Cathy Renna

Movement media, television with GRIT - and guts

Filed By Cathy Renna | May 12, 2008 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: Laura Flanders, media, progressive politics

I am so excited this morning - in a few hours I will be heading to the studio of the new GRIT-TV with Laura Flanders, who hired us to assist in the launch and outreach. I have been a longtime admirer and fan of Laura, who is an extraordinary journalist and activist - one of the few able to wear both those hats with integrity.

Her first guest this morning is a huge ally to the LGBT community - Phil Donahue - and I look forward to seeing him. This is a man (and his fabulous wife of course) who was there for GLAAD when very few straight allies stood with us. Her program is just beginning and she has great plans for it - read the official release after the jump for more info - but as progressives I urge you to tune in.

Now, more than ever with the corporate media falling down on the job, it is us to up to support movement media that is interactive and works to build community.


Monday, May 12, 2008


Cathy Renna, Renna Communications, (917) 757-6123, [email protected]
Simon Aronoff, Renna Communications, (202) 510-6705, [email protected]

Firebrand Journalist and Activist Debuts "GRIT TV with Laura Flanders"

Premieres May 12, 8pm EDT
On Free Speech TV Dish Network Ch. 9415

New York, NY - In partnership with Free Speech TV, Laura Flanders Limited is pleased to announce the national premiere of "GRIT TV with Laura Flanders." The innovative program melds satellite television and online video formats in a new twist on the news discussion broadcast. The hour-long, multi-platform show airs weeknights on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415) and via the Internet at .

"'GRIT TV' brings participatory democracy onto your computer screen and into your living room," said Laura Flanders. "Our goal is to bridge the gap between audience and advocates." Flanders continued. "Viewers will learn how so many Americans can-and are-changing this country for the better. We will paint a picture of our country as it really is, examine the choices that brought us here, and-unlike other news programming- provide avenues for viewers to take action."

Through partnerships with several nonprofit organizations, (including the Drum Major Institute in New York), "GRIT TV" will address critical contemporary issues in a consistent and close-up way. "GRIT TV" will explore topics that receive short shrift in the mainstream corporate media. Flanders's interviewees will include acknowledged "experts" and "expert" audience members: the 18 to 34 year-old cohort; legislators, workers, entrepreneurs, activists, artists, and journalists (from the grassroots to the netroots and back.) Phil Donahue will join Flanders live on the first episode, with Katrina vanden Heuvel and Jane Hamsher. Future guests include Susan Griffin, Walter Mosely, Anthony Romero, May Chen and Tom Morello.

"Free Speech TV is proud to sponsor and support 'GRIT TV,'" said Denis Moynihan, CEO of Free Speech TV, the nation's first progressive television channel. "Laura Flanders' effort is a first in new media, taking full advantage of the types of communication that are now available to the public - and for the public. By offering audiences real opportunities to participate, the program will both reflect the diversity of our society and provide perspectives that are under-represented by mainstream media." Free Speech TV reaches over 25 million homes in the US.

"We are thrilled to be the online home of "GRIT TV with Laura Flanders" said Jane Hamsher, webmaster of the progressive blog "I see the program's interactive, multi-platform approach as the next wave in broadcast journalism. It won't be long before we see mainstream news channels emulating Flanders' model."

Viewers can watch the first installment of "GRIT TV with Laura Flanders" on Free Speech TV (DISH Network, Channel 9415) on Monday, May 12, 8:00-9:00pm EDT, or streaming online at For more information, please visit

About Laura Flanders
Laura Flanders, author, and host of RadioNation on Air America Radio, has built a reputation for courageous investigative journalism coupled with compassion and a sense of humor. In writing her last book, Blue Grit, she traveled the country reporting on grassroots success stories and broadcast live to over 150 radio stations from community centers in places including Helena, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, Miami, Las Vegas, and Milwaukee. In her television appearances (Lou Dobbs, Larry King Live,) on radio and in her many books (including Bushwomen Tales of a Cynical Species) and articles (The Nation and others,) Flanders calls for a new politics of fairness, equality and citizen action. Articulating the human dimension of American communities in trouble, her programs have become destinations for those seeking the skills and the will to make a difference. Flanders is a regular contributor to the Nation Magazine and CNN. Before joining Air America, where she was part of the original lineup, and hosted "The Laura Flanders Show" for three years, Flanders was the founding host of the award-winning "Your Call" weekday mornings on public radio, KALW in the Bay Area and CounterSpin, the radio show of the mediawatch group, FAIR.

About Free Speech TV
Free Speech TV, the nation's oldest and largest independent progressive satellite channel, broadcasts GRIT TV from 8-9pm Eastern on the Dish Network (immediately following the hit "Democracy Now.") Free Speech TV reaches over 25 million U.S. homes, broadcasting full time on DISH Network (channel 9415), and part time on 175 community cable stations in markets including New York, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco/Oakland, Philadelphia, Seattle, Denver, Austin, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Baltimore, St. Louis, Portland, Madison, and more. Free Speech TV programs are also available online at . In addition, FSTV is available to over 200 college stations through the Open Student Television Network (OSTN.)


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I rememember watching a Phil Donahue show back in the late 80's in which when he sensitively and intelligently addressed transgender issues. One of the people he had on there was a transsistah named Leslie Regeanne, who was later killed by a hit-and-run driver.

Phil's the man and I was saddened when his show left the airwaves.

Best of luck with GRIT-TV

Phil's the man and I was saddened when his show left the airwaves.

Me too, Monica.

I can't wait to see your update on how it went, Cathy.