Sheila Samples: He's B-A-A-A-A-C-K...
By Sheila Samples
"Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts
on the unthinking."
~~John M. Keyne
Much to the dismay of the Bush Crime Family and the Flying Monkey Right, their most fervent nemesis, talk-show host Mike Malloy, will return to progressive airwaves on Monday, Oct. 30 -- a whole week-and-one-day before the mid-term elections. When you consider the corruption and scandals oozing like slime from the right over just the past week-and-one-day, Malloy's return is not a moment too soon.
Mike Newcomb, a Pheonix physician and award-winning radio host, has joined Sheldon and Anita Drobny, the original co-founders of Air America Radio, to form the progressive Nova M Radio,Inc. Network, which will feature the popular Malloy nightly from 9 p.m. - midnight ET on 1480-AM KPHX Phoenix, the nation's 5th largest city and 15th largest radio market; and on 1380 KDXE-AM Little Rock, Ark. More information on podcasting, Internet streaming and archives will be posted in the interim on the Nova M site and on Malloy's website.
Earlier this week, Malloy said, "We're starting out on two stations, but we're already getting requests from affilliates over a wide spectrum, such as Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Madison, Ann Arbor...This is for real," Malloy said. "We're in it for the long haul. We just sat down together and said 'Okay, dammit -- We've had enough of this. We're gonna fight back!'"
Newcomb, Nova M CEO and Chairman, couldn't agree more. He and the Drobnys plan to lease or to own and operate radio stations across America. In his Introductory Letter to "We the People," Newcomb announced that Joe Trippi, of Trippi and Associates, has joined the Nova M team. Newcomb said Trippi, who changed electoral politics forever by his revolutionary use of Internet fund-raising and campaigning during the Howard Dean presidential run, will help Nova M Radio to "reach out to millions of us who share common values and common goals."
Internationally renowned pollster John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International, will co-host a weekly one hour show, “The Pulse of the Nation.” Newcomb said Zogby will poll particular hot-button political issues and cultural issues, and each program will include expert guests and audience participation. At the end of each show Zogby will reveal the poll's secret results so listeners will know if they have their fingers on “The Pulse of the Nation.”
Nova M on-air talent will be liberals who share the goal of "promoting freedom, social justice, economic justice and peace worldwide," according to Newcomb who, in addition to his own 9 a.m. - Noon show and that of Malloy, snapped up Peter B. Collins, a well-known broadcaster and media consultant from San Francisco who will hold down the 6 - 9 p.m. slot.
But Truthseekers know that Malloy, whom they see as one of the last true patriots in this country who dares to speak truth to power, will set the Nova M agenda. There, Malloy will be -- as Jon Sinton, co-founder of Air America and former president of programming, said upon Malloy's AAR firing -- "the heart and soul" of the network.
Speculation -- even a conspiracy theory or two -- continues to swirl around Malloy's abrupt dismissal at Air America. It came just one day after Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced that those who dared to speak out against his war were "terrorist appeasers" and "Hitler supporters," and needed to be silenced. Some believe that pulling the plug on Malloy was a shot across the bow of all liberal media outlets -- a warning to progressive radio and TV hosts to "watch what they say..."
Others are convinced that Malloy's "Katrina Anniversary" special -- incisive, stripped of all spin, a stark look at the total ineptness of the administration's response to the tragedy and continued cruelty toward this nation's poor and displaced -- is to blame. Or maybe it was his Aug. 3 two-and-a-half-hour interview with Webster Griffin Tarpley, author of the 1992 "Unauthorized Biography of George W. Bush," and a meticulous historian who presented an iron-clad case that 9-11 is the handiwork of the Bush cartel.
Investigative journalist Wayne Madsen reacted immediately to the Malloy firing by announcing his site would no longer link to Air America.
"We will not provide portals to those who claim they are liberals and progressives but serve as information gatekeepers and censors for the global media elites and neo-con types," Madsen wrote. "The sacking of Malloy and the party purge of (Rep Cynthia) McKinney are all part of the censorship in this country -- censorship that is aided and abetted from the ranks of so-called Democrats. This country will not return to an even keel until we not only cleanse the neo-cons and fanatic right-wingers from our midst, but also those who claim "progressive: credentials but are, in fact, lickspittles for the corporate elites."
Madson told me that he believes Air America's "major problem is spelled D-L-C." He said the healthiest thing the Democrats could do is "conduct an old-fashioned proletariat-style purge of the Fifth Columnists in their midst."
However, as Rumsfeld says, "who knows?" With Malloy, it almost comes down to "pick a subject." Malloy has been around the block more than once -- his credentials are rock solid. He is a former writer for CNN and CNN International, a newspaper editor and publisher, and rock concert producer, among other endeavors. In addition to AAR, Malloy's radio gigs include WSB in Atlanta, WLS in Chicago and the now defunct I.E. America Radio Network. Malloy is passionate -- outraged by what is happening to his country, He is concerned not so much with right or left, but with right or wrong. He literally speaks for all progressives in this nation -- even those who have not heard him -- and relentlessly follows the truth wherever it leads. Sometimes his words are a little wild, as they ought to be because, like Madsen, Malloy seeks neither to please nor entertain; but to shock the sleeping masses with the raw truth before it is too late.
Whatever the reason, it was brutal -- an unexpected, crippling blow to the midsection, and tens of thousands of late-night AAR listeners reeled from the shock of having Malloy ripped unceremoniously from their midst. And it was just as sudden for Malloy, who was fired at mid-day on Aug. 30 while he and his producer-wife Kathy Bay were en route to the WGST studio to substitute for the vacationing Randi Rhodes. Malloy said Sinton, himself in shock, called and said, "They terminated you -- effective immediately."
"I couldn't believe it," Malloy said. "I was driving on the freeway and I pulled over to the side of the road so I could concentrate on what Sinton was saying. But all he had been told," Malloy continued, "was that it was a budget cut."
According to Malloy, who was the lowest paid on-air talent, that's just so much "batsqueeze." He says his AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) representative, Peter Fuster, and AAR attorney Bill Schapp had worked out a settlement agreement that had resulted in a two-year contract approved by Air America CEO Jim Wiggett.
"It was a relief to me," Malloy said. "I had been working for the past 10 months without a contract. They had totally underpaid me -- far less per year than the agreed amount -- and had violated their agreement with AFTRA. I was just glad it was over, and we could get on with the business at hand." However, Malloy said that, upon returning from vacation, CFO Bob Ennis, formerly with Rupert Murdoch's right-wing NewsCorp, allegedly tossed the contract aside and said, in effect, "No deal. We're firing him."
That proved to be a futile gesture because Malloy says, "They can't get rid of me. I'm like a cork -- I just keep popping up." His past shows are archived at The White Rose Society, and immediately upon his firing, Head On Radio began streaming his shows from 10 p.m.- 1 a.m. nightly, with material going back as far his early I.E. America radio days. Also, an in-depth interview with Malloy is available on the Protean Media site.
Malloy is quick to point out that Air America's current problems do not stem from its sterling, progressive on-air talent such as Randi Rhodes, Sam Seder, Rachel Maddow, et al, but rather with mismanagement in the head shed where it sometimes appears that nobody is in charge. According to an Associated Press release, Air America has been plagued with financial woes since it launched two years ago. After months of denial and reports that problems had been solved, the station filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 13. The list of its debtors runs for a whopping 26 pages.
Or perhaps the problem is that everybody's in charge, which would explain why one guy would give Malloy a new two-year contract on Aug. 11, and another would pull the plug on him a scant two weeks later with no advance warning.
That old Army adage, "don't s**t in your mess gear," is elementary, and I suspect AAR honchos will be mighty hungry by the time they realize that people flocked to their electronic table seeking only the Truth. With Mike Malloy, that's what they got.
And, beginning on Oct. 30, that's what they'll get at Nova M Radio. Night after night. A veritible feast.