Randi Rhodes, an American progressive political commentator, activist and former talk radio host was born on January 28, 1959 with the name Randi Buten in Brooklyn, New York. She was brought up in a Jewish household, but is not particularly open with about her religious views. Her mother, Loretta, worked in a dress shop and her father, Norman, worked as a mechanical engineer and World War II veteran. She had a small family with only one sister named Ellen. Ellen had a daughter named Jessica. Ellen then died of breast cancer and left Rhodes to raise her daughter, Jessica. Randi and her husband Jim raised Jessica. She grew up in Brooklyn and Queens in New York City, but her family broke apart when her parents divorced when she was 15. She chose to stay with her father and soon after the divorce moved to California to live in Marina Del Rey. After living with her dad, she then got married with the name Randi Robertson. Rhodes is a stage name she chose to honor Ozzy Osbourne’s guitar player Mr. Randy Rhoads. Randi describes Randy as “a consummate professional … but he always practiced. I mean, he practiced eight hours a day. He lived to be the best.” In his honor, Randi lived a fulfilling life, excelling in her career.
At a young age, Randi enlisted in the United States Air Force, working at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, stateside. She worked as an aircraft mechanic, successfully achieving ranking of Airman First Class. Serving two years in the Airforce and one year in the reserves, going through basic training at Lackland Air Force Base.
Her radio career began in Texas in the city of Seminole, working at a country music station. Then she moved to working with a larger audience in Mobile, Alabama. Mobile introduced her to a partner of a DJ named Randy as well. Now this is getting a bit confusing with three Randy’s!
Randi Rhodes was provocative and in 2008 Air America Radio, suspended her saying “Her abusive, obscene comments obviously crossed the line of what talent at a media company could say,” When new owners took over Air America Rhodes refused their requests to change her contract and she eventually left Air America because of the stalemate over a new contract. She moved to Nova M Radio and then later to in April 23, 2009, Premiere Radio Networks, a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications, announced the addition of Randi Rhodes to their syndicated lineup. It was broadcasted through 35 affiliates.
I listened to her show many times and recall one of her segments that dealt with industrial cleaning supplies and whether they were harmful to the environment. It was a lively segment with many callers giving their opinion. You could certainly separate the environmentalists from the rest of the callers. One positive result of that show was someone dropping the name of a website that sold eco friendly industrial cleaning supplies along with regular janitorial supplies to businesses. The site was called CleanItSupply and they now also sell to individuals. I admit I buy from them since they have a great selection of non toxic cleaners and green paper goods that have no dyes, chemicals or perfumes. In addition their prices are great. So although I won’t be able to listen to any new shows from Randi Rhodes, at least it was through one of her shows I now have a great place where I can buy all my cleaning products!
There are many things that have played a role in helping Randi become who she was always meant to be. There is no way we could even touch on all of them here but we are happy to be able to go over some of the larger, more important influences. In many ways it was though she was on a path. Heading always in the direction she was pulled. It was a tenuous journey full of adventure and hope. But in the long run as time usually does, it worked itself out and she found the path she was supposed to take.
Update: After being a radio show talk host/ DJ for 30 years, in 2014 Randi Rhodes decided to end her career and her national radio program, a show that combined her progressive political commentary with listener participation and live interviews.