Business Plans

Barry Gordon in studio

Photo by Douglas Drenkow.

Barry Gordon From Left Field

In 2006 and 2007, I was producer of Barry Gordon From Left Field, a progressive talk radio show hosted and executive-produced by Barry Gordon, former president of the Screen Actors Guild and candidate for Congress. The show ran in the San Bernardino / Riverside area, the 25th largest radio market in the country.


Barry Gordon From Left Field logo

As we cultivated contacts in 2007 among national syndicators, we saw the need to develop a detailed business plan, a concept proposal for a syndicated daily radio show.


Click here to peruse the concept proposal below, or view it as a PDF file at right.


Although our plan — written by Barry and me in several “brainstorming sessions” — was well-received, helping to open some very important doors for us, tentative deals never panned out; and the show never made it into syndication, in what is a very competitive market dominated by a handful of nationally known hosts.


Left Talk with Barry Gordon logo

Left Talk with Barry Gordon

In the politically historic year of 2008, after putting together an extraordinary cable television election special, Barry and I became intrigued by the possibilities of an Internet radio show, so I wrote a strategic action plan, laying out the means by which we could achieve the goal of producing Left Talk with Barry Gordon, a weekday show on


PDF Document Strategic Action Plan for Growing a BlogTalkRadio Show

    • Set-Up Free Account with BTR
    • Get Questions Answered
      • Metrics?
      • In-stream / Live messaging (May audio ads be read or inserted into the show, as at 15-minute intervals)?
      • iTunes submissions of shows in BTR archives?
      • Automated message (vs. human screener) for callers on hold?
      • Days and hours shows are available? (I presume any time you want to do the show; it’s not like terrestrial radio)
      • Time commitment?
      • Channels? Stations?
      • Etc.
    • Test System
      • Headgear
      • Switchboard, on-screen
      • Simultaneous callers
      • Music beds
      • Etc.
    • Set-Up Revenue Share Account with BTR
    • Get Show Listed in BTR Categories Etc.
    • Re-Do
      • New photo/logo/etc.
      • Feature but segregate the guests, archives, etc. from the old, KCAA show
      • Place membership sign-up form near top of page
      • Place BTR widget prominently
      • Allow space (“above the fold”) for your own advertising, on your own site (OK with BTR)
      • Barry’s welcome message as homepage loads
    • Start with Smaller-Name Guests
    • Banners
      • Directed to ...
        • BTR (profile page, with links to live stream and podcast archives): limited number of ads
        • (with widget to BTR pages/streams): theoretically unlimited number of ads
      • Consideration
        • Monthly fee paid by Barry for placement of banners on progressive Web sites (ex. and and? or? [Mike Rogers, previous guest]; re: Advertising Liberally (re: DailyKos)
        • Avoid Ads from Google: More Expensive
        • Banners exchanged, for free, with progressive Web sites, if possible
          • Guests (prior, current, and scheduled)
          • Blogs (Have bloggers as guests?)
          • Democratic clubs (See “Reaching Out,” below)
          • Other progressive individuals and organizations nationwide
    • Bulletins Sent, En Masse, to Social Networking “Friends”
      • MySpace
      • FaceBook
      • BlogTalkRadio
    • E-Mail Blasts, to Our Existing List
    • Bookmarking (Reddit, Digg, etc.)
      • Automatically offered to visitor in BTR site
      • Include widget in
    • Submission of Podcast Feed and Shows to iTunes
      • Old KCAA shows
      • New BTR shows, if possible
    • Barry’s Blogging
      • Huffington Post?
      • MySpace?
      • DailyKos?
    • Reaching Out, for Publicity (Ex. Speaking at Meetings)
      • Unions, national and local
      • Democratic clubs
      • Campaign supporters
      • Personal contacts
      • Et al.
    • Cross-Promotion with NewsRap
      • On shows
      • In
      • With (to, with link to and/or BTR)
    • Get Featured on BTR Homepage etc.
    • Metrics from BTR
      • Number of visitors to profile (where display ads will be sold)
      • Number of listeners to live stream (where audio ads will be sold)
      • Number of podcasts downloaded (where audio ads are replayed)
    • Metrics from
      • Page views / Unique visitors
      • Referrals to BTR
      • Downloads of old KCAA shows, from podcast archives
    • Metrics from
      • Referrals to and/or BTR
    • Gross & Net Income
      • Potential Advertisers & Sponsors
        • National or regional (Internet audience)
        • Progressive campaigns, blogs, et al.
        • Advertising to our demographic: typically younger, more affluent, more female, more urban
        • See other progressive sites, in BTR and elsewhere
      • BTR ads
        • 35% for Barry if BTR gets advertiser
        • 50% for Barry if he gets advertiser (BTR still sets prices and makes contracts)
        • Display ads on profile page
        • Pre-roll audio ads
        • Inserted audio ads, as at 15-min. intervals?
        • Ads read on show by Barry
        • Sponsorships
      • Ads
        • Display ads
        • Ads from Google?
        • Sponsorships?
      • Reinvested in growing the show

Although the plan did indeed allow us to set up a show, with a direction for moving forward, the severely limited audience even after considerable initial targeted advertising online (in progressive blogs with over two million unique visitors a month) meant that it would probably take Barry considerable time to grow an audience large enough to either make the show profitable and/or attract the serious interest of a national syndicator. Instead, Barry understandably chose to devote his time to teaching a course in politics and the media at the California State University – Los Angeles and possibly writing a book on political thought, which he is of course eminently qualified to do. We’ve wished each other the very best in our future endeavors.

PDF Document Concept Proposal for Syndicating Barry Gordon From Left Field

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“We’re talking about taking back the country, folks.”



“What you’re doing on your show is setting an example to others in the media — that you don’t have to be timid: You don’t have to swallow the propaganda of the administration.”



“Barry, you keep speaking your words, speaking your mind, speaking your heart.”



“This Left Field thing ... seems like a pretty happy place.”



BARRY GORDON — lifelong entertainer, longest-serving president of the Screen Actors Guild, and former candidate for Congress — has been talking politics, show business, and other hot topics on KCAA 1050 AM in Southern California, webcast and podcast worldwide by and, on Sundays throughout 2006. Smart and lively, passionate and funny, Barry has fielded calls from listeners and interviewed some of the most compelling guests on the air today:

  • Such political insiders as Sen. Barbara Boxer, Sen. Byron Dorgan, Former Sen. Gary Hart, Rep. John Conyers Jr., Rep. Henry Waxman, and Mayor Jerry Brown.
  • Such respected authors and analysts as Professor Noam Chomsky, Washington insider Craig Crawford, Court TV’s Catherine Crier, Watergate’s John Dean, CNN’s Lou Dobbs, media guru Arianna Huffington, former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter, “peace mom” Cindy Sheehan, SEIU President Andy Stern, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, dean of the White House press corps Helen Thomas, and legendary writer Gore Vidal.
  • Such celebrated entertainment figures as actors Ed Asner and Ed Begley Jr., musicians Burt Bacharach and Lisa Loeb, comedians and impressionists Nora Dunn and Jim Jibjab Meskimen, and film critics Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times and Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune.

Progressive talk radio reaches millions of listeners — generally younger, richer, and better informed than most — it is increasingly popular among the majority of talk radio listeners who do not march in lockstep with the “rantmeisters” of the Right. BARRY GORDON FROM LEFT FIELD capitalizes not only on that growing, grassroots phenomenon but also on Barry’s friendly voice and personality, known to millions over the years from stage, screen, and TV, in everything from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Archie Bunker’s Place and Curb Your Enthusiasm.


Barry cares deeply about the news and trends that affect us all — from war and peace overseas to bread-and-butter issues right here at home — Barry and his guests and callers nationwide aren’t afraid to stand up to the powers that be and tell it like it is. Unabashedly liberal, with an “everyman” voice and persona people know and trust, Barry Gordon is primed for network syndication as a dynamic new brand of progressive talk radio personality.


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Already the Number One progressive talk radio host in the Inland Empire of California, Barry will soon be moving to morning drivetime. Attracting some of the top guests on the air today and a loyal following nationwide, BARRY GORDON FROM LEFT FIELD has far surpassed everyone’s wildest expectations and simply grown too big for the Sunday afternoon slot Barry has occupied throughout 2006: Now he’ll be following Don Imus, the Number One show on KCAA, serving the Riverside / San Bernardino area, the 25th largest radio market in the country.


Barry’s voice, face, and persona are familiar to millions of Baby Boomers and young adults. The 35- to 60-year-old age group — with trillions in disposable income (MediaWorks) — grew up watching Barry Gordon on such hit TV series as Archie Bunker’s Place and Fish and in countless other roles in movies and TV; they’ve heard him sing Nuttin’ for Christmas since they were kids. Young people in the 18 – 34 age group — single, social, and active — know Barry as the Rabbi on Curb Your Enthusiasm and as the voice of Donatello in the hit animated TV series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.


BARRY GORDON FROM LEFT FIELD is entertaining. Having spent a lifetime in the entertainment industry, Barry is at ease on the air, with a remarkable gift for finding the right turn of phrase and for finding the humor in the all-too-human foibles of politics and the culture at large. And Barry’s “third hour guests” are usually from the world of entertainment: actors, musicians, comedians, and others who happily share their talents and intriguing behind-the-scenes stories.


Barry is a smart, likeable talk show host. In a genre that often brings out the worst in its hosts, Barry’s guests and callers alike have complimented him not only on being able to ask tough, intelligent questions on practically any subject but also on being fair-minded, respectful, and truthful.


Barry is an independent, persuasive progressive — an “everyman” speaking up for “everyday” people. Not having to answer to media moguls, Barry addresses the everyday concerns of his listeners — from their struggles to make ends meet to their revulsion at needless wars. In real life as on TV, Barry Gordon is down-to-earth, with a friendly voice recognized by millions. Such grassroots appeal is key to the profitability of particularly progressive talk radio shows: Ed Schultz has become the #1 liberal talker by promoting himself as an “everyman” from the heartland; Barry is an “everyman” with more urban roots, which his listeners primarily in the suburbs and cities nationwide readily relate to. As evidenced by his callers from across the political spectrum, Barry Gordon is someone listeners like, respect, and trust.


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Barry Gordon, Host & Executive Producer


Barry Gordon began his professional life at age three, as a child singer and actor. He won second place on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour singing Johnny Ray’s Cry. (He still knows the words.) At six, Barry recorded Nuttin’ for Christmas, still listed as one of the top ten best-selling Christmas records of all time.


When he was thirteen, Barry’s Broadway debut, in Herb Gardner’s A Thousand Clowns, earned him a Tony nomination for the role of Nick, a role he reprised in the successful film version.


Barry became a fixture as a character actor in feature films and television, most prominently as a co-star in the hit series Fish and playing opposite Carroll O’Connor as the lawyer Rabinowitz in Archie Bunker’s Place. Barry’s voice has been heard for decades as the Nestle Quik Bunny and as Donatello in the original animated series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Most recently, he has a recurring role as the Rabbi in HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.


Outside of show business, Barry’s interests moved into law and politics. In his mid-thirties, he returned to school; graduated summa cum laude as a political science major from California State University – Los Angeles; and went on to Loyola Law School, receiving his J.D. in 1991.


Putting his love of show business and law together, Barry became the longest-serving president of the Screen Actors Guild, holding the office for seven years — one year longer than either Charlton Heston or Ronald Reagan.


In 1998, as a Democratic nominee for Congress, Barry stunned the political establishment by coming within three points of beating the popular Republican incumbent, Rep. James Rogan, who went on to become one of the House impeachment managers and subsequently lose his seat.


In addition to his LEFT FIELD duties, Barry also volunteers as host of a webcast TV talk show, NewsRap, airing weeknights from 9 to 10 p.m. Pacific Time on Pasadena Channel 56. And in Barry’s Blog — which he calls “an occasionally fair and largely unbalanced look at politics and political media” — Barry invites his audience to talk back!


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Doug Drenkow, Producer


Doug is a demonstrated leader in various fields of written, verbal, and visual communications.


After graduating with highest honors from the University of California at Davis, Doug researched, wrote, and published worldwide innovative educational software.


As a fourth-generation Democrat — his great-grandfather Henry Winter attended Democratic national conventions on behalf of William Jennings Bryan — Doug served as a top volunteer in the historically successful first gubernatorial campaign of Gray Davis, which gave Doug his initial exposure to progressive leaders in business, entertainment, and politics, including President Bill Clinton. As a political activist, Doug has done demographics and opposition research and otherwise participated in numerous congressional, state senate, and assembly races. In fact, it was during his own campaign that Barry met Doug and they became friends.


After being a frequent guest on NewsRap, as well as guest hosting and producing several episodes, Doug joined the LEFT FIELD team as a researcher and eventually became the producer of the show, booking senators, congressmen, bestselling authors, and entertainment figures and working with Barry on the development of the show’s format.


Doug has been an investigative journalist and op-ed writer for the Core Media Group newspaper chain, pursuing controversial stories and writing in-depth articles with national implications. He has served as News and Opinion Editor for, and has written hundreds of commentaries on contemporary issues, some of which have been quoted by UPI and BBC News Worldwide.


Doug has also edited and reviewed novels, short stories, and articles for nationally acclaimed authors; reviewed hundreds of Web sites, as for the Open Directory Project and, thus, AOL and Google; designed and redesigned Web sites for various professionals (Doug is the webmaster of; and even painted portraits praised by international art critics. In 1999, Doug was commissioned to paint a series of portraits for an independent film, for which he eventually became art director and line producer.


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Progressive talk radio listeners constitute an ideal market — younger, better educated, and more affluent than most other Americans — and most talk radio listeners are not Right-wingers. “Left-leaning talk programming leans toward a much younger demographic, a group that advertisers covet.” (Wikipedia) 49% of liberals are college graduates and 41% earn at least $75,000 a year — only about a quarter of all Americans are that well educated or that well-to-do (Pew Research). Most regular talk radio listeners — 55% — do not describe themselves as conservative: 37% are middle-of-the-road and 18% are decidedly liberal (Pew Research).


Progressive talk radio hosts are increasingly popular. Progressive host Ed Schultz is the 10th most listened-to talk radio personality in America; and other progressive hosts in the top 14 include Al Franken (now running for the U.S. Senate), Alan Colmes, Randi Rhodes, Lionel, and Stephanie Miller ( — each with a minimum weekly cume of at least one million. Throughout the 1990s and as late as 2004, before the rise of Ed Schultz and the start of Air America Radio, only conservative talk radio hosts — part of the Right-wing “noise machine” (David Brock), supported by powerful special interests — enjoyed such popularity (Wikipedia); but as was the case with Right-wing hosts in the ’90s, the success of pioneering Left-wing hosts has encouraged the support — by broadcasters, sponsors, and audiences — of still others.


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Background & Experience


After creating and hosting the Pasadena, California, cable-access TV talk show / webcast NewsRap (now in its fourth year on the air), Barry Gordon started a radio talk show on Los Angeles station KRLA, which aired for one hour every Sunday evening throughout 2005. Leaving that ultra-conservative station for KCAA, the Air America Radio affiliate in the nearby Riverside / San Bernardino area (the 25th largest radio market in the country), Barry has aired BARRY GORDON FROM LEFT FIELD for three hours on Sunday afternoons throughout 2006 and into January of 2007. Barry draws upon all that experience as well as a lifetime in entertainment and his political campaigns to develop his plans for this daily talk radio show.


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Content: Progressive Politics & The World of Entertainment


The content of the weekly show has been discussion from an unapologetically progressive perspective of current, hot-button political issues — both foreign and domestic — as well as longer term issues affecting society (healthcare, education, the environment) and, because of Barry’s roots in show business, news and reviews from the world of entertainment. You may read more about these shows below or listen to podcasts in


The content of the daily show would be much the same, with the addition of coverage of breaking news during the week — a significant advantage of a daily show over a weekly show.


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Format: Guest-Driven Weekly Show Becomes Personality-Driven Daily Show


The format of the weekly show has included not only impassioned, well-reasoned “rants” by Barry; his “schmoozing” with his in-studio staff and recurring co-host Ellen Snortland; and his extemporaneous talks with unscreened callers, but also extensive interviews with top-flight guests, including many of the same political leaders, nationally known commentators, world-renowned scholars, bestselling authors, and celebrated entertainment figures as have been on Air America Radio, Ed Schultz, and other top progressive radio venues and network television programs (The Today Show, Larry King, etc.). See the Podcast archives in for a complete rundown of guests who were on the weekly show.


The producers expect to book even more “big name” guests — including newsmakers as news breaks — and indeed several of these notables or their representatives — including Rep. John Conyers Jr., Scott Ritter, and Richard Dreyfuss — have already contacted Doug with their desire to be guests on Barry’s new syndicated show.


In addition, Barry has lined up a network of frequent contributors to segments of the show, including such talented individuals as William Rivers Pitt, bestselling author and well-known contributor to, and Jim Meskimen, hilarious impressionist best-known for his work with


Once syndicated, however, BARRY GORDON FROM LEFT FIELD will be primarily personality-driven: As numerous experts in radio program development and marketing have asserted, a radio show must be branded, particularly if it is to be distributed across multiple platforms (radio broadcasts, Internet webcasts, downloadable podcasts); and the most important asset of a talk radio show brand is its host.


And no talk radio host brings more intelligence, humor, passion, and just plain common sense to his brand than Barry Gordon.


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Style & Format of a Three-Hour Daily Show (with Examples of Segments from Weekly Show)


The following format for a three-hour daily show, with examples of similar segments that aired on the weekly show, is necessarily rather tentative. Flexibility is the key to a successful talk radio show covering breaking news events, and also the hallmark of producers exercising their creativity and learning from experience. For example, as he has done successfully for years on NewsRap, Barry may dedicate an “open mic” segment to callers who wish to talk about whatever political issues interest them at the moment.


Spontaneity is invaluable in keeping a talk show lively, relevant, and involving. Barry does not want his show to ever be too scripted; in that respect, he admires the shows of hosts like Ed Schultz and Thom Hartmann. Barry wants to create an atmosphere that’s comfortable, like sitting around the family dinner table and talking about politics or other controversial issues: The discussion can be personal, sometimes funny, even heated; but after it’s over, everyone should come away knowing more than they knew going in and still have respect for one another.


In the end, BARRY GORDON FROM LEFT FIELD is about inviting people into the discussion of what’s going on in America and what we can do to make this a better country and world for all our families; it’s not about turning them away, either with hate-mongering — Barry definitely does not pattern himself after the rantmeisters of the Right — or pretense — Barry treats “big name” guests and “everyday” people with the same informality and good humor.


In its new incarnation, Barry’s “rants,” news, and views will be the main thrust of the show; his guests and callers will bring depth and additional perspectives to the hot topics and other issues on the table.


Typical First Hour: Breaking News & Other Politics. The show will start with Barry at the mic, providing his unique brand of commentary on the headlines of the day. Barry will also have one or two short interviews with Washington newsmakers to flesh out the stories. In the past, Barry has interviewed such notables as Senators Barbara Boxer and Byron Dorgan, Representatives John Conyers Jr. and Henry Waxman, labor leaders John Sweeney and Andy Stern, and activists Cindy Sheehan and Paul Rieckhoff.


Typical Second Hour: Interviews & Views on Longer-Term Issues. As he has on the weekly show, Barry will explore key issues in greater depth by engaging in lively interviews with such bestselling authors as John Dean (Conservatives Without Conscience), Ron Suskind (The One Percent Doctrine), and Lawrence Wright (The Looming Tower) as well as such progressive scholars as Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal, and Howard Zinn.


Typical Third Hour: Entertainment. Just as Ed Schultz capitalizes on his roots as a sportscaster, Barry will let his “entertainment” side take over for the third hour. Whether he’s talking to other actors like fellow former SAG President Ed Asner and Ed Begley Jr., musical greats like Burt Bacharach and Lisa Loeb, humorists like Andy Borowitz and Scott Dikkers of The Onion, or film critics like Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times and Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune, Barry’s enthusiasm for the business he’s been part of for over half a century always shows through. This aspect will separate Barry from the pack of rantmeisters and make LEFT FIELD a truly unique listening experience.


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Special Segments: Opportunities for Sponsorship


As suggested by several successful radio marketing experts, Barry would welcome the opportunity to incorporate on an occasional or even regular basis short segments related to program sponsors, such as “This Day in Women’s History, Brought to You by Ms. Magazine” or “Innovations in Alternative Energy, Sponsored by the Toyota Prius.”


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Equipment & Logistics


For the optimal production and distribution of the show, BARRY GORDON FROM LEFT FIELD would require the network to provide a studio in the greater Los Angeles area (Barry lives in Pasadena), with toll-free phone lines for guests and callers, for the radio broadcast as well as Internet capabilities for a live-streamed webcast and post-streamed and downloadable podcasts, available by XML subscription. The producers plan to continue providing their own, branded Web site.


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BARRY GORDON FROM LEFT FIELD would require the network to provide some support staff. Ideally, Barry would work best with a board-op engineer who is facile with on-air banter and liberal in his or her politics.


In addition to being the producer, Doug is also the webmaster, having redesigned the original Web site to archive the podcasts etc.; he anticipates continuing in that role for a daily show.


Although Barry would be happy to promote the show, the network, and the sponsors on the air, in remote broadcasts, at special events, and in other venues, he would prefer the network to provide a sales and marketing staff, to actively solicit and maintain a stream of advertising revenue, and an accounting staff, to manage the budget of the show.


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At this point, because he would prefer the network to be responsible for selling advertising time, Barry recognizes that the network would most likely be entitled to ownership of BARRY GORDON FROM LEFT FIELD and that he, his producer Doug Drenkow, and other staff would be salaried employees of the network, which would also be responsible for the other production-related expenses, such as the studio, and all distribution costs.


However, considering that the most valuable asset of the BARRY GORDON FROM LEFT FIELD brand is Barry Gordon himself, a profit-sharing agreement between the network and Barry, in addition to his base salary, should be a fair consideration, as should be a provision for mutual decision-making on creative issues by Barry and the network.


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Throughout 2006, BARRY GORDON FROM LEFT FIELD has riveted listeners in one of the largest radio markets in the nation with news and views of politics and entertainment, as delivered by Barry and his top-flight guests and callers from across the nation and beyond.


Primed for daily network syndication — graduating from a guest-driven to a personality-driven format, to capitalize upon the intelligence, passion, good humor, and good nature of its host, lifelong entertainer and former candidate for Congress Barry Gordon — BARRY GORDON FROM LEFT FIELD is an exciting new brand of progressive talk radio programming, as perhaps said best by those who have been guests on the show or who have joined in the conversation, as listeners or even callers, from home:


“It’s so important that we have people like you — elements of the media that help get the truth out.”

— HON. ROCKY ANDERSON, Mayor of Salt Lake City


“You’re doing your part and I appreciate that.”



“Barry’s a voice for truth and justice in a field where misinformation rules. His compassion and integrity should ensure he has a place on our airwaves for a long time.”

— SWANEE HUNT, Former U.S. Ambassador to Austria


“Amazing, and very encouraging, that there is a show like that on the air.”



“You’re a real island of important conversation out there.”

— JOHN NICHOLS, Washington, D.C., correspondent for The Nation and co-founder of Free Press


“Barry Gordon has the gift of breaking down complex topics into comprehensible bites. Our interview covered everything from nuclear proliferation to the intricacies of foreign policy, and Barry kept it entertaining and ‘real’ for his listeners the whole time.”

— HEATHER WOKUSCH, International Journalist


“Great show!”

— JOAN BRUNWASSER, Voting Integrity Editor,


“I’m a number one fan. We’re actually having a party on Sunday: I’ve got a group of people coming over and we’re going to listen to this show.”

— MARY, Banning, Calif.


“I’m really proud that you’re speaking up on the radio.”

— WAYNE, Hollywood, Calif.


“I’m one of a whole contingency of people on the East Coast who get their weekly Barry Gordon fix; and I just wish we could get you on daily nationwide, because it would make my listening pleasure a lot greater and certainly help me keep my sanity.”

— HUTCH, New Jersey


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“As producer, Doug kept my radio show filled with a seemingly endless supply of great guests, sometimes at a moment’s notice. He’s a true magician!”

— Barry Gordon, longest-serving President of the Screen Actors Guild

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