The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

16 April 2008

Randi Rhodes Could Face Difficult Future


New Network Brings Obscurity, Income Cut

With her high profile move from the eternally struggling Air America Radio to a tiny offshoot created by one of the network's founders, is Randi Rhodes relevant?

While some would question whether Rhodes ever mattered, the reality is this: both her drunken accident on the streets of Manhattan and San Francisco stand-up "comedy" incident generated national headlines.

Her kooky skits did as well, including one that suggested a hit on President Bush and another claiming Romney supporters would commit mass murder if their candidate wasn't nominated.

While Rhodes has become semi- famous as a result of these flaps, it never did result in significant ratings and revenue, or even a decent number of affiliates. But what she has enjoyed is a huge salary, perks and pampering, including a personal driver during Air America's most notorious ca$h- burning (pre- bankruptcy) days.

Now, however, she'll certainly take a hit in joining NovaM Radio, the breakaway libtalk network created by eccentric AAR co-founder Sheldon Drobny. See our previous look at Drobny's background here.

Forget catering to her ultra- high- maintenance personality, the resources for that just aren't there. And the pay is likely a fraction of the megabucks Rhodes enjoyed at AAR. She can forget the Randimobile, that's history.

If that was the extent of what she was facing at NovaM, the situation might be manageable, but her new employer is notorious for equipment failures and other malfunctions that sometimes have fellow host Mike Malloy unable to finish his program. Is Randi ready for that new reality?

Another issue is audience potential: though she's held on to a good chunk of her former AAR stations, that network's affiliate reach was already so small that losing even a few makes building a significant following especially difficult.

Worse, the new program hasn't been picked up by either XM or Sirius Satellite Radio. Those services have been instrumental in keeping AAR alive during a period where many libtalk stations have shut down.

None of this has stopped Drobny from trumpeting his new addition. Apparently, he sees NovaM's future as a collection of former AAR talkers.

For the left, does Rhodes offer much to their movement? Support isn't uniform: one Huffington Post contributor compared her unfavorably to Ann Coulter, actually admitting the latter is honest where Rhodes isn't.

Conservatives need to keep Randi propped up, however, as her nutty, disjointed rhetoric makes the other side look foolish. She's a one- woman fodder machine.

Especially telling is how Rhodes is perceived by cable talk show bookers: while her Air America friends try to supplement sagging careers through a maximum number of issues- oriented appearances, Randi is seen only when Larry King is looking for the dish on her latest public meltdown. What does that say about her credibility?

FOR New England regional talk radio updates, see our other site. NEW: WRKO phony bio flap back in the news

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Classic Rhodes images: Pete at IHillary


  • Too bad the article didn't point out that Rhodes will censor all comments- from her My space page, message board ect. who don't agree with her or aren't "Randi friendly." But she allows the ones defending her- ranting on about FREE SPEECH. Also-Who is the nations #1 progressive talk show host- Ed Shultz,Stephanie Miller or Randi Rhodes? Please post the arbitron ratings for all three. Rhodes starts her show claiming to be #1, but according to Talkers magazine Shultz has twice the lisentership. I don't think Rhodes could actually get through one show without wildly exaggerating.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 April, 2008 06:52  

  • "Randi is seen only when Larry King is looking for the dish on her latest public meltdown"

    Wow, if she has a hard time getting on the liberal CNN, then she must really be in the gutter.

    (figuratively and literally)

    Sayonara Randi, Buh-Bye

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 16 April, 2008 14:00  

  • Hmmm... Within minutes of resigning from AAR she she was hired.

    Unheard of speed she was re syndicated of a weekend.

    FYI - cnn ain't Liberal and pigs don't fly.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 April, 2008 11:05  

  • Brian, you call this blog "The Radio Equalizer"
    But, it sounds more like "The Radio Low Pass Filter" !

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 April, 2008 19:52  

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