Randi Rhodes Returning to the Microphone

What are we getting?  A new and improved Randi, or the same old, same old Randi? (Courtesy: Paul Schultz)

What are we getting? A new and improved Randi, or the same old, same old Randi? (Courtesy: Paul Schultz)

Randi Rhodes, the Queen of Progressive Radio, is returning to talk in the next few days here in Madison, WI. I’ve got mixed feelings about her coming back, and it has a lot to do with some of her personal and professional problems coming to the fore last time I read. I’m just hoping that she doesn’t disappear again one final, unexplained time.

First thing I want to say is that I love her. I was living in New York when Air America began in 2004. She just breathed fire at the right wing, which was certainly refreshing after some of the calm and comforting stuff Franken & Co. was putting out. It was almost as if righteous anger was too much of a no-no. Not with Randi. Her shows were a mix of talk, listener calls, and comedy bits, some of which had me reduced to tears and suppressed laughter in the office. Better still, she encapsulated all the rage liberals and progressives were feeling after 2000 and the commencing of the war in Afghanistan and later, in Iraq. By the time I moved to Madison in 2005, I was a rabid fan, and glad that she was on the line-up of the Clear Channel Air America affiliate.

I could tell, though, that she wasn’t perfect. Sometimes she made me wince over race, though I liked it when she called herself an honorary black woman after an interview with Maxine Waters during the Democratic Convention in 2004. Her heart was there, though. She cut off some people who weren’t being a-number-one-right-wing-dicks, but were listeners that she couldn’t control. I didn’t like her knee-jerk support of Israel. I liked her telling people not to rely on her findings, but to look them up and analyze for themselves. But worse, I believe she let her liquor talk for her, illustrated in 2007 when she stumbled, fell and hit her head while walking her dog.

Some concerned fans on Daily Kos thought for sure she had been attacked and beaten by sinister winger thugs (as with Seattle talker Tom Leykis that same year. Stephanie Miller was threatened, and Tom Hartmann’s mechanic pointed out the bullet holes in his car). Unfortunately, it may have been a few (some say as many as 14) consecutive shots of Ketel One Bloody Marys at an Irish pub downtown that contributed to Randi’s collapse, one rumor went. There, she went off on patrons and waiters alike. Randi said she could not remember what happened after she left the bar.

The nadir came when she appeared at an Air America affiliate gig in San Francisco, and let fly some expletives about Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton. This too may have been an occasion when the liquor was doing the talking. It wasn’t that the women didn’t deserve criticism, because I was just as furious that it was the most race-baiting campaign in a long while. However, after the in vino veritas with dog incident, Air America was looking for any pretext to get out of their contract and to fire her. After the video of her rant was released, they did.

Soon after, Randi went on to work for Nova M, and was based in San Francisco; however, in a repeat of her problems with Air America, they wanted to futz with her contract and her salary. She walked this time, and Nova M later filed for bankruptcy. Now she’s with Premiere Radio, a subsidiary of Clear Channel. She starts broadcasting–and that’s the word–May 11.

Sometimes, someone comes along that is just right for the time. Randi was good for just those times to keep progressive anger stoked and to maintain focus. What about now? Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz have made it to MSNBC, although they are still both doing radio. They address different constituencies but they are both watchable, listenable, and still have a lot of progressive cred. I’d like to see Randi make the jump, too. What is going to be Randi’s angle?

We have a Democrat in the White House who isn’t going to insult our intelligence, with a wife who is more popular in polls than he is. Big Ed sits in the front row at Obama’s press conferences. Lampooning the Republicans would be easy pickings, but what about larger issues like torture, health care and our economy? Since I haven’t heard Randi for so long, what has she cut loose from her previous repertoire, and what has she gained? More to the point, is she able to keep her demons in check?

Like I said, I love this lady, despite my qualms, and I’d like to see her in full flower once more. Then, as I said before, perhaps her time has passed. We’ll know for sure May 11, and beyond.

~ by blksista on May 1, 2009.

7 Responses to “Randi Rhodes Returning to the Microphone”

  1. Another opinion
    Randi Rhodes is on her 16th Minute of Fame.
    “Hard Won Reputation”?
    As what?
    Rhodes’ “new and improved” NARROWCASTING will have about as much longevity as her multiple cosmetic surgeries and will still remain “ugly to the bone”.


  2. RAndi sold out, Randi is only it is for Randi, she went with the channel that carries Rush, Beck, Hannity, where are her principles.
    She will crash again.


  3. Randi’s ego after leaving Air America was completely, completely out of control. She would not stop bragging about the “business” she had built…. I am looking forward to her return, but hoping we will see a somewhat more humble Randi, because she certainly wasn’t looking like such a great businesswoman when NovaM collapsed and her show became homeless.
    She was riding Limbaugh hard when NovaM died, and now she’ll be syndicated by the same company as him, so it should be interesting to see if she has changed her stance on him at all.
    Also a small correction – Rachel Maddow no longer does a radio show – what Air America broadcasts is a re-run of her MSNBC show from the day before. Ed Schultz is still doing a separate radio show.


    • Thanks for the update on Rachel; last I read, she WAS doing the Air America gig and MSNBC. Okay, then. You can always make too much money…;D

      “Business she had built?” Girl had better focus on the essentials–that’s her real business. I am getting tired of hearing of folks misbehaving…let her freaking lawyer take care of that and let her do what she does best.


  4. Just an opinion….Randi Cares About Randi. Period.
    She has definitely “Jumped The Shark” (not to mention completely “Jumping The Couch” ala Tom Cruise over the DC Lobbyist BF)
    Her “loyal clients”? She wouldn’t cross the street to piss on them if they were on fire
    The “people” paying for Randi’s lush life are ultimately her listener, the person who tunes in to her “show”, nod their head in agreement, and think that Randi is just like them.
    As a “Premiere” talent (?) she is tasked with “….getting audience we don’t have,” said Charlie Rahilly, president and chief executive of Premiere…”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/23/randi-rhodes-to-return-to_n_190850.html
    In addition, http://blatherwatch.blogs.com/talk_radio/2009/04/has-randi-rhodes-sold-her-soul-.html
    “….plans to get rid of almost all their announcers at local stations in the next couple of years…replacing them with voice trackers and syndicated programs. For every station Randi gets, somebody else will lose a job. Nice going Randi.”


  5. Her time hasn’t passed… She’s got plenty to talk about… She will stay busy kicking Limbaugh’s ass, she may even go after Obama when it’s needed. Of all the talkers, she seems to get it right the most times – AND backs it up. Can’t wait to get her back, it’s been sucking without her. Give her a break on that thing with Hillary? It was a comedy stand up thing. Air America just used that to break their contact. Anyway, good description of her show.. I laugh my butt off at those vocal “skits” too. Got to go bounce some boobies.


  6. I feel you on Randi Rhodes. I had to listen to her show on the Net since all the talk radio outlets here in Da Ville are packed with right wing BS


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