Tags: Fonda | Steinem | and | Rosie | Challenge | Rush | 'Male

Fonda, Steinem and Rosie Challenge Rush, 'Male Point of View'

Tuesday, 05 September 2006 12:00 AM

Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, and Rosie O'Donnell are backing a new left-wing radio network that plans to appeal to women listeners and counter the dominance of conservative talk radio and its "male point of view."

The new talk-radio network is called GreenStone and will be officially launched on Sept. 12, 2006. Its Web site describes it as "a clear alternative to the polarizing, highly political talk commonly heard on AM radio."

Steinhem, in a recent interview with The New York Times, has also made clear that her network is at war with Rush Limbaugh for audience share.

"We know what women want," says GreenStone's mission statement, "and have the entertainment, political, social and business connections to deliver it . . . Our goal is to build the leading brand for women's talk programming."

What women want to hear on the radio, according to GreenStone's Web site list of topics, ranges from plastic surgery to feng shui, and from how to work at home to cooking and spring cleaning tips.

"Women are ready for a new kind of talk that speaks directly to them on the issues they care about most," says GreenStone's Web site, quoting research it commissioned. "Women want ‘useful information,' something ‘lighter and more entertaining' than political talk shows . . . " The network says it will offer a "steady diet of entertainment, health and fitness, and relationships – delivered with lots of fun and laughter."

GreenStone claims it will deliver de-politicized, de-polarized talk radio by women hosts for female listeners.

But among this new network's creators and biggest investors – who as of last March had secured $3.1 million in venture capital to launch it - are left-wing activist-actress Fonda, radical feminist Steinem, and O'Donnell, the strident, liberal, anti-gun crusader comedian and new co-host of "The View."

"The radio has become overbalanced toward the ultra-right," Steinem said in a recent New York Times Magazine interview, making clear she doesn't like the political slant of Limbaugh, America's top talker.

"AM talk radio does not reflect the fact that only 30 percent of the country, at the most, is anywhere near Rush Limbaugh," Steinem said.

Among GreenStone's nine corporate directors are Fonda and Steinem. Its board also includes Robin Morgan, the "Global Editor" of the radical feminist magazine Ms., founded more than two decades ago by Steinem.

Morgan is a former child star and longtime left activist who once staged a witchcraft protest against the House Un-American Activities Committee. She is editor of the classic radical feminist anthology "Sisterhood Is Powerful."

"White males," Morgan wrote in a 1970 essay, "are most responsible for the destruction of human life and environment on the planet today."

Another GreenStone board member is Gail Evans, who "participated in the founding of CNN in 1980" with former Fonda husband and liberal activist Ted Turner.

When Steinem was asked by the New York Times Magazine if "your radio network [is] the female version of Al Franken's left-leaning Air America Radio," she replied: "No. No. They are very Washington-directed, very argumentative. What we are doing is more populist, centrist, and community-oriented."

Steinem distances her new network from Air America Radio, but GreenStone has been renting studio and satellite time from Piquant LLC, the corporate entity that owns Air America Radio.

Through its business ties, GreenStone has reportedly made payments to Piquant that average more than $25,000 per month for spare broadcast facilities. GreenStone has thereby helped keep Air America Radio on the air.

Did Steinem, Fonda, and GreenStone's other left-activist board members, managers, and investors really expend huge effort and more than $3 million to create a new "niche" radio network merely to air "centrist" talk shows that tell female listeners how to clean their closets and cook a mean meatloaf?

If GreenStone is merely a money-making attempt to attract women with a female-oriented network, its other investors like tennis star Billie Jean King ought to know that previous attempts to do this – such as the cable TV channels Lifetime and Oprah Winfrey's Oxygen – have had only limited success.

ABC Radio failed in its attempt to build 24/7 female-oriented talk radio programming in Los Angeles, and its lifestyle-focused, female-oriented national show "Satellite Sisters" has had a hard time gaining affiliates.

Until now, most women who wanted to hear about relationships tuned to female radio psychologists. Those who wanted serenity tuned to music stations. And those who wanted lifestyle advice or humor turned to cable television's HGTV, Style, Bravo, Comedy Central, and other channels where things can be seen as well as heard.

Or could GreenStone be a "stealth" network designed to wear a disguise of apolitical camouflage so it can fly below the radar to conquer American women with its concealed left-liberal agenda?

Approximately one-third of today's conservative talk-radio listeners are women, a worrisome thought to Democratic power players.

GreenStone apparently will use a softer propaganda technique – and make a play at those women listeners with the goal of becoming commercially viable.

At first blush, the network's radio hosts aren't known as polemicists. GreenStone's midday host is Rolanda Watts, a veteran of Los Angeles radio, New York City television and (like Bill O'Reilly) the syndicated entertainment show Inside Edition. Its morning hosts, "The Three Ritas," are writer-comedians Cory Kaheney, Nelsie Spencer and Maureen Langan, recipient of Planned Parenthood's Maggie Award. Its afternoon show is hosted by author Lisa Birnbach, author of "The Official Preppy Handbook." Its later show, "Women Aloud," is co-hosted by actor-comedienne Mo Gaffney and either fellow feminist-actress Kathy Najimy or actress Shana Wride, star of the stage play "Women Who Steal." Except for Watts, GreenStone's hosts have little or no proven experience as radio hosts.

As of Aug. 24, GreenStone had only three affiliates – WXCT AM 990, a 2,500-watt station in Southington, Conn., already airing an "off-Broadway" pre-launch version of "The Three Ritas," along with stations signed in Albany, N.Y., and Jackson, Miss. But the network says it's aiming to be carried mostly on "no static at all" FM stations, which it predicts will be dropping their music formats as upscale music listeners switch to commercial-free digital satellite music programming.

GreenStone, originally known as the "Women's Radio Network LLC," took its current name from an Alice Walker short story about a magic stone that turns dark when the person owning it lacks integrity or honor.

Time will tell whether GreenStone turns to gold by creating an advertiser-desired "new paradigm" of successful female-only talk radio – or goes dark.

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Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, and Rosie O'Donnell are backing a new left-wing radio network that plans to appeal to women listeners and counter the dominance of conservative talk radio and its "male point of view." The new talk-radio network is called GreenStone and will be...
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Tuesday, 05 September 2006 12:00 AM
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