Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Buzzflash interviews Rachel Maddow

Over the past several months, Buzzflash has presented a series of interviews with progressive talk radio hosts, including Mike Malloy, Randi Rhodes, Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann. This time, Air America Radio's Rachel Maddow is on the hotseat.

Why is BuzzFlash doing this?

It's quite simple. We want to promote progressive radio. The Internet has started to provide a counter-balance to the corporate print media, but progressive radio is the only real and potential beachhead we have into the mass influence of electronic broadcasting (except for Keith Olbermann on MSNBC).

We think that it is extremely important for progressives to listen to and support their favorite liberal talk show programs. Each person we interview has a different style, and you might prefer one to the other.

And remember, you can listen to almost all progressive radio talk show hosts over the Internet, so there's no excuse if you are in an area where they are not broadcast on the radio.

On a practical level, one of the most important things that you can do is let the advertisers of the programs know that you heard about them from listening to a given progressive radio program. This small action is an investment in the future of countering the right wing, because these programs need advertising. They are not run on goodwill alone.


BuzzFlash: How would you describe your style?

Rachel Maddow: I get asked that a lot, and a lot of people have come up with descriptions for me. I feel like I ought to have a pat answer, but I feel different about it every day.

I was recently described in print as Amy Goodman with animal noises. I don't think that's exactly right, but there's an element of kind of hard core news. In one sense, I really would like to replace people's NPR listening. I really feel like you can listen to my two-hour show, or you can just listen to the first super news-intensive half hour of my show, and it can really supplant any traditional news outlet that you're checking out for your daily news.

I try to be authoritative, transparently sourced, and pretty comprehensive in terms of what you need to know is happening in the world. I always cover the Iraq war at the top of every hour of the show. I am committed to always covering the war every day, and I'm pretty seriously committed to just being good at delivering news.

I'm also a total dork, and there's a lot of dorkiness, and animal noises, and humor.

BuzzFlash: We've listened to you and would agree you're very newsy. I recall listening to your program when you were talking about one of the scandals in relation to the contracting of this behemoth of a U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. You were quite detailed about it. So, how do you prepare for a program each day?

Rachel Maddow: In the context of other talk-radio hosts, I am the slowest preparer in the whole world. The rule of thumb in talk radio is that people prepare an hour for every hour that they're on the air. I do a two-hour show, and I get here every day at least six hours before my show starts.

And what do you do?

Rachel Maddow: I read for most of that time, and I do everything online. I do not allow myself to watch TV, because I'm easily distracted and easily duped by television. There isn't any TV consumption in my prep, although one of the producers who works on my show keeps a TV on all day and pulls down from it.

I do literally read for hours. One of my two producers and I divvy up what we want to look at online. It's a lot of newspapers, and it's a lot of websites, including BuzzFlash and others. We just read for the first few hours of the day. Sometime before three o'clock in the afternoon, we get together and have a news meeting. I pitch all the stories that I think could potentially be on the show today, including ones that deserve longer treatment -- kind of a more extended discussion than just hitting them with a headline. And I give what my proposed angle is for that longer pitch. Then Vanessa pitches what she's also read, and then Tim pitches what he's got in terms of what's been on TV, and what's out there and what happened in Congress, because he's been monitoring C-Span. From that, we make the schedule. We come up with the rundown for the show.

Read more at Buzzflash.com


raccoonradio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
raccoonradio said...

Anyone remember today is to be the debut of WWWT AM 1500/FM 107.7 in
Wash DC (receivable after sunset
in many other locations)? They have
Randi Rhodes on 4-7 pm and say Stephanie Miller is coming in Nov.


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