AKA Randi Bueten Robertson
Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Radio Personality
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Liberal talk show host
Military service: US Air Force (1977-79, Airman First Class)
Randi Rhodes' first radio job was in Seminole, Texas. Working her way up, she hosted local programs in Alabama, Texas, Wisconsin, New York, and Florida. On several of the radio stations where she worked, she was the only female host, and after a few months on the air she was usually top-rated.
In 2004, she moved back to New York City to launch a new liberal radio network, Air America Radio. On her first nationally-aired episode, she sparred furiously with Ralph Nader, arguing that his independent candidacy for President might cost John Kerry that year's election against George W. Bush. "Is this the way you want to start Air America?" Nader asked, "You want it to be Hot Air America?" Within a few minutes, he hung up on her.
For four years, Rhodes' show was among Air America's top-rated broadcasts, until she was "suspended" from the network in April 2008, after video surfaced at YouTube showing Rhodes' doing stand-up comedy at an off-the-air event and using vulgar language to describe Senator Hillary Clinton. Within days she was fired, and moved her show to a rival radio network, Nova-M, but within months that network declared bankruptcy. She then signed with Premiere Radio Networks, the same company that syndicates Rush Limbaugh.
Her father was a mechanical engineer, her mother was overbearing, and her parents divorced when Rhodes was a child. She says she kept a journal in her early teens, until her mother found it and read it. After that she stopped writing and started talking, and by the time she was 15 her mother had thrown her out of the house. Living in her own apartment, she earned rent with office work, and could not afford college. At times she worked as a waitress, trucker, and military aircraft mechanic.
She met and married her husband, Jim Robertson, while they were both in the Air Force. They were married for ten years, and raised Rhodes' niece together after the girl's mother, Rhodes' sister, was misdiagnosed and died of breast cancer. After her divorce in 2004, Rhodes and her ex-husband have remained friends.
She knows the news, cites her sources, and updates her website daily with detailed documentation to back up her rants. She was broadcasting in West Palm Beach, Florida, during the 2000 election, where she voted on the infamous "butterfly ballot" and saw the Florida vote count debacle first-hand. She kept an unmarked butterfly ballot, and says she sometimes shows it to guests, challenging them to figure out how to correctly vote on its poorly aligned format.
She has reconciled with her mother, although Rhodes harvests a new mother lode of comic material every time she visits. The Randi Rhodes Show is genuinely funny, with a wit so quick it almost seems the show must be scripted, but the callers are live and the banter is spontaneous. On her program, Rhodes' Brooklyn accent becomes more pronounced when she battles ill-informed conservative callers, which is often. Her liberal perspectives, she has said, took hold during her time in the military, where she learned the lesson that fuels her political perspectives: Any group, from a Air Force squadron to the nation itself, is only as strong as its weakest link, so it is important to strengthen the weak links among us.
Father: Norman Bueten (mechanical engineer)
Mother: Loretta Bueten (b. 1939)
Sister: Ellen (b. circa 1954, d. 1998 breast cancer)
Husband: Jim Robertson (TV producer, m. 1994, div. 2004)
Daughter: Jessica (stepdaughter, her sister Ellen's biological daughter)
Air America Talk Show Host (2004-2008)
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
Burger King first job
Risk Factors: Smoking, Cocaine, Asthma
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