CommunityPam's House Blend

"Radical" Russ: The Next Progressive Talk Radio Star?

UPDATE: You can listen to my contest entry here. I will also be on the Thom Hartmann morning show, AM 620 KPOJ in the Portland, Oregon area, at 7:20am PST this Monday, October 30. You can listen online at

I had the most interesting morning yesterday. I had to teach an advanced course in Microsoft Project for a company in Bingen, Washington, which is just across the Columbia River from Hood River, Oregon, which is 65 miles from my home. Class starts at 8:30am, so I had to be there by 7:30am to set up. I had been up since 5am, had my breakfast, and drove through morning traffic, listening to our local Air America affiliate, Portland’s KPOJ AM 620.

By the time I reached Hood River the Columbia River Gorge turned the local Thom Hartmann show into static, so I turned off the radio. I get to the bridge between Hood River and Bingen and, lo, to my surprise, it is a toll bridge. In Oregon (New Jersey I would’ve expected, but Oregon?) Seventy-five cents to cross. Problem is, I didn’t have a dime on me, nor a credit card, ATM card, or checkbook… not even pennies in the ashtray. I excitedly called my boss to tell her to call the client to tell them I’d be late because I was going to have to beg for change at the gas station just to go to work.

As I’m on the phone with my boss, a friend of mine calls on the other line. I pick it up and she says, “Well, congratulations! I’m sorry that I didn’t win, but if someone else had to win, I’m glad it was you.”

“What are you talking about?” I asked.

“You’re not listening to Air America? You just won the contest!”

The contest she’s referring to is the talent search for the next progressive talk radio star. It’s a nationwide search and to enter, I submitted a two-minute demo of what my radio show would sound like. The local contest winner gets $1,000 and is entered in the national contest. The two national finalists are flown to Washington DC to compete live to win a contract for a syndicated weekend progressive talk radio show.

That local winner, apparently, is me and they were playing my winning entry all morning in the Portland metro area. The funny thing is that my friend actually does a local talk radio show on the community media station here. Funnier still is the fact that I only entered after a prolonged bout of nagging from my wife and that I did the recording as a last-minute thing just to get her off my back. What’s not so funny is now my wife has the perfect “I told you so” to beat me over the head with whenever I complain that she’s nagging me.

Begging for the six bits got a whole lot easier after that news.

Then, after my work day, I drove home and stopped at the 7-Eleven for a vanilla Diet Coke. At the front counter is the December issue of High Times magazine. Being the stoner I am, I picked it up to thumb through it, and, whaddaya know, there’s a picture of my smiling face in a sea of sativa and the article declaring me the “Freedom Fighter of the Month” for all my work with Oregon NORML. I told the clerk it should be free if my face is in it.

Finally, as I drove home, I witnessed a motorcycle accident and had to offer first aid and help divert traffic until the paramedics arrived. The guy lives three apartments down from me and his beautiful motorcycle was ruined. He’s okay, though, and that’s what matters. At home, there was a message for me from a potential new employer that will double my salary for a job that’s half as hard.

Now that’s a day.

(I’ll post the two-minute demo on my web site, once I can get it back up. I’m just about ready to re-launch and now this noteriety has lit a fuse.)

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