Thursday, April 24, 2008

Midweek roundup: Rhodes to XM, Newsom to the radio

XM fans may be able to satisfy their Randi Rhodes fix soon. Orbitcast is reporting that Rhodes, who left Air America earlier this month for Nova M Radio, is in talks to return to XM Radio's so-called Air America (ch 167) channel.

An announcement can be expected in the coming weeks, according to sources.

In addition to Air America programming, the channel also carries Nova M stablemate Mike Malloy and Jones Radio Networks' Bill Press and Ed Schultz.

And coming in a few weeks is a new radio show. Chris Mason of KKGN (Green 960) in San Francisco dropped a line to let you all know that they reeled in none other than the city's mayor, Gavin Newsom, who will do a local Saturday afternoon show starting May 3 at noon (PT).

Green 960 Program Director John Scott says "We're really excited about this, and we jumped at the opportunity. Most programs of this type are normally done as part of an existing show, with a regular host. This is Gavin Newsom, on his own, no rules, his passions and his interests. He'll be doing interviews from across the country (when he's traveling) as well. It's going to be a great way for him to engage with his constituents and fans. The test shows we've already done have been really compelling!"

The show will feature interviews with local personalities, newsmakers, and cultural icons, in a relaxed, intimate conversational format; and live phone calls as well.

Contrary to previous reports, the show will not be on Air America. It is strictly exclusive to Green 960. Of course, the station does stream across the country, so anyone interested can tune in via webcast.


Chriss Pagani said...

Well, there goes my XM listening. :( I can't handle her screeching meanness. BTW, she was never "Number One" - ever. I'm amazed that just because someone brags that so many people believe. Where are the facts?

Oh yes, with Rhodes, facts don't matter.

Bye bye, XM.

FSL said...

Sorry, you lost me. Except for the last few weeks, Randi has been on XMs Air America channel since the get-go. It's not like she's something new there. Did you just subscribe to XM last month?

What's interesting is how little of the Air America channel now comes from Air America. Lionel. Rachel Maddow. Two hours of Thom Hartmann on tape delay in the evening. Between 6am and midnight, Air America provides seven out of 18 hours (39%).

Any bets on when Stephanie Miller replaces Lionel and AA fills four hours on their eponymous channel?

I also wonder what happens after the merger when Mel Karamazin is running all of satellite radio. He calls right wing talk "Sirius Patriot" and liberal talk "Sirius Left." That ought to tell you something. And most of the "Left" schedule is the not ready for prime time players of liberal talk, people who Nova, Jones and even AA didn't take. Sounds like Mel wants to scuttle liberal talk.

ltr said...

Here's an explanation on the Sirius naming thing, from Alex Bennett of Sirius Left. Mel had nothing to do with it.

FSL said...

Thanks for the link. I missed the earlier article. I subscribed to Sirius (briefly) when they had "Sirius Left" (the other channel was called "Sirius Right" at the time) and also the full Air America schedule. I thought it was great to have AA and a line-up of other liberal shows. Then AA made a deal with XM and yanked it from Sirius. That's when I started getting a bad feeling about AA. The shows I was interested in on Sirius Left seemed to get shoved into the graveyard hours and I wasn't impressed by the shows I heard (including Bennett-Left; not to be confused with Salem's Bennett-Patriot), so I canceled Sirius.

Is the name important? Maybe not. However it came about, the names do reflect the mind-set of the people who run radio, drop liberal talk from their stations, and say it's just about money. Mel is responsible for keeping the current names in place since he's in charge. He's responsible for putting the strongest hosts in dead times, not building a stronger line-up, not offering a second channel. Sirius Left is a token effort at best so management has another reason to say liberal talk can't work.

Chriss Pagani said...

FSL: Sorry I "lost you."

What happened was, over along period, I gradually stopped listening to 167 in the Randi Rhodes timelslot. I'll flip over to Squizz or a comedy channel.

I want to point out, too, that I used to be a Randi Rhodes fan. I didn't change but something bad happened to Randi.

Somewhat inexplicably about two years ago she turned into a screeching harpy. I thought it might be related to her hysterectomy. My husband is sure that she has a serious drinking problem (which may be borne out by all the unexplained absences that meant her show was often in repeats).

I find the fact that she yells at callers who agree with her to be intolerable. My husband does a Randi Rhodes impression, screeching, "NO NO, it's not 'a' - it's 'the'! Say it right! SAY IT!" and that pretty much sums up her mood swing performance. That's based on an actual "thing" Randi does, btw.

Because of that, I eventually stopped listening. But if Sam Seder was on or another substitute, I could enjoy it again. I have been enjoying listening to Richard Belzer, too. The return of Rhodes to XM means I will once again be switching to something else in that time slot, that's all.

I also expect that the merger may mean the end of liberal talk. Certainly, the satellite-paid people such as Alex Bennett (a merger supporter) and Lynn Samuels are doomed. They won't pay salaries when they no longer have the competition: they'll just put on whatever they can get for free.

BTW, I was an early Sirius subscriber and began listening to Rhodes there. Then XM got Air America Exclusively, so I got an XM radio.

FSL said...

Painter: I get it. Thanks for clarifying.

Another possibility is Randi felt pressure to turn up the heat and be increasingly outrageous. With John Manzo in charge of her show again maybe that will change.

When I read the Alex Bennett article I did get the feeling that he was licking the hand that feeds him. I get the same feeling from some stuff Jay Marvin writes. At least Randi isn't a wh*r*.

XM and Sirius got themselves in this mess by paying big bucks for "exclusive" programming. They were more interested in beating each other than in promoting satellite radio. They still haven't brought out interoperable receivers (as they were supposed to have done). They could have made deals to make each others' "exclusive" programming available, possibly for a premium. (XM subscribers get Howard and NFL football; Sirius subscribers get baseball.) Nobody offers a complete service which makes satellite radio less attractive. Now, they've got potential customers waiting and seeing what happens with this merger deal (and will receivers become obsolete like HD DVD players). I hope the FCC kills the merger or at least makes the combined company give up bandwidth so a new player can come in.

Casey Buck said...

Regarding Randi on XM, it's official.

Press release here:

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