Saturday, April 02, 2005

"Left of the Dial"

If you haven't seen the HBO documentary "Left of the Dial," which premiered on Thursday, it's worth the time, even if you detest Al Franken, Janeane Garafalo and all that the Air America radio network represents.

It's an insider's look at the lefty radio network's launch. Disaster struck a few weeks into the project when the network ran out of money and was taken off the air in Los Angeles and Chicago. The filmmakers catch the network founder making outright lies to the media and the angst of the rank and file workers whose paychecks bounce and health coverage lapses.

The stars of the documentary are not Franken or Garafalo, they're Randi Rhodes, the only on-air talent with any true talk radio experience, and Air America executive Carl Ginsburg, who stares into the abyss with a helpless sense of the absurd that makes you like him.

Air America is still on the air in 51 markets. At the end of the documentary, a map of the USA is shown depicting where its stations are. Not a single one is in Texas.

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