What Howard Dean Thinks of Dusty Rhodes v. Progressive Radio in Cincinnati

Yesterday a close friend of mine wrote a letter to Howard Dean and got a quick and pleasing response.

Dear Howard:

I am writing to you because I feel you should be made aware of a recent letter to the Cincinnati Enquirer from a Democratic Party precinct captain, Dusty Rhodes. I hope you will take the time to read it because I think it is emblematic of attitudes expressed by some in the Democratic Party that are self-defeating and damaging to this party’s proud legacy.

Mr. Rhodes responded to a recent opinion piece by another Democratic Party precinct captain who had written to express his support for giving progressive radio a chance here in Cincinnati. Mr. Rhodes letter is rife with right-wing talking points, and his points as to the reasons that this format did not succeed in Cincinnati are way off the mark.

I have sent the following to Mr. Timothy Burke, who is the Chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, expressing my dismay as a fellow Democrat that one of our own would express sentiments that more closely resemble talking points one would hear on right-wing talk radio or the noise-machine at Fox:

“Dear Mr. Burke:

I am writing to you as a fellow Democrat here in Hamilton county because I felt compelled to express my dismay at the recent letter Dusty Rhodes sent to The Cincinnati Enquirer in rebuttal to a letter supporting the need for progressive talk radio here in Cincinnati. I think that you should know that there are democrats here that were disgusted by Mr. Rhodes letter. It is my sincere hope that leaders of this party here in this county might take the time to express some of our concerns to Mr. Rhodes.

His letter is hardly factual, and I think that it doesn’t take an expert in radio such as Dusty to know that he is spouting Right-Wing talking points straight out of Hannity, Limbaugh and the rest of their ilk. His contention
that nobody listened is hyperbole of the first degree. I am a social worker here in Hamilton County, and I can assure him that several of my coworkers were very enthusiastic that finally there was a format that spoke to
progressives- a format I might add that in many ways was far more open to a real discussion of ideas that matter rather than just hyperbole much like the kind in Mr. Rhodes’ letter.

He is sorely mistaken in his contention that the so-called technical problems experienced by listeners of this format on both stations were typical of radio across the dial. I listened to the format on both WCKY and WSAI, and there were instances of dead air and “cross feed” that I have never heard or seen on any radio or TV format. I trust Ed Schultz when he informed his listeners that the reason for this had more to do with the
attitude of the individuals entrusted to run and promote this format here than anything else that Mr. Rhodes might like to attribute to its demise.

The manager or managers of this station had openly expressed hostility to the format much like the hostility that Mr. Rhodes expresses toward its listeners in his letter.

And that is the crux of my dismay, Mr. Burke. Does it bother you to see someone, a Democratic Precinct Captain no less, write a letter that is so openly full of the Right’s garbage-attacks on most of the things that the
Democratic party has stood for at least since the days of FDR? It should.

Mr. Rhodes is more than entitled to his opinions, but I think that it is incumbent that if someone is making statements, some of which are simply not true, that seem to support the opposition party’s talking points and
certainly are meant to denigrate a very real and growing segment of the Democratic party itself, someone should be made aware that there are those who have actively participated in canvassing and other events who are not pleased (such as myself). If this makes Mr. Rhodes or others uncomfortable, I guess I would have to conclude that this is a good thing because there are those who are simply fed up with this kind of rhetoric from individuals who so obviously haven’t taken the time to better inform themselves of the diversity of our community (and certainly of this party). Or maybe they just don’t care. Either way, it is letters such as his that get the hair up on the back of those in this party who care about making it something more than just some opportunistic alternative for someone to spout the same rhetoric as the other party while pretending to care about Democrats.

I sincerely hope that you and others in this party have read this letter and possibly share some of my concern that regardless of Mr. Rhodes’ opinions, some of the things that he is saying are damaging to the Democratic party and its proud legacy of liberal reforms.

Thank you for your time.”

Mr. Dean, I cannot tell you how disgusted this letter has made those Democrats in this county who care about the proud legacy of liberalism that many feel is the heart and soul of this party. At the very least, it is an insult to the intelligence of those who care to dig a little deeper than Mr. Rhodes appears to have done.

I’m attaching the articles for your information:



I know you are very busy, but I do appreciate your taking the time to consider my concerns. There are many like me who have given of at least some of their time for the benefit of Democratic Party causes who read things like this letter and begin to lose faith that this party truly is representative of even the most basic ideals that can be seen in the history
of things such as those programs that FDR implemented. For those of us who truly believe in that legacy, our work has only just begun. Apparently for some others, it is nothing more than a platform where they feel they can say whatever they want however damaging it might be to this party’s cause.

Thank you for your time.


Jeffrey C.

And Howard’s reply:

Howard Dean
to me


9:41 am


I agree, This is not only disappointing, but this gentleman appears to be in the wrong party. Progressive radio has it’s problems, but airing disagreements and attacking other Democrats is unhelpful. Feel free to share this with the county chair. We are investing large amounts of money in Ohio. Fortunately the Democratic leadership in general is far more constructive than this particular precinct captain, who should be replaced.


Published in: on July 13, 2007 at 12:16 pm  Comments (3)  

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    This is what I sent.

    Mr. Rhodes seems to be playing ball for the opposing team given such ridiculous claims and remarks he made (Progressive Radio Had Chance-listeners said no). Opposing team would therefore be someone who doesn’t want Progressive radio, versus us supporters of Progressive Radio.

    I can advise Mr. Rhodes that even for us novices in radio, his claims would make radio execs shutter. I don’t want to embarrass Mr. Rhodes, but clearly his ideas haven’t suited the industry well (dare I mention, party?). To even think that the first 2 weeks of a new radio station should have been the measuring stick of success for a new station and it’s format, style, content and programming, everyone else should just pack up their bags (and microphones). O’Reilly and others would have had 12 new positions on their resume in only a couple years. But his backers hung on like CRAZY glue.

    And now the facts. I was a loyal listener to Air America Radio the day they went on the air in March 2004. I was thrilled, because I found I couldn’t even listen to the local music stations where the DJ’s played political wannabes and resorted to lying and bashing President Clinton, while they basked in the glory of “he may not be smart, but I wouldn’t mind having beer with W. A radio in my car in Cincinnati mainly gathered dust. It was the most exciting thing to have Cincinnati bring in Progressive Radio. And it wasn’t even Liberal radio. They had moderates like Springer and Ed Schultz. But I gave them my listening ear. Even people my husband worked with were tuning in and would even give me a call when they heard me do a call-in with excitement. I never in my life heard a radio station run so poorly. They would take off the radio’s shows as early as 5:00pm for sports. SPORTS. Who in the right mind thinks someone tuning in to Progressive talk radio wants to listen to sports and games? And if someone is tuning in to radio to hear the games, they surely aren’t going to be thinking “Hey I bet that Progressive Talk Radio Station will put the game on”(sic) But yet, that is exactly what they kept doing. My fav was when for 15 minutes of starting a new show, if they didn’t bump the Randi Rhodes show for sports, they would double play commercials or run another show ’til they got it figured out.

    Now ask, Mr. Rhodes, which are the busiest time slots that you want to be bumping planned programming and annoying listeners with double commericals and talkovers? ts ts ts

    I even wrote to Clear Channel in Texas to complain about this. They said they would share my emails with the local station. I guess that was when they decided it was time to pull it. Too many people wanting to listen. I never saw a station work harder to turn their listeners away. I had to resort to listening online and got pretty use to doing that. I had no choice if I wanted to hear what I WANT to hear.

    So here we have another example of, claiming so, doesn’t make it so.

    Cincinnati has been complaining that they keep losing people and cant keep the best of the work force. With these kind of actions, is it any wonder? I heard nonstop, “stay and make Cincinnati better. If you leave, we can’t fix the problems”. But there are too many that don’t want it fixed. Or they want their control and dictorial style, but they still want the creative and new idea population and work force that would make their businesses thrive-only you can’t have that if the services or community aren’t there to feed their hunger.

    We lived in Cincinnati for 4 years, but we left to an area we thought better served us and I now live in Northern New Mexico. I think my move at least gave a rest to that very nice lady who always received my letter to the editor at the Cincinnati Enquirer. I hope Cincinnati will one day learn they need to offer a diverse community and services for all to be happy and well fed. And Mr. Rhodes can sleep well tonight knowing he won’t be bumping in to THIS socialist.


  2. Representin’ SoNum (Cruces) FU DINOs
    Dr. Dean ROCKS
    DonkeyOD RULES
    Rhodes ROTS


  3. I found out about this exchange through Ohio Majority Radio.

    I don’t know who I admire most: your friend, Howard Dean, or you. Let’s call it a three-way tie. Good job!

    Please let us (and Dean) know how the county chair responds.

    And if you’d like any resources regarding progressive talk radio, please feel free to turn here:


    and tell me if there’s anything you think should be added or changed.

    Best regards from Boston, where we’re working hard to get progressive talk back on the radio.


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