I was listening to the Stephanie Miller show on the radio this morning while driving to work, and there were at least a dozen moments where I either laughed out loud or else learned a little something new.
Her show is on WCPT, the Chicago liberal’s answer to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and the dozens of other conservatives who have dominated talk radio for lo these many years (and no, Howard Stern does not count as a liberal, ’cause he’s an idiot). Here in Chicago, besides Stephanie Miller, some of the Air America lineup can also be heard on 850AM-WCPT (which stands for “Chicago’s Progressive Talk”). That lineup includes (or has included in the past) such smart, funny, and interesting people as Lizz Winstead (creator of The Daily Show), Chuck D of Public Enemy, Al Franken (formerly of Sat. Night Live), and –for better or worse– Jerry Springer (who’s much more sane on radio than the “character” he plays on his TV show/circus).
But the main WCPT heavy hitters are pure radio personalities: Ms. Miller, Ed Schultz, and evening drive-time star Randi Rhodes out of Florida. I find Rhodes to be kind of shrill and annoyingly sarcastic, but all three shows are consistently informative and entertaining, with a good mix of public callers, special guests, and prepared segments.
So I guess what I’m saying is that I’m thankful that this little “ghetto” of talk radio finally looks like what I want *my* America to look like: democratic, participatory, humorous, and biased –but with good supporting evidence to back up those opinions. It lets people like me and you hear some of what Brian Williams and CNN aren’t saying — what they CAN’T say, lest they bite the big corporate hand that feeds them.
I’m not saying Air America or WCPT are perfect, or that I support all the ideas that the hosts put forward. But when’s the last time (if ever) that a private, for-profit media outlet unapologetically presented material that made you feel more informed as a citizen, a voter, and a thinking human being, all while making you laugh a dozen times an hour?
Don’t take my word for it, though. Go to the WCPT or Air America websites and see for yourself. Or Google the host names above and see what station in your city carries these shows.