Friday, June 08, 2007

Stephanie Miller talks to Buzzflash, and it's better than "ParisGate"

Hi everyone! Miss me?

Well, it's been pretty quiet around here. Must be something to do with the advent of Summer. And with everything so beautiful, warm and green outside, do you really thing I want to be sitting inside writing on a blog? Course not! But I guess it must be a midwestern thing, where we take full advantage of the seemingly one month of Summer that we do get.

Plus, news around this time of the year seems to be somewhat slow. I guess I could have done what everyone else is doing and talk about how Paris Hilton's jailing is affecting our country. Can you believe this? Last night, I decided to flip around the so-called cable news channels, which is something I often avoid. Needless to say, I was appalled. On CNN, it was all Paris. Same with Headline News, MSNBC, FOX Noise and all the other usual suspects. Now, that's pretty appalling, considering how much coverage is being devoted to this person who's main accomplishment in life is... nothing. She's not a noteworthy actress. Though she did allegedly record an album, nobody bought it. And there's a reality show that's shoved somewhere on an upper-tier cable channel. So, outside of demonstrating her, ahem, sword-swallowing techniques on pirated homemade videos, she is not noteworthy in the least. Do I care if she's spending a few weeks in city lockup? I really don't. Well, at least they stopped talking about that TB guy who flew to Europe. I wish I could tell you the other important news stories of this past week, but outside of Scooter Libby, I really can't, because the TV news cartel deems Paris Hilton as the only thing really going on worth mentioning.

As for talk radio, I've been avoiding it lately, so I have no idea how "ParisGate" is playing out there. I get the feeling that it's more of a big deal on conservative radio, since they seem more obsessed with silly celebrity (and pseudo-celebrity) gossip and tabloid trashiness than progressive radio, which is a bit more into hard news. I confess I've been listening mostly to the local classic rock station, where there ain't a peep about it outside of the wacky morning show.

Speaking of wacky morning shows, as a way of washing this Paris nonsense right out of your hair, I present to you another great interview in Buzzflash's ongoing series of conversations with progressive talk radio hosts. And this one may be the most entertaining yet. This time around, Stephanie Miller talks about her show, the recent simulcast with MSNBC, doing progressive radio, and when she first got interested in politics. As expected, it's a very funny and breezy interview, and definitely worth a read.

On her present on-air crew:

Jim Ward, Chris Lavoie and I worked together on my last show on ABC Radio Network, and we've been friends ever since then. We kind of share a brain. We've all been friends, like ten years, going back to ABC Radio Network. I think a lot of these morning shows just throw people together. And I've certainly had that happen to me, too. But you really can't buy chemistry. Either you have it or you don't. I think part of that does come from just knowing each other, and being friends. Some days, I can't believe I get paid for this. I'm just hanging out with my two best friends, you know, laughing myself silly over something ridiculous.

On doing progressive radio:

I've always felt like we have to do a comedy show first. It just happens to be hosted by a progressive. You know, I did my show successfully on right-wing stations, and so did Randi Rhodes, and so did Ed Schultz. But none of us could get syndicated, because there weren't enough stations to be on. Obviously only a very few right-wing stations would put a liberal on. But the ones that did, we did really well. I had the number-one show on KABC here in Los Angeles before I was on a progressive station. Anyway, my point is, what's happened is it's kind of ghettoized radio in a way. Now it's like, oh, you belong there, and the right-wingers belong here. That's the thing that's a little frustrating right now. Progressive talk had about sixty stations; conservatives were on six hundred. Clearly, we'd all like to expand. You don't have to have all conservative, all liberal. Last time I checked, we're a pretty divided country, you know? Anyway, I just look at it as entertainment. If you're really just there to do your side's talking points, what's entertaining about that?

On the recent MSNBC simulcast:

It's more of a theater of the mind. I'm kind of down on the whole radio-on-TV thing, and I frankly am not sure than MSNBC or anybody else is going to do it again. It's going to be tough, you know? You're going to offend somebody. And it's like everybody's out to play gotcha now. All the right-wing groups, I'm sure, would come after me. But they just said: Hey, come do your radio show. It's not like we had time to plan how to make this work better on TV. And do you in fact ruin it by trying to make it work for TV? Do you ruin it for both, in a way? That's what I don't know. It seemed like people were split. A lot of our fans loved it -- loved being able to look behind the curtain and see what it looked like. And then I think there's that other side that felt like they might not want to see the curtain pulled back, because it's the whole theater of the mind thing. It's so designed for radio that you really would have to rethink it if you were doing that for TV all the time, in terms of the sound effects and all that stuff -- it's so audio-only, you know?

Read more at And get outside and enjoy the Summer! Obsessing over the trials and tribulations of Paris Hilton will not enrich your life. Sunshine and green grass and trees will.


Emacee said...

re: Radio on TV Thing
Fybush says MSNBC and WFAN may just do it again. The procession of temporary hosts lends weight to rumors that they will not appoint a new permanent host, and that at the end of the summer, after an extended vacation at "the ranch," they will bring back Imus.

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