Alternative Radio

Sunday 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

A weekly one-hour public affairs program, Alternative Radio provides information, analysis and views that are frequently ignored or distorted in other media.

Alternative Radio is a weekly one-hour public affairs program offered free to all public radio stations in the U.S., Canada, Europe, South Africa, Australia, and on short-wave on Radio for Peace International.

Established in 1986, AR is dedicated to the founding principles of public broadcasting, which urge that programming serve as "a forum for controversy and debate," be diverse and "provide a voice for groups that may otherwise be unheard." The project is entirely independent, sustained solely by individuals who buy transcripts and tapes of programs.

Its "headquarters" is situated to correspond with its position in the mainstream mass media: down an alley, behind a house, on top of a garage in Boulder, Colorado. From this rarefied location, AR's programs manage to reach over 125 radio stations and millions of listeners. AR is part of the non-profit Institute for Social and Cultural Change.

David Cay Johnston

Jun 4, 2014

06/09/2014 - The Societal Impacts of Inequality - The U.S. has the dubious distinction of being the most unequal of all developed countries. The gaps between rich and poor have not been seen since the Gilded Age over a century ago. The one-tenth of one percent is loaded with stocks, bonds, hedge funds, cash and property. The respected business journalist Martin Wolf writes, "An out-of-control financial sector is eating out the modern market economy from inside, just as the larva of the spider wasp eats out the host in which it has been laid." Inequality is corroding democracy.

Black Box

May 24, 2014

05/31/2014 - This hour, we examine three very different kinds of black boxes—those peculiar spaces where it’s clear what’s going in, we know what’s coming out, but what happens in-between is a mystery. From the darkest parts of metamorphosis, to a sixty year-old secret among magicians, to the nature of consciousness itself, we confront the stubborn gaps in our understanding.

05/19/2014 - Are sports simply a form of entertainment or is there some deeper meaning off the field we are not seeing? From ancient Greece to modern times, sports have always been a big attraction. But in the cable and digital age it is bigger and more lucrative than ever. Sports encompass the world. From soccer in Latin America to cricket in India to hockey in Canada, millions of people are energized by and care about their teams and players. Heroes rise and fall. Tiger Woods, Brett Favre, Lance Armstrong. There are sex scandals, doping, and murder trials.

05/12/2014 - When the U.S. goes to war, private contractors salivate. When it comes to making money, there is no business like war business. Control or oversight? Not much. There is a feeding frenzy at the troughs of public money accompanied by the almost inevitable cost overruns, waste, fraud and theft. The corruption is fueled by the revolving door syndrome between corporations and the Pentagon. Almost seamlessly, today’s assistant secretary of defense becomes tomorrow’s vice-president of Raytheon.

5/5/2014 - If you’d ask most people, they’d rather stay at home and watch a Seinfeld rerun than go to a poetry reading. Yet almost imperceptibly poetry enriches our lives and generates cultural growth and change. Think about it. Add up all the myriad poetry-related activities: readings, workshops, symposia, retreats, undergraduate and MFA programs at universities, books, zines, websites, spoken word recordings, then throw in lyric writing for theater and the multi-billion dollar music industry.


Apr 24, 2014

04/28/2014 - Dollarocracy: a system of government where private wealth determines political outcomes. Sound at all familiar? The corruption bred by boatloads of cash contaminates and pollutes our entire political process. So-called reforms won’t cure the ailment. Radical surgery is required. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. understood this well when he counseled, “Timid supplications for justice will not solve the problem. We’ve got to massively confront the power structure.” Washington is Lobbystan. The thousands of influence peddlars pretty much get what they want for their paymasters.

04/21/2014 - When faced with injustice what options are open to people? Turn away and ignore it or confront it? The destruction of the environment is an injustice. We are turning parts of the Earth into a toxic waste dump. What comforts are we willing to give up to protect Mother Nature? Will we make real sacrifices or simply kick the ball down the road and be content with placebos like shopping differently? The planet is facing a medical emergency. In response, activists are sitting in, chaining themselves to fences and blocking roads.

04/14/2014 - A steady stream of reports on the deterioration of the environment is issued. There is a brief flurry of media coverage. The corporate-funded climate change deniers make counter claims. We wake briefly to the crisis then most of us lapse into a couch potato stupor. Neoliberal dogma and an almost mystical belief in capitalism makes almost certain that little will be done to avert coming calamities. Charades called climate summits offer nothing more than photo ops of smiling world leaders and vacuous press releases. We blithely turn our heads away from reality.

04/07/13 - excerpts from David Barsamian's exclusive interview with Noam Chomsky