Recently, two Chicago venture capitalists, Anita and Sheldon Drobny, announced that they are bankrolling a new all-talk radio network.
The aim of the network is to beat Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly at their own game, and put progressive voices on the radio.
There’s only one thing to say about that – it’s about time.
Talk radio, dominated by people like Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage, is proudly right wing.
The closest thing to liberalism is the boobs and guns pseudo-libertarianism of Howard Stern or Opie & Anthony.
It is an unfortunate fact, but the reason this situation occurs isn’t because listeners are “up in arms about big government” or whatever the buzzwords are this week.
It is because Limbaugh and company are entertaining.
Rush Limbaugh, whatever you want to say about him, at least offers up an interesting show.
Callers always find a way to bring up Bill Clinton, who is three years out of office.
You can almost hear the jealousy in their voices as they talk about Monica Lewinsky.
Limbaugh manages to discuss affirmative action for a half-hour without bringing up either race or poverty.
Instead, he focuses on his new favorite, “reverse discrimination.”
It is not even that most of his listeners agree with his ideas, rather, Limbaugh is able to present them in a way that attracts listeners.
I can’t imagine, say, Noam Chomsky as a talk show host.
The great curse of progressives in America is that they haven’t figured out a way to speak to the majority of people.
I like National Public Radio, but there is a reason why more people listen to Michael Savage.
The people who are going to host shows on this new network need to figure out something most liberal personalities have not – don’t be boring.
As long as the public voice of liberal talk-radio hosts is whiny, inoffensive, condescending, boring and self-righteous, no one will tune in.
There is no reason why all the liberal talk radio hosts I have heard all sound like Mr. Van Driessen, the hippie teacher from “Beavis & Butthead”.
Treating everyone with respect and giving dissenting opinions opposite time doesn’t work on the radio.
We need a left-wing Bill O’Reilly. We need someone to call corporations on their crap.
We need someone to ask why President Bush was arrested for cocaine possession once and why his niece was found in rehab with a crack rock.
We need someone to ask why prayer is getting sneaked back into public schools.
We need someone who isn’t afraid to ask why American citizens have been asking for political asylum in Canada.
There are plenty of things in this nation to be angry about.
Maybe we’ll finally have someone ask those questions on the radio.
And maybe America will listen.
Neal Ungerleider can be reached at N_terminal@yahoo.com.