What Should Al Franken Discuss in Chapel Hill?

As reported in the News & Observer:

"The Al Franken Show" is coming to Chapel Hill on April 13. Al Franken and co-host Katherine Lanpher will broadcast the show live from the Carolina Union Auditorium. "The Al Franken Show" airs weekdays from noon until 3 p.m. on News Talk 1360 WCHL-AM. The station announced the visit Tuesday.

Perhaps someone at WCHL can provide more information on Franken and Lanpher's plans for their visit to Chapel Hill.

I have emailed Franken inviting him to visit orangepolitics to find possible topics.

Some that might be relevant to a national discussion are the change of ownership at the Herald, the rally in Fayetteville, and the Bell Award.

I can't say that Franken is looking for suggestions but what do others think are big issues in Chapel Hill or at UNC that have national saliency for progressives?



What, nothing on red-light cameras?

Seriously, what about our recent Dobsonian brush with the Actioneers? Maybe he'd be interested in how Mark K. and the rest of our council fell under what must be the influence of SpongeBob and asked, simply, that our fellow citizens be granted equal protection under the law.

There are many issues I would like for Franken to address (number one being the utter failure of the Democratic Party to impede the national downward spiral we are experiencing...), but I think it would be most fruitful to just focus on the war. Especially in light of the mainstream media's neglect of the historic rally in Fayetteville in which the growing veteran resistance was on display.

I suggest he have two guests. One would be Michael Hoffman (iraqvet@mail.com) or someone else from the Iraq Veterans Against the War organization.

Second would be David Potorti of 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. Despite the undeniable importance of the message & the local connection - David lives here - WUNC refused to report on his book.

I think the fact that our fabled 'liberal university community" is becoming increasingly dominated by conservatives would be a good topic.

Terri, can you expand on your comment a bit? Thanks.


It seems to me that several of the top news stories over the past year have generated a great deal of rancorous bickering. My perception is that the increasingly heterogenous (social class, income level)) local population (Chapel Hill/Carrboro) is at the heart of many of these public debates. For example, the decibel of the debate over gifted education, Mike Nelson's art choices, supporting the addition of gender orientation as part of hate crime legislation.

My observation is that these public debates have been between old timey CH/Carrboro liberals and new, more conservative residents. Even town-gown relations have changed--in part, I think, because the university behaves more like a corporate entity now than it used to. Maybe this is a result of the highly publicized national shift toward conservative/corporate values, but who would have thunk it could happen here? Is there a similar trend in other previously labeled "liberal bastions" such as Stanford or Portland?

Or maybe I'm just romanticizing the past.....


Based on the last election results and analysis, it appears that red states are getting redder and blue states are getting redder as well.

However, I would hardly say that the town/university is "increasingly dominated" by conservatives. I would still wager that conservatives in this area are a small minority. Maybe I'm wrong--maybe conservatives are more numerous than I thought but I'm more inclined to believe that they are just tired of sitting on the sidelines and want their voices heard. Some call that "dissent" and from what I've heard, some consider that "patriotic"

As a Republican on campus (who also happens to be from out in the county) who has been fighting to change the liberal reputation of UNC, I'll agree that at least students and the administration seem more conservative. While I obviously see it as a good thing, I can certainly sympathize with those who see a community they love eroding away. After all, none of us are bad guys (even you silly liberals). We just see different ways to improve the world.

Terri, thanks for expanding.

I think conservatives on campus and across the country are getting much bolder. On campus, for example, conservative students (like the Christian fraternity and the students opposing the summer reading program choices) are able to find backing from well-funded national groups to push their agendas. UNC has been on the good side in these debates, in my opinion, but I can't say universally that administration hasn't changed (I'm just not sure). Though, there is now the Stone Center for Black and Culture and History, and I'm sure we all remember (and folks like Ruby participating in) the sit-in in South Building when Paul Hardin thought such an institution was the silliest thing he'd ever heard of.

On the town side, I attended a controversial meeting of the CH/C school board in the early 90s--I'm going to guess 1993--where the issue at hand was the book _Heather Has Two Mommies_. Anyone else who remembers this please chime in, but I certainly recall a passionate debate amongst various parents, including many who supported its inclusion (not sure if it was just in the library or if it was in the curriculum was well) and many, many who were incredibly angry that the teachers would dare to teach this kind of corrupt morality, etc.

So I'm not sure if I disagree with you--just wanted to toss some of my own anecdotes into the mix.

Greetings! I just wanted to pass on some specifics about Al Franken's visit to Chapel Hill. Below is the press release that WCHL sent out to announce the event. The release doesn't mention this, but the live Al Franken Show in the Carolina Union Auditorium (April 13, 12:00-3:00 pm) will be open to the public on a first come, first served basis.

You can also listen in on our morning show with Ron Stutts (weekdays 6:00-9:00 am) to find out how to get VIP seats to the event.

Just like everyone else who posted on this thread, I'm looking forward to hearing what Al Franken has to say about our community. Keep the suggestions coming! With that said, here's the press release:

Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Contact: Christy Dixon
(919) 918-2014 x216


CHAPEL HILL - News Talk 1360 WCHL announced today that it will host The Al Franken Show in Chapel Hill on Wednesday, April 13.

"We are extremely excited to have Al Franken in town and on the University campus," said Walter Sturdivant, President and General Manager of WCHL. "We have all known for some time that if there was anywhere in America that the progressive talk format would work, it would be here in Chapel Hill.

Franken and his co-host, Katherine Lanpher will broadcast The Al Franken Show live from the Carolina Union Auditorium on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus on Wednesday, April 13. The Al Franken Show airs on News Talk 1360 WCHL weekdays from 12:00 noon until 3:00 pm.

"Al Franken is certainly at the forefront of the progressive talk movement in this country and we are not only proud to have him as part of our WCHL lineup but also are eager to welcome him to Chapel Hill," Sturdivant added.

A prolific author, comedian, and political activist, Franken was widely known for his work on Saturday Night Live before joining forces with Air America Radio, which launched March 31, 2004. Franken continues to be the key component of the success of the progressive talk radio network.

News Talk 1360 WCHL is Chapel Hill-Carrboro's News, Talk, and Tar Heel Station - the home of the WCHL Morning News with Ron Stutts (6:00 am - 9:00 am), The Stephanie Miller Show (9:00 am - 12:00 noon), The Ed Schultz Show (3:00 pm - 6:00 pm) as well as The Al Franken Show.

How about if Al discusses the demise of local radio?

Or how he's felt about the way Air America has impacted the radio spectrum, and how the network has been received. I know they had some pretty ambitious goals at their outset, and I'd be curious to know how he thinks they've done so far.

Even though Al's broadcasting from Chapel Hill, it's still a national show, and I don't think there's a whole lot of national interest in a lot of these topics. However, John Edwards just started his new job at UNC, and I'll bet dollars to donuts he'll be the big name guest. If any of you listen to the show, that's how it's been in the past..Molly Ivins in Austin etc...I'd actually like to hear some discussion on the fact that Chapel Hill is trending toward Austin's political fate ( the little blue heart of the big red state) and what local Democrats can do to stop that.


i don't think i understand your question. i think of CHill as already NC's equivalent of the blue heart in the red state. do you see CHill as the same way? is your issue the blueness of chapel hill or the redness of nc? Just curious, thanks!

Actually, Bill, North Carolina is, at best, purple, since we have a Democratic Governor and democratic majority in the general assembly, but it's definitely trending more Republican. It's not so much a question, as a wish to see an intelligent discussion of the apparant disconnect and widening gap between the Democratic party and the southern voter.

With Democrats like Easley & the vast majority of Democrat legislative members, we should be pulling the plug on the Democratic party, not Schiavo.

If John Edwards fails to materialize and Al is left looking for an edgy local guest, he could give Lawrence Grossberg a call. Larry is a cultural studies professor at UNC. He's a sought-after speaker, and spends his time thinking, talking and writing about popular culture and politics. He's left-wing, opinionated, contemplative and intellectually tight. (And he has a new book coming out in May). I'm sure Larry would love to elaborate on the ‘cultural wars' he sees raging in America. He might have an earful to say about the Pope proposal too.
Also, I've been thinking about this idea that Chapel Hill/UNC used to be liberal, but now is becoming more conservative. For the 20 years I've been here, the town/UNC has always seemed conservative in practice. I probably do agree that the fabled liberal 'spirit' of the past is at a low.

Lost Film Festival Monday, March 28, 2005

What: The Lost Film Festival
When: March 28, 8pm
Where: Manning 209, UNC-Chapel Hill

This Monday don't miss out on seeing the Lost Film Festival which is in town
for just one night. Originally shown at Sundance, the Lost Film Festival is
now a big annual event in Philadelphia which focuses on truly independent
films made by filmmakers from all across the country. Now on tour, the
festival will show films that have likely never been shown in other forums.
Featured films include clips from the notorious 1969 pie fight in San
Francisco, a short called Don't Call Me Crazy on the Fourth of July about the
Pentagon and scientific experimentation, clips from the Yes Men, a short
documentary on bikepunk warriors and their relationship with cars, a film
about the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, a
"trans-polysexual-vegan-docu-porno," a trilogy featuring Legos, and a film
about an anarchist group which adopts a highway. And much more.

The showing is being sponsored by the Dept. of Communications Studies, the
Campaign to End the Cycle of Violence and the Knitting Club.
Email cmfoster@email.unc.edu with any questions.

I've always wanted to know what happened in his skit, where he was wearing the dish on his head and ran into some Mafiosos on a pier somewhere in Jersey. It went to static and I think that was part of the joke.....or maybe Jimmy Hoffa will emerge on some obscure AM network and become a political commentator also.

Hey Ron, where's my invite? I wrote my 50 words!

Might be interesting to get Al's take on Dean's recent initiative to rebuild state parties - including NC's. Al's not big on the tech-side of politics (still stumbles describing his 'blog), but he might be able to comment on the fusion of the Dean 'net-based approach and the traditional Dem approach to organizing the base.


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