When Randi Rhodes returned to the air today, now syndicated by Clear Channel’s Premiere division, she didn’t get her old timeslot back at her old hometown WJNO. Sean Hannity replaced her when her relationship with now-defunct syndicator Nova-M radio blew up.
Hannity’s numbers in her old timeslot at the station where she actually originated her show are beating her, according to John Hunt, market manager for Clear Channel West Palm Beach. So Rhodes will return, timeshifted to 6-9 PM, where uber-reactionary Mark Levin was previously heard.
But Rhodes will be live again starting June 1 on another Clear Channel AM station, according to Hunt, who won’t make the formal announcement for a couple of weeks. This new station will have a better signal than WJNO, Hunt added.
South Florida progressive radio took a hit when 940 WINZ, Miami flipped to The Sports Animal 940. Clear Channel owns one other AM facility in Palm Beach County, 1230 WBZT now programming business and variety talk. WBZT’s signal is superior to WJNO‘s.
There are two rampant rumors circulating in the talk radio community about Randi Rhodes. One is she’s trying to renegotiate with Air America Radio to take Tom Hartmann’s spot when he is picked up by Dial Global. The other is that she’s negotiating with Dial Global to join him.
Amy Bolton, who runs the talk syndication division at DG, has heard the rumors about both her company and Air America being a landing zone for the Rhodes show. But she says it won’t be Dial Global; her company is not in talks with the Rhodes show to join her stable of talent.
Dial Global now operates the former Jones Radio Network, which syndicates Ed Shultz, LA’s Stephanie Miller, Bill Press and Neal Boortz. It also owns TM/Century, which radio old-timers will remember as the producer of “Tomorrow Radio,” which sagely foretold radio’s future 29 years ago.
Things haven’t been rosy in the talk radio business, no matter what your politics. Shock talk took a hit last Friday in Los Angeles when KLSX–once the SoCal home of Howard Stern–started spinning the hits again. Today, the NYSE delisted Citadel Broadcasting, which is the company of suckers that bought ABC Radio for top dollar only to see its stock tank. It lost five cents in value today. That’s normally not a big deal, unless, like Citadel, your stock trades for nine cents a share. The New York exchange told them to take their stock to the OTC market.
The other rumor is that Rhodes is talking with Air America Radio. Representatives there did not return calls for comment. Meanwhile, her old Palm Beach station, WJNO, has moved Sean Hannity into her old timeslot, and has moved uber-reactionary Mark Levin into Hannity’s.
Less than a year after Randi Rhodes broke with Air America, returning to Palm Beach County to move her national show to the Nova-M network, she is again off the air, her show being guest hosted, often at the last minute, by Nancy Skinner. Rhodes and WJNO are preparing to relaunch her show as a local program from the West Palm Beach studios of the Clear Channel cluster, according to sources inside Clear Channel knowledgable about the preparations.
Is this the Randi Rhodes channel?
Rhodes and Nova-M have been blaming “technical problems” for the interruption of The Randi Rhodes show, but when pressed, a spokesman at Nova-M’s flagship station in Phoenix responded that “technical problems” could have a lot of different meanings. The many definitions of “technical” was echoed by sources at Clear Channel in West Palm Beach, who said there were no Clear Channel technical issues, and that the assumption that a technical problems had to do with equipment or transmission wouldn’t be correct.
Over the last few days, according to those familiar with the situation in West Palm Beach, WJNO has been making preparations for Rhodes to return to WJNO as a Clear Channel employee hosting a local show from their facilities. Though Clear Channel owns Premiere Radio Networks, the radio syndicator that distrubutes Rush Limbaugh, it is not believed her show will be syndicated when she returns.
Rhodes seems to be doing her best to become the liberal counterpart of Rush Limbaugh: a deeply flawed spokesperson for an ideology. Its still not clear how a mugging with political overtones in New York which Air America reported squares with her ultimate story that she left an Irish Pub after several hours of drinking and isn’t sure what happened next.
The whole transition from Air America to Nova-M leaves more questions unanswered than nailed down. And now comes statements from Rhodes and Anita Drobny that make so little sense her supporters are shaking their heads in disbelief. Rhodes has depended upon the intelligence of her listeners to call bullshit on the Bush administration and have it resonate with those within the sound of her voice. There comes a responsibility when you appeal to the intelligence of your listeners to respect that intelligence when you speak about yourself.