Ralph Nader Radio Hour on Substack!
Ralph Nader Radio Hour on Substack!
This is Steve Skrovan, co-host of the Ralph Nader Radio Hour and we are pleased to announce that we’ve moved to Substack! Sign up and the Ralph Nader Radio Hour will arrive in your inbox even before the radio stations get it.
Substack has features that will allow you to comment, ask questions, and engage with episodes in a way we couldn’t on our previous platform. You will receive not only the 57:30-minute radio version but all the extra stuff we do for podcast version we call The Wrap Up. You’ll also have access to a transcript of each program, which will post a few days after the podcast drops. We’re also going to add a number of extras from Ralph about Congress and opportunities to become “Nader’s Raiders” yourself when Ralph calls you, our listeners, to action.
Signing up for the radio show is free. Although if you’d like to contribute to Ralph’s work (The Center for the Study of Responsive Law) you can. As time goes on, we will be adding features exclusive to contributors such as videos from Ralph on various topics, free books from Ralph’s reading list, and more of Ralph’s writing.
Ralph is not your typical writer, interviewer, commentator, radio personality. He is an activist, who as a private citizen has compiled a legislative record that would rival any modern president. He is already in the history books. Ralph is too modest to say such things, which is why I’m writing this. I very rarely hear him use the word “I.” As in “I did this…” He always says “we” or “our groups” when referring to the extraordinary accomplishments of the consumer movement he leads. In fact, back in 1968 when then Washington Post reporter, William Greider, coined the moniker “Nader’s Raiders,” Ralph complained, insisting that this movement “wasn’t about me.”
I met my good friend, David Feldman, at the Los Angeles premiere of the documentary I co-wrote and directed about Ralph titled “An Unreasonable Man” in early 2007. David is a brilliant standup comedian and comedy writer, who was doing his own program on Pacifica’s KPFK in LA.
One day in early January of 2014, David called me. He was filling in for one of the drive-time hosts on a Friday, and along with program director Alan Minsky, decided they wanted to use the slot to do an alternative State of the Union with Ralph. David asked if I would connect him. I did so, and they booked Ralph for the program. David then said to me, “Okay, be at the studio by 4:30pm.” I said, “What do you need me for?” David said, “You don’t understand. Ralph Nader is my hero. When I was a kid in the seventies, my dad would point to the television when Ralph was on and made sure I knew, ‘That man is the greatest American.’ I’m too nervous to speak to him alone. I need you in the room.”
So, I showed up, put some headphones on and sat in the studio babysitting David as he spoke to his hero, Ralph Nader. David had done his homework and did a great job interviewing Ralph for the hour. After hanging up, David, Alan, and I just looked at each other and I said, “Man that guy knows a lotta stuff. We should do this every week.”
It took us a few weeks to convince Ralph to take the time out of his perpetually busy schedule to do the program, but by mid-March 2014 we were up and running. At first, the program was just me and David asking questions, sitting at the feet of the master. After a few months of that, Ralph got tired of having to do most of the talking and explaining to these two chuckleheads how the world worked, so we started booking guests. That’s when Ralph shifted from being the interviewed to being the interviewer, bringing his vast store of knowledge and experience to that task.
Our first guest was the late great energy expert, David Freeman, the former head of the Tennessee Valley Authority to warn about the continuing threat of nuclear power. Ralph, of course, led the “No Nukes” movement that by the late seventies, early eighties essentially shut down the expansion of nuclear power in the United States for thirty-five years. Since then, Ralph has engaged on the program with hundreds of activists, journalists, authors, politicians, economists, and experts in all sorts of fields and industries.
David and I have had a front row seat to hear Ralph have his first public conversation ever with the great Noam Chomsky (We’ve done two more since!). He has interviewed other progressive luminaries such as Chris Hedges, Thom Hartmann, Lois Gibbs, John Nichols, Thomas Frank, Bill McKibben, Hazel Henderson, Winona LaDuke, Tom Morello, and others. But mainly, Ralph has used the program to elevate voices you do not normally hear in the media. There is a whole layer of people working just below the surface of fame, who have devoted their lives to protecting us, keeping us safe, and warning us about the corporate threat to our democratic institutions. And for Ralph, it has given him a platform to reach out to a new generation of fellow travelers working in the public interest, many of whom thank him for inspiring them in the first place.
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