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Liberal talk radio
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Liberal talk radio, also known as progressive talk radio, is a talk radio format that expresses liberal or progressive viewpoints, as opposed to conservative talk radio. The format has existed in the United States for many years. Pacifica Radio, launched in 1949 in Berkeley, California, was an early pioneer of radio programming known for its liberal political orientation. In the 1960s, then-emerging FM radio stations, such as free-form rock and roll stations, were frequently programmed by air personalities who mixed progressive rock music with liberal political commentary, such as outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War. Through the 1980s, talk radio stations normally featured commentators from both sides of the political spectrum.
In 1987, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) eliminated the Fairness Doctrine, that required broadcast license holders to present political opinions in a way such that opposing viewpoints were equally represented. The repeal of the Fairness Doctrine spurred the growth of political talk programming, the most successful being conservative blowhard Rush Limbaugh. President Bill Clinton's 1996 Telecommunications Act relaxed media ownership restrictions, resulting in the rise of media behemoths such as Clear Channel (now known as iHeartMedia) and the concentration of media ownership in the hands of a small number of businesses. The combination of these factors and the success of Limbaugh's show resulted in a talk media landscape largely dominated by right wing programming.
In the early 2000s, organizations such as the United Auto Workers and other wealthy liberals developed a plan to build a nationwide network of liberal talk radio to provide a viewpoint to counter conservative talk radio. In 2004, the progressive Air America Radio network was launched, featuring talk shows by Thom Hartmann, Al Franken, Rachel Maddow, Randi Rhodes, and others. Unfortunately for Air America, this was the same time that the rise of the internet and corresponding fall of broadcast radio was happening. Because of this and other bad business decisions, Air America was finished by 2010. Progressive talk radio survives today, though much diminished from its peak in about 2006. Some progressive talk personalities still enjoy national exposure, but the format as a whole is missing from many major markets. Many more progressive talk personalities, shows, and networks have migrated to the internet and have abandoned broadcast radio completely.
- 1 Personalities and Shows
- 1.1 Alan Colmes
- 1.2 Peter B. Collins
- 1.3 Jon Elliott
- 1.4 Jeff Farias
- 1.5 Al Franken
- 1.6 Welton Gaddy
- 1.7 Norman Goldman
- 1.8 Amy Goodman
- 1.9 Thom Hartmann
- 1.10 Jim Hightower
- 1.11 Monica RW
- 1.12 Tom Leykis
- 1.13 Rachel Maddow
- 1.14 Mike Malloy
- 1.15 Leslie Marshall
- 1.16 Stephanie Miller
- 1.17 Mike Newcomb
- 1.18 David Pakman
- 1.19 Bill Press
- 1.20 Randi Rhodes
- 1.21 Ring of Fire
- 1.22 Nicole Sandler
- 1.23 Ed Schultz
- 1.24 Sam Seder
- 1.25 David Sirota
- 1.26 Bernie Ward
- 1.27 The Young Turks
- 1.28 Kyle Kulinski
- 2 Networks
- 3 Notable stations
- 4 External Links
- 5 Notes
- 6 References
Personalities and Shows
Alan ColmesAlan Colmes had been on the radio since the 1980s and was unabashedly liberal back then; indeed, his was one of the few liberal voices on the radio during the early 1990s. His show included a segment called Radio Graffiti, which was sampled (some might say in an anti-Semitic dig at Colmes, who is Jewish) by the rap group Public Enemy on their 1990 album Fear of a Black Planet. Since 1996 he had come under increased criticism for playing "token liberal" on the Fox News opposite Sean Hannity. Since there are now much stronger liberals on talk radio there is no reason to listen to Colmes any more, although during the darkest days of the 1990s he was a refreshing change from the all-Limbaugh-all-the-time format, and in some markets the only game in town. That was... until his death on February 23, 2017.
Peter B. Collins
Peter B. Collins is a long time progressive radio show host, formerly heard on KGO 810 in San Francisco. He was part owner of the progressive talk station KRXA in Monterey, California, which was sold in 2014.
His radio show,[Note 1] formerly called Live from the Left Coast, is a mix mostly consisting of interviews with a wide range of guest experts early in the show, followed with as many calls from as many kinds of people as he can fit in. Often the guests and callers are able to interact when technology permits. Peter B. has been in radio since the 70's, working many talk time slots at many stations. His style is low-key and non-confrontational, even when arguing with people who strongly disagree with him.
Jon Elliott was a host on Air America Radio who regularly read the names and ranks of every soldier who died in the Iraq War the previous month on his first show of each month. Elliot alleged that Randi Rhodes was "mugged" by "right wing(ers),“ questioning whether the incident was "an attempt by the right-wing, hate machine to silence one of our own?...Are we threatening them? Are they afraid that we’re winning? Are they trying to silence intimidate us?” while substituting for Rhodes during her absence. Elliott later issued an apology for his on-air comments of speculation without evidence, "I shouldn't have speculated based on hearsay that Randi Rhodes had been mugged and that it may have been an attack from a right-wing hate machine, I apologize for jumping to conclusions." Air America canceled This is America with Jon Elliott as of 15 May 2009. At one time, his show was on XEPE 1700 (Tecate, Mexico) and XM Satellite Radio.
Senator Al Franken was part of the initial lineup of Air America Radio. Air America's original flagship affiliate, WLIB in New York, had some early ratings success despite a modest signal. In their first month, their midday block featuring (now former Senator) Al Franken drew more listeners in the demographic category desired by advertisers than competing stations featuring Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly.
State of Belief is a webcast hosted by the Reverend C. Welton Gaddy, a Baptist pastor. This show takes on the wingnuttery of the growing fundamentalist right wing of Christianity and its non-Biblical teachings like the prosperity gospel. Gaddy is also chairman of The Interfaith Alliance, an ecumenical organization that promotes the community service aspects of Christianity.
Norman Goldman hosts a nationally syndicated progressive radio talk show.
Born and raised in New York City, Goldman got his start in 2006 when he was featured as "Senior Legal Analyst" on The Ed Schultz radio show. When Schultz started using Goldman as fill-in host, Goldman held popular show ratings and was encouraged to host his own show. He also appears on MSNBC. He categorizes himself as "independent" vs. liberal or progressive, but is a solid Democrat in direction. His motto is "Where fierce independence is the norm." - thus he will criticize and praise either "side of the political isle" depending on how he analyzes the particular issues. Recognizing the demise of terrestrial (brick-and-mortar facilities) radio stations, he offers "Beyond the Norm" podcast subscriptions. Commercials and news breaks normally heard during a live broadcast period are removed for the podcast recordings.
Jim Hightower is a populist commentator who has a long running two minute commentary called Hightower Radio aired on many stations. He had long-format shows on the ABC and United Broadcasting networks.
Independent Underground Radio LIVE (IURL) is a independently affiliated streaming web radio podcast hosted by Monica RW. Known as "The Voice of Progress", IURL is Michigan's Top African-American owned Independent Progressive-Left Politics, News, Commentary and Talk Radio resource. The program is web syndicated on iTunes, Stitcher, Tune-In and Google Play Networks.
Tom Leykis was an unabashed political libertarian during the 1990s, and used to advertise himself as "the talk show that is not hosted by a right wing wacko or a convicted felon", the latter in reference to G. Gordon Liddy. He has since turned into something more like a shock jock, and is less political than he once was. (He's also come under fire for perceived misogyny and homophobia.) He lost his radio show in 2009 due to a format change, and now can be heard.
Leslie Marshall is a passionate contributor to the talk radio scene, once she discovered it after doing regular old-fashioned radio for a few years, and combines the firebrand waving anger of Mike Malloy with the "engage the conservative idiots who call me" style of Sam Seder.
Her slogan is "the only true democracy in talk radio". No one knows why. She is also pretty hot, what a shame that she hides her light under the bushel of radio.
Stephanie Miller is the host of a syndicated progressive radio show based largely on comedic sketches. She is the daughter of former congressman William E. Miller, who was Barry Goldwater's vice-presidential running mate in 1964.
"Mama" Stephanie Miller's three-hour daily show is an outrage liberal comedy show, and features her producer,
Chris Lavoie "Stuttering John" Melendez, and "voice deity" Jim Ward. Many regular features are repeated every day, such as "Right Wing World," "Stand Up News," and "Tinsel Talk."
Jim Ward has professed belief in 9/11 conspiracy theories on the air on several occasions. Miller tends to quickly dismiss his arguments when he does this.
Mike Newcomb is a physician from Phoenix, Arizona and was a candidate for governor of Arizona, losing the Democratic primary to Janet Napolitano in 2002. He formerly had a progressive radio show on KPHX 1480 in Phoenix.
David Pakman (pronounced "pack-min") is a nationally syndicated progressive television and radio host based in Boston, MA. A simulcast of his show is available on several online sources including the official show website and is also watchable on Free Speech TV.
Bill Press is the host of the syndicated progressive radio show The Bill Press Show.
Based in Washington, D.C., Bill Press was a Los Angeles television reporter and commentator until he was selected to chair the California Democratic Party in the 1990s. After that, he went to work for CNN where he represented the left side of the argument in their famous screamfest shows, Crossfire and The Spin Room. He later paired with his former Crossfire adversary Pat Buchanan on MSNBC.
He also blogs for The Huffington Post and the Capitol Hill newspaper/website, The Hill.
On 14 December 2009, Press announced that he had been denied Congressional press credentials because he had asked his listeners and readers to call and write to Senator Joe Lieberman and tell him that he was wrong about the health care bill. (Press holds credentials to White House press conferences.) Among those who voted to deny giving credentials to Press -- Fox News and Al Jazeera.
A stalwart of liberal radio since the 1980s, Randi Rhodes regularly beat major conservative talk hosts in her home Florida market on WJNO before commuting to New York to work at Air America Radio from its founding on March 31, 2004.
She was suspended by Air America Radio on April 3, 2008, over a personal appearance where her performance included controversial material. Six days later she terminated her contract.
Ring of Fire
Ring of Fire Radio is a progressive radio show hosted by attorneys Mike Papantonio and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Sam Seder. The show debuted on 1 May 2004,[Note 2] and may have been the longest-running show on Air America. They are syndicated across the United States on a variety of broadcast stations.
Nicole Sandler lives in Coral Springs, Florida and has long experience in radio, primarily as host of various music shows. When WINZ-AM Miami was the Air America affiliate in south Florida, she was co-host with Jim deFede and it was obvious who was the teacher and who the student. When WINZ changed its format to be the 8th or 9th all sports talk station, Nicole got dumped. She soldiers on with a great talk show on the Internet.
Ed Schultz was a former sports radio announcer turned political talk radio host. He was the first liberal talk radio host to attain a national audience on a par with right-wing talkers like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Michael Savage. From 2009 until July 2015, he hosted a show on MSNBC, The Ed Show, where his style was something like a left-wing, pro-Hillary Clinton, Bill O'Reilly.. Schultz, up until his death in 2018, hosted a podcast affiliated with Ring of Fire Radio.
Apparently, he did conservative talk radio in the distant past of his local Fargo local talk radio days, however either his wife, a psychiatrist nurse who later became his producer, or the idea of counterprogramming in a field dominated by conservatives, made him change his mind. He later changed his mind a third time and worked for RT America, where he became anti-Hillary.
An initiate into talk radio hosting with the genesis of Air America Radio on a show he co-hosted with Janeane Garaofolo (the original Majority Report), Sam developed a style all his own and proved himself to the manner (or manor) born. After Garaofolo left to pursue her acting career, and to get away from Sam's stutter, he carried the three-hour Sam Seder Show himself for a year or so. He is one of the few talk radio hosts who will stay with an angry "oppositional" caller and just keep on arguing with them.
Most of what Seder does is an evaluation of conservative media sources and how epistemic closure has affected it.
From 2009 to 2012, David Sirota hosted the morning show on KKZN "Colorado's Progressive Talk" in Denver. He has also guest hosted Thom Hartmann's show and has appeared on national programs such as The Young Turks. He has also written three books and is a nationally syndicated columnist.
Bernie Ward, formerly known as the "Lion of the Left", was heard on San Francisco radio for nearly two decades. Ward was a contributor to Democracy Now!, CommonDreams, and was for a period nationally syndicated from his radio home at KGO 810 AM. In 2008 Ward was convicted on child pornography charges and sentenced to seven years in prison. Now he is known amongst his fan base as, alternately, "Former Catholic Priest" or "Victim of Bushco Hit Job", depending on who you're reading.
The Young Turks
Kyle Kulinski started his online channel, Secular Talk, in 2008, during the presidential primaries. He since grew his channel by starting the Kyle Kulinski Show. His YouTube channel now has over 500,000 subscribers, and he ranks on the top 10 US News and Politics channels on YouTube.
Air America Radio
Air America Radio was a failed attempt to create a network that provided a 24/7 feed of liberal talk radio. The business model was flawed, the founders ran away, and they kicked out all their more interesting hosts. In their early days, they aired crazy, edgy, people like Mike Malloy, but in the end, they screwed him for many dollars.
Air America Radio was founded in March 2004, with a roster of well-known and lesser-known hosts, ranging from long-time liberal talk radio hosts to celebrities with moderate to liberal tendencies. The network was relaunched in 2007 under new ownership with a greater emphasis on political and cultural celebrities. On January 21, 2010, Air America Radio ceased live programming and ended operations four days later.
America Radio Network
The United Auto Workers started the United Broadcasting Network in 1996. Chuck Harder was originally involved in a joint venture but was forced out in a dispute and sued the union over the deal. In 2000 they became the America Radio Network. The network was always a money-losing venture for the union, and their final broadcasts were in February 2004, one month before Air America Radio debuted. The network carried Chuck Harder (during its first few months), Ed Schultz (during its last few months), Jim Hightower, Mike Malloy, Thom Hartmann, labor-oriented programming from the Workers Independent News Service, and shows on non-political topics like pets and home improvement. Many of the personalities on the America Radio Network become fixtures on Air America stations and on Sirius Satellite Network's Sirius Left channel.
The HORN (Head On Radio Network) is an internet-only broadcast, sponsored by labor interests, featuring a very "down home chat" style of discussion.[Note 3] They feature podcasts from Bob Kincaid and Dr. Bill O'Brien.
Independent Underground Radio Live
Nova M Radio
Nova M Radio, later known as On Second Thought, was a radio syndication service providing progressive talk programming. The network was heard on some American stations and satellite radio from 2006 to 2009.
Progressive Radio Network
The Progressive Radio Network is an internet webcast that was founded by Gary Null in 2006. It largely shares time between politically liberal/progressive shows, shows which discuss general science matters, and shows which advocate alternative medicine, anti-vaccination, AIDS denialism and woo (as Null himself pushes such through his own show on the network).
Sirius XM Progress
Sirius XM Progress is a progressive channel on the Sirius XM satellite radio service. It provides radio shows from major progressive hosts, including Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, and Mike Malloy.
|Arizona||Kingman||KAAA 1230||Also on KZZZ 1490, "Talk A to Z," mostly right wing talk, but does run Alan Colmes overnights|
|Arizona||Phoenix||KPHX 1480||Progressive talk|
|California||Palm Springs||KPTR 1340||Progressive talk|
|California||Eureka||KGOE 1480||Progressive talk|
|California||Fresno||KFCF 88.1||"Free speech radio for central California," Mostly rebroadcasts KPFA Berkeley, but does run some locally originated programming|
|California||Los Angeles||KPFK 90.7||Pacifica|
|California||Santa Cruz||Free Radio Santa Cruz 103.1||A pirate micro broadcaster that's been on the air for over 12 years.|
|District of Columbia||Washington||WPFW 89.3||Pacifica|
|District of Columbia||Washington||WOL 1450||Progressive talk oriented toward the Black community|
|Florida||Daytona Beach||WPUL 1590||Mixes progressive talk and Christian programming|
|Florida||Sarasota||WSLR-LP 96.5||A low power community station that broadcasts some progressive talk and news, and a lot of cultural and eclectic music programs.|
|Illinois||Chicago||WCPT 820||"Chicago's Progressive Talk," relayed at night on a cluster of FM stations[Note 4]|
|Maine||Bangor||WZON 600||"The Pulse," mixes progressive talk with a variety format|
|Massachusetts||Northampton||WHMP 1400||Also on 1240 and 96.9. Progressive talk.|
|Michigan||Grand Rapids||WPRR 1680||"Public reality radio"|
|Minnesota||St. Louis Park (Twin Cities)||KTNF 950||"The progressive voice of Minnesota"|
|New Mexico||Albuquerque||KABQ 1350||"Albuquerque's progressive talk"|
|New Mexico||Santa Fe||KTRC 1260||"Santa Fe's news talk leader," Progressive talk|
|New Mexico||Taos||KVOT 1340||Progressive talk|
|New York||Hyde Park||WHVW 950||A unique station with a mostly obscure eclectic music format; J. P. Ferraro, the station owner/operator starts his thrice-weekly music show with his own unique blend of liberal commentary|
|New York||New York City||WBAI 99.5||Pacifica|
|New York||Ithaca||WNYY 1470||Also on 97.7. Progressive talk|
|North Carolina||Asheville||WPEK 880||"The Revolution" Progressive talk|
|North Carolina||Asheville||WPVM 103.7||"The Voice," a community station including Thom Hartmann, Democracy Now, some Pacifica programs, and arts, culture and music programming|
|North Carolina||Chapel Hill/Raleigh/Durham||WCHL 1360||Also on 97.9. Progressive talk|
|Ohio||Cleveland||WABQ 1460||"Talk 1460" Progressive talk|
|Ohio||Youngstown||WKBN 570||"Newsradio 570" A iHeartMedia talk station that primarily features the likes of Limbaugh and Beck; however, local personality Ron Verb is a partisan Democrat|
|Oregon||North Bend||KBBR 1340||"The progressive talk station"|
|Pennsylvania||Scranton/Mt. Cobb||WFTE 90.3||Also on 105.7, "Northeast Pennsylvania's progressive community's voice," noncommercial community station, programs include Democracy Now and Thom Hartmann|
|South Dakota||Rapid City||KOTA 1380||Mixes the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity with Thom Hartmann|
|Vermont||Brattleboro||WKVT 1490||Also on 100.3. Progressive talk|
|Vermont||Brattleboro||WVEW 107.7||"Brattleboro Community Radio," a low-power community station with a rich activist/liberal history|
|Vermont||Plainfield||WGDR 91.1||Also on WGDH 91.7 in Hardwick. A free-form community station and Pacifica affiliate that includes some progressive talk|
|Washington||Bellingham||KBAI 930||Progressive talk|
|Wisconsin||Madison||WORT 89.9||An independent community station with liberal talk and cultural programming|
|Wisconsin||Madison||WXXM-FM 92.1||"The Mic," Progressive talk|
|Wisconsin||Oshkosh||WISS 1100||Also on 97.3. "The Talk of the Valley" is a Fox News Radio affiliate but includes Alan Colmes in its lineup.|
- Streaming Progressive Talk Radio Stations. streamingradioguide.com. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- The White Rose Society Liberal/progressive talk radio audio archives
- Peter B. Collins Show is subscription-only webcast, so it's a stretch to call it radio.
- A liberal show that debuted on May Day. Just a coincidence . . . or is it?
- Not currently known if these people are affiliated with the "apply directly to forehead" folks, let's hope not.
- Because WCPT-AM has to reduce power at night to protect the 50 kW signal of the conservative Denver station KOA 850, there are three FM satellites of WCPT-AM to serve areas that can't hear WCPT-AM at night (namely sunset until midnight when WCPT still plays original programming). Those FM stations play dance music during overnight hours (12AM-5AM) while WCPT-AM plays repeats of daytime programs during those hours: Arlington Heights (northern suburbs): WCPT-FM 92.7, Dekalb (western suburbs): WCPY-FM 92.5, and Park Forest (southern suburbs): WCPQ-FM 99.9.
- Pacifica History, from KPFK, Los Angeles. pacifica.org. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- Peter B. Collins. An Insider's View of the Progressive Talk Radio Devolution. truth-out.org. 10 February 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- Errol Lewis. What killed the liberal radio star? New York Daily News. 26 December 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- Mackenzie Weinger. 5 ways to rescue liberal talk radio (but it won’t be easy). Politico. 28 November 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- Liberaland, the best of the left. alan.com. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- The Alan Colmes Show. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- Peter B. Collins Show. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- About the Peter B. Collins Show. peterbcollins.com. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- The Jon Elliott Show website is occupied by a domain squatter when checked on 13 August 2015.
- Air America Host Randi Rhodes Wasn't Mugged. New York Daily News. 17 October 2007. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- The Jeff Farias Show. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- State of Belief with Rev. Welton Gaddy. Retrieved on 27 August 2015.]
- The Interfaith Alliance. Retrieved on 27 August 2015.
- The Norman Goldman Show affiliates. normangoldman.com. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- Jim Hightower. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- Hightower Radio. jimhightower.com. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- . Retrieved 8 January 2015.
- The Tom Leykis Show. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- The Leslie Marshall Show. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- The Stephanie Miller Show. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- The David Pakman Show. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
- The Bill Press Show. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- Michael Calderone. Radio-TV board denies Bill Press. Politico.com. 14 December 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- Air America Host Randi Rhodes Suspended For Calling Hillary A "Big F*cking Whore". Huffington Post. 11 April 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- Stephen Lemons. Nova M Meltdown? Randi Rhodes disappears, and a note for friends of desert politics. Phoenix New Times. 14 February 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- Randi Rhodes ends radio show. Again. Radio Ink Magazine. 17 April 2014. retrieved 13 August 2015.
- Ring of Fire Radio. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- Ring of Fire Radio affiliates. ringoffireradio.com. Retrieved on 27 August 2015.
- Radio Or Not. The Nicole Sandler Show. Retrieved on 13 August 2015.
- Matt Turzi. Why is the Ed Show getting canceled? reverbpress.com. 27 July 2015. Retrieved on 2 January 2016.
- Helmut Schmidt, Ed Schultz, local and national broadcast personality, dies from natural causes at Washington, D.C., home. inforum.com, 5 July 2018.
- The Ed Schultz Show. Retrieved on 2 January 2016.
- "How Ed Schultz transformed from MSNBC lefty to the American face of Moscow media", Washington Post.
- The Majority Report. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- Watch this 14 Year Old GMO Activist Smackdown This Bullying 'Shark Tank' Entrepreneur. The Majority Report with Sam Seder (YouTube). August 9, 2013.
- David Sirota biography. davidsirota.com. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- The Lion of the Left Uncaged, Bernie Ward a Free Man? melaniemorgan.com. 19 December 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- Ed Pilkington. Relaunch for US left-of-centre radio network. The Guardian Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- Brian Stelter. Air America to Cease Broadcasting Immediately. New York Times media Decoder blog. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- the HORN. Retrieved on 27 August 2015.
- The Horn Radio Network podcasts. Retrieved on 27 August 2015.
- Independent Underground Radio Live. blogtalkradio.com. Retrieved on 27 August 2015.
- Progressive Radio Network. Retrieved on 27 August 2015.]
- About Progressive Radio Network. archive.org snapshot of prncomm.net/scripts/about.asp. Retrieved on 27 August 2015.
- Sirius XM Progress. Retrieved on 27 August 2015.
- Ron Verb podcasts. tunein.com. Retrieved on 27 December 2015.