No need to publish milk cartons with the picture of Randi Rhodes on them. Call off the APB alerts. Randi Rhodes, who has been out of public view for several months, will reemerge on the radio airwaves May 11 following her mysterious departure from Nova M radio in February. The irony of Randi's return is that it is being made possible by her new syndicate, Premiere Radio Networks, best known for syndicating such shows as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and other conservatives. Here is how the return of Randi was covered in the Radio Equalizer:
Not everybody gets three shots at radio syndication, but for whatever reason, that's the fate of libtalker Randi Rhodes.
Late today, Premiere Radio Networks, home of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and many others, announced that it has signed Rhodes to a new deal involving nationwide distribution of her resurrected program.
Even within the still-fledgling and internally-competitive world of liberal talk radio, Randi is a controversial figure, especially as a result of a number of high-profile public flaps.
Flaps like her infamous mugging by 14 Ketel One Bloody Marys. Also hilarious was Randi's interview with Bev Harris of Black Box Voting about which she probably wishes we would just forget. Why? Because late in 2004, following the presidential election, Randi was conned into believing that Harris could overturn the election results in Ohio and, thereby, in the nation. As a result, Randi urged her Air America listeners to open their wallets and donate to Harris. When it finally dawned on Randi that Bev Harris was far more interested in using the money for luxuriating in hotel suites than in any election investigation, the resulting explosion of the flustered Randi berating an evasive Harris resulted in pure comedy gold.
However, beyond looking forward to Randi's inadvertent comedy act, your humble correspondent is happy with her return to the radio airwaves because he feels a proprietary interest in her career. Back in July 2003 when Randi was on a small West Palm Beach radio station with a weak signal that died before it reached the county line, I gave Randi her first national publicity in a movie review in which I "channeled" Al Gore writing about "The Italian Job." This is what I wrote about Randi in that "Al Gore" review:
For some strange reason there just doesn't seem to be a popular liberal radio talk show host out there. Maybe the answer is to go for shock value and have people tune in a talk freak show for laughs. There actually is somebody qualified to be a freak talk radio host—Randi Rhodes of WJNO Radio in Palm Beach County, home of the infamous Butterfly Ballots where liberal Condo Commandos were so clueless that they ended up mistakenly taking votes away from me and casting them for the last person on earth they would support—Pat Buchanan.
Anyway, I have visited that county a few times since those Butterfly Ballots cost me the election and tuned in the Randi Rhodes show to check her out. One problem with her show is that WJNO has such low power that their signal sputters out and dies before it even gets near the Palm Beach County line.
If you can catch Randi Rhodes before the WJNO signal fades away, it is a truly amazing experience. We are talking about a FULL MOONER here. Randi has a conspiracy theory about almost everything including why she is not syndicated nationally (a right-wing conspiracy led by Rush Limbaugh is targeting her). To listen to Randi is like driving by a big car wreck. Horrible to look at but it definitely draws your attention such as Randi's assertion that her biggest fantasy in life is to give a "Lewinsky" to Bill Clinton aboard Air Force One. Even when Randi goes off the topic of politics, she still sounds NUTS. Randi is probably the last person on the planet to actually believe that OJ Simpson is searching the golf courses of the world in order to track down his ex-wife's killers.
Right now Randi's big topic is how she wants to be syndicated nationally. She knows that Anita Drobny of Anshell and myself are looking for a liberal radio talk show alternative to Rush Limbaugh. As a result, Randi is shamelessly promoting herself for this slot on the air to the extent of asking her listeners to call up the radio syndication services and plead her case.
Randi's desperation is really quite entertaining. The problem is that if I did hire Randi Rhodes for a national radio broadcast, she might mellow out and lose that nutty edge.
Therefore I plan to just string Randi along. I'll pretend that I am interested in her but that I also have to investigate the possibilities of other liberal talk show hosts. This is sure to make Randi even more desperate on the air. Then I will take the taped shows of Randi Rhodes begging to be syndicated and syndicate that nationally. It would be the radio equivalent of Jackass, The Movie. Folks will tune in to those taped Randi Rhodes shows for laughs. Although that shtick will wear out after a few weeks, it is sure to attract a big audience in the short term and allow me to declare victory over Rush Limbaugh.
I am convinced that review brought the then obscure Randi Rhodes to the attention of the liberals putting together Air America. Months later they hired Randi and the rest is history.
So welcome back, Randi. We are anxious to hear your comedy again and while you're at it, please explain in detail what happened when you and Ed Schultz were at a Democrat senator "slave auction" that provided the seed money to kick off his national radio syndication.
Don't forget to thank that "rightwing" radio network for making your return to the airwaves possible and please limit yourself to no more than a dozen Ketel Ones at a sitting.