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.

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the 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.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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