It's been a strange week in the world of progressive radio.
Monday and Tuesday of this week, the Randi Rhodes Show was business as usual.
Then, suddenly, on Wednesday, her home page had the word that Randi was "off today" and a "best of" would air. Then Thursday, a last minute fill-in Nancy Skinner, would air in place of Randi and she'd be back today.
And today? Off again and Skinner back on.
According to the blog The Radio Equalizer
Libtalker Randi Rhodes Exits Show, At Least Temporarily
Rhodes, Syndicator Duke It Out Behind The Scenes
For the second time in less than a year, libtalker Randi Rhodes is off the air, at least for now. Locked in an apparent battle with syndicator NovaM Radio and its chief executive, the infamous Sheldon Drobny, The Randi Rhodes Show is temporarily without its host, as fill-ins cover on short notice.
Coming just one day after it became clear that fellow "progressive" host Rachel Maddow had given up her radio program, this has been a tough week for the still-fledgling libtalk format.
Rhodes is currently heard on 28 stations across the country and most importantly, on XM Channel 167.
At Randi's official message board, a producer has posted this note:
Randi says she's sorry, she can't be on-air today.
She wanted to let you know this is a Nova M issue and nothing of her own making.
Nancy is kind enough to fill in today. And cross fingers we'll be back tomorrow.
During today's broadcast, substitute host Nancy Skinner has repeatedly mentioned the "last-minute" nature of today's fill-in assignment, while Rhodes listeners speculate over at another Internet message board regarding her fate. Her website is still being updated by someone, perhaps Rhodes or a producer, with today's entry talking up Obama's supposed "success" in office.
This development comes on the heels of continuing rumors of financial troubles at NovaM, as Drobny fights to maintain a liberal radio network that competes with rival Air America, which he also co-founded more than five years ago. The newer operation has generally functioned as a fallback outfit for "progressive" talkers once they've left AAR.
Look, I know Rhodes isn't everyone's cup of tea. Neither is Ed Schultz, and others. To each his/her own. But why do progressive radio stations/networks keep shooting themselves in the foot? We need all the progressive voices we can get.
What's been going on on Randi's message boardis a lot of speculation and her producer keeps saying "it's nothing bad." But it smells pretty fishy. Why is she suddenly off? And why did they fire the guy who made her career, John Manzo last fall?
The Drobnys should just be the money people and let radio people run the network. They clearly don't have the chops for it.
I guess we won't know anything until Monday. Unless there is some sort of press release over the weekend. Oh to be a fly on the wall!