The Majority Report

The Majority Report

"The Majority Report" was a talk radio program on the Air America Radio network hosted by film actress and comedienne Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder until Garofalo left in July 2006. Garofalo was reportedly originally asked by Air America to host the program and suggested Seder as a co-host. The show focused on the discussion of current news events and political affairs from a liberal or progressive standpoint; to this end, comedy and satire were used on the program from time to time to make key points.

Regular guests included bloggers Atrios of Eschaton and Bill Scher of LiberalOasis. Veteran newsman Bill Crowley not only read the hourly news but engaged in a brief discussion at the beginning of each program's third hour, introduced thunderously by Ozzy Osbourne's "Mr. Crowley."

The name refers to Al Gore being "first past the post" on the popular vote (beating President Bush) in the 2000 U.S. presidential election (technically a plurality) as well as a play on "Minority Report", a popular movie in 2002. The show debuted with the network on March 31, 2004 and aired from 8 to 11 p.m. Eastern time initially, and later in the year the time slot moved up an hour to 7 to 10 p.m.

In September, 2006, the show ended its run. Seder, hosting by himself, then began a new mid-morning program on Air America Radio, "The Sam Seder Show", in the time slot previously occupied by Jerry Springer (which was also the lead-in to "The Al Franken Show"). The show retained many of the elements of "The Majority Report", as outlined below.

Comedian Marc Maron filled in for Seder on December 1, 2006 and guest hosted the show for the entire week of December 18-22, 2006.

On April 8, 2007, Sam Seder posted the following on the show's official blog [] ...

"April 8, 2007""Announcing my new Sunday Show"

"It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that this week will be the last week of the Sam Seder Show on Air America. As you know, Air America recently came out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the new management wants to go in a different direction with the 9-Noon (est) time slot. However, as much as I would like to spend more time with Alberto Gonzales’ family, he will be doing so shortly, freeing me up to do a Sunday afternoon show on Air America Radio. The show is tentatively known as Seder on Sundays and I am excited to get it started."

"I am very proud of the three years I have broadcast on Air America Radio. I am particularly proud of the Sam Seder Show. We started the show as AAR was entering bankruptcy, when things around here were pretty hectic and insecure. The Sam Seder juggernaut, as no one but me called us, was able to maintain all of our affiliates that stayed with the progressive format through our bankruptcy. While it’s a bit early to judge, (our first full “book” is out in a couple of weeks) our ratings were looking pretty good and we dramatically increased AAR’s streaming numbers during this time slot. Most importantly, though, was the support and response we received from you, our audience. You'll never know just how helpful and motivating your comments, calls, emails and letters have been to me and my family and I greatly appreciate it."

"I hope all of you will join me when I begin the Sunday show in the next month and a half or so. Of course, I’ll be maintaining this blog and continuing to promise to fix it. (I mean it this time, I am serious!) I actually have some rather large plans for this site and its offerings but am not prepared to discuss them at the moment."

"Anyway, over the next week I’ll be posting more about my plans, this site, Seder on Sundays and reflecting upon the last three years."

"My email address is posted in the left hand column of this blog— drop me an email if you want to receive updates in the future. And tune in this week! I really don’t know how I am going to break this to Dewey."

"The Sam Seder Show" aired its final broadcast on Friday, April 13, 2007.


According to Seder in an interview for [ Gothamist] in late August 2004, the inspiration for the radio program occurred on election night 2000, when Seder witnessed via the television media what he perceived to be a veritable theft of the presidency by George W. Bush. In February 2003, Garofalo (a longtime friend of Seder and a fellow comedian) appeared as a guest with Seder on "The Best Show on WFMU with Tom Scharpling", a comedy/talk radio program on the New Jersey station WFMU. In discussing the political atmosphere of America, the chemistry between them as radio talents was evident, and their agreement on many liberal political views made them kindred spirits. In the summer of that same year, Garofalo was approached by representatives of Air America Radio to be a radio personality for their programming. She insisted that they hire Seder and that he share the hosting responsibilities. Less than one year later, The Majority Report was born.

Garofalo once said getting on the radio was an early career goal of hers. A program advertisement: "The battle to reclaim America from the forces of darkness continues with hosts Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder." The early days of Air America Radio are chronicled in the documentary "Left of the Dial", which includes a debate between Janeane and her conservative father Carmine, who was initially a regular guest on "The Majority Report."

Garofalo came under fire [] from her listeners for her comments on her April 28, 2006 show supporting Scientology-linked "New York Rescue Worker's Detoxification Program", [] a questioned treatment for workers now suffering ailments from 9/11 clean-up efforts in New York City.

The departure of Janeane Garofalo

After months of speculation, Garofalo announced that she would be leaving her co-host position on "The Majority Report" on the broadcast of Friday, July 14, 2006. On the Wednesday, July 19 broadcast, while Seder and Garofalo were interviewing Jason Bateman, Garofalo cited her reason for leaving the show as precipitated by several "unrecoverable" on-air arguments with Seder; she also said that she regards Seder as a better radio broadcaster than she, and therefore a better choice to continue "The Majority Report". Her endorsement of the above-mentioned Scientology program also put a wedge between her and Seder. Although several reasons for her departure were cited (including her outside acting responsibilities), the relationship between Garofalo and co-host Sam Seder had become increasingly strained, owed largely to Garofalo's promotion of a Scientology-linked treatment program for firefighters and rescue workers in New York City. On June 2, Garofalo responded to Seder's opposition, suggesting that he wouldn't have a problem with the program if it were linked to Jews rather than Scientologists. [] Seder, who is Jewish, and his producer walked off the set in angry protest. []

Garofalo's long stint on the final season of the NBC drama "The West Wing" also allowed Sam to make the program his own, and she acknowledged that this had a part to play in her decision to leave. She mentioned that Seder was her favorite available choice for co-host when she was approached by Air America for the radio show; her first choice (as she said in obvious jest) was her favorite actor, the legendary Steve McQueen, who of course has been deceased for many years. Her last broadcast as co-host of "The Majority Report" aired on July 21, 2006.

Garofalo returned to the show occasionally, performing as Senator Katherine Harris, a comedic/satirical impersonation of Katherine Harris, former (Republican) Florida Secretary of State and Representative for FL-13.

Behind the scenes

Isaac Aronson, Josh Orton, Michael Goodfriend, Logan Nakyanzi, Mark Hatch-Miller, Jackie Bell and Stephen Sherrill are among those who have participated as producers. The show's producers were responsible for, among other duties:
* screening callers for use on the air; (Note: Conservative callers are bumped to the front of the line)
* preparing extensive information packets on upcoming guests;
* pulling news stories from publications, websites, and other sources;
* helping to develop story angles and comedy bits for segments;
* editing audio clips and sound effects.

Seder pulled news stories and structures the events of the day into talking points for himself about eight hours before the show. Seder also had access in the studio to cable news channels so that he could remain up to date on breaking news stories during the live broadcast. Along with the live commentary, Seder occasionally recorded comedic bits and prank phone calls in advance for use on the air. When Garofalo co-hosted, Seder often checked and contributed to the program's blog as hosted on the show's website. []

For her part, during her time as co-host, Garofalo did extensive research for the program, bringing into the studio books and extensive notes, some of which she kept on the floor near her chair during the show. She was sometimes heard leaning away from the microphone as she was talking to pick up an item from the floor. Much of Garofalo's discussion, however, was extemporaneous, incorporating a wide variety of references from classical literature to modern pop culture.

Garofalo's signature sign-off, at the end of each night's broadcast, was the single word "peaches". Seder continued this tradition as host of the program.

Humor was injected throughout the show, but care was taken to keep the facts straight. Seder often played clips of Gomer Pyle saying his favorite phrase, which Gomer said when he caught his boss in an embarrassing situation, "Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!". He said this to point to when he alleges the George W. Bush administration members or members of the political right got caught telling lies or found in other embarrassing situations.


When the program was still titled "The Majority Report":
* Opening theme: Billy Bragg - "All You Fascists"
* Lead in music after introduction: The Jam - "Going Underground"
* Bill Crowley: Ozzy Osbourne - "Mister Crowley"
* Closing theme: Talking Heads - "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)"

(Incidental/segue music)

* The Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Maps"
* The Stranglers - "Peaches"
* Green Day - "American Idiot"
* Le Tigre - "Hot Topic"
* Pharcyde - "Runnin'"
* The Afghan Whigs - "Conjure Me"
* The Cure - "A Forest"
* Camper van Beethoven - "Take the Skinheads Bowling"
* Louis XIV - "Finding Out True Love Is Blind"
* Pretenders - "Message of Love"
* The Chameleons - "Swamp Thing"
* Eagles of Death Metal - "Bad Dream Mama"
* The The - "Uncertain Smile"
* Violent Femmes - "Blister in the Sun"
* The Smiths - "Hand in Glove"
* Caesers - "Jerk It Out"
* The Jam - "Town Called Malice"
* Beastie Boys - "Sabotage"
* Jane's Addiction - "Jane Says"
* Julian Cope - "World Shut Your Mouth"
* The Dead Milkmen - "Punk Rock Girl"
* The English Beat - "Mirror in the Bathroom"
* Kate Bush - "Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)"
* L7 - "Shove"
* Devo - "Girl U Want" (version from the soundtrack album for "Tank Girl")
* They Might Be Giants - "Ana Ng"
* Arctic Monkeys - "I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor"
* MC5 - "Kick Out the Jams"
* Snow Patrol - "Spitting Games"

The Sammy Cam

The Sammy Cam is a live video stream that Sam does during the show. Listeners can chat with Sam with any chat program that uses the AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) protocol.

Sam's AIM name is "samsedershow."

Here is a list of programs that use the AIM protocol

*iChat (Mac OS X)
*Adium (Mac OS X)
*Proteus (Mac OS X)
*Pidgin (cross-platform)
*Trillian (Windows)

See also

* Air America Radio

External links

* [ Official weblog]
* [ Audio archives at Air America Place] (in MP3 format)
* [ Highlights from MoveLeft Media]
* [ Liberal Voices Get New Home on Radio Dial] , "The New York Times", March 31, 2004
* [ Bill Scher on The Young Turks.]
* [ Interview with Sam Seder about The Majority Report]

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