Randi Rhodes Quits Air America Radio

Randi Rhodes is no longer employed by Air America.

Randi Rhodes Quits Air America Radio

The company’s official statement

Last week Air America suspended Randi Rhodes for abusive, obscene language at a recent public appearance in San Francisco which was sponsored by an Air America affiliate station.

Air America Media was informed last night by Ms. Rhodes that she has chosen to terminate her employment with the company.

We wish her well and thank her for past services to Air America. We will soon announce exciting new talent and programming that will accelerate Air America’s growth in the future.

Joe Gandelman, who speculates that Rhodes may have been pushed rather than jumping, has more thoughts.

What’s most notable about this incident is that it shows that there is a line that can’t be crossed — particularly in a divisive election year.

Vigorous, even controversial discussions or characterizations could spark denunciations but aren’t on the same level as name-calling swearing (even if, as some argued, it was done to be funny or even satirical).

One presumes that there’s a sliding scale, depending on how much revenue one is bringing in. Rhodes was, therefore, on a shorter leash than, say, Rush Limbaugh would be. But, yes, there appear to be limits. Ask Don Imus, who has had a much more successful career than Rhodes.

UPDATE: HuffPo’s Danny Shea reports, “Randi Rhodes quit Air America after being asked by the network to apologize for her inflammatory remarks against Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro.”

A source at Air America, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “Many people screw up and then apologize and move on. Like Imus. Like David Shuster. Like Jay Rockefeller on McCain. Like Obama on Rezko. Like Hillary on Bosnia. Randi Rhodes refused to apologize for her obscene comments and has chosen instead to terminate her relationship with Air America.”

The source also said that there is no love lost between Rhodes and her colleagues at the network. “No one is upset. She made the move but there’s relief and joy.”

Dismissing claims that Rhodes was just doing stand-up comedy in San Francisco when she made the remarks, the source confirmed that Air America paid her way to California, that she was advertised as “Air America’s Randi Rhodes,” and that the Air America website urged people to go for “an evening of politics and pop culture.” The source said, “Air America pays people to be talk show hosts, not stand-up comics, or else we’d hire Chris Rock.”

It remains unclear who will substitute for Rhodes’ time slot in both the short- and long-term, but the source said the network is looking at Rhodes’ departure as an opportunity to rebuild. “Sometimes it’s for the best that the leading player leaves so you can rebuild with better talent.”


FILED UNDER: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. FormerHostage says:

    She might be able to get a job at a local college radio station. At least then she’d reach a larger audience.

  2. markm says:

    “Last week Air America suspended Randi Rhodes for abusive, obscene language…..”

    I read somewhere that her being butt ugly didn’t help the matter either. Yeesh.

  3. Bithead says:

    She’s suppsoed to be working at the station on 960 in SanFran, effective now.

    If I recall correctly… and without looking it up, that’s a non-directional, running 5000watts from a shoreline site. Since the station is Clear Channel woned, that likely means it’s a shared site, too, which means power losses in the combiner. All of which means that she’s got coverage as far north as about Ukiah, and perhaps 30 miles or so south, and as far east as Sacremento, if you’ve got a good radio. Most stations out there have one leg in the salt water. Gives them great ground conductivity, but it also means that most of their watts are wasted out over the ocean.

    But as to what is really going on here… that’s simple; It’s OK on the left to send such attacks against Republicans… but to pick on democrats in the same way, is verbotten. IN a far left station ticking off republicans is par for the course. But with a primary running as close to 50.50 as no matter, doing what she did amounts to pissing off about half your listenership… something Err America can ill aford to do.

    And FH, being in Sanfran is as close to a local college radio station as no matter, trust me on this one.

  4. floyd says:

    Randi who?
    No harm no foul, Nobody heard her anyway![lol]

  5. mike says:

    Doggone JJ – warn a reader before posting that picture. I can’t eat dinner now.

  6. Magnus says:

    Wow that is one ugly drunk…

  7. Triumph says:

    Rhodes does have a great face for radio–she is sure to bounce back.

    J-dog, you should invite her to be panelist on OTB Radio–although she might be nervous about being heard by an audience that exceeds Air America’s.