LEE RAYBURN — showing that talk radio does not have to be stoopid

I love it here and you would have
to drag me away kicking and screaming.
There is the feeling of "everyone is welcome" in Madison.
There is a sense of striving for utopia in Madison.
There are great minds, freak shows, and psychos
in Madison that all get together
to share their ideas, beers, and stories.

I followed The Grateful Dead up
until their last show
at Soldier Field
in Chicago, July 9, 1995.
The very next day, I moved out to San Francisco,
where I quickly began working for
California Peace Action
while living
in residence hotels and the floors of friends.

That's why talk radio most suits me:
it's my own playlist

and my own rules.

New American Dream Interview

LEE RAYBURN, 35, lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

He is a radio talk show host on

He has also hosted a show on Air America.

Lee is a veteran of radio in Madison, Wisconsin.

Beginning in 2001 as a producer and imaging director, he landed his first daily show in January of 2004 on 1670 WTDY.

On the day he quit that job in September of '04, he was hired to work for the new Air America affiliate in Madison.

His daily morning show on the Mic 92.1 FM was canceled after the November '06 midterm elections, when the station's owner Clear Channel announced that they were flipping the format to Fox Sports.

After an unprecedented outpouring of protest from loyal listeners, Clear Channel management was forced to keep the Mic on the air and Lee returned to his morning show in April of 2007.

After the November '08 elections, Clear Channel announced that they were changing formats again, removing Thom Hartmann from the line-up and replacing his show with the Christian conservative money manager Dave Ramsey.

Lee offered management an ultimatum to keep the Mic 92.1's lineup progressive in exchange for reduced wages and the rights to rebroadcast his show online.

Clear Channel management decided to let Lee go, as well as the program director for the Mic 92.1 and the station's producer.

After another unprecedented outpouring of support from loyal listeners, Clear Channel management once again was forced to keep the Mic's lineup progressive.

Thom Hartmann's show was returned to his regular time and Dave Ramsey was dropped from the lineup.

Lee co-founded on Inauguration Day 2009 with Joe Connolly. is an online collective of progressive broadcasters from around the country.

Without any investors or shareholders, Roots Up Radio returns the majority of its revenue back to its broadcasters.


The New American Dream Trivia Question:

To win something be the last one to correctly answer the following.

Lee Rayburn would rather be ....

a. On Clear Channel, three hours every afternoon in every small town in America, like Rush ... and change the world in three weeks
b. Doing Cubs radio
c. Door County Cherry Wine King For A Day
d. Able to speak loud enough to make the American people understand
e. Interviewing George W. Bush from the inmate's payphone at Terre Haute Federal Penitentiary
f. Madison Mulch Days Czar





g. Starting a peaceful revolution through evolution


NAD: Lee, hello, thank you for taking the time for this.

After high school you criss-crossed the country following your favorite bands.

You did? What bands? And you worked along the way?

That must have been your parents' dream come true.

What if you had not found Madison, would you still be stuck in Lodi?

I followed the Grateful Dead up until their last show at Soldier Field in Chicago, July 9, 1995.

The very next day, I moved out to San Francisco where I quickly began working for California Peace Action while living in residence hotels and the floors of friends.

I saw my first Phish show at Shoreline Amphitheater later that year and have followed them around, as much as possible, ever since.

Speaking of which, do you know anyone with an extra ticket to Phish at Alpine Valley in June?

I don't expect to be able to travel much further than that this summer.

It certainly was not my parents dream come true, but it was mine!

The best way to tour the country is to travel with 10,000 of your closest friends.

It was how I experienced Las Vegas, Memphis, Minneapolis, Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, to name a few.

Madison, Wisconsin has been my home since moving back from San Francisco (and a brief stint in my parent's basement).

I love it here and you would have to drag me away kicking and screaming. There is the feeling of "everyone is welcome" in Madison. There is a sense of striving for utopia in Madison.

There are great minds, freak shows, and psychos in Madison that all get together to share their ideas, beers, and stories.

It is the only place I have lived that always feels like home.

I love it here ...

NAD: What do Americans just not get about Madison?

Is it really liberal nirvana? Not that that's a bad thing.

Liberal nirvana?

Nah... not really.

Madison is just a small town in the middle of all this farmland where people from across the country seem to congregate here for no other reason than all the other people that have landed here for one reason or another.

We have plenty of lakes, but it's not about that. There's just something about the people. I can't really put my finger on it and I bet I'm not alone in that regard.

My assumption is that
what I witnessed,
along with everyone
else on Interstate 40
was an alternate
propulsion military craft.

NAD: Would you like to choose one of these to answer, elaborate on?

We don't ask this to make fun. We ask because we really seek the answers.

Are UFOs real?

I've seen one and I wasn't alone.

I was driving west on Interstate 40 outside of Albuquerque in the winter of 1997 and I saw other cars pulling off the side of the road.

That's when I saw "it."

Now, are aliens real? I have no idea.

My assumption is that what I witnessed, along with everyone else, on Interstate 40 was an alternate propulsion military craft.

Much of the land out there is government owned or Native reservations.

The implications of this, however, are as enormous to me as aliens themselves.

If what we witnessed was military, it would imply that they are utilizing technology and physics that the rest of us believe has yet to be discovered.

I have been wondered ever since, if there is propulsion system used by our military that we could use to ween ourselves off of oil tomorrow.

This is not a conspiracy theory!

This was my experience, shared with hundreds of others, that remains unexplained.

But it has made me wonder ...

Did we land on the moon in 1968?

Did Bush knock down the towers?

People knew the attack was coming.

Bush's administration was warned that attack was coming.

I do not ascribe to the theory that his administration was involved in the plan.

I do not know. But at the very least, they allowed it to happen, whether through gross negligence or as their own Reichstag.

One thing is certain, the 9-11 commission was not concerned with the answers, much the same way that the Warren Commission was unconcerned.

I don't know if there was a cover-up of their negligence or a cover-up of their complicity, but there was a cover-up.

Was Paul Wellstone's death an accident?

The Oklahoma City bombing? Wasn't that just another U.S. government terrorist exercise? Or not.

I spoke to Jayna Davis's husband before the execution of Tim McVeigh and he was afraid to talk to me and asked to be left alone, which I obliged.

Jayna was a local reporter for Oklahoma's NBC affiliate who had uncovered an Iraqi connection ("the third terrorist") in those bombings that was left unexamined by the authorities.

I don't claim to know why.

But I do know that the Davis family feared for their safety because of Jayna's reporting.

I assume we don't know that whole story either, but I find no evidence to suggest there was U.S. government involvement. Just another cover-up.

Waco. We burned kids, right? You can see flames shooting out of the tanks. Or not.
Is Bigfoot real?
Is there a God?

There is a God and we are it!

... What makes you think that?

There is plenty left in this life that goes without explanation.

We have always attributed unexplained to a higher power as opposed to attributing it to our low-level of understanding of our universe.

However, the more we learn about the universe, the more we come to grasp its grand design — its interconnections and inter-relationships.

My belief (and that's all it is) is that we are spiritual creatures having a physical experience.

We know, courtesy of Einstein, that time is just a relative construct.

I don't believe in a white guy, with a white beard, on a white cloud who intercedes in all of our lives.

I believe somewhere within us, collectively, there is a greater consciousness that transcends our understanding — limited by five senses experiencing three dimensions over a linear time.

What lies beyond that?

Edgar Cayce tapped into an all-knowing that the military spent 20 years trying to replicate that access to knowledge through their remote viewing programs, initiated by Ingo Swann.

It's not God in any sense of organized religion, but it is a synergy greater than the sum of its parts.

That, to me, is "God".

NAD: How did you get started in radio?

It seems to be working out, right?

What's so great about being you, in your job?

I started in radio as an intern during my final semester in college.

I was also an intern at an advertising agency.

When I graduated, the radio station asked me to stick around and the ad agency didn't.

When I look back on it now, I see that I had repeatedly tried to get into radio, as long as I could do it my way.

When I was in 8th grade, I went to my local radio station, WCPT which is now the progressive talk station in Chicago, and told them they should switch formats to alternative rock.

My mom drove me to the station and waited in the minivan, while I brought my records in to play for them.

I never heard back.

Four years later, with the breakthrough of Nirvana and REM, every radio group was falling over themselves to launch an alternative rock format.

While in college, I DJ'ed at the college radio station for one week.

There, too, I brought in my own CD's and created my own playlists.

I was told that was not the way radio works and I told them that, if that's the case, I would not be working in radio.

That's why talk radio most suits me: it's my own playlist (sans music) and my own rules.

It only made sense that some day I would find a place in radio and that place is doing talk radio.

NAD: Do you have hope in Obama?


Why not?

I do have a tremendous amount of hope for our President.

I think he inspires hope in all of us.

I think that's why Rush Limbaugh wants him to fail.

I mean, where will the fear-mongers go in a world of hope.

I know he is not as progressive as I would want, but he has a window of opportunity to bring together not just this country, but this planet.

The hope I find comes from the inspiration and involvement of so many others that have been motivated by President Obama.

My greatest hope is that we don't lose the momentum of this populace movement.

NAD: Does your favorite coffee cup have words on it? What are they?

What did you absolutely have to get done by noon today?

How about by Christmas 2009?

I retired my coffee mug when I left Clear Channel for the last time.

It reminded me too much of my four years there. It was stainless steel and didn't have any words of wisdom on it...



THE New American Dream Feature Interviews

If you search the archives below, you will find, in a sort of order [last to first], interviews with:

Aimee England, bookseller in Michigan

Al Markowitz,
poet for the working woman & man

Timbre Wolf,
a Tulsa peace minstrel goes to Hawaii

Steven Stothard,
a radical grows in Indiana

Dale Clark, an artist in the desert

Jacqui Devenuau, Green Party organizer in Maine

Don Harkins, co-editor of The Idaho Observer

Stewart Bradley, independent film producer

Rick Smith, Cleveland area radio host

William P. Meyers, independent book publisher, political activist

Ian Woods, Canadian publisher, 9/11 Truth activist

Richard D. Brinkman, Edmonton, Canada 9/11 Truth

Lynn Berg, New York City actor

Alejandro Rojas, of MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network

Brian Kasoro, publisher of The Liberator magazine

Brother Raymond, walked from Denver to D.C., for truth

Korey Rowe, one of the producers of Loose Change

Dave Zweifel, editor of The Madison Capital Times

Cathleen Howard, expatriate, from Tucson to Mexico, to pursue her dreams

Sander Hicks, Brooklyn radical entrepreneur, writer, publisher

Joe Bageant, America's blue-collar author

Frida Berrigan, a lifetime of faith, hope and love

Denise Diaz, brewing up a revolution, at The Ritual Cafe in Des Moines

Deanna Taylor, Green Party activist, teacher, in Salt Lake City

Rossie Indira-Vltchek, writer, filmmaker in Jarkarta, Indonesia

Nora Barrows-Friedman, Pacifica reporter in Gaza

Delaney Bruce, Friends of Peltier

Keith McHenry, co-founder of Food Not Bombs

Michael Sprong, South Dakota Catholic Worker

Brian Terrell, Des Moines Catholic Worker

Bob Graf
, One of the Milwaukee 14

Loren Coleman, Bigfoot researcher

Monty Borror, Sci-Fi artist from Virginia

David Ray, Great American Poet

Jack Blood, radio show host, in Austin, Texas

Danny Schechter, A Real Reporter

Bob Kincaid, host, Head-On Radio Show

Tony Packes, Animal Farm Radio Host, Keeping An Eye on Big Brother

Richard Flamer, Working With the Poor in Chiapas

David Ray Griffin, 9/11 Truth activist author

Barry Crimmins, U.S. comedian, author, social activist

Bret Hayworth, political reporter for the Sioux City [IA] Journal

Lisa Casey, publisher of website All Hat No Cattle

Joe & Elaine Mayer, activist couple in Rochester, Minnesota

Fr. Darrell Rupiper, U.S. priest revolutionary

Whitney Trettien, MIT student, Green Party activist

Meria Heller, radio show host

Phil Hey, professor, poet

John Crawford, book publisher

Steve Moon, Iowa Bigfoot researcher

Carol Brouillet, California social activist, 9/11 Truth

Russell Brutsche, Santa Cruz artist

Kevin Barrett, professor, radio show host, 9/11 Truth activist

A'Jamal Rashad Byndon, social activist in Omaha

Chris Rooney, Vancouver, Canada Catholic Worker, website publisher

Marc Estrin, political novelist, from the left

Peter Dale Scott, poet, professor, author, activist

Anthony Rayson, anarchist zine publisher, works with prisoners

Alice Cherbonnier, editor of The Baltimore Chronicle, an independent newspaper

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