Are You Ready? We're Going 'Round the Dial…


This morning I got into the April Fool spirit and finally listened to Air America. If I'd been on the ball I would have tuned in earlier for Marc Maron's show Morning Sedition: Maron has been known to be funny in the past, and it's possible that he'll be funny in his new gig. Instead I hear Lizz Winstead, Chuck D, and Rachel Maddow whining about the media—apparently a theme for the new network.

Folks: As of this week, you are the media. I know that the right-wing talk radio hosts like to go on about bias too, but guess what? True believers may love that stuff, but other people think it's boring.

Of course, it's possible that it's the true believers that Air America is aiming to reach. Rush Limbaugh and company helped mobilize a lot of people who already agreed with them, and the results included the Republican sweep of 1994. Air America might hope to do the same thing—though if so, it has the disadvantage of being a centralized national network instead of an eclectic mix of national and grassroots voices. (Indeed, the new network is actually trampling on local radio.) The modern Democratic counterpart to the conservative talk radio of 10 years ago isn't Air America; it's MeetUp, MoveOn, and blogs.

Interestingly, the reaction to Air America among my friends on the left has been at least as negative as the reaction among my friends on the right. One complained that the programs "seemed like a lot of shrill ranting—like liberals trying so hard to sound like right-wing talk show hosts that they adopted all their kneejerk mannerisms as well. It sounded closed-minded. And the same disjointed breaks for commercial fodder…the revolution will not be broadcast here, I'm afraid."

I'll have to listen a while longer before I can sign off on that sentiment, but so far it rings true.

In other liberal radio news, Clear Channel is about to give Jesse Jackson a weekly show. Make of that what you will.

NEXT: Abu Sayyaf: An Update

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  1. Thanks, Adam. I’ll be sure to tune in earlier tomorrow morning — Maron’s the one name on the roster that really interested me. (Ordinarily I’d be interested to hear Chuck D as well, but I’ve seen the man speak extemporaneously and … well, let’s just say I prefer his records.)

  2. Pat Buchanan is not a ballsy guest. A protectionist who opposed the war on terror, he’s tailor-made for the network.

  3. Wow- three Air America H&R threads in 2 days-

    I guess there were just too many whining for one thread to contain.

  4. Janeane Garofalo is a blonde now?

  5. Critic, is that woof as in “she is a dog” or “she is a hottie”? This libertarian is shyly voting for the latter! 🙂

  6. I agree, AA sounded much like its conservative counterparts. The only reasoning I could see is maybe they can trick the foolish portion of their counterparts audience base into switching over.

    Take yesterday for instance, the host, Rhoads I think, she wouldn’t let Nader get 2 words in and treated him like absolute shit. Get the “we hate Ralph” rednecks listening to that and bam, they start listening to the liberal slant without even knowing it!

    Although, Howard Stern has been sounding more like the liberal talk show progressives have been wanting, bathroom humor included!

  7. Swamp,


  8. Jeff Clothier,
    How about Neil Peart? Isn’t he an Objectivist or something? Whatever happened with the trouble Alex Lifeson (Zivojinovich) and family got into in Florida on New Year’s Eve?

  9. Rush is this H&R reader’s (ideologically) favorite band, with 2112 based off of Anthem, how couldn’t I be?

  10. They were bashing the Bush Administration’s drive to war all day yesterday, and now they’ve got Hillary Clinton on–Hillary, who’s been trying to outhawk Bush on Iraq (as well as that wall Israel’s building)—and there’s not a peep of questioning put to her about her stance on Iraq, why she went along with Bush on it.

    And bizarrely, they never seem to give out a phone number to call in, and have no email address so you can contact the website or presumably the show hosts….It’s a closed loop….What kind of talk radio is this?

  11. da duchess:

    Al Franken’s #:

  12. Stern a liberal? I don’t think so. He’s more Libertarian of the Bill Maher species than any Liberal, says his stance on drugs, moral passivity, and free speech (uber alles).

    I would listen to Air America if the likes of James Carville would grace the network with a show. With respects to Garofalo and Franken I don’t think I could listen to their satirical war of attrition on any basis, it’s an empty niche that might have been vacant for a reason, thanks, but I don’t think I’ll listen to Liberal Radio no matter how much sh*t they talk.

  13. Neil Peart is an objectivist.

  14. “Set your alarm to Morning Sedition and keep us on as you make your way to that charmingly decorated cubicle where you help rich people increase the disparity between their bank account and yours. We?ll give you the day?s headlines and political news, without that annoying, smiley, blow-dried double-talk the other media use to avoid offending anyone who might jeopardize their access to Sweet Lady Ad Revenues.”

    So what’s the purpose of this program? Sounds like they mean to scare away all of AA’s advertisers and drive the listeners to suicide.

  15. > suicide.

    preferably in classic postal employee fashion.

  16. XM Satellite carries AirAmerica. XMSR is up over six percent tonight in after hours trading.

  17. The Revolution will not be broadcast, it will be live.

  18. I’m listening to Air America right now. They’re interviewing John, the artist formerly known as Cougar, Mellencamp about Farm Aid. He’s talking out of his ass about factory farms and ag biotech. About the level of rant one finds here on Hit and Run. (oops)

    Mostly, so far, it’s just plain BORING.

  19. Didn’t the pundits here pronounce Dennis Miller’s show DOA a few weeks ago?

  20. Reason must lead the news/pundit world in Kinks fans.

  21. What I’ve heard so far yesterday was pretty poor. It was more boring than funny… I think regardless of what end of the political spectrum you’re from.

    I think there’s also a major problem for ANY liberal talk radio format… that the left is so segmented into their individual causes and victimology. So any talk show is only going to appeal to a relatively small segment and turn off the rest.

    My perception is that the right is much more uniform in their values and beliefs of what their objectives should be. So Rush and others appeal to a wider audience than any left host could.

  22. Oh, I think Rush appeals to a very eclectic audience. Geddy Lee is getting a little long in the tooth, but I heard them live last winter, and they still rock severely!

  23. Okay, Al Franken said something funny:

    “In the last state of the union address, the president said they had found dozens of weapons of mass destruction related programs… twelve of which were coloring books.”

  24. Air America should be working to grow the audiences of existing radio personalities they like, not spring a new product on a national audience. What does Al Franken know about radio?

  25. When Limbaugh gets buried, will he be called Mahogany Rush?

    “Less Rock, More Jive”

  26. At least they make it easy to offer constructive criticism. They put their snail mail address on their web page. And Jesse, Marc Maron’s show this morning was pretty damn good – Pat Buchanan was a guest…pretty ballsy for the new liberal network.

  27. Ms. Garofalo is indeed cute. Not as cute as she used to be on Ben Stillers’s old sketch comedy show, but after all these years, who is? What is ridiculous is how, in a Naomi Wolf-ish manner, she’s always complaining about the Hollywood meanies who prefer to hire the even-cuter. I guess radio will solve one of her problems.

    What the heck, Tina Fey is filling the “smart, hot comedienne who is supposedly unpretty” niche nowadays, anyway.

    (never was that cute, himself)

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