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Monday, January 19, 2009

IST LIST--Top Ten Talkers

by Jay Allbritton
A couple weeks back LTR's readers voted on their top ten talkers of 2008. The poll was freeped mercilessly, but that's all part of the online polling game. Check out Alex Bennett at number three! Sure thing. Then again, I haven't heard Bennett since he blew through Miami waaaaaaay back in the day. LTR's writer also made a top ten list.

Clearly this is leading up to the IST top ten talkers of 2008 list:

10. Radio Or Not--Nicole Sandler lost her job as a regular talk host in Miami, but thanks to the internets, she started her own podcast and did lots of spot duty filling in on Air America.

9. Unusable Signal--My fellow PM'ers Tommy Christopher and Caleb Howe along with some other great bloggers bring it on BlogTalkRadio--the most open of forums.

8. KPOJ Morning Show--Local Portland show featuring Carl Wolfson, Paul Pimentel, Christine Alexander and, in their third hour, liberal workhorse Thom Hartmann took a while to grow on me, mostly because I don't live in Portland. The group has a warm chemistry and covers state and national politics quite well. The show kinda makes me want to move to Portland.

7. Democracy Now--Amy Goodman is the best news anchor in the business.

6. Thom Hartmann--Sadly, his show still has a lot of dead spots, but he has so many insightful ideas that the occasional boring rote debate with a neocon think tank guy is worth the trade-off.

5. Randi Rhodes--A lot of people tell me they find Rhodes abrasive, however, I don't think she's anymore abrasive than any strong talk host who has the courage of his or her convictions. Randi's research is top notch and she often finds angles on stories that even the best bloggers miss.

4. Rachel Maddow--No one deconstructs the news better than Maddow. She has also been the most consistent critic of Barack Obama in the media. In fact, those criticisms are the only times I seem to disagree with her.

3. The Young Turks--Cenk Uygur's crew is the essence of independent media. I love that they cover political events live and better than the so-called pros. Their election coverage kicked Wolf Blitzer in the ass. The loss of co-host Ben Mankiewicz to TMZ and now to At The Movies was a blow that the rest of the Turks have covered admirably. Furthermore, Cenk is one of the best bloggers around as well.

2. The Neil Rogers Show--A polarizing voice doing local South Florida radio remotely from Toronto, WQAM's Neil Rogers doesn't let anyone off the hook for old time's sake. A thirty plus year veteran of South Florida radio, politics isn't even a big part of his show, but when Bush started messing up the world, Neil dedicated hours every day to expertly debunking the administration's bullshit by reading the best opinion pieces on the internet. Neil was also calling Barack Obama "your next president" since early 2006. He's also the most militant atheist you'll hear on the air anywhere. His co-host/producer Jorge Rodriguez runs a tight ship when Neil's on vacation. He's deserving of the top spot himself, if QAM Station Manager "Jolly" Joe Bell had the sense to give him a show.

1. Breakroom Live (with Marc Maron and Sam Seder)--These guys aren't even on the radio--yet. But 2008 marked the return to daily programming, internet style, for the great Marc Maron and his friend Sam. Just kidding, Sam. Seder kicks ass in his own right, Air America replacing him with Lionel was ridiculous, and he's at his best working off of Maron. The show is extremely innovative, offering a half hour of structured bits, analysis and guests then offering another half hour of interaction with their audience via chat, email and phone calls. The show is wildly entertaining, and since they do it in the Air America break room, you never know who may drop by. So far the show has been graced by the likes of Jeneane Garofalo and Sarah Silverman.

UPDATE: Crooks and Liars has a bit from BRL up now on its site that peers into the future in order to see just how historians have judged President Bush. I believe the dude in the platinum wig is Jon Benjamin from Dr. Katz.


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