Saturday, May 17, 2008

WCPT shuffles the deck, adding Maddow, local Hartmann hour

Well, it looks like Air America Radio's American Afternoon has lost a big affiliate.

While the network is still trying to figure out its longterm afternoon thing, WCPT in Chicago is dropping the show as of Monday and returning Rachel Maddow to the daily lineup, where she will air live 5-8P CT. The station is also moving Thom Hartmann from evening delay to the earlier 2-5P timeslot.

"As a native of Lansing, MI, it’s great to get back to my Midwestern roots and be able to talk to the people in Chicago in my new time period," Hartmann said, while Maddow added, "I am thrilled to be back on WCPT. Chicago is a wonderful city and I look forward to helping WCPT listeners make sense of this very unique time in which we live."

Since Hartmann will continue to be heard on delay on WCPT, he will air an exclusive Chicago-only live hour at 4P Fridays. "Thom Hartmann's Third Hour Friday Live" starts May 23.

The station continued to air the network's post-Randi Rhodes offering in the afternoon shift, but hinted at future changes. Considering that the station is owned by Democratic activist Fred Eychaner, a well-known supporter of Hillary Clinton's presidential aspirations, and taking into account Rhodes' obvious vocal dislike for Clinton, the likelihood of returning Rhodes' Nova M Radio show to his station was a bit of a longshot.


gregrocker said...

The OTHER Chicago billionaire Dem activist is Shelly Drobny, who founded Air America but now runs Nova M, where Randi defected to. He surely can find a station in Chicago to market Randi to. In fact, he should make that a priority since Randi needs to be heard everywhere.

FSL said...

Eychaner is going to have a tough time finding a lib-talk host who is not anti-Hillary. Miller, Schultz and even Hartmann have pushed for Hillary to quit, although Hartmann is not as nasty about it. The other two have turned into Stillwell ("You're gonna loose!") and call anyone who is for Hillary a racist. If Eychaner keeps Randi off because of this, he'd have to dump the others, too.

Lots of stations Nova M can "market" Randi to but I can't think of any with good market coverage likely to pick her up. And with satellite radio and Internet radio, she is heard everywhere. Paying some pip-squeak or rim-shot station to carry the show just to claim it is cleared in Chicago will not improve her reach and will lower Nova M's credibility (didn't AA once claim a small station up in the Poconos as their Philly affiliate?).

Maddow is a good move. Even better would be Hartmann live. This one live hour a week only draws attention to the fact that the show is canned the rest of the time. In afternoon drive, Schultz might actually do better in Chicago than Rhodes. I don't know the decision here is due to the owner's political bias. Schultz isn't my cup of tea but Rhodes might be too New York for the Midwest.

Jim said...

FSL -- Exactly when and how did Miller or Schultz claim that pro-Clintonites are racist? Otherwise, please retract and apologize.

FSL said...

Jim: I've been listening, this past week in particular, and that's what I heard. They support Obama and they have been attributing anyone's continued support of Hillary (or reluctance to support Obama now) to racism. I am not a fan of Hillary or any of the DLC crowd, but I also have reservations about Obama's character and qualifications, and I don't appreciate it when someone tries to paint anyone who disagrees with them as a bigot (just because they have a differing opinion).

In addition to my political views, I am a Trekker. I resent Obama's Nixon-style dirty tricks to smear Jeri Ryan (7of9) and her children in order to get at Ryan's ex-husband.

Live long and prosper ...

ltr said...

Once again, FSL, you are misinformed. Obama had nothing to do with what happened to Jack Ryan. The only dirty tricks were done by Ryan himself.

Back in '04, Obama was encouraged to run by quite a few well-known Dems, particularly Sen. Dick Durbin. He was a serious rising star. John Kerry used him at events and even got him a prime slot at the convention. He had a lot of momentum and the people of Illinois really liked him. And considering Illinois leans very blue, he had a very strong chance of winning Pete Fitzgerald's senate seat.

In contrast to Obama, Jack Ryan was an empty corporate suit with a hot celebrity wife. He barely won his own party's primary (by only 36%, compared to Obama's 53% in his). Following the primary, Obama led Ryan in the polls by roughly 22%, so he had little to worry about. Ryan was basically election fodder.

When Ryan became the nominee, several Chicago media outlets demanded access to child custody files from the Ryans' divorce (they split in '99). The records were previously sealed in order to protect their young son, though the divorce records were public.

What was in the records was rather shocking. Jeri cited as primary reason for the divorce Jack's strange penchant for dragging his wife to freaky sex clubs, where they were to engage in public sexual activity. Seeing as Ryan was a rather high-profile celebrity at the time (and a mother), can anyone guess as to why this was a really bad idea?

The state GOP was livid when this was discovered, because Ryan had initially lied to them and assured them that there was nothing salacious in his past. They demanded he drop out immediately, which he did.

Obama was not responsible for the release of the files, though some of his backers had spoken off the record with a few reporters about it. If the situation was reversed, they would have done even worse to Obama. That's the way modern day politics works. Obama himself insisted that details of the divorce scandal not be used in his campaign.

This scandal was all Jack Ryan's doing. It was nothing even close to the scale of Nixon's CREEP squad. Nor was it on the same scale as slimy attacks on Max Cleland and John Kerry, war veterans whose patriotism was questioned by right-wingers.

FSL said...

As you point out, Jack Ryan had little chance of winning. "Outing" him was gratuitous, at best.

Given his resume,"empty suit" is a label that could have been directed at Obama, as well.

As you said, the records of the Ryans' child custody were sealed to protect their children from public embarrassment and humiliation. The children were not candidates here and not public figures. Child custody records are routinely kept private to protect children.

Yes, Obama's people did put reporters on to this and a friendly Democratic judge in California went against precedent to order release of the child custody transcripts. In my opinion, the Obama senate campaign's fingerprints are all over this.

Obama presents himself as an agent of "change," not political business as usual. One issue the media should be examining now is whether he lives up to the standards he espouses.

ltr said...

By crying 'foul' over the release of Ryan's custody records also would mean that:

1. You would have been against the smear campaigns against Bill Clinton. After all, Chelsea was pretty young then, and the Flowers/Jones/Lewinsky attacks could have affected her.

2. You would have also have had to condemn the attacks against Max Cleland, who lost three limbs in Vietnam and was smeared mercilessly by Republicans in 2002 when defending his Senate seat. They ran nasty ads against him, questioning his patriotism and accusing him of being in league with terrorists. To his credit, John McCain even though the ads were a bit cruel.

3. You would have also been against the Swift Boat vets' smearing of John Kerry, a decorated combat veteran who was even accused of faking his injuries. That was beyond the pale.

To give a little background on the 2004 Illinois race, Ryan started it when he sent one of his operatives around to stalk Obama with a camcorder, in an effort to dig up dirt. When this was discovered, there was an outcry, and he was forced to stop this. Obama was rather casual about it, understanding that it was 'just politics.'

Obama's past was obviously dissected before the '04 race. After all, the GOP was working hard to keep the Senate seat in the party. To combat this, Obama's campaign manager David Axelrod fought back. And when you're a mixed-race person named Barack Hussein Obama trying to take a valuable GOP Senate seat, you already have your back against the wall. As it happened, information about Ryan's divorce was discovered, and the media wanted to know more.

So, here's the dilemma: The GOP is looking to attack you with all they got. What would you do? It's kill or be killed. Sadly, that's the way politics works. Countless politicians, particularly Kerry, had their asses handed to them because the other side was more aggresive than they were. In politics, the meek will not inherit the earth. The fact that Obama has deflected all the shit thrown his way, by both the GOP and even Hillary Clinton's campaign shows that he has a strong campaign backing him up, and that he's no lightweight. And you have to admit, he's put up with more shit than Jack Ryan ever has.

Anyone going into the cutthroat world of Chicago and Illinois politics would be best served being as indestructable and aggressive as possible. That's the way it works, and being the nicest and most passive guy in the world ain't gonna cut it. Just ask Mike Dukakis. Ryan should have realized this, as the reasons for his divorce would obviously make for a serious scandal, particularly since there's sex and a Hollywood celebrity involved. Instead, he tried to bluff his way through it, even lying to his own party. Ryan should have realized this, and that was his downfall. In the environment we live in, I can't fault the Obama campaign for that. Again, it's kill or be killed.

FSL said...

Yes, I don't approve of items 1-3 either. I believe in sauce for the goose (an expression Mr. Spock quoted in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) and on two wrongs don't make a right.

Part of what concerns me about Obama is his association with the Daley machine and old-school Chicago politics (and how quickly he turned on his mentor, the Rev Wright).

Many people (liberals and conservatives) seem to be easily captivated by someone who is a good speaker and says what they want to hear. The concept of "change" in politics and government is not consistent with some of Obama's tactics. Yes, that's how politics has long been practiced but Obama is running on an appeal to idealism. To paraphrase a line of Crassus' in Spartacus: The problem with being the good guy is sometimes you have to act like one.

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