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Chuck Harder

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Chuck Harder (We have no idea whether this is intended to sound like "ChuggWikipedia's W.svg harder!", the real name is Charles Edward Harder) was born in Elgin, Illinois and got his start with radio in Chicago in the early 1960's. After a divorce, he was homeless and a good Samaritan recognized him and decided to help him out. Later on, he was a talk radio host in Florida. His show "For the People" was popular during the 1990s and heard on many AM talk stations and shortwave. He never could make up his mind if he was liberal or conservative though. He tacked both ways and mostly tried staking out a position of radical centrist populism and producerism, while scheduling frequent guests from across the political spectrum. Ralph Nader and Pat Choate (Ross Perot's 1996 running mate) were guests seemingly at least 2 or 3 times a week, but he also gave airtime to some notorious wingnuts like Eustace Mullins, and UFO charlatans like Richard Hoagland. He was at his best when he took on consumer advocacy and labor and trade issues, and interesting issues like railroad and alternative energy advocacy, and at his worst when he let some of his wingnuttier guests have their say without seriously challenging them. In particular he gave far too much airtime to people airing conspiracy theories about the Clintons during the late 1990s, and to pseudolaw advocates. He lost his direction when he fired his original staff and took off on a conspiratorial direction designed to provoke investors into buying his network.

By early 2010, his show was taken off the air, the victim of media consolidation, a botched partnership with the United Auto Workers trying to start a new radio network (leading to Harder being forced out and lawsuits and such), an eighteen year audit by the IRS, and stations dropping shows like his in favor of a strictly conservative talk radio format. The real problem, though, was that he seemed to have stopped trying - he scheduled guests without bothering to learn what they were about before the show, and then talked at cross-purposes with them. By the time he went off the air, he had not taken live calls for six years, and his websites were poorly laid out, appearing as if they had been put together in the mid-1990's, when the Internet was in its infancy.

Although not strictly a conservative, the rise of his show during the 1990s is often seen as part of the broader milieu in which conservative talk radio arose. Nation magazine was particularly critical, slamming him in a 1995 article by Marc Cooper, "The Paranoid Style", which began by praising Harder's support for labor unions and his criticism of Newt Gingrich but then detailed his detours into wingnuttiness.[1]

Harder returned to webcasting in March 2015 with his "Pulse Beam Radio Corporation" and teamed up with Keith Alan to revive his For the People talk show on-line as a podcast, hawking survival-based guide books[2]. Harder's health collapsed shortly thereafter and by late August 2016, after major heart surgery, Chuck Harder had been confined to a nursing home in Gainesville, Florida, ending his long career in right-wing extremist media activity. It was reported, he passed away in late April 2018.

See also[edit]

  • Alex Jones - by comparison Chuck Harder was sane and sober. Unfortunately he did help pave the way for Jones, much the same way Morton Downey Jr. paved the way for Rush Limbaugh.

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