Saturday, February 09, 2008

Addicted to Nazi Radio? (Some sane podcasting alternatives.)

Well, of course you aren't a Kool-Aid swiller. If you're reading this, you probably believe that Rush Limbaugh is a lying asshat who's done more than any single man since Joseph McCarthy to destroy America's foundational concept of justice for all; that Neal Boortz is a cult leader, that Sean Hannity's outer-borough bleatings are those of a frustrated closet case, etc.

But it's likely you know those folks who are, who suffer the foolishness of the above mentioned radio stars. They're decent, reasonable people who may disagree vigorously most of what they're hearing on the air, but find themselves in need of something, anything pundit-like whilst out on the road, say, after their NPR affiliate's switched from news to music. And in spite of themselves, they find themselves, if not agreeing, at least saying "well, so-and-so is kind of entertaining to listen to."

Presumably you have some kind of left-leaning (or at least more-moderate) radio lifeline out there via podcast. But I'll bet your friend doesn't.

It doesn't have to be that way, of course. I figured the time had come for me to provide some kind of guide to those who are either dealing with friends who are enthralled with AM hate radio, or have -- shock, horror -- fallen prey to the siren songs themselves. My links herewith are in no particular order; I don't have a "favorite" as such, since the nature of talk radio is such that it's easy to get burned out on anyone, even a nice, reasonable fellow like, say, Peter B. Collins, whose shows can be downloaded here at the Green960 site, or here, at White Rose Society's.

Thom Hartmann took over Al Franken's old noon-3pm (EST) weekday slot on Air America. At the moment, San Francisco's Green 960 offers his shows as podcasts here. He's noteworthy for engaging actual conservatives in debate on his show fairly and openly. Unlike most hosts, once a conservative's made an appearance, he'll actually tell his callers to lay off any verbal attacks on the the guest in question, reasoning--imagine that!--that it's not fair to allow a show to attack someone who isn't there to defend themselves. Go ahead and cite the right-wing whackjobs who'd extend the same courtesy. That's ok, I'll wait...

Rachel Maddow's star is rising of late--she makes frequent appearances on MSNBC panels, often paired with the racist xenophobe anti-Semite Pat Buchanan. Rumors have abounded that she might get her own show on MSNBC, but for now, she does one of the snappiest, wittiest two-hour slots anywhere, broadcast weekdays 6-8pm on AAR and postcast here.

If you're more in the mood for something that goes right for the gut, you want Randi Rhodes (postcast here or here) or Mike Malloy (whose podcasts from Nova-M radio are paid-subscription.). Neither host is terribly interested in playing fair or making nice. Both are utterly necessary, if, like me, you believe that if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

I suppose I could point out what ought to be bleedin' obvious, that there are more middle-of-the-road talkshows available for podcast. Given that Georgia Public Radio's talk offerings are mostly timid and corporate-friendly, it'd behoove one to check out the WNYC site's podcasting lineup which includes two prime examples of what a "fair and unbiased" show might really sound like, Leanard Lopate and Brian Lehrer.

So far I've only cited weekday talk shows, but there are some terrific catch-up weekenders worth mentioning as well. My all-time favorite is Sam Seder, who used to have a primo morning slot on AAR until the corporate geniuses decided that the squishy, Libertarian Lionel (who, I'll admit, I actually find tolerable in small doses) would rake in the advertising bucks, and sent Sam to Sunday evenings 4-7pm. His Seder on Sunday show's mission: to document and lacerate the bobblehead Sunday-morning TV atrocities, and put the week's events in rational perspective. He includes a regularly scheduled "Watchdog" segment and, best of all, two or three liberal bloggers who'll discuss the week's events the way you only wish corporate media could muster.

It's a little more Establishment and middle-of-the-road most of the time, but AAR's Ring of Fire is a good resource for underreported items as well. And it's got RFK, Jr. so what's not to like? (Available as a free AAR podcast here.)

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Technical note: If you (or your friend) doesn't realize this, there is a little bit of work involved in getting a podcast from the website to the mp3 player. Rather than delve into it here, I'd suggest looking at the website's recommendations and if there's any trouble, simply post any troubleshooting tips or questions in the Comments link below.