Take back the airwaves!

Who ya gonna call? You can kamikaze Rush, G. Gordon Liddy, or Pat Buchanan. Or you can support your local (or national) progressive talk show: Listen up, call in, and be heard.

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Conservative voices have long dominated talk radio, but over the past 10 years the balance has become increasingly skewed. Rush Limbaugh alone is heard on 659 stations nationwide and boasts of 20 million listeners a week. “One-fifth of the electorate is listening to a Republican ideologue,” says Jeff Cohen of the media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Media. “He’s become a galvanizing tool for conservative groups.” The New York Times called Limbaugh “a national precinct captain for the Republican insurgencies of 1994.”

Rush and his right-wing brethren dominate the airwaves and attract massive audiences largely by pandering to underlying anger across the country. There are other reasons: Former California Gov. Jerry Brown, now a radio talk host, cites the conservative ownership of radio stations. Texas populist and ABC Radio talk host Jim Hightower argues that progressives tend to “ignore a very democratic little box, the radio, which better than 170 million people a day are plugged into.” And admittedly, conservative hosts score high on the entertainment meter. Ellen Ratner, the left’s voice on the syndicated “Washington Reality Check,” says progressives too often are “so serious and self-righteous you want to run in the other direction.”

But progressive talk shows are starting to fight back. Though still locked out of major urban areas like New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., Hightower’s show is now heard on 130 commercial stations, and its entertaining format–complete with a regular “Hog Report” on government and corporate pork–pulls in strong ratings. Boulder-based Aaron Harber just launched “The Show with No Name,” pending a judge’s decision on Limbaugh’s challenge to its original name, “After the Rush.” “We’re going to listen to him and respond directly the same day,” says Harber, whose show is timed to follow Limbaugh’s. “As much as my stomach will permit.”

If you have a progressive talk show in your area, support it. If not, call your local talk station and demand some balance. (Hightower, Brown, Ratner, and Harber all have syndicated shows available by satellite.) And lighten up.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate