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The Rachel Maddow Show
Home station WWRL
Syndicates Air America Radio
TV adaptations The Rachel Maddow Show
Starring Rachel Maddow
Producers Vanessa Silverton-Peel
Andrew Dunn
Air dates since April 14, 2005 (2005-04-14)

The Rachel Maddow Show is a weekday radio show on the Air America Radio network hosted by Rachel Maddow. The show features news items read by Maddow and her commentary on each of them as well as interview segments with politicians, newsmakers and pundits. Guests have included presidential candidate John Edwards, author Eric Alterman, reporters from The Nation magazine and commentators from The Center for American Progress. Beginning September 8, 2008, she also debuted a TV version of the show on MSNBC of the same name with different content. Early in 2009 the show was moved to the 5am timeslot and consists almost entirely of the audio from the previous nights MSNBC broadcast of Maddow's television show.



The show began on April 14, 2005 and moved to 7AM–9AM EST on January 2, 2006. It now airs weekdays from 6PM–8PM EST on some Air America affiliates. Unlike most Air America programs, listener calls are not usually taken, in keeping with the show's more hard-news orientation and its format. The only exception to the rule is when either a guest or an issue's stance is important enough to warrant the calls (e.g., Maddow took calls from caucus voters in Iowa and primary voters in New Hampshire prior to those states' presidential nominating contests in early January 2008).

Until December 14, 2007, humorist Kent Jones served as The Rachel Maddow Show's co-host, contributing odd news stories as well as having his own segment, Kent Jones Now!, which aired at the end of each hour and focused on another odd news story. Jones also read the previous night's sports news during the second hour, substituting odd phrases for the word "beat" or "defeated" in the result depending on the city of the team that won — e.g. "the San Francisco Giants Violent Femmes'd the Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-2." Jones typically ended his segments by saying "Vigilance!" forcefully, although sometimes he'd say "Sacajawea" in the same tone. He announced his departure at the end of the Tuesday, December 11 show, saying it was a "business decision" at the network. Jones has since joined Maddow on the television version of The Rachel Maddow Show.

From March 10, 2008, until the debut of her television show, Maddow was a panelist on Race for the White House on MSNBC, simulcast as the first hour of the radio show, which expanded to three hours. Bender came on as co-host of the third hour and solo host for that hour when Maddow's television obligations on MSNBC conflicted with her ability to host the show.

With the debut of Maddow's nightly MSNBC program on September 8, 2008, the radio show returned to a two-hour format. The second hour is usually a rebroadcast of the previous night's television episode.

Early in 2009 The Rachel Maddow Show was moved a one-hour timeslot at 5AM Eastern Time. It now begins with a short introduction from Rachel followed by the audio from the previous night's MSNBC broadcast of The Rachel Maddow Show. Little explanation or warning was given for this shift except for Maddow's comments that doing two shows was far too taxing.[1]

Regular features

  • Top Headlines — The top of the show (as well as the top of the second hour) always starts with Rachel delivering "News from Iraq and life during wartime". The only exceptions to this start are breaking news, a special high-profile guest or when the show completely breaks format in order to tackle an urgent news story for the duration of the show. After the Iraq news, Maddow continues to report on other top stories of the day.
  • Ask Doctor Maddow — This segment, which usually airs at the end of the first hour, consists of Maddow, answering a question from a listener who either sent it through email or phoned it in on the "Ask Dr. Maddow" hotline. While she holds a D.Phil, Maddow is not a medical doctor, thus the tongue-in-cheek disclaimer ("Rachel Maddow is a doctor...just not that kind of doctor"). The questions cover random topics, from the origins of a word to natural science mysteries.
Before his departure, Kent Jones would introduce the segment by saying that Maddow was "the world's leading expert on...", then usually add something in based on what was discussed in the prior segment. Since Jones left the segment is co-hosted by show producer Vanessa Silverton-Peel, who encourages viewers to send questions that they are "just too lazy to Google" themselves.
One of the questions each week is selected randomly during the Friday segment, and Maddow rewards the listener with a prize package that always consists of a glossy autographed photo of Kent Jones (still given away despite his leaving the show) and something from her desk (usually a book written by a previous day's guest and anything else she can find that is worthy of giving away).
  • Burying the Lede — Maddow reports on a story that should be getting more attention than it is. This segment always follows Ask Doctor Maddow, and sometimes airs later in the show if there are multiple stories being "buried".
  • Rachel's Front Page — Maddow critiques how mainstream media outlets are reporting a major news item.
  • Underbelly — Maddow explores right-wing political tactics and the possible motives behind them (described as "poking a sharp stick into the soft white underbelly of the rrrrright wing scheme machine", always with a trilled "r"). Previously a daily segment, Underbelly doesn't appear as often in the rotation (hence Maddow's inclination to add "Every day...or so" to her introduction of the segment).
  • Pet Story — Typically the final segment of the show. Both Maddow and Jones delight in this segment and have taken to introducing it with a monkey chirping sound effect, followed by the two of them yelling "MONKEY!". Since Jones' departure, Maddow doesn't typically introduce the segment with the same fervor because "it makes (her) feel sad," although she has occasionally yelled "monkey" after the sound effect. The story can (and usually does) revolve around anything, but animals are involved more often than not. In more recent times, the Pet Story has not aired at all, with Maddow instead using the final minutes of the show to plug whatever she's doing on television later that night (usually an appearance on Countdown with Keith Olbermann or Verdict with Dan Abrams on MSNBC), as well as using the remaining time as filler material.

Sound effects

While the show covers plenty of serious political topics, some levity is injected via the use of snippets of dialogue, music and sound effects. They include dialogue from Homer Simpson and the movie Little Miss Sunshine. The opening theme music is "Stealing the Stock" from the Ocean's Twelve soundtrack, as revealed in August 23, 2007's "Ask Dr. Maddow" segment. In addition, nearly every Friday show opens with a piece of dialogue from Friday ("'Cuz it's Friday, you ain't got no job, and you ain't got *bleep* to do!"). The second hour of the Friday show typically now opens with a recording of Rachel's mother trying poorly to imitate the Friday dialogue obtained when sound mixer Kris LoPresto, who was given Maddow's voice mail inbox password, recorded it directly from her cell phone.


  • Host: Rachel Maddow
  • Current Producer: Vanessa Silverton-Peel
  • Audio Producer: Andrew Dunn
  • Former co-host/sports reporter/humorist: Kent Jones
  • Former Producer: Nazanin Rafsanjani
  • Former Producer: Jackie Bell
  • Former Sound Engineer: Kris LoPresto

See also


  1. ^ Hinckley, David: "Maddow rechannels energy at Air America", New York Daily News, February 3, 2009

External links



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