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August 15, 2006



It's official --- Seder to take over 9-12am slot!

This is great news, as far as I'm concerned. Sam in the morning will be a caffeinated rush.

These are good initial moves:

1) Springer gone.
2) Maddow with the evening slot
3) Seder in the morning

Now, if they really put Hartmann in Franken's slot when the latter finally gives it up and runs for Senate (as the Prof. suggests above), the lineup will be a hell of a lot stronger.

Seder to Hartmann to Rhodes to Maddow is a nice batting order.

My dream lineup would include Stephanie Miller before Seder and Marc Maron doing a late night, freeform Jean-Shepherd-style show where he could just let it rip.


To Dennis, who ridiculed my question about an AAR morning show that won't air in NYC, according to the Professor's recent post, there will be. Mark Riley and the Young Turks will be on from 5-9am on the AAR network and NOT heard in NYC, unless streaming on the web. I appreciate the lesson about radio though.


Make that 9am-12pm slot for Sam Seder.


"To Dennis, who ridiculed my question about an AAR morning show that won't air in NYC, according to the Professor's recent post, there will be."

Huh? I "ridiculed" your question about whether the Greenfield/Williams show would be on the AAR network. As I said, "of course not."


Just a minor point of correction. Lionel did not "school" under Neil Rogers. Neil was in Miami in the 80's and was only heard briefly in Tampa in the early 90's as a competitor to Lionel. I doubt that Lionel ever called Neil's show. Unless you want to argue that everyone who understudied Lassiter was also an understudy of Rogers by extension. Actually, Lionel started his calling career well before Lassiter arrived in Tampa, approximately 1981 while still in law school. One memorable call to Drew Hayes, then a tyro talk show host and now a CBS Radio executive in Chicago, began: "You, sir, have the mentality of a SPEED BUMP!" The topic, I believe, was high school dress codes...

The Professor

Tampatalkguru, you are technically correct that Lionel probably didn't call Rogers show (although I don't know this for a fact either), and that Rogers' show was only heard in Tampa in the early 90's. However, Lionel has mentioned Neil Rogers as one of the great talk hosts just in last few months, and it seems likely that he has heard him and that he might have picked up a thing or two. And yes, by extension I would say that, via Lionel's years of listening to Lassiter, that he soaked up plenty of Rogers' talk radio tricks and traditions. Neil Rogers is such an influential talk giant in Florida, that some Tampa talk hosts who may not have heard much, if any, Rogers or Lassiter still sound a bit like them now and then. And as much as it pains me to say it, even doofus scumbag Glenn Beck (who replaced Lassiter at WFLA in 1999) seems to have gotten a few ideas from the Rogers "school."

All that said, Lionel is very much an individual talent, and learned his craft years ago from a number of Florida talk hosts, including the late great David Fowler, who I hope to write about here one of these days as well.


What a relief to finally get what's up for the fall schedule. I have just a couple of comments, firstly, I adore and miss Janeane Garofalo; I think 3 hrs. x 5 days is to heavy a schedule for what she has, but as Sam so correctly pointed out, a great deal of the thought she'd been offering was distilled into John Dean's latest book. I understand that a lot of good Americans have been conned into believing that liberals are a snooty elite that has nothing but contempt for people who don't have perfect teeth or whatever. That's not true, but I would like to keep her densely intellectual perspective on the air. She's been surprisingly human and emotionally honest in her on-air dealings.

Secondly, Franken's humor is barely passable with me, inappropriate and self centered, and occasionally insulting to guests, of which he seems blissfully unaware. I grimace more than I laugh. Nevertheless, his show appears to be the public education of a man who wants to be elected to the Senate, and he chooses well, both in his regular and his occasional guests. He is shaping the point of view of his listeners, and that makes the time I spend listening to the show worthwhile.

I hope Rachel's show is completely reformatted into something more like the old Unfiltered. The rigid format of Mornings is awful.


Apparently, 30 minutes before he was to fill in for Randi Rhodes today, Mike Malloy found out he'd been fired from the new AAR lineup.


It sucks that Malloy heard about it this way, but I think they are better off without him. His whole nons-stop-volcanic-rage routine got ugly and depressing pretty quickly. It may make some on the left feel good to hear a guy threaten to "cut the guts out" of rightwing callers 25 times a day, but it makes it all the harder to claim some kind of moral high ground. Ultimately, he came off as an angry old crank, an alcoholic at the bar with the right politics but bad breath and an extremely tiresome and limited range of things to say.

G from NYC

"Ultimately, he came off as an angry old crank, an alcoholic at the bar with the right politics but bad breath and an extremely tiresome and limited range of things to say."

Amen, Father.

My candidate for AAR's best show is "Ring of Fire". Last summer, I heard Bobby Kennedy engage a baiting right wing caller with a kind of textbook aplomb that I wish would echo through the halls of Air America.

Also, no one rants better then Mike Papantonio.


The trouble with Bobby Kennedy is that he has some sort of medical condition that makes it sound like he's strangling. I like what he says, but he's hard to listen to.


I totally agree about Kennedy's voice. I hate to be shallow, but this IS radio. Sounds like he's about to bust out cryin'.

The Professor

Bobby Kennedy suffers from a voice disorder called spasmodic dysphonia. It’s a chronic and incurable ailment, and no one knows exactly what causes it in the first place.

And while at first I may have found it slightly distracting when I listened to Bobby on the radio, I no longer do. In fact, I’d say he does a hell of a job in overcoming the problem. I don’t really notice the affliction when I listen to Ring of Fire these days. All I hear is earnest passion on that program, and along with co-host Mike Papantonio, I hear two of the most important (and strongest) voices on Air America.

G from NYC

I agree with The Professor. I'll admit I was put off by Bobby's croaking voice at first, but I'm grateful I got past that in a hurry. Bobby has a world class brain and genuine humanity.

I share the same ambivelence about AA that most posters here express. Some random thoughts:

I haven't listened to the "Big RL" (aka "Soul 16") since the 1960's. (I'm a year younger then Al Franken). At the time it was a hot-hit R&B formatted station with a wonderfully wild Top 40ish presentation.("If you're not listening to the Big RL, you've got a hole in your soul"). I loved the station back then, but forgot what a truly miserable signal the station possesses. I suppose it's better then nothing for Air America in NYC, but not much better.

With that in mind, I can't understand why AA hasn't targeted underachieving FM properties. While the price of admission may not have been feasible in NYC or other large markets, there's no shortage of ratings starved FMers that might have been persuaded to roll the dice on AA. Certainly, the FM dial is far more compatible with Air America's targeted demographic, which is considerably younger then the typical right-wing radio audience. (For those that believe talk on FM is a non-starter, check out the ratings for all news WTOP in D.C.).

On another note, I've tried to warm up to the hectoring Laura-THIS IS IMPORTANT PEOPLE-Flanders, but I find her style grating and her liberalism cartoonish (John Dean claims 99% of authoritarian personalities are conservative. I think Laura, who apparently is PC to the nth degree, represents the other 1%). She often has interesting guests, but her lecturing demeanor is not my cup o'tea.

The Jerry Springer show can't conclude its run soon enough for me. Jerry seems like a great guy, but it takes a unique talent to be a skilled radio host, and he's clearly out of his element here. Jerry's at his best when the chairs and fisticuffs are flying.

I may be in a minority here, but I like Al Franken. Granted, his show is uneven and self-indulgent at times. I agree the show was more focused when Katherine was on hand as traffic cop. More often then not, his comedy shtick is painful, but I enjoy his sense of humor when it's spontaneous. More to the point, I much prefer the interview format of the show to the more common listener call-in format (Al does take calls, but mercifully keeps it to a minimum). I particularly enjoy guest regulars Joe Conason, Lawrence O'Donnell, David Brock and Tom Olifant.

Randi Rhodes is often brilliant, but if I want to listen to screaming arguments, I can just as well drop in on inlaws. What's more, she won't allow her infrequent guests to finish a bleeping sentence before interupting (which might explain the infrequency). It's a pity, because Randi at her best can't be beat.

Thom Hartman is a genius and no one is better at disarming right wing ranters.


Who says AAR hasn't tried to get on FM stations? They've tried and are on a few, most notably in Madison, Wisconsin. But most FMs have turned them down. One that did carry AAR for a while was KKNS-FM in Missoula, Montana. Here's what they posted on their web site after the format failed to bring in enough advertising:

"Thanks for listening to "Missoula's News and Progressive Talk Station" KNS 105.9! All the staff at KNS did all we could to provide you with quality content along with a good, FM signal.

While we had excellent ratings and incredible listeners, there simply weren't enough businesses sponsoring the station to pay the expenses let alone make a profit, like any good, responsible business should. Again, thank you for listening. We've sincerely enjoyed our time with you - our friends and neighbors - here in a truly progressive area."

Citizen Keith

NEWSFLASH: Air America To File Bankruptcy on Friday


By far the most valuable AA contribution to public discourse is Ring of Fire. Papatino & Kennedy talk about issues for which nobody else on national airwaves evidently has the guts or brains. While Kennedy's intermittent vocal problems are noticeable at first, they are not noticable at all after listening only a minute or two. Hope ROF will find another home if AA folds...


I appreciate what AA has to offer, but would greater appreciate a more fair and balanced perspective, especially on issues like the war in Iraq.

After hearing the President's speech, I acknowledge that he may have been putting the best boots forward concerning the magnitude and significance of recent ostensible successes in Iraq.

Still, I believe that there is now one boot better than the other, and one best foot that can be put forward, and this is a step in the right direction. Can we still win in Iraq. Well, as a blog n roller, of course my answer is contained in this original blog n roll Dr BLTune:

Let's End the War (By Winning it)
Dr BLT copyright 2007

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