAS THERE WHEN IT STARTED AND PHYSICALLY TOSSED OUT ONTO THE CORNERS OF FAIRBANKS AND OHIO ON ITS FINAL CHICAGO BROADCAST THE NIGHT OF APRIL 27 2004.
The coolest thing about being there was knowing that this could have been the start of something that was greatly needed AND that the personalities (outside of Randi Rhodes) were all pretty much rank amateurs. It gave a tangible path and it was refreshing to hear a point of view on the radio that wasn’t coming from the corporate polished elite. I knew within my first couple of shifts that I would one day have a show AND on that show I would try to do some of the same things as the “Morning Sedition”, “The Young Turks”, “Unfiltered with Chuck D” or “Randi Rhodes” …
When the brass at AAR asked me what shift I wanted to tech, I requested and got the midday shift so I could work Randi’s show specifically. I drew a lot of inspiration from her as she was refreshingly hostile, unapologetic and confrontational. She believed what she believed and made you do homework to dispute her points. I was hooked!
After the demise of AirAmerica I went on to other pursuits but I followed her (as a listener) all the way to WCPT and that led directly to finding and taking a position at the station. Shortly thereafter the PTB’s blacklisted her for all the things that made her great! As Randi states in the attached article “it was the worse of times and the best of times”.
Randi has been buried by the Powers for the last decade or so but just knowing that she was out there broadcasting was reassuring. It says a lot about where we are that she has decided to pull her own plug. It says even more that she had to wait until she was completely autonomous before naming names. Sometimes I feel guilty that I just don’t spill my guts about all that I know to be true – BUT I also know that I have to keep working so my children can have some security. The broadcasters that truly and genuinely care can only drop hints and hope that YOU the public hear and act on what we are trying to convey… This war isn’t even close to over, we are losing and we are another soldier down. Randi you’ll be missed and thank you for everything!
P.S. I saved this audio, it’s funny that it was almost exactly 10 years ago…
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