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Out talk show host debuts new interactive program tonight

by PageOneQ

Laura Flanders, the out host of Air America Radio's RadioNation, has announced the debut of a new program this evening, GRIT TV with Laura Flanders. The show's namesake said the program will be a "twist on the news discussion broadcast that will allow us to really bring viewers into the debate." The program will be broadcast weeknights on Free Speech TV and on the Internet at Firedoglake, one of the nation's largest progressive blogs.

The format of the show will allow listeners to engage online with each other and the show's host. "We are thrilled to be the online home of The Laura Flanders Show," Jane Hamsher, founder of Firedoglake said recently. "I believe the program's interactive, multi-platform approach will be the next wave in broadcast journalism." Hamsher's site will help launch the program tonight.

In addition the Free Speech TV and Firedoglake partnerships, the show will team up with a number of nonprofit organizations and will "serve as a progressive movement media program that addresses critical current affairs issues." Former talk show host Phil Donahue will be the first of many guests booked to appear live on the show. Donahue and filmmaker Ellen Spiro co-directed the current documentary, Body of War.

Recently, Flanders sat down and answered questions about the program. Her interview follows.


Q: Why are you doing a TV show? Why this particular type of program?

Flanders: I wanted to take engaged debate to the next level and do something that took full advantage of the new media available these days. GRIT TV with Laura Flanders melds satellite television and we have a wonderful partner in Free Speech TV and online formats – with our friends at FireDogLake - in a twist on the news discussion broadcast that will allow us to really bring viewers into the debate. The program centers on a live online forum that I'll moderate which lets the audience out there to be a part of the program. I'm really excited about the multi-platform approach that we're taking, and I think we'll see mainstream media following suit in the future. We know the corporate media leave a lot of people behind – this is a chance for true interaction and discussion of issues we don't see nuanced coverage of in the corporate media.

Q: What issues do you want to address on the show?

Flanders: The show will explore topics that receive short shrift in the mainstream corporate media. We'll tackle a broad range of progressive and political issues‹the current affairs that impact America's social and economic health and well-being. Environmental justice. Corporate accountability. Labor issues. Civil rights. Healthcare. Civic engagement. Through our partnerships with scores of nonprofit organizations, the show will serve as a progressive movement vehicle. This is about creating a community as well as covering the important issues we care about and having fun. This is about activism and arts – and where they may meet.

You are a radio journalist, and advocate, and author--How does this show compliment the other work that you do?

Flanders: I'm happiest when I have a variety of irons in the fire – and maybe I am just a glutton for punishment! I want to maximize and diversify the ways that the public is informed, engaged and empowered to take action around the issues that are impacting their daily lives. I think having a television program is uniquely designed to accomplish this. It's really going to take engaged debate to the next level of interactivity.

How does the show bridge the divide between reporting and activism?

Flanders: I think you can be both a journalist and an activist. Corporate media in this country has sunk to an all time low -- it's basically infotainment. Sadly, even being able to offer thoughtful, in-depth, sophisticated discussion and analysis on topics that too often receive short shrift is a certain level of advocacy in reporting. But the multi-platform format of this show will go way beyond information sharing to actually bringing the netroots and grassroots community into the show and shaping the coverage. Viewers will be a part of the program‹connecting with guests and taking action on the topics covered. We also want to be part of strengthening Free Speech TV - the nation's oldest and largest progressive independent broadcast network.

What guests do you have in the pipeline for the program?

Flanders: Phil Donahue will join us live on the first program and future guests include Susan Griffin and Tom Morello, among many others. We are looking for a truly diverse set of guests and issues and welcome feedback and suggestions.

HOW TO WATCH: Monday, May 12th 8:00pm – 9:00pm ET. Streaming online at Firedoglake Or Free Speech TV (DISH Network, Channel 9415) New show each weekday Visit


Originally published on Monday May 12, 2008.

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