Howard Kurtz's column this week in the Washington Post visits with Stephanie Miller, the L.A.-based host for Air America, the talk radio-for-liberals service.
As recently as 2000, Miller hosted a popular show on L.A.'s KABC but had trouble getting syndicated, and then, she says, "I was fired for being too liberal." (She also says the station didn't like the "racy content" of her show, where she sometimes referred to male callers as "love puppet" and "stud monkey.") There was, she concluded, no place for liberals in a talk radio world dominated by Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
Liberal radio is still a relative blip, but the turning point, says Miller, is that stations stopped putting on ex-politicians like Mario Cuomo and turned to professional broadcasters. "The minute we think it's a political movement, we're dead," she says. "You've got to get ratings. It's about money."
Miller isn't delicate when it comes to language. She told listeners last week that the argument by Hannity and Bill O'Reilly that "we're the only ones who support the troops" is "making me projectile-vomit." She gloats that "the Republicans have their panties in a twist" over this or that issue. She challenges the veracity of some conservatives with a jingle called "lying sack of crap."
Hannity, who once gave her a well-publicized hug, says he's never heard her show. "I've never seen any medium get more attention than liberal talk radio with absolutely no benefit," he says. "There's been more written about liberal talk radio than I've had in my entire career, and I began in 1987."
Also in the Post: Gov. Schwarzenegger's special election makes page A3 of Tuesday's Post, in a piece by the L.A. bureau's Amy Argetsinger. Dean E. Murphy, San Francisco bureau chief for the New York Times, filed a staff story for his paper too. Murphy is one of four ex-LAT staffers with bylines on California stories in today's NYT, along with John Broder and Jeff Leeds (on Michael Jackson coverage) and health writer Benedict Carey.