Friday, January 25, 2008

Malloy does Dallas

Almost a year and a half since KXEB (AM) was sold and flipped to a religious format, progressive talk is returning to the Metroplex in limited form.

AllAccess reports that a group called Airtime Media, led by Tim Disa, worked out a deal for a five-hour block weeknights on KMNY (1360AM), which leases their signal out to Biz Radio Network for their business talk format by day, but their airwaves to whoever else has the money at night. The evenings will consist of a one-hour local show, "Rational Radio," featuring Jack Bishop, from 7-8P, Mike Malloy's syndicated show, which will air live from 8-11P, and another local show, "Empowerment Radio" from 11P-midnight.

The changes are effective January 28.

KMNY, which has a rather strong 50,000 watt daytime signal and meager 850 watts at night, is owned by Arthur Liu's Multicultural Broadcasting, which is big on leasing air time on many of their stations. If that name sends shivers down your spine, that is in fact the same group that infamously had problems with Air America Radio back in that network's early days. The network's programming was pulled off the two stations it was leasing outright, KBLA in Los Angeles and WNTD in Chicago, after only a month on the air, and spurred a rather ugly court battle. Luckily, this is another group that is involved.

Another interesting development happening later this year involves the rumored move of business talk from KMNY to another dial position, the lower-powered KTON (940AM), which Biz Radio's parent company owns and is trying to upgrade. What this means for the future of KMNY is unknown. More than likely, Multicultural will lease out the airtime to whoever will pay. Does this mean a possible full return of progressive talk to the Metroplex? Stay tuned.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Hybrid talker in Oregon flipping to sports

According to AllAccess, KEZX (730AM) in Medford, OR will drop their liberal/conservative hybrid talk format next month and flip to sports.

The station, owned by Opus Broadcasting Systems, will carry programming from FOX Sports Radio and Jim Rome's syndicated sports talk show starting February 4.

The move will displace progressive talkers Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz and Thom Hartmann, as well as conservatives Neal Boortz, Dennis Miller and Tammy Bruce. Syndicated morning show Steve and D.C. will also be gone in the shakeup.

KEZX flipped from easy listening to their current talk format in October 2006, after no doubt witnessing the success of upstate progressive talker KPOJ, as well as a few other similar stations in the state. Since flipping, ratings have been down from the old elevator music format in the one ratings book released since the flip.

When the format launched, I was a bit skeptical of it. Their intent was to compete against the other established talk stations in the market by trying to emulate the massively successful KPOJ. But they went about it all wrong. While they added Stephanie Miller, Schultz and former Air America Radio host Al Franken to the lineup, they also opted to air pseudo-libertarian Boortz, a ratings dud who's usually a last resort for filling midday slots on conservotalk stations, and the oft-cranky Don Imus, who's show has rarely done well outside East Coast markets. While doing right/left talk is a commendable thing, and I certainly wish more stations would return to the way it used to be done, this wasn't what made stations like KPOJ, which got bold and went with an all-progressive lineup, a success. In addition, the schedule seemed to be a slapped together mishmash of random talk shows, with no form or flow. Hybrid talk formats tend to work better with more local hosts that can flow in and out of opposing viewpoint shows. During the 1990s, there were quite a few stations that had left-leaning hosts leading out of Rush Limbaugh, and they were successful at it.

Another problem for KEZX was that they were scraping the bottom of the barrel and taking on lower-tier conservotalk offerings, since the top-tier stuff was scooped up by the other two talk stations. Were hardcore conservotalk fans really going to flip from Sean Hannity and syndicated Oregonian Lars Larson on KMED or Laura Ingraham and Michael Weiner on KCMX to listen to C-list talkers like Boortz or Dennis Miller on the weak-signalled KEZX? Doubtful. It was as if the folks at Opus were afraid to really carve out their own niche. As a result, it just didn't work.

Hybrid talk can and should work. It did for many years. But the case in Medford, as is the one with the similar KRFT in St. Louis, which itself is scheduled to flip to sports soon, shows how not to do it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Weekend quickies

A few items concerning a few stations. Much of it concerns what you'll be hearing come Monday.

1. 3WT shuffles Miller, Rhodes

Good news and bad news for liberal fans tuning in to the Washington, DC-area trimulcast that is WWWT (3WT, 1500AM, 107.7FM, 820AM). First, Randi Rhodes' show, which had aired on all three signals, is now only on one, as the station, for some strange reason, gives hemorrhoidal harpie Glenn Beck the time slot on 1500AM (Washington) and 107.7FM (Northern Virginia). Rhodes is still on 820AM, which is based in Frederick, MD and serves the area west of Baltimore. No explanation was given, though conspiracy theorists may try to make a connection between owner Bonneville International, which itself is owned by the LDS Church, and Beck, who in recent years has converted to the Mormon faith. But Bonneville has never been a company that attempted to rock the boat or get preachy on their stations. Their M.O. seems to be to please everyone. They're basically a bland, inoffensive company that programs bland, inoffensive formats. 3WT is actually one of their rare forays into partisan political talk, and the station carries talkers with multiple viewpoints.

Speaking of 3WT, there is some good news to report, as Stephanie Miller, who's show has aired on an evening delay whenever the Washington Capitals NHL team had the night off, moves to late mornings, 10A-12P, swapping places with pseudo-libertarian Neal Boortz. Meaning that the only way Boortz will be on the air more is if he suits up and hits the ice for the Capitals. The change takes place Monday. You'll notice that only two hours of her show will air. That's because local guy Tony Kornheiser returns that day from his Monday Night Football gig to take back the 8-10A shift. It's a good show, and Tony's pretty middle-of-the-road, politically.

2. If it ain't broke, keep fixing it

I got quite a few emails on this one, and many Bay Area progressive talk listeners are pretty steamed. KKGN (Green 960AM) in San Francisco is totally shuffling its lineup for the second time in less than a month. The most recent change saw local talker Peter B. Collins taking the live 3-6P shift on the station (Collins does his show from San Francisco and syndicates it to several stations out west), displacing program director John Scott's show. Well, Scott hits the air once again, as he will helm a new morning show starting Monday, and airing from 7-9A PT. obviously, this means that Miller's show will be reduced to only the first hour on the station, and it's a move that isn't sitting well with listeners. Some may think the recent oil spill off the San Francisco coast has rearranged a few brain cells over there...

Listeners so far are also not happy that Collins' show will now be bumped into the late night hours, airing from 12-3A weeknights. In the upheaval, Rachel Maddow gets a split shift and Randi Rhodes moves up to the late afternoon time slot.

3. Air America Atlantic City

Across the country to the East Coast, we check in with WTAA in Atlantic City, NJ. The low=powered station flipped to progressive talk late last summer. So far, according to the local Press, the change hasn't resulted in a ratings boost as of yet, but it may be soon to tell. Besides, it's not like that station ever showed up in the ratings before. Still, they're trying. They recently added Don Imus to mornings and a local host, Virginia McCabe, to the 3-6P drive time shift. Station management like the idea of counteracting the mostly conservative AM radio landscape, and plan to carry the format on WTAA at least through the elections.

4. Taylor movin' on up

Okay, so he moves up one hour. Stacy Taylor, of XEPE (1700AM) in San Diego is moving come Monday, as his show will air from 3-6P local time (6-9P ET, for you webcast listeners). The station is slowly balancing its on-air lineup, as it also adds Lionel on delay, from 1-4A PT. There may be another shift open, since Dennis Miller's show runs twice a day currently. Don't be surprised if something else interesting lands there. After all, consider that KLSD, with its all-progressive talk format, just bumped up almost half a ratings point in the most recent Arbitron survey, its last before flipping to sports. San Diego 1700, as perhaps the fourth of fifth conservotalk station in the market, was nowhere to be found. Do the math.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Follow-up: Ward fired from KGO - for now

KGO-TV in San Francisco reports that embattled KGO Radio host Bernie Ward was officially fired by the station, effective at the end of 2007.

Ward has been off the air since he was indicted on federal child pornography charges last month – he admits downloading images from the internet and trading them with people he met on-line. His attorneys have said Ward was doing research for a book at the time.

KGO Radio General Manager Micky Luckoff said the station took the action against Ward before knowing full details of the case, and that he wants him back on the air soon. Luckoff believes Ward’s explanation that he downloaded and traded child porn as research for a book: “Technically, it’s against the law. He admitted what he did. There’s no reason to believe he’s a pedophile.” Luckoff adds that Ward’s arrest “hit us like a ton of bricks.” Luckoff says Ward and his attorneys have assured him that the talk show host’s involvement with child porn is confined to the three incidents outlined in the federal complaint.

The door is still open for Ward to return, and he and Luckoff will meet after the next court appearance January 24th. Luckoff says that he would hire him back, even before a possible trial wraps up: “We really value Bernie. He’s a very capable on-air talent.”


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bill O'Reilly: Not-so-pretty hate machine

Do I really have to write yet another article just to prove Bill O'Reilly is nuts?

Obviously, the many people who read this blog know the answer to that question. Okay, except for the seven or so people as of this writing that claimed in the poll here that they'll proudly vote for "some Republican dumbass" in the upcoming election. All of that aside, O'Falafel's show is shining and glowing proof that the right wing is guilty of just making shit up to prop up really moronic talking points. Sadly, there are probably way too many people that actually still fall for it.

Earlier this week, he featured progressive talker Ed Schultz on his show (video here). The topic was how the presidential candidates are handled on talk radio. Of course, Captain Constipated wanted to sidetrack that. The current target of his ire is Air America Radio, which obviously must be keeping him awake nights, because he mentioned them at least four times in the past week. He started at the top of the show:

...The mainstream media — print and TV — is largely liberal, so talk radio gives conservatives a voice, so to speak. Liberal radio networks like Air America have been disasters, with low ratings and even lower presentations.

O'Reilly doesn't mention, of course, that in many markets, his own radio show gets equal or lower ratings than Air America programs. That's even with the backing of big syndicator Westwood One.

Obviously, this so-called 'bankrupt, failed radio network' must be pushing the right buttons, since it's evidently replaced George Soros, Daily Kos, Media Matters for America and MoveOn at the top of O'Reilly's shit list. With the knowledge that Schultz and Air America don't get along very well, Falafel-for-brains saw this as an opportunity to use him to fight his own personal childish grudge, a typical O'Rambling tactic. Of course Schultz is too smart for this, and could care less about doing O'Reilly's bidding against his percieved enemies. O'Reilly wasted no time, it was the second question directed at Schultz, on a show that was supposed to be about the election:

O'REILLY: OK. Air America traffics in the personal attacks. That's what they did 24/7. It did not work. Did you learn from that? Were you appalled by what they did?

SCHULTZ: Well, you know, I've been in this racket since 1978. I've been around TV and radio for a long time. I've never based my career on how well I can attack somebody. I mean, we can be pretty creative when we decide we want to go after somebody. But I can't really say that I've learned anything from any particular network.

Of course I'm independent from them. I've got my own company and my own radio show that's independent, but I'm on a lot of their stations. Bill, I don't pay attention to other talk show hosts. I feel strong in my...

O'REILLY: The reason I asked that question is you said that your progressive listeners are getting fed up with the personal attacks. I hope that's true.


O'REILLY: But I'm hoping that maybe they saw what happened, because Air America did have an opportunity in this country, because as I said, most talk radio is right wing. They came on, in the beginning they were financed, they put on Franken and Garofalo, and all they did was lodge personal attacks after personal attack. It was monotonous. It wasn't funny. It was disgusting. And progressive people, obviously, didn't listen. Because if they did listen, it wouldn't have gone bankrupt, and they fled.

See what I mean?

I guess I should mention that later, in that same segment, Captain Phonesex refuted Edwards' claims that there are far too many veterans that are homeless. Yes, he claims that there is no such thing as homeless veterans. I'll be sure to mention that to the several I see along the streets holding signs that I frequently pass on the way to work. Obviously, he needs to tone down the tint on the back windows of the limousine he takes from Long Island to his workplace everyday. he's not living in the same world as us.

Another recent segment was about the USO, a long-time organization that organizes entertainment tours for the military overseas. It's a great group with a long history. But according to O'Reilly, they're 'under fire' because they allegedly took donations from MoveOn. Oh, the horror! Conventional wisdom in the media would dictate that he would feature a spokesperson from the USO and grill him/her about it. Well, this is Faux News, and there is no conventional wisdom. The featured guest is someone from a 527 group called Vets for Freedom. Uh huh. Some of O'Really's choice comments from the interview:

A few weeks ago, we told USO President Edward Powell that more celebrity visits to the troops were badly needed. Mr. Powell did not disagree. But now some USO board members are furious with Mr. Powell, because he took donations from the radical left organization MoveOn. You'll remember that organization took out this despicable "betray us" ad...But my question is this. If this organization, which we think is despicable, move on. We think that they're bad and nothing good about them.

...Radical left. Trying to undermine the military, no question, irresponsible.

Earlier this week, former FOX Noise goon and Bush-appointed mouthpiece Tony Snow went on "The Factor" to whine about the liberal pile-on while he appeared on "Real Time with Bill Maher" last Friday. Pot, meet kettle. Welcome to our world. Here's an excerpt:

...he was up against far-left loons on the panel and in the audience...

...Now I've seen people outnumbered, but nothing like Tony Snow was on that program (I guess he doesn't watch his own network, where he could easily see the flipside of that)...

...By the way, I will do the Bill Maher program, but only one on one with Maher, not sitting there with Mark Cuban and Catherine Crier and the other nut. Not going to happen. Now this incident just reinforces the bitterness and attack strategy of the far left.

Typical. In other words, O'Liely is afraid of getting into a situation where he doesn't control the guests. Never mind that Crier is a TV pundit just like him and the other guy is a political writer for Rolling Stone magazine. Cuban is a businessman and media executive, just like O'Puhleez's boss. O'Reilly's background is basically as a jerkoff who reads a teleprompter. What makes him more qualified to discuss politics than you or I or anyone else?

But back to the Snow pile-up. Did O'Reilly bring Snow on to talk about it? Of course not. Snow was on Captain Phonesex's radio show earlier. On "The Factor" that night, was yet another conservative pundit nobody's ever heard of:

...With us now to analyze is Mark Smith, author of the book "The Official Handbook of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy..."

...Well, we've been saying that — I don't know if it's against America. It's certainly against the war...

...The issue is off the table now because the elite media won't cover it anymore because things are going better. So now it's the economy. We see The New York Times everyday front page: recession, recession, recession has replaced bombing, bombing, bombing...

...the left now is fighting each other. They're tearing each other apart. Do you think that's getting through to Americans because you are seeing lively debate on the Republican side, but nothing like the vitriol on the Democratic side?

...And the malice, the level of malice on the far left is now rising. I mean, Air America was bad. They went bankrupt. But they took that mantel of malice. And now they're just riding it to the mainstream media. And I'm saying to myself, Americans don't like that...

As most media junkies know, FOX and MSNBC are at verbal war with each other. MSNBC is owned by General Electric, so naturally, GE, one of this country's largest defense contractors, is in cahoots with the terrorists. Of course, GE automatically became the bad guy not for some ridiculous degrees of separation between an American concern and supporters of terrorism and enemy nations. It was likely because of a humorous bit on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann' called 'Bill O’Reilly Puppet Theater,' which parodied the recent incident where O'Reilly tried to muscle through presidential candidate Barack Obama's security detail. O'Falafel evidently was not amused at the puppet show. Nobody from GE came on the program. Instead, one guest was from a right-wing think tank, and the other was from an obscure group called 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America:

...Syria also involved, you know, also on the list of the State Department. They do help terrorists in Syria. GE does a lot of business with them as well. So I don't know, man. It's just looking pretty bad here...Do you think GE's actually helping the Syrian government? Or is it just a private thing?

Not much really seems to amuse Mr. Pout. Here, O'Loony gives his take on the war positions of the presidential candidates:

...It's interesting because Ron Paul, a Republican congressman, and John Edwards, a Democrat, both saying basically the same thing, get the hell out of the Gulf. And Paul doesn't want any intrusion in Pakistan at all. And I'm sitting here going, am I crazy? Or would this heighten the danger for Americans like by a 1,000 percent?

...OK. Now you know that the American media per se, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the network news, CNN does not believe what you just said. Their point of view is, we illegally invaded Iraq.

...As you said, John Edwards is a loon. I think he'll be out soon...

One can also detect a pattern O'Reilly uses in his attacks. He often brings on surrogates (hence all the right-wing goons he features as guests) to do much of his bidding. Who better than the oft-nutty Melanie Morgan from KSFO in San Francisco?

MORGAN: Well, I will take it as far as to point out the fact that (Hillary Clinton) is a woman who would not be a good president for all the people. Why do I know that? Because she has personally attacked me through her surrogates and through her Media Matters, which she's claimed credit for starting. She is trying to get you fired. She is trying to get me fired.

O'REILLY: Is that right?

MORGAN: Yes, it's real personal for me.

O'REILLY: Well, everybody knows that Media Matters is a far-left smear machine. So if I were you, I would just ignore them. They've tried to get me fired every hour on the hour for 11-and-a-half years, Melanie.

MORGAN: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: They ain't going to do it unless my ratings go down. Then it won't be them — it'll be FOX that fires me, OK. So they have no — all they can do is dish out the vitriol. But I agree with you. I get angry about the lies and the distortion because there's nothing we can do about it because we're in the public eye.


O'REILLY: Well, we know on talk radio in the last, I don't know, five years with the advent of Air America, there's never been a more vicious network. You have right-wing kooks out there as well. You know who they are.

MORGAN: In comparison to the left-wing kooks, they are small in comparison.

O'REILLY: Yes, but there's one that is really out there. I mean, you know, not going to give the guy any publicity, but I mean, you know, it's hard to measure hatred on the level that these people bring to the table.

And all of this was just this week. I could go on and on, like how he compared actor/activist Tim Robbins to a Nazi officer. Or that time he claimed reporter Helen Thomas "is consistently anti-American in her point of view." Oh yeah, and then there was that time that he equated “reading far-left websites with devil-worship”, and that the Daily Kos, a longtime target of his ire, is run by Satan Himself.

Suffice it to say, Bill O'Reilly is full of shit. A far-right rabble rouser who spouts hateful and insulting rhetoric complaining about how the other side spews hateful and insulting rhetoric. My opinion is that FOX Noise, in general, is for people too lazy, too busy or too stupid to comprehend the news in general, and need someone to do the thinking for them.

And perhaps Bill O'Really should concentrate less on building his ego and building his humility and self-esteem and admit that he is indeed a hypocrite. All it takes is a good look in the mirror.

Yeah, that's a start.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Middle-of-the-month soundbytes

In this edition, we look into The Young Turks' life after Air America, the apparent demise of a pioneering online liberal talk outlet, and, will the next big progressive talk star be... Morgan Fairchild? Read on.

1. The continuing evolution of the Turks

Cenk UygurToday marked the last day of The Young Turks' show on Air America Radio. Last month, head Turk Cenk Uygur announced that the show and network had decided to part ways. Uygur and company planned to take their act online, via their own multimedia site, as well as in projects for the Brave New Films website, a venture backed by documentary filmmaker Robert Greenwald ("Outfoxed").

The new show, which will air from 3-5P ET (12-2P PT), will stream from The Turks' website, will include only 12 minutes of advertising per hour, as opposed to the radio standard of 22 minutes, and will include a four-hour free-wheeling 'rolling post-game' show, which in essence sounds like a rather informal online video chat. The new time slot will obviously be easier for Uygur and company, given that their West Coast location forced them do their Air America show live from 3-6A PT. One would guess that this will allow them to have a somewhat normal sleep schedule.

As for what Air America will replace them with in morning drive, the most recent word is that they will not even bother to syndicate another morning show. Will the webstream be silent? Will it be a replay of a day-old show from another host? Will they go outside and merely slot in a local morning show from one of their affiliates (such as Richard Bey on WWRL in New York, Nicole Sandler on WINZ in Miami or Lee Rayburn from WXXM in Madison)? Or will they go in-house? Obviously, giving fan favorite Sam Seder the slot would mollify die-hard fans. There's also new weekend host Charles Binder. Not much is known about Binder or his proposed new show, except that he's a prominent New York lawyer with an as-of-yet unknown timeslot. Whatever Air America plans to do with their vacant morning shift, they'd better do it quickly. Many of the stations that formerly carried The Turks have replaced them with Jones Radio Networks' Bill Press, who picks up new affiliates this week, with XM Radio and stations in Seattle, Detroit and other markets being added.

UPDATE: Rayburn's show will be relayed via Air America from Madison for the next few weeks as a fill-in.

2. KTLK looking for a host

Following last month's departure of Marc (Mr. K) Germain, Clear Channel's KTLK (1150AM) in Los Angeles is still looking for a replacement. They've already had weekenders Johnny Wendell and Mario Solis-Marich holding down the shift, but it appears they're looking for a long-term local solution. This week brings us an odd pairing - former Boston Globe columnist Thomas Oliphant and Morgan Fairchild. Yes, THAT Morgan Fairchild. Only in L.A...

You can hear the show today and tomorrow on KTLK from 3-7P PT (6-10P ET).

3. Non-religiously speaking

First came "Freethought Radio," a small weekend show on WXXM in Madison, WI that found its way onto Air America's national slate. Now comes a similar show from the nearby Twin Cities. A group called Minnesota Atheists has signed a six month contract with local station KTNF (950AM) to do a show on Sunday mornings from 9-10A (CT). The format of "Atheists Talk" sounds rather similar to "Freethought Radio," with an array of interviews and special guests, news reports, round-table discussions and call-ins.

"We want a seat at the discussion table," said program founder August Berkshire. "This is our way of doing it."

Berkshire said the nonpartisan show will try to dispel myths about atheists - no, they're not a bunch of grumps trying to outlaw religion - and warn people about what concerns them: a supposed erosion of the separation of church and state, and the government's discrimination against nonbelievers.

Hot topics will include anti-gay-marriage laws, restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research and creationism in schools.

Occasional special segments will cover atheist history, science and book reviews, and there will be short interviews with local atheists.

It won't be a rant-fest, Berkshire said.

"We're not trying to convert people," he said. "We're trying to engage them in a discussion. We want people to realize atheists are their neighbors, family, nice people, and that they should get to know us."

The group has an initial six-month contract with KTNF. They'll have to sell their own advertising, and have already sold half of their ad spots.

4. signs off for good

A departure that completely slipped by the nose of LTR is that of webcaster, a progressive talk radio pioneer which apparently shut down last month after five years of operations. Currently, the former four stream service is down to one, airing ambient techno music. Which means, the formerly popular progressive talk channel is no more.

Since 2002, long before Air America and progressive talk became big, owner Shelby LaPre gave a spotlight to progressive talkers, in addition to music webstreams featuring techno, punk and ambient music. LaPre claimed last year that listener donations helped the service to operate for 5 years, reaching on average between 2.5 and 3 million listeners per month with their various music and talk radio streams. RadioPower was also one of the first streaming services listed on iTunes.

Originally, the talk channel merely relayed the feed of the old I.E. America network, which carried shows from the likes of Mike Malloy, Thom Hartmann, Peter Werbe and others. When I.E. America folded in early 2004, LaPre continued on without them, and even served as the primary streamer for Hartmann's show before he was picked up by Air America.

Defections were common over the years. Old shows were replaced with obscure local and online shows of the time, such as The Young Turks and Guy James. Most recently, after merely piggy-backing other streams, they aired a slate of mostly original shows from the likes of Tony Trupiano, Kacey Sherrod ("KC Live!) and Henry Raines ("American AM').

But it's hard to compete as a small player in a world with many options. Air America's the most widely-known name. Nova M Radio has Mike Malloy and a wide variety of weekly shows from various up-and-comers. And Head-On Radio Network has aggressively built a rather impressive online-only operation. Not to mention, as opposed to 4-5 years ago, progressive talk can now be found on many AM stations in many markets. Many of these stations stream their signals. All of this meant that RadioPower became an afterthought.

This is not the first time RadioPower has been in danger of going kaput. Last year, LaPre claimed that the high costs of running an online service would lead to its demise. In addition, bigger names like Malloy, Hartmann and The Turks had since moved on, and competition was obviously stripping RadioPower of listeners and supporters. Still, RadioPower was a voice when a voice was difficult to find, and one can only reflect on the importance of RadioPower to the history of modern progressive talk.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Jacksonville gets progressive

From Carolyn Kay at Make Them Accountable, via Stephen Crockett at Democratic Talk Radio, it appears that Jacksonville, FL will be getting its very own progressive talk station.

Andy Johnson, former member of the Florida House and current host of his own afternoon talk show, has taken over WZNZ (1460AM), and will turn it into the only progressive talk station in North Florida come Monday, January 14.

So far the only schedule announcements are the addition of Ed Schultz live from noon-3P and Johnson's own show from 3-6P. Look for a heavy emphasis on local talk programming. No word on the addition of other syndicated programming, i.e. Air America, etc.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

LTR - Reloaded

2008 marks a new year. And it marks a new look here at LTR.

You may notice a few changes around here. First and foremost, the layout is entirely new. As of now, LTR is compliant with Blogger 2.0 (aka 'New Blogger'). The new layout incorporates XML formatting language, which replaces the previous CSS layout and the crude HTML before that. The result should be a page that loads much quicker, with better rendering and improved results in Google searches.

This blog will also load a bit quicker because articles will be archived faster. As of now, only the most recent five articles will be on the main page. You can access any article easily via the archives on the left or the "Older Posts" link at the bottom of the page.

Many of the same features are still here, though I switched things around a bit to make archiving and search engine pinging much easier (something that the former layout hindered very badly). New features also include a full archive, located on the left side of the page, allowing readers to quickly find articles by month and year. A labels section on the lower left allows for finding certain topics quickly. Larger print in the body of the page will make reading much easier.

On each post, you can now bookmark or share them with the AddThis icon, which allows quick social bookmarking for your own use or for voting or recommending articles to sites such as Digg. I also added a Buzzflash 'Buzz It' icon, but it is not quite compliant yet with New Blogger, meaning it doesn't quite work yet. Still working on a hack for it, so be patient.

The new layout also allows for other nifty things such as polls, as you can see on the left column.

And finally, as mentioned last week. Google accounts are no longer required to leave comments. As part of a reconfiguration by Blogger, OpenID is now configured for LTR. Meaning that you can sign in and leave comments via OpenID-enabled services such as, LiveJournal, and AOL Journals, or even with an AOL/AIM account. You can read more about OpenID here. So far, I've noticed a few people leaving comments with their AOL accounts. Cool!

All in all, it's the new and modernized LTR for 2008. Hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Bill Press talks to Buzzflash

Over the past year, our friends at have conducted in-depth interviews with some of the biggest personalities in progressive talk. Thom Hartmann, Randi Rhodes, Stephanie Miller, Rachel Maddow and Mike Malloy have all talked with them. This time, Bill Press is on the hotseat, and discusses his lively style, the future of progressive talk, how he learned to adapt to radio and talk radio as entertainment, among other things. You can read the entire article at Buzzflash.

BuzzFlash: In our BuzzFlash interviews with progressive talk-show hosts such as yourself, we're asking first of all, where is your show broadcast from, how many markets do you reach, and if people don't have you in their area, where can they stream you from?

Bill Press: God bless you for that question. We are on Sirius satellite radio in all fifty states. We broadcast Monday through Friday from 6 to 9 a.m., morning drive, on the East Coast. In addition to being on Sirius, we're syndicated in about 35 markets nationwide through Jones Radio Network. Those markets include: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Denver, Phoenix, Reno, Chicago, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Grand Rapids, Buffalo, Ithaca, Columbus, Daytona Beach, Washington, D.C., and Asheville, among others.

If people they don't have Sirius and we're not syndicated in their local market, they can stream the show live at Those who want to hear us also can just call up the local radio station and raise hell, and tell them to put progressive radio on in your community.

BuzzFlash: How do you describe your style?

Bill Press: I like a lively, fast-paced, entertaining and informative morning show, and that's what I try to provide every day. We're on top of the big news of the day, first of all, with what's my take as a liberal on what's happening. We also giving listeners an opportunity to weigh in and be part of the conversation. And every day, we talk to two or three news makers -- people who are either in the news or reporting the news. So it's a combination of news, analysis, calls, interviews, and keeping it light and entertaining, and just giving people a good start to their day.

BuzzFlash: That 6 to 9 a.m. time spot presents kind of a challenge, because you're getting the stories from the evening before, and you're also dealing with the stories that are likely to come up that day.

Bill Press: Yes, but it's the best time of the day, actually. I've been doing talk radio for a long time, and the morning drive is the pot of gold for most radio stations. It's where they have the most listeners and make the most money. As a talk-show host, you can make the most impact because you've got the first crack at everybody listening that day. They're hearing what's happening first from the Bill Press Show, and they're having a chance to weigh in on the Bill Press Show. And I get the first crack on what it all means. So I really love that timeslot.


BuzzFlash: How are you feeling about the future of progressive radio?

Bill Press: I feel both very confident and very worried, and I'll tell you why. I feel very confident because I think we have proven in the last two years -- and when I say "we," you know, I'm talking about Air America, I'm talking about Stephanie Miller, Bud Schultz and myself, and basically that universe -- I think we have proven that, given an opportunity, we can win. We can build an audience. We can hold an audience. We can make money. We can be successful in talk radio. We have disproven the old theory that liberals can't do talk radio. That's why I feel good about talk radio. And I particularly feel good coming into 2008. I think this year is going to be the golden era for progressive talk.

Where I worry is that there are so few outlets for progressive talk -- there are probably sixty total progressive talk stations in the country, compared to some four or five thousand for conservative talk. And the ownership of those stations is just about exclusively held by companies that are very conservative, that have very little commitment to progressive talk, and that have proven that they're willing to pull the plug on progressive talk even if their ratings are good, if they think they can make more money from sports or some other format.

So we have very few outlets, and we're at the mercy of networks owned by conservative Republicans who don't really care about progressive radio. For example, in San Diego -- KLSD. Great station, great audience, good ratings. Clear Channel just pulled the plug and turned it into their second sports talk station in that market. Now there's no more progressive talk in San Diego. The audience is there. The demand is there. The need is there. But the outlets and the ownership are lacking.


Monday, January 07, 2008

Mob of angry Republicans chase Hannity through streets, chant "FOX News sucks!"

I just can't make this stuff up!

Ron Paul supporters really hate FOX Noise. Here, they let Sean Hannity know how they feel.

As much as I'd like to add a rather sarcastic and witty comment to this, I... just... can't. Just watch the video.

In case this video gets pulled, like the last one, check here.

Stewart and Colbert return - unwritten

The 2008 presidential sweepstakes is in full swing.

Current Republican frontrunner Gomer Pyle Mike Huckabee looks to be the village idiot. Following the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Huck called for tightened security on the Mexican border, lest any Pakistani terrorists get through. Once the laughter died down, his camp tried to backpedal, saying that he doesn't have any foreign policy experience. No, I'm not making this up.

Bottom-of-the-pile fear monger Rudy Giuliani, upon coming in almost dead last in Iowa last week, brushed off the caucus results, claiming that the Iowa outcome didn't scare him as much as "9/11" did.

Self-appointed 'mouthpiece of God' Pat Robertson claims that the almighty spoke to him and already gave His endorsement for president. But Robertson was coy about it, claiming he was keeping it a secret. Incidentally, Pat supports the dead-in-the-water Giuliani for president.

And in much more important news, Britney Spears went apeshit again last week. The reports of an ambulance hauling the pop princess to the hospital last Thursday night almost upstaged the Iowa Caucus on the so-called news channels.

With all this silliness in the world, we need more late night comedians to talk about it. More than ever. Unfortunately, there's a writer's strike going on.

In the past week, late night hosts have begun to return to work. David Letterman scored a coup when his production company, Worldwide Pants, which owns his show and that of Craig Ferguson, struck an independent interim deal with the Writers Guild of America to resume production, with full writing staffs, bits, monologues, etc. intact. Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Kimmel, who's shows are owned by the networks, returned to work, but without support of the Guild. As all three are Guild members, they are heavily restricted in what they could do. They're restricted in even writing their own material!

These limitations are going to hold back Comedy Central political humorists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert as they return to the airwaves tonight after being sidelined for two months. Stewart and Colbert, both members of the Guild, are staunch supporters of the strike. Two weeks ago, when both shows announced their imminent return, then added, in typically ironic fashion: "We would like to return to work with our writers. If we cannot, we would like to express our ambivalence, but without our writers we are unable to express something as nuanced as ambivalence." Considering that their shows are heavily dependent on crack writing staffs and scripted material, it may well be the equivalent of shuffling cards while wearing boxing gloves.

Sure, they could just stick to extended interview segments. But that's another problem. Campaigning politicians, particularly those on the Democratic side, may not be too keen on pissing off valuable union supporters by crossing WGA picket lines to appear on these shows. So far, only Huckabee has been willing to do so, appearing for two whole segments on the guest-deprived "The Tonight Show" last week. A-list celebrities, who often appear on late night shows, are members of the Screen Actors Guild and won't cross picket lines either.

So, what will these shows do without their writers? And without high-profile guests? All while abiding by WGA strike rules?

"The Daily Show" is a news parody show. "The Colbert Report" is a mockery of blowhard cable news pundit shows, ala Bill O'Reilly. Unlike The Tonight Show and others, these are much more dependent on writing staffs. Leno can go on and play with wild animals, cook with Emeril Lagasse and introduce bands while waiting out the strike. Leno and Kimmel will even make appearances as guests on each others' shows this Thursday. With the Comedy Central shows, it gets a bit trickier.

Under WGA rules, Stewart and Colbert are technically not allowed to write their own material. Leno, a guild member, has gotten quite a bit of flack for writing his own monologues the past week. He insisted he had gained approval from the guild. The guild's not too keen on that, and has vowed to take some form of action, as yet unspecified.

"Leno will not get a pass. The guild has told him he can't write his monologues," said Sherry Goldman, a spokeswoman for the Writers Guild of America East.

Stewart and Colbert, both members of the guild, are barred from writing anything. How much they will be allowed to improvise is also unknown. Comedy Central spokesman Tony Fox said, "Stephen and Jon are still figuring out what they're going to do on Monday night's show."

So far, the strike continues on. The best hope is to bypass the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and deal with production companies individually. Worldwide Pants so far has been the only production company to agree to an interim deal with the guild. United Artists, headed by actor Tom Cruise, struck a deal with the guild earlier today. Dick Clark Productions, producer of the Golden Globe Awards, has attempted to do likewise, but NBC, which was originally slated to run the show this coming weekend, claims that the guild turned them down. The result, in lieu of the Screen Actors Guild boycotting it, was the outright cancellation of the event. Rumor has it independent film studios, such as Lion's Gate, Weinstein and Lucasfilm are currently looking into interim deals with the guild. For the bigger conglomerates, such as NBC Universal, Disney/ABC, CBS/Paramount, Time Warner and others, resolution may become a bit more problematic.

Why are the late night hosts returning to work, in defiance of the guild? To support the many behind-the-scenes employees of each show, who aren't members of the guild or any other union. Without shows to work on, they are effectively laid off. Many of the hosts paid those employees out of pocket for the first few weeks of the strike, but with threats of employee furloughs, the hosts returned to keep the shows in production.

Here's hoping that the guild and the Hollywood studios and television networks can once and for all get together and put an end to this whole thing. The striking writers aren't asking for a whole lot, and deserve a fair deal involving new media. Let's hope a resolution comes soon, since there's a lot of comedy material ripe for the picking on the campaign trail.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The right-wing crash and burn

If the news-heavy week that was is any indication, it shows that right-wing media pundits are really starting to sweat. So much that they're losing both their credibility and what's left of their minds.

Last week's Iowa Caucus was the backdrop for much of this. The overall positive media buzz was on the Democratic Party, and the sensational turnout for their top three candidates. The U.S. Senator from Illinois Barack Obama is the one getting the most buzz, with many pointing out the large influx of young people and new voters. Hillary Clinton got most of the scorn after finishing a close third, and John Edwards, with only a small fraction of the money Obama and Clinton had, finished a respectable second with his populist message, though the media seems to be pretending he doesn't exist. Our media trying to play kingmaker? Whodathunk?

But that's a different tale for a different time. Over on the GOP side, at this point, if you ain't Mike Huckabee (or John McCain for that matter) you ain't shit. That goes for Mitt Romney and all the millions of dollars he's scattered to the winds in Iowa, most likely spending a huge chunk on Dapper Dan hair grease. That also goes for sleepy Fred Thompson. And President of 9/11 Rudy Giuliani, who's made a mint walking over the corpses of the thousands of people who died in that terrorist attack, is practically worm food himself after finishing just above ultimate nobody Duncan Hunter. And what about libertarian maverick Ron Paul? He finished well above Ghouliani.

Paul's success in finishing nearly toe-to-toe with the 'other white meat' throws an interesting monkey wrench of sorts into the whole race. While his competitors are fighting for leftover scraps and remnants of the fizzled neocon movement loved so much by our current commander-in-thief, Paul is a stone cold reminder of what the GOP once was. He's a conservative in the Barry Goldwater mode, a throwback to less government, lower taxes for working people and protection of the Constitution. Sounds about as conservative as one can get.

Paul is campaigning against many of the major neocon excesses of the past seven years, including the Iraq War, the War on Drugs and the Patriot Act. He would have been called a conservative 30-40 years ago, but now he's classified as a Libertarian. While his support of the whole 'free market rules everything' idea that has caused many of the problems we currently face would keep me far, far away from throwing my support behind his camp, I do respect his being in the race, as he provides a startling reality check for the GOP, the right-wing media and the other candidates. He's also been pulling in far more donor money that the other guys, who actually have to spend mostly out of their own pockets. And that's why they all hate him so much. How much? FOX 'News' channel won't even let him participate in their televised debate scheduled for Sunday. Never mind that their golden boy Giuliani, who got crushed by Paul in Iowa, is invited, or that the televised debate last night on ABC welcomed him with open arms. FOX Nuisance would rather he didn't exist. Of course, the exclusion has brought a serious backlash from Paul supporters and Republicans alike. They're pissed! The New Hampshire Republican party even withdrew support for the debate over this. Right-wing media entities like FOX News are obviously intimidated by Paul, who exposes the neocon house of cards FOX has helped prop up for the sham that it is, in the most honest way possible, and I most certainly respect him for that.

Overall, this has been a pretty harsh week for FOX Noise. News sources revealed that their much-ballyhooed FOX Business Channel is a flop, garnering a piddling 6,300 viewers during the day and 15,000 in prime time over the past few months, compared to rival CNBC's average of 283,000 viewers. Shit, even Air America has way more listeners than that! And the winner of the Iowa Republican Caucus was a guy neocon stalwarts like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Club For Growth can't stand (Huckabee), though it's not like their slate is highly desirable anyway. And head honcho Rupert Murdoch's preferred Democratic candidate, Clinton, ain't doing too hot either.

Perhaps that's why right-wing goons like Bungling Bill O'Reilly are imploding right before our very eyes. According to Chicago Sun-Times reporter Lynn Sweet, following Obama's victory last Thursday night, O'Reilly got into a confrontation with an Obama aide after he started screaming at him while trying to strong-arm his way through the dense crowd in an attempt to get Obama's attention.

O'Reilly tried to rough up Obama's National Trip Director Marvin Nicholson, as he yelled at him to "move," so as to get Obama's attention. O'Reilly yelled in Nicholson's face, grabbed his arm and shoved him, according to eyewitnesses. The 6'8" Nicholson also said O'Reilly called him "low class."

"He grabbed me with both his hands here," Nicholson said, gesturing to his left arm and O'Reilly "started shoving me." Nicholson said, " He was pretty upset. He was yelling at me."

Nicholson also claimed, "After he shoved me and after he stopped yelling at me, I went… I just went over and asked, I said, sir, I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t shove me anymore."

Secret Service agents who were nearby flanked O 'Reilly after he pushed Nicholson. They told O'Reilly he needed to calm down and get behind the fence-like barricade that contained the press. As they hauled O'Reilly away, he could be heard screaming "Don't tase me bro!" Okay, just kidding about that one. Nonetheless, in an unsurprising move, O'Reilly did play the victim card. As Gomer Pyle Huckabee would likely exclaim, "Surprise, surprise..."

O'Reilly later imperiously justified his breach of security by declaring, "We're sorry we had to have that little confrontation, but no one on this earth is going to block a shot on "The O'Reilly Factor." It is not going to happen," O'Reilly said, according to the Associated Press. Evidently, O'Reilly doesn't have much respect for the Secret Service and the tough job that they do.

Obama was preoccupied and did not see any of this brewhaha, though he did eventually talk with O'Reilly for a few seconds. The encounter was described as cordial. At least Obama has some class.

Evidently, the presidential outlook for the GOP this year must be wearing down hard on the right-wing media. Could this explain the utterly strange behavior of radio and TV host Glenn Beck earlier this week? Granted, Beck's health woes and the goings-on of the presidential horse race are for the most part unconnected, but many wonder if Beck has finally lost what's left of his mind. As the nation's focus was on Iowa, Beck decided for some bizarre reason to channel Rosie O'Donnell by publicly releasing a rambling video of him from his own bed, talking about his recent botched surgery (of which exactly he didn't divulge), railing against the hospital where he was treated, comparing his own plight with that of the soldiers at rat-infested Walter Reed Hospital and how the mistrreatment and lack of compassion from hospital staff made him almost "full fledged suicidal." Vincent D'Onofrio pulled this act off better in that infamous bathroom scene from Full Metal Jacket.

Beck is obviously trying to garner sympathy for his personal plight, though it is highly ironic given that this so-called libertarian endlessly spouts Republican talking points and talks about his desire to kill (yes, KILL) people he doesn't agree with, such as documentarian Michael Moore, who ironically made Sicko, a well-received documentary last year about (surprise) the flaws of the U.S. health care system. Yes, the same health care system that bore the brunt of Beck's rambling wrath. The irony's thick enough to slice with a chainsaw. Perhaps Beck has finally shrugged, thrown up his arms and returned to his much-loved vices of booze and coke as a crude way to effectively self-medicate. Regardless, it's tough even for a compassionate liberal to garner up much sympathy for this whiny, hypocritical mean-spirited mess of a man. As the old saying goes, those who choose to live by the sword will likely die by it.

Popcorn, anyone?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Let the mayhem commence (a.k.a. How to endorse a candidate)

Here it is. Today marks the beginning of the 2008 Presidential Election season, just days into the new year. For the next ten months, it's all insanity, as the country's biggest reality show gets under way.

Today, the horse-trading that is the 2008 Iowa Caucuses takes place.

Eight Democrats and seven Republicans (not counting the really obscure people who've filed) are fighting to be your next president. But the question needs to be asked: Who to support this time around?

Early on, the people I really would have been really excited to vote for dropped by the wayside. Russ Feingold, the great Wisconsin Senator and perhaps one of the few honest voices in Congress, played with the idea of running before bowing out. Same with Al Gore, who I felt would have been a shoo-in. I guess he got tired of the lunacy and felt he could make a bigger impact outside the D.C. scene. He's probably smart to do so.

Alas, I was left without a candidate. The slate of candidates didn't impress me much. The same old faces, political hacks, boring politicians and the like. I tried to like them, but deep down wasn't overly impressed.

Instantly, I ruled out any of the Republicans running. Hell, many Republicans have already ruled out these turkeys. Let's face it, the GOP slate is beyond embarassing. There's Rudy Giuliani, who made millions of dollars in the past few years walking over the corpses of thousands of dead people in New York. There's Mitt Romney and his Stepford creepiness and lack of conviction. There's washed-up actor Fred Thompson and his curtain-wearing wife. There's the completely neutered John McCain, who lost whatever so-called 'maverick' status he had when he publicly hugged President Bush, who 's campaign in 2000 tormented him more than any Vietnamese POW camp ever could. And there's the phony, hypocritical, racist and just plain stupid Mike Huckabee, who has his very own Willie Horton scandal waiting in the wings. Duncan Hunter? Please. The only guy with anything remotely resembling a soul on that slate is Ron Paul, and the GOP establishment is doing everything in their power to crush him, lest he shows how bad those other clowns really are. Still, Paul is just another conservative hack trying to dig up Reagan's bones.

So, my choice would obviously have to be a Democrat. And I will say, once I came out of Feingold/Gore withdrawal, some of the remains became more and more attractive. But I had to whittle it all down, via process of elimination, to get to my desired candidate.

My personal criteria is based around character. Do they have what it takes to get things done? To be fair? To actually stand behind their pledges? To avoid the usual capitol cronyism? Stances are one thing, having the ability to get it done is another. And most of all, the ability to win. Even with the awful GOP slate this year, it's still not in the bag. After all, we are talking about the Democratic party here. But who's got what it takes to earn my own vote? I'll go through the list and eliminate them, reality TV-style.

Automatically crossed off the list from the get-go was Hillary Clinton. Never much cared for her, since she's basically a shrill corporate hack who seems merely to do the bidding for any lobbyists or corporations that throw money at her. One can only look at her health care proposals to see proof of that. She's an establishment suck-up with a snotty personality and there's no way I'd vote for her, regardless of how much I like her husband (Telecom bill and NAFTA aside). In addition, as tough as she may be, she'd get shredded in the general election, since many people, from the left, the right and the center absolutely hate her guts. I know the GOP slate is butt-ugly, but do we really want to drive people over to that side? In addition, with all this back-and-forth Bush-Clinton-Bush dynasty building, it's time for a fresh face. I also feel this country is ready for a female president. Actually, I think it's the swift kick in the ass we all need. However, Hillary Clinton is not that woman, and if she is indeed the eventual nominee, I will go into the voting booth with nose held as I cast my vote for her. I just hope it doesn't get to that point. I would only delight in voting for her as a way to piss off Clinton-hating conservatives.

Next off the list was New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. I used to like him, thinking he was a reasonable sort. Then he had some cockamamie idea about stealing water from the Great Lakes to quench the thirst of the parched and overcrowded Southwest. As a resident of a Great Lakes state, I was appalled. Why the hell should our lakes be drained and our water be diverted to a section of the country where millions of people move to, knowing full well there's hardly any water there to begin with? We have to put up with high humidity all summer and bitter cold and insane amounts of snow all winter, just so we don't have to worry about water (we got tons, thank you). What are Southwesterners doing to sacrifice? Don't get me wrong, I'd love to live in a place like New Mexico. It's a beautiful state. But I'd know full well of the shortcomings before migrating. Richardson backed off his water statement soon after he made it, but let's be real - we know where he's coming from. No soup for you, Bill. And no water either.

I like former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel, even though nobody else seems to. He's a take-no-shit type of guy. Unfortunately, he's the DNC version of Ron Paul, in that, like the GOP's continuous snubbing of the only Republican candidate with something resembling a soul, he's been totally brushed aside from the Democratic establishment. Are they trying to simplify things? Is it all just a popularity club? Probably. But the truth remains - Gravel has no chance. I doubt he'll even be around when the road show comes to my state. So Gravel goes.

Like Gravel, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich is also an outsider. The DNC seems to merely tolerate him at these presidential debates and such. He's the token rabble-rouser in this. I like Kucinich a lot. Of all the online candidate selection polls I've taken, Kucinich has been at the top or near the top. To top it off, our country needs a First Lady with a tongue piercing, ala his wife Elizabeth. As Bill Maher once said in his 'New Rules," whoever wins must appoint Mrs. Kucinich first lady. However, Mr. Kucinich, though a great guy with great convictions, doesn't seem like the same candidate from four years ago. He's much more bitter this time, is prone to too much grandstanding, and while he's got all the right ideas, I honestly don't think he'd make a good president. Besides, he'd be much more effective where he is right now.

Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd has been saying all the right things as of late. He's been pretty effective at standing up to the GOP. But where's he been all these years? To me, he's just another boring politician who's been part of the D.C. culture way too long. Incredibly boring centrist candidate, but unlike friend and Connecticut cohort Joe Lieberman, he isn't an asshole. Unfortunately, he's not my top choice for nominee. Sorry Chris, the tribe has spoken. You're off the island.

Another long-time beltway guy is Joe Biden. I have started to like Biden more. He's a hardass of sorts, and is probably best qualified on international issues. He even looks like a president - very tough-guy, confident alpha male. That helps in a general election. If he were to be the nominee, he'd have a strong chance of attracting Republicans and undecideds. I would have no problem with Biden as the nominee. The only turnoff in my book is that he's too much of an insider, and still smarting from the whole John Kerry thing the last time around, he doesn't excite me enough. Still, if he were to get the overall nod, I'd be proud to support him. For now, though, he's off my island.

Illinois Senator Barack Obama was the wonderboy of 2004, a man prone to giving electrifying off-the-cuff speeches and saying the right things. I wish the Barack Obama of 2004 were running, as opposed to this conceited, mean-spirited 2008 version. Four years ago, he was channelling JFK. Now he's channelling Hillary Clinton. Prone to cheap shots directed toward the other candidates, which sound overly petty. His inexperience will crush him if he were to get the nomination, even against weak GOP competition. I have no problem with an African-American president. We need one, badly. Though the Bible Belt might be a bit scared of him. I think his story is a great one. Too mean and too mistake prone, I just can't support Obama this time around. Perhaps in 4-8 years or so, he'll be a bit more mature and confident.

And that leaves one man. And this is a choice that I've warmed up to, so much that I'd be proud to vote for him and think that he'd make a great president. Granted, I was still smarting from the unsuccessful 2004 Democratic slate of John Kerry and John Edwards. Over time, I realized that they would have fared better if the ticket were reversed. Edwards came back swinging this time around, having learned valuable lessons from the last time around. This time, he waged an aggressive and positive underdog campaign. He reached out to the common people, without all the flash and high-profile celebrities thrown about by top-tier candidates Clinton and Obama. Instead, he hit mostly small towns and tight crowds with a confident populist message. And he's mostly stayed away from the Clinton/Obama mudslinging, choosing to let them fight it out. This is all cunning strategy, and could help him down the road. Some have even picked him to be the sleeper candidate once the primary season starts, as Kerry was four years ago. In hypothetical matchups with top Republican candidates, Edwards fared well. I honestly think he's got the ability to sway Republican and undecided votes.

On top of that, Edwards has little baggage. After running the Helms/Rove gauntlets in years past, the worst they could do to him was to make fun of his hair. In an election featuring the robotic Mitt Romney, who in the words of writer William Rivers Pitt, "combs his hair with sticks of butter," that isn't much.

My choice has been made. I'm proud as heck to cast my primary vote for John Reid Edwards in 2008.

Now, let's quarterback this whole thing. Who will escape Iowa and the rest unscathed? Who will be the top dogs for each side? Of the 15 major candidates, who will rise above all? I actually see Clinton and Obama bombing each other into oblivion, with Edwards rising as the victor. For the Republicans, their sorry slate is a complete toss-up. Whenever yet another faux golden boy rises to the top, they do something stupid or some big dark secret comes up that knocks them back down. Giuliani, Romney, McCain, Thompson and Huckabee have all had their fifteen minutes of fame, but dropped nearly out of site. After all this back-and-forth is all done, I predict Mitt Romney will come out on top for the GOP.

In the general election, Edwards will crush Romney.

Since I'm currently wearing my Miss Cleo cap, I'll also go out on a limb and pick the New England Patriots to crush the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLII.

In the comments below, I'll open up discussion for you. Give me these three:

1. Your personal candidate choice.
2. Your prediction for both Democratic and Republican nominee, and eventual victor.
3. Your Super Bowl pick.

Let's see how we all fare.

Post-holiday soundbytes

UPDATED 1/4/08

Here it is, the year 2008, and it's time to do a little post-holiday cleaning of some stories that have been missed. I didn't get a chance to write about any of this stuff,

1. Mr. K is Mr. Gone

In anticipation of their sale (again, it isn't to Mitt Romney), Clear Channel has been cleaning house at stations nationwide, slashing overhead and staff. Funny, I thought that usually happened after he corporate raiders took over. The sole progressive talk victim is at KTLK in Los Angeles, where Marc Germain, a.k.a. Mr. K, gets his walking papers. In the interim, weekenders such as Johnny Wendell are filling in. No permanent replacement has been named.

2. Stacy Taylor starts new gig today

Down the coast in San Diego, as previously reported, Stacy Taylor starts his new job today, doing the afternoon shift at XEPE (1700AM). You can hear him from 4-7PM PT (that's 7-10PM ET). Thankfully, "San Diego 1700" streams, so you can check out Taylor's show here. Like taylor's former home, KLSD, XEPE offers podcasting. Whether Taylor's show will be archived in whole, in parts or at all is unknown. And you can read a really good article about Taylor in San Diego CityBeat.

3. Apple bets on HD Radio

Earlier last year, I claimed that HD Radio would at least have a chance of surviving if two things were to happen. First, a portable device (i.e. one that runs on batteries) needs to be introduced. Second, Apple would have to get involved. Well lo and behold, Ibiquity, the bumbling company behind HD Radio, has indeed teamed up with Steve Jobs and company as Apple is getting ready to roll out HD Radio-compatible boomboxes and iPod docks at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco later this month. The new receivers will have tagging capability, which enables songs played on HD-equipped radio stations to be 'tagged' and pulled up on iTunes later, for preview and/or purchase. So far, many of the big radio station owners are working at encoding the music at their end to make it iTunes compliant.

Ibiquity has stumbled badly with HD Radio over the past few years, with product rollouts being mostly mediocre, unwieldy or overpriced. It seemed the company was more concerned about intellectual property than with putting product in peoples' hands, which has slowed down the rollout of HD Radio and gotten them some horrible press. HD Radio does have some technological issues, but all new innovations do. Those get ironed out. HD Radio in itself is not a bad idea. I've heard it and think that, with some simplification of the product, that it could work, even if Ibiquity does their best to shoot themselves in the foot. Apple knows how to create and move products that people don't realize they want. The iPod wasn't the first high-capacity MP3 player, but they soon dominated the market. Last year, they got people to pay $500 for a cell phone! Needless to say, Apple knows how to do what Ibiquity obviously doesn't. And that's pushing new technology. Ibiquity should stop being so overprotective, step back and see how it's done.

4. Goin' digital

There's only a little over a year to go until our TV dial goes completely digital. Come midnight on February 17, 2009, all full-power television stations are required to turn off their analog signals and broadcast in digital-only. if you've got an older set with rabbit ear antennas pulling in signals from the air (imagine that!), you'll get a lot of static. However, if you go out and buy a special converter box, you'll get all your local channels and then some, in crystal-clear digital (depending on where you live in proximity to the stations). January 1 was the first day that the public was able to apply for $40 vouchers good toward purchase of these converter boxes (slated to run $50-70). So, where are the converter boxes? Look for them in your favorite electronics store next month. In the past two days, the government has gotten over half a million requests for vouchers.

So, are you all confused by this? Don't feel bad, you're not alone. To boil it all down, if you already have cable or satellite service, do nothing. You won't notice anything. If you bought a new set within the past year, it's probably already DTV-compliant.

Why is the government switching off analog? The analog spectrum takes up a ton of space in comparison to DTV (not to be confused with HDTV, which is only a part of this whole technology). The rest of the world is currently in the process of doing this upgrade, and much of Europe is moving quickly to change over as well. The advantages are many, with clearer pictures and sound, multiple channels (many NBC affiliates are already carrying local "Weather Plus" side channels and public television stations already have a wide array of subchannels as well. In the near future, expect to see other stations adding more channels as well.

If you are going out to buy a new television (and the prices for DTV-compliant sets are dropping like mad), be aware. All new sets manufactured since last March are required to be compatible, but there may still be a few older units that aren't. They'll be tagged as such, but ask a sales associate to be sure. If you see older sets at too-good-to-be-true prices (like those portable $10 B&W jobs at Walgreens), chances are you'll need that converter box by next February lest it become a paper weight. See the government's site,, for more information and to apply for a voucher, or call their hotline, 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-800-388-2009). You can see an earlier article I wrote here that describes the digital switchover in more detail.

Oh, and if you have one of those portable radios that pick up VHF TV feeds, they won't pick them up at all come next year. So far, there are no similar radios being made that will have that same function for DTV channels.

5. DeFede's got a brand new gig

Jim DeFede, former columnist with the Miami Herald and Miami New Times and former morning host at WINZ in Miami is back on the radio. AllAccess says that DeFede has been hired to do 4-7PM ET at WFTL in Fort Lauderdale/West Palm Beach. The new show starts January 7.

"I’m thrilled to be back with my own show and to be working for WFTL," said DeFde. "I came here because no other station in South Floida is as committed to local talk as WFTL. And let’s face it, living in South Floida, we all should be committed."

6. Open up the pipes

And finally, some good news for readers who would like to leave comments here but don't want to sign up for Google accounts. As part of a reconfiguration by Blogger, OpenID is now configured for LTR. Meaning that you can sign in and leave comments via OpenID-enabled services such as, LiveJournal, and AOL Journals, or even with an AOL/AIM account. You can read more about OpenID here.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Top 10 Liberal Talkers of 2007

In any kind of field, genre or category, there is always one lingering question, one that nearly everyone is always wondering. Namely, who is the best?

To rank someone the best is often rather subjective, and as a result, the outcome may be disputed. Last year, this very blog decided to rank the top liberal talk radio hosts of 2006. Criteria came in the way of a combination of voting and personal analysis based on who made the biggest impact in the genre throughout the year. The choice of Ed Schultz for the top position was a rather controversial one, but he did seem to have the biggest impact of all of them for the year.

For 2008, all control was turned over to the readers of LTR. An online poll was set up and ran throughout the fall. No ballot box stuffing was allowed, since the poll limited voting to one per IP address. Thousands of votes later, an interesting picture has evolved. And we do indeed have a Top 10 list of the biggest liberal talkers of the past year. So without further delay, here we go:

10. Alex Bennett

Wow! What a shocker! Here's a guy who's show is available only to subscribers of Sirius satellite radio. He narrowly beat out a beleaguered Air America host (Lionel) and a webcaster (Head-On Radio Network's Guy James). In addition, here's a host who's not treated too kindly on many progressive blogs and online communities. Suffice it to say, Alex Bennett doesn't get a whole lot of love. And that's too bad.

What many listeners don't realize about Bennett is that he may be one of the most honest people on the radio anywhere. In an era of robotic political stances, hive mentalities, bullet point briefings from political parties and ideological think tanks, here's a guy who tells it the way he sees it. His stances may not jibe with the typical liberal talk listener, but he's living proof that everyone has a distinct opinion. Bennett's show is not a bully pulpit, it's a sounding board. A man, a microphone and a phone line. It's the old school approach to talk radio. Bennett's not an activist or politician or great thinker. He's a radio guy. And he's smart enough to know the show is not about pushing policy or changing the world. It's about creating entertaining and engaging radio. I had never really written about Bennett as much as many of the other hosts one will find on this list, so I'll go into a bit more detail here than with most of the other hosts that follow, as I personally feel that Bennett's story is a rather interesting one.

Born Bennett Gordon Schwarzmann sixty-eight years ago, this radio veteran has put in roughly half a century in the broadcasting business, starting as a teenager in his native Northern California. Carving out a career as a Top 40 disc jockey, he eventually found himself a member of the last incarnation of the fabled "Good Guys" at WMCA in New York. In 1969, as WMCA's Top 40 format evolved into talk radio, Bennett made the transition amazingly well. He became a voice of the burgeoning counterculture, as he and his listeners discussed the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon and many other hot topics. A year later, he moved to the FM dial, at freeform rocker WPLJ, where typical in-studio guests were friends such as Abby Hoffmann, Jerry Rubin, Cheech and Chong and John Lennon and Yoko Ono. His controversial and provocative late night show was an institution on the New York airwaves, allegedly inspiring future radio personalities such as Howard Stern. Along with people like Jean Shepherd and Bob Grant, Bennett was one of New York's modern talk radio pioneers.

By 1980, Bennett changed gears, returning to the West Coast to host a comedy-oriented morning show for KMEL in San Francisco. The show quickly became an institution, and over the years introduced listeners to a slew of up-and-coming entertainers. The list is long. Bob Goldthwait, Bobby Slayton, Whoopi Goldberg, Will Durst, Dana Carvey, Ray Romano, and Jay Leno were just a few of the people heard on his show before they became big stars. The format of the show, which was essentially Bennett playing straight man while presiding over a wild free-for-all, has been copied over and over again to lesser results. Growing up in the Bay Area, I was a die-hard listener of the show, and to this day have never heard another morning radio show as compelling as this one. It was phenomenal radio.

In San Francisco, Bennett held sway over morning drive on and off for over 18 years, first on KMEL, then the short-lived KQAK ("The Quake") and finally KITS ("Live 105"). After KITS was sold to CBS in 1998, the new owners desired to replace Bennett with Howard Stern's syndicated show. Bennett left, and after dabbling in television and the internet, he sought to reinvent himself once again, this time on AM talk radio. A few different formats were tried, including technology talk for the now-defunct CNET Radio. The beginning of the Iraq War in 2003 inspired him to get political once again, but at the time, radio wasn't very interested in hiring an anti-war liberal voice. He had offers to switch gears and do conservative radio, but he held true to his convictions. Bennett did have a temporary gig as the sole left voice at new conservative talker KNEW, but greener pastures awaited.

Moving back to New York, he went to Sirius, who's 'Left' channel was lacking programming, and offered his services. They bit, and The Alex Bennett Program debuted in April 2004. Over time, the show became a linchpin for Sirius Left, and a favorite among subscribers. For three hours every morning, it's the oft-cranky Bennett with his often controversial take on current events, pop culture and rather mundane personal anecdotes, as well as phone calls from listeners. His opinions may not jibe with the typical listener of, say, Air America. But in an era of talking points and activist radio, Bennett takes the old school approach. It's all about the art of discussion and the sharing of opinions. And quite frankly, we need more of that in radio. There is definitely more than enough room in the world for a guy like Alex Bennett.

And like I said, you voted for him!

9. "Ring of Fire" with Mike Papantonio, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and John Morgan

Another new addition to the Top 10 this year is a weekend show. "Ring of Fire" airs Saturday afternoons on Air America Radio, and is one of the network's longest running shows. During their three hour show, hosts Mike Papantonio, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and John Morgan take on, in their words, "corporate crooks, polluters, hypocritical preachers and ugly politicians."

Papantonio, Kennedy and Morgan have a long background in the legal field. Papantonio is a prominent trial lawyer based in Florida. Kennedy, the namesake son of the former Senator/Attorney General, specializes in environmental law, most notably fighting to clean up the Hudson River in New York. Morgan, a newcomer to the show, heads a law firm that refuses to take insurance companies and large corporations as clients.

The hosts of the program have also ventured into multimedia, with, a YouTube-like venture targeting the left. "Ring of Fire," particularly Papantonio, was featured prominently in the acclaimed 2006 film documentary Jesus Camp.

8. "Democracy Now!"

A ninth place finish on the 2006 list entitled this long-running show to be in the running for 2007. And a tally of votes show that "Democracy Now!" is still a popular listen for many.

The show was started in 1996 at Pacifica's WBAI in New York City by journalists Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez, Larry Bensky, Salim Muwakkil, and Julie Drizin. Goodman is the program's principal host, with Gonzalez as co-host. Jeremy Scahill is a frequent contributor.

Media critic Bob McChesney calls "Democracy Now!," which reports primarily on news stories seldom reported by the mainstream media and how they really affect people, "probably the most significant progressive news institution that has come around in some time." The daily program, which airs on hundreds of non-commercial and commercial stations as well as public access and satellite TV, covers issues relating to war and peace, human rights, and U.S. foreign and domestic policy. Guests run the gamut of Presidents, politicians, journalists, activists, newsmakers and controversial figures. Essentially, you won't hear about Britney Spears' exploits here. But you will hear about global conflicts, personal liberties, and other stories that the so-called mainstream media deems uninteresting to viewers.

The show refuses to accept donations or funding from any government entity, such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Much of the funding is derived from foundations,,listener donations and some carriage fees.

There are a few news programs out there that are hard-hitting and serious. "Democracy Now!" raises the bar for broadcast journalism.

7. Ed Schultz

I caught a lot of flack last year when I named Ed Schultz the top liberal talker of 2006. It seems as if I was trashed everywhere but the message board on Schultz' own site. But I still stand behind my choice. Because, more than anyone else in the format, Schultz was the one who was most effective in gaining credibility.

Schultz made a wise move by aggressively building his show on his own terms. He knew that advertisers were wary of liberal talk. And he knew that attracting listeners to the AM dial, and liberal talk to rather conservative program directors and station owners, was an uphill climb. But four years and roughly a hundred stations later, he did it. To this day, he's the most-listened to liberal talk show host in the country, on a show originating from, of all places, Fargo, ND.

The show features a who's-who of newsmakers and movers and shakers. Politicians, journalists, bloggers and many others in the know have appeared on Schultz' show. When beleaguered toe-tapping Idaho Senator Larry Craig's exploits were revealed, the news came as no surprise to Schultz' listeners, as the topic of Craig's sexuality was oft-discussed with BlogActive's Mike Rogers on the show months earlier.

What even his most die-hard detractors will admit is that Schultz' strength is his appeal to a broad spectrum of listeners, rather than merely die-hard liberals. His small-town midwestern sensibility, as a self-described 'gun-toting, meat-eating, football loving lefty' appeals strongly to average folk who have yet to wrap their heads around Air America. In markets where he airs head-to-head with the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity, he does better than many would expect. And with the 2008 elections on the way, Schultz's show will obviously be a focal point for listeners and politicians alike. Not too long ago, Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich even made a special trip to Fargo to spend an entire show with him.

Regardless of what you may think of him, Schultz will be a must-listen for political junkies in the coming year. And he can even hold his own in a bar fight.

6. Randi Rhodes

A year ago, I wrote the following about Randi Rhodes:

As her network went through much turmoil throughout the course of the year and (Al) Franken has made overtures to leaving radio, it was up to Randi to keep Air America on course.

Sure enough, after Franken hung up the headphones in February, Rhodes became the focal point of the network, even more so than Franken's replacement, Thom Hartmann. Rhodes also became part of a focused effort by the new management of Air America to gain new affiliates. She was able to clear live slots in several markets, and her ratings and stature also rose in prominence. A controversial accident a few months ago, which sparked quite a bit of unintended publicity, also increased her stature.

I said last year that the show itself seemed at times to a bit unorganized. I also took her to task for taking fewer and fewer calls than in years past, and also chastised her tendency to take topics too far via windy rants that could cause listener fatigue. I wished that she could also lighten up a little more and make the show a bit lighter in 2007. she hasn't completely come around, but her listeners still love her. And seeing her growth in the past year, she has even more. All hail The Goddess!

5. Rachel Maddow

What a year it's been for Rachel Maddow. Originally taking a back seat to better known names in the early days of Air America, she has risen to greater prominence in 2007. a popular early evening show, coupled with frequent appearances on MSNBC and CNN have given her one of the highest profiles of any air America host. Her television presence was so well-received that she reportedly is even in the running for her own show on MSNBC.

Maddow has come a long way in a few short years. With no prior radio experience, the Rhodes scholar and San Francisco native got her first radio job at WRNX in Springfield, MA via a station contest to find new on-air talent. She later moved on to the morning show at WRSI in Northampton and left to become a co-host on Air America's Unfiltered. She was the least known of her co-hosts, but eventually overshadowed them, so much that when the show was canceled, Air America gave her a morning show of her own. The show moved to early evenings in September, 2006 and surprisingly, her devoted following allowed her to pick up quite a few affiliates. 2007 was a good year for Maddow, and 2008 looks even brighter.

4. Stephanie Miller

Many critics of liberal talk claim that many of the hosts take themselves way too seriously. Evidently, Jones Radio Networks' Stephanie Miller didn't get that memo. Many other hosts do tend to get themselves in a trap where their show becomes way too dour and depressing. Miller, a comedian and former television personality, has found her niche via comedy. And it's paid off handsomely. In many West Coast markets, Miller's show has been picked up for the coveted morning drive slot. With silly sound effects, celebrity impersonations, gags and jokes galore, the show is a fun and breezy trip through the previous day's headlines.

Dubbed by Miller and company as "a MENSA meeting with fart jokes", the show has been a hit in its three years on the air. Her show has dominated the liberal talk format so effectively that she's virtually shut out much of the competition in the genre. Jerry Springer left radio a year ago, and rival Air America has been trying to compete with the Stephanie Miller juggernaut ever since, currently with Lionel.

3. Thom Hartmann

On many progressive talk stations, Thom Hartmann's show immediately follows Miller's. While Hartmann's more educational, serious and straightforward manner may seem to some as the polar opposite of Miller's, the shows do flow together well. Chalk that up to Hartmann's engaging and friendly manner.

2007 was the year that Hartmann's show really started to get noticed. When Air America decided to syndicate the show in late 2004, it wasn't deemed a top priority. The show, which airs from noon to 3PM ET, went up directly against the network's designated star, Al Franken. Eventually, as Franken toyed with leaving radio to enter politics, radio stations decided that they preferred Hartmann's show, which had already had huge success in the ratings books in markets like Seattle (where he actually beat all other talk competition, including Rush Limbaugh, in all demographic breakdowns) and Portland. When Franken finally hung up the headphones earlier last year, his successor was obvious. Since then, along with Randi Rhodes and Rachel Maddow, Hartmann has become one of Air America's most prominent personalities.

Hartmann is a busy man. In addition to his nationally-syndicated Air America show, he also appears on the morning show of KPOJ in Portland (though he has cut back a bit there). He is also an acclaimed author, releasing at least two separate books in the past year. Oh, and he's also a public speaker, activist and owner of several companies. On top of this, he also reportedly does get some sleep at night.

James Brown may have been the so-called 'hardest working man in show business,' but it is not known whether he met Hartmann before he passed away a year ago.

2. Sam Seder

Here's an interesting scenario. It concerns a guy who got knocked-around, beat up and disrespected even more this past year than Griffin Dunne's character in After Hours.

Yet he's still a favorite in the eyes of many. So much that endless lobbying and campaigning yielded a massive swell of votes for this iron man of liberal talk.

Yes, you really like Sam Seder.

Seder started out the year with a late morning show on Air America. The ultimate fate of the show was unknown, as the network was in limbo waiting for its white knight to come and fetch it out of the ashes of bankruptcy. When the Green brothers took over, they had their own ideas for the shift and ultimately lured Lionel from WOR. Seder was banished to what could have been known as the wasteland known as Sunday afternoon. But it didn't work out that way. While not a force in the mainstream scheme of things, Seder maintained on of the most dedicated followings of any Air America host. Was it sympathy for his treatment by his bosses? His direct style on the air? His strong relationships with his listeners? His anti-authority mischievousness? The "SammyCam?"

Whatever it was, Seder was and still is a favorite of liberal talk listeners. So much that his handlers realized their mistakes earlier in the year and slowly began to bring him out of exile and integrate him back into the fold. Recently, Seder became the head blogger for And he's still the go-to substitute, filling in occasionally for Rhodes. Let's see what 2008 has in store for Sam Seder. Last I checked, Air America needs a new morning show...

And now, the top banana. The numero uno. The host with the most. Yes, it's time for the Top Liberal Talker of 2007. As voted by you. And the winner is...

1. Mike Malloy

Truthseekers of the world unite!

When voting was opened up for this list, the biggest vote getters by far were Seder and Mike Malloy. It was a neck-and-neck race throughout. But one was triumphant.

Malloy was the Seder story of 2006. He was unceremoniously dumped by Air America that year, and spent a few months on the beach before being rescued by another liberal talk network, Nova M Radio. It was a tough climb back. An affiliate network had to be built from scratch, but he still wound up in some plum markets. Prior to a satellite deal, the show was fed via ISDN line to stations in a rather difficult way.

Thanks to Malloy, Sheldon Drobny's upstart Nova M Radio was able to build somewhat of a structure to an organization. Sure, they're a network with only one syndicated show. But flagship station KPHX in Phoenix was able to build around it, creating one of the most extensive rosters of any progressive talk station. There were misfires, of course (a conservative former CIA agent named John Loftus had a short-lived nightly show that was unanimously panned). But while not growing at an Air America-like pace, Nova M/KPHX has at least started in building a foundation. Whether it works in the long run remains to be seen.

This year, Malloy added just a few new affiliates, but was also able to land on both Sirius and XM. Via streaming audio, listenership is very heavy.

In last year's list, I wrote that I couldn't think of any other talk show host who has become as much as a force as he has via the internet. every night, thousands of listeners tune in via webstreams to wind down their day with the outrageously outspoken Malloy. How strong is web listenership? So much that a daytime-only station, WCPT in Chicago, added his show just to the station's webcast feed. If liberal talk has not yet taken hold on the terrestrial airwaves, it certainly has via international webstreaming. And one of the reasons for that is Malloy.

Malloy's act is not for everyone. Often dropping trademark phrases like "flying monkey right" and "Bush crime family," Malloy is no Alan Colmes. He gets nasty. And his adversaries are taking note. Even stuffy right-wing gasbag Bill O'Reilly name-dropped him, claiming that the FBI should investigate him for saying he's had violent fantasies about White House spokespeople Scott McClellan and Dana Perino. One could only imagine Malloy's response.

I also wrote last year that time will tell if Malloy and his fledgeling network, Nova M will succeed. Will it all work in the long run? Last year, I also mentioned that he had a history of burning bridges with his former employers. But with Nova M Radio, he finally seems to have found his proper home. He almost seems happy (believe it or not). And his following has remained stronger and stronger than before.

Forget Leno, Letterman, et al. The real king of late night in your eyes is one Michael Malloy, the Top Liberal Talker of 2007. Congratulations!

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