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The Bible of Talk Radio/Ralph on Assange

Ralph has a lively back and forth about the state of talk radio with the publisher and editor of “Talkers” magazine, Michael Harrison. Plus, Ralph answers a listener question about his views on Julian Assange.

Michael Harrison is the publisher and editor of Talkers magazine and the host of “The Michael Harrison Interview.”

“Today, the electronic media – meaning radio and television, the kind we grew up on – is fighting for its life against a wide array of unregulated media, social media, Facebook, Twitter, websites, streaming, YouTube, podcasts. The stations that are carrying Rush Limbaugh’s show, or did, are fighting for their lives… against exotic digital media that is ultimately going to win the battle.”

Michael Harrison: publisher and editor of “Talkers” magazine

When people say “Why is talk radio dominated by conservatives?” I have to give that disclaimer– that explanation– that conservative talk radio is dominated by conservatives… It’s the nature of radio formatting today: you target an audience and you super-serve them. And in radio that deals with politics, the conservative element has been a very successful one.

Michael Harrison, editor of Talkers

I think the death of local newspapers is a terrible problem for our democracy. But it’s more a business issue. It’s more a revenue issue. Once we figure out how to monetize all media in the digital era, there’ll be a rise of local news organizations again. But they won’t be in paper. They’ll be online. And to teach people to go to studios and to operate radio and television is teaching them how to get along in 1950, ’60, and ’70. We have to teach our children how to operate computers, how to do their own TV shows, radio shows from home. And grassroots media is going to have a resurgence. It already is from that direction.

Michael Harrison, editor of Talkers


“These (Assange and Snowden) are the disclosers of serious crimes. They should be given awards.”

Ralph Nader


Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 387 Transcript (Right click to download)


  1. Afdal Shahanshah says:

    With the way Ralph puffed this guest up before the interview I was expecting some riveting insight. What I got was an utter ideologue and an interview full of victim blaming. Are we seriously still using the “human nature” argument to dodge systemic analysis? It’s become such a hilariously cliched explanation that I actually felt embarrassed for Harrison. I found it amusing how he could proclaim that he’s not a partisan, he clearly worships at the altar of the market and commercialism.

    The problem isn’t that people are too dumb, too out of touch, too disengaged, the problem isn’t the victims. The confuses cause and effect and doesn’t lead to serious solutions. The problem is a broken media system run in the form of anti-democratic, dictatorial capitalist businesses whose first priority is profitability and second is competing with others. Everything the media talks about and does to its consumers stems from that. Any real solution needs to address this system by being transformed in democratic fashion to a degree that Ralph probably didn’t intend when he alluded to government support: we need to reorganize our media into worker cooperatives governed by their workers who are free to prioritize other things over profitability and competition.

  2. John Puma says:

    The figures at the following link corroborate the commonly heard claims that 6 corporations earn 90% of broadcast revenues. I’m amazed today’s discussion 1) made no mention of this and 2) suggested there is a “free market” in broadcast media.

  3. John Puma says:

    Why the “Stop Spammer Registrations Plugin” … for a multi-time accepted email address???

    • Skro35 says:

      What are you referring to, John?

      • John Puma says:

        I’m referring to a page, with the name shown above, that popped up when I submitted my first comment demanding my email address and reason why I wanted to proceed.

        • Skro35 says:

          Sorry, I’m still not clear. Is this related to the Congress Club? Or is this something that popped up when you tried to write a comment?

          • Bruce K. says:

            You guys don’t know your own website – from the users point of view? Occasionally when you make and submit a comment, you are re-directed to a page asking for your email address and what you are doing. After you fill that out and submit it your comment then appears with a not that it is being moderated.

          • John Puma says:

            Something that popped up when I tried to write a comment. So far, it happened only ” … when I submitted my first comment demanding my email address and reason why I wanted to proceed.” I gave the info and was allowed to comment.

  4. Don Harris says:

    If the corporations get to use the public airwaves for free then why can’t ordinary citizens do the same?

    Just 10% of the 150 million 2020 voters (about 6% of voting age citizens) investing just 100 dollars buying 100 dollar shares in a non-profit media conglomerate would total around 1.5 billion dollars to buy up/start media that would provide news controlled by ordinary citizens. Just half of those citizens buying 10 shares would total 7.5 billion
    These shares could only be owned by American citizens and no one person could own more than ten shares. The media conglomerate would be overseen by a board with people like Ralph on it.

    It would have a targeted audience of at least the 15 million that bought a share.

    This has a better chance of success than spending much more time and money trying to elect and influence politicians to create some sort of public entity or requiring commercial stations to pay a tax or provide airtime as it can be started right now.

    How about adding a Congress Club letter to Ralph Nader to encourage Ralph to get this started now?

    Or maybe you should start a Citizens Club for letters to people like Ralph that are not in Congress to get things like this and One Demand started.

    All I can do is come up with the ideas and ask for help from people like you in organizing people to work together to achieve these common goals.

    As you recently said to listeners about the Congress Club- you have your marching orders.

  5. Beto says:

    Libbers are sore losers. They can’t believe the VAST majority of people who listen to AM prefer America first programming. Wine sipping libbers have NPR and its emphasis on identity politics.

  6. Quentin T. Public says:

    Harrison displays a false, simplistic, and cripplingly monetary characterization of mass media. If colleges still had broadcast classes, people would learn how to research, create, and dispense quality content, instead of the simplistic claptrap that now penetrates all that remains– digital or not. He puts the onus on consumers to buy their way into representation on the formerly public airwaves, after the fact of the capture and consolidation of print, broadcast media, publishing, distribution, live performance and government watchdog commissions by a tiny, extremist handful of owners. A digital replacement of effective media has not and never will reach most of the under-served, and fails to meet the needs of even those who have stable internet, particularly since recent so-called consumer privacy legislation allows Cloudflare to sandbag web materials from readers if they wish to anonymously inform themselves.
    The best aspects of our formerly-free market, a 20th century ascent out of the barbarism of the 19th century, came about despite a corporate-owned publishing landscape that nonetheless allowed anyone with a nickel or so to anonymously buy newspapers (or read one left behind) or choose another with a different perspective.

    Harrison de-railed the conversation with Ralph- who is then forced to educate Harrison on key points for much of the program. Harrison uses thinly veiled insults, and empty, pseudo-religious, pseudo-economic fallacious notions to deflect from a host of reasons how conservative talk radio has monopolized the genre. Harrison perhaps can’t imagine that a corrupted FCC has thrown small broadcasters, listeners/ taxpayers under the bus; that the FTC is under-funded and over- worked and can’t begin to handle all the violations corporate entities commit while they parasitically hijack what is left of culture and society. Few remember how the libraries and consumers fell victim to being dead-ended into obsolete tape and disc media– throwing books into dumpsters coast to coast– All while a tiny startup began undercutting bookstores, and putting the Post Office out of business– with it’s sights set on galactic profit. Read it and weep, America.
    Go Ralph- Sorry you have to deal with his kind of nonsense. Sadly, this kind of pseudo-economic tunnel vision also hijacks meaningful discussion of every major issue we all face.

  7. Buddy Gazatchhorn says:

    I’m with a low power station that carries Ralph , Thom Hartmann, Democracy Now and other progressive talk daily. Although Hartmann is on Sirius/XM, I’m fairly sure that almost all stations that carry progressive talk are low power, except for the Pacifica stations ( and they’re lucky to even show up in radio ratings). Regardless, what difference does all this social critique to a very limited audience by the aforementioned great hosts and Noam Chomsky , Chris Hedges etc even matter. ?! They’re not making public policy.. We get to admire their insights but aren’t we just, to quote Neil Young, pudding in the wind ?!

  8. Buddy Gazatchhorn says:

    Pissing in the wind

    • Skro35 says:

      I don’t know. I kind of like “pudding in the wind.” I’d stick with that. It’s thick. It’s sticky. And it blows back onto your face when you try to eat it.

  9. Harvey Rhama says:

    I some ways, this was one of Ralphs best shows.
    One of these two wise men is proposing there may be a way to bring relevant, important, and critical issues to the overwhelming public discourse. The other is positing that money talks and if people wanted to change the failures or misdirected drift of society, they would tap into media that accurately informs.
    But what is missing is a leader who can bring the masses to understand that the traits of sacrifice, restraint, conservation, insight, compassion, and humility are critical pieces of a healthy society and need to be put back into political discourse and legislation and contemporary world view. In a world so complex we must feel a team effort and see success, and that takes a unifying source of guidance to lay out how we proceed and envision the future.
    I think parents, local newspapers, and even schools used to touch on these things. They still do but can no longer compete with the lure of technology and the pleasures of unrestrained consumption of natural resources.
    Why can no one leader unify, have a vision, and guide people to better the direction for us all? The answer is sadly because we are generally much closer to the Trump persona than the Nader persona. Harrison clearly made note of this. As individuals we all think we’re kind of terrific and if we have a cell phone, we know we are pretty powerful. But a close look in the mirror would show at least a tiny bit of stained orange flesh on us all. Money does talk and there is no going back from the commercially driven hedonism we all enjoy- despite ralphs succinct explanation of the need and benefits for us to do that thru a more balanced media. There seems to be no successful countervailing forces to temper the power of profit including higher knowledge. Better media is not enough.

    • Buddy Gazatchhorn says:

      You’d think Ralph could be the one , if what you propose is even realistic, if he could get on TV talk shows like he said he used to. Dennis Kucinich is dynamic. I’ve heard him speak.
      Sadly, it’s probably close to hopeless .
      “This ole world may never change the ways it’s been” sang the late great Fred Neil many years ago.

  10. Don Harris says:

    I prefer to go with Kansas and Ducks in the Wind.

  11. Delmar Larson says:

    My concern is not that talk radio is dominated by these conservative guys. To be honest with you I have tried to listen to some of these shows. I have also tried to listen to Thom Hartman. I found that I couldn’t. There seemed to be about 50 percent content and 50 percent advertising. I couldn’t handle wasting so much time on advertisements for products I didn’t want or need.

    • Buddy Gazatchhorn says:

      Find a non-commercial station carrying Thom. The commercials are edited out , such as 7-8am daily on And some non-comms carry all 3 hours .

  12. Tom Reiter says:

    This Michael Harrison guy should get a briefing on broadcast law pre repeal of Fairness Doctrine and the paper thin regulation of the FCC since the Corporations completely took over the broadcast spectrum.

  13. Lucy McKenna-Currie says:

    “Breaking Points” is the #1 political video podcast show and it’s solely viewer supported (non-corporate funded). Like ‘Crossfire’ for millennials but liberated from establishment media, co-hosts Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti present their progressive and mildly conservative political perspectives while sharing a steadfast focus on the interests of working people. I’m interested in Ralph Nader’s opinion of “Breaking Points.” This show covers topics that the legacy media short changes (if not ignores), with the aim of unifying people around the common good.

    Ryan Grim (a journalist of “The Intercept”) also does a great job as a responsible pundit on “The Hill” podcast, “The Rising.”

    Finally, UC Berkeley Professor, Robert Reich, generates periodic political podcasts (of high production quality) that seek to educate — especially targeting college youth.

    Ralph Nader shines ever more bright as the nation’s conscience and a true hero of the people. I want to see more of him !