IMDb > "America Undercover" Left of the Dial (2005)

"America Undercover" Left of the Dial (2005)

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View company contact information for Left of the Dial on IMDbPro.
Original Air Date:
31 March 2005
The Rise, The Fall, The Resurrection Of Air America Radio
The story of the turbulent inaugural year of the Air America Radio Network. | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
'Left of the Dial' Reviews See more (3 total) »


 (Episode Cast) (in credits order)
Mark Walsh ... Himself - Air America Radio

Al Franken ... Himself - Co-Host, The O'Franken Factor
Katherine Lanpher ... Herself - Co-Host, The O'Franken Factor
Randi Rhodes ... Herself - Host, The Randi Rhodes Show

Janeane Garofalo ... Herself - Co-Host, Majority Report
Evan Cohen ... Himself - Chairman & Principal Investor

Sam Seder ... Himself - Co-Host, Majority Report
David Goodfriend ... Himself - General Counsel, Air America Radio

Marc Maron ... Himself - Co-Host, Morning Sedition
Jonathan Larsen ... Himself - Producer, Morning Sedition
Mark Riley ... Himself - Co-Host, Morning Sedition

Bill Hillsman ... Himself - Consultant
Doug Kreeger ... Himself - Investor & Consultant

Chuck D. ... Himself - Co-Host, Unfiltered (as Chuck D)
Carl Ginsburg ... Himself - Executive Producer, Air America Radio
Paula Span ... Herself - Washington Post Reporter
Hank Gallo ... Himself - Producer, The Majority Report

Lizz Winstead ... Herself - Co-Host, Unfiltered
Sue Ellicott ... Herself - Co-Host, Morning Sedition
Jacqui Rossinsky ... Herself - VP, Sales & Marketing

Michael Moore ... Himself - Filmmaker

Al Gore ... Himself (voice)
John Manzo ... Himself - Exec. Producer, The Randi Rhodes Show

Ralph Nader ... Himself (voice)

Tim Robbins ... Himself - Actor

Rachel Maddow ... Herself
Naomi Starkman ... Herself - PR, Air America Radio
Shelley Lewis ... Herself - VP News
Jim Earl ... Himself - Writer
Sinohe Terrero ... Himself - VP, Finance, Air America Radio
Jon Sinton ... Himself - President, Air America Radio

Helen Thomas ... Herself - White House Reporter (voice)

Arianna Huffington ... Herself - Columnist / Author
Carmine Garofalo ... Himself

Mike Papantonio ... Himself - Co-Host, Ring of Fire
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Tom Brokaw ... Himself (archive footage)

George W. Bush ... Himself (voice) (archive footage)
Tucker Carlson ... Himself (archive footage)
Patrick T. Cosgrave ... Himself - Board Operator
Howard Dean ... Himself (archive sound)
Sean Hannity ... Himself (archive footage)
Rush Limbaugh ... Himself (archive footage)

Deborah Norville ... Herself (archive footage)

Condoleezza Rice ... Herself (archive footage)
Michael Savage ... Himself (archive sound)
Timothy Allan Walker ... Himself

Episode Crew
Directed by
Patrick Farrelly 
Kate O'Callaghan 
Produced by
Susan Araujo .... associate producer
Michael Bonfiglio .... executive producer
Patrick Farrelly .... producer
Jacqueline Glover .... supervising producer
Lisa Heller .... senior producer
Lisa Heller .... supervising producer
Jack Lechner .... executive producer
Sheila Nevins .... executive producer
Kate O'Callaghan .... producer
Mimi O'Donovan .... executive producer
Robert Palumbo .... co-producer
Erica Soehngen .... co-producer
Yana Verling .... executive producer
Original Music by
John Kimbrough 
Cinematography by
Robert Palumbo (director of photography)
Erica Soehngen (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Maeve O'Boyle 
David Zieff 
Production Management
Patrick Farrelly .... production manager
Sound Department
Patrick Donahue .... sound re-recording mixer (as Pat Donahue)
Camera and Electrical Department
Chris Belcher .... additional photographer
Mira Chang .... additional photographer
Donna DeCesare .... additional photographer
Evan Eames .... additional photographer
Patrick Farrelly .... camera operator
Paul Grass .... additional photographer
Rob Hatch .... additional photographer
Alicia Ng .... additional photographer
Kate O'Callaghan .... camera operator
Robert Palumbo .... camera operator
Erica Soehngen .... camera operator
Editorial Department
Susan Araujo .... assistant editor
Sam Douglas .... additional editor
Sam Wainwright Douglas .... additional editor
Paul Grass .... additional editor
Mike Woodworth .... additional editor
Other crew
Carl Deal .... archivist
Salimah El-Amin .... archive researcher
Robert Garrison .... program assistant
Oorlagh George .... production assistant
Atiyah Muhammad .... program assistant
Andrew Myers .... production assistant
Consuelo Villanueva .... production assistant
Jordan Montminy .... special thanks

Series Crew
These people are regular crew members. Were they in this episode?
Directed by
Jon Alpert (episode "Lock-Up: The Prisoners of Rikers Island") (episode "One Year in a Life of Crime") (episode "Life of Crime 2") (episode "Latin Kings: A Street Gang Story")
Fenton Bailey (episode "Juror #5") (episode "Shock Video 2002") (episode "Monica in Black and White")
Randy Barbato (episode "Juror #5") (episode "Monica in Black and White")
Joe Berlinger (episode "Judgment Day: Should the Guilty Go Free") (episode "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills") (episode "Paradise Lost 2: Revelations")
Jay Blumenfield (episode "Small Town Ecstasy")
Nick Broomfield (episode "Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer") (episode "Fetishes")
Joan Churchill (episode "Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer")
Shari Cookson (episode "Living Dolls: The Making of a Child Beauty Queen")
Kate Davis (episode "Southern Comfort") (episode "Jockey")
Maryann DeLeo (episode "Chernobyl Heart")
Kirby Dick (episode "Showgirls: Glitz & Angst")
Deborah Dickson (episode "LaLee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton")
Vince DiPersio (episode "Fatal Twisters: A Season Of Fury") (episode "5 American Kids - 5 American Handguns")
Liz Garbus (episode "Execution of Wanda Jean, The")
Daniel B. Gold (episode "Blue Vinyl")
Judith Helfand (episode "Blue Vinyl")
John Hyams (episode "Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Mark Kerr, The")
Lisa F. Jackson (episode "Life Afterlife")
Kristi Jacobson (episode "American Standoff")
Patti Kaplan (episode "Cathouse") (episode "Cathouse 2: Back in the Saddle")
Jonathan Karsh (episode "My Flesh and Blood")
Rory Kennedy (episode "A Boy's Life") (episode "Indian Point: Imagining the Unimaginable") (episode "American Hollow")
Marc Levin (episode "Soldiers in the Army of God") (episode "Thug Life in D.C.") (episode "Back In the Hood: Gang War 2")
Albert Maysles (episode "LaLee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton")
Ivy Meeropol (episode "Heir to an Execution")
James Miller (episode "Death in Gaza")
Steven Okazaki (episode "Black Tar Heroin: The Dark End Of the Street")
Linda Otto (episode "Living Dolls: The Making of a Child Beauty Queen")
Brent Owens (episode "Hookers at the Point") (episode "Hookers & Johns: Trick or Treat") (episode "Atlantic City Hookers: It Ain't E-Z Being a Ho") (episode "Hookers at the Point: Five Years Later") (episode "Hookers at the Point: Going Out Again") (episode "Pimp's Up, Ho's Down")
Alexandra Pelosi (episode "Diary of a Political Tourist") (episode "Journeys with George")
Daphne Pinkerson (episode "Soldiers in the Army of God")
Thom Powers (episode "Private Dicks: Men Exposed")
Dan Reed (episode "Terror in Moscow")
Nina Rosenblum (episode "Lock-Up: The Prisoners of Rikers Island")
Bruce Sinofsky (episode "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills") (episode "Paradise Lost 2: Revelations")
Meema Spadola (episode "Private Dicks: Men Exposed")
Antony Thomas (episode "Celibacy")
Cynthia Wade (episode "Shelter Dogs")
James Ronald Whitney (episode "Just, Melvin: Just Evil") (episode "Telling Nicholas")
Gerardine Wurzburg (episode "Graduating Peter")
Eames Yeates (episode "Crank: Made in America")
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Vince DiPersio  (episode "Fatal Twisters: A Season Of Fury") (episode "5 American Kids - 5 American Handguns")
Brent Owens  (episode "Hookers at the Point") (episode "Hookers & Johns: Trick or Treat") (episode "Atlantic City Hookers: It Ain't E-Z Being a Ho")
Brent Owens  (episode "Hookers at the Point: Going Out Again")

Produced by
Brent Owens .... producer (episode "Atlantic City Hookers: It Ain't E-Z Being a Ho") (episode "Hookers & Johns: Trick or Treat") (episode "Hookers at the Point")
Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

98 min | 100 min | 99 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
'Left of the Dial' Reviews, 22 July 2006
Author: michaeld3333 from United States

Below are two reviews of 'Left of the Dial' -- from the Rocky Mountain News and The Onion -- that give a flavor of this great documentary.

Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO) HEADLINE: HBO'S 'LEFT' RIGHT ON TARGET BYLINE: Dusty Saunders, Rocky Mountain News

It really doesn't matter if you worship Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity or stand up and cheer loudly for Al Franken and Randi Rhodes. Cast vitriolic politics aside and view HBO's Left of the Dial, a pulsating, fascinating documentary about the birth - and almost quick death - of Air America Radio, which today celebrates its first anniversary as a liberal network. On March 31, 2004, author-comedian Al Franken told his small Air America Radio audience: "Today is both an ending and a beginning." "It's an end to the right-wing dominance of talk radio and the beginning of truth." Actually, an end almost occurred quickly - but not the sort that Franken had in mind. Following an energetic if disorganized opening in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, Air America three weeks later teetered on financial ruin because checks were bouncing in Los Angeles and Chicago, much to the glee of the conservative media. After weeks of uncertainty, the network found some financial aid and in December was the beneficiary of new investors who seemingly have provided long-range financial security. Today Air America has 48 affiliates, including KKZN-AM (760) in the Denver-Boulder area. And executives claim the growth continues. Left of the Dial is not one of television's typical rags-to-maybe-riches documentaries. It's an insider's up-close-and-personal view of a potential disaster, showing how a broadcasting organization struggles to find a national voice amid creative chaos and initial terrible management. And the documentary never answers the question: Will a liberal radio network ever become a major force in this country? HBO filmmakers Patrick Farrelly and Kate O'Callaghan had extraordinary access to the network, joining the Air America team in New York 12 days before the launch and then following the personalities, producers and executives through the launch period and beyond. The result is a you-are-there study showing the initial enthusiasm, the disappointment and then revival of broadcasting hope during a roller-coaster year. Left of the Dial is also a people story. And one person dominates - the strong-willed, occasionally foul- mouthed Randi Rhodes who loves to lacerate President Bush and his Republican cohorts with her sharp, always wagging tongue. And there are times when Rhodes is not exactly a cheerleader for the disorganized Air America team. You'll watch her during numerous on-air diatribes, including her inaugural show when she got into a shouting match with Ralph Nader, who hung up on her. Left of the Dial scores because of its always-intriguing fast-paced cinema verite style. Conservatives may complain HBO is playing a subtle public relations game by giving Air America a needed promotional push. But if ditto-heads do watch, they'll admit that Left of the Dial is a superbly produced, compelling bit of "propaganda."

The Onion Left Of The Dial DVD Review

The subjects of the riveting Air America documentary Left Of The Dial approach the Herculean task ahead of them with a sense of evangelical zeal befitting a network with such outsized goals. In a field dominated by the right wing, the decidedly left radio network Air America sprang to life in 2004 as a plucky slingshot-toting David intent on taking down some of the nation's most fearsome Goliaths, most notably a wartime President up for re- election and his staunch allies in the right-wing echo chamber. Following closely in the highly caffeinated footsteps of such voyeuristic, zeitgeist-friendly vérité-styled docs as Control Room and, Left Of The Dial chronicles the network's rocky birth as it stumbles through one potentially fatal crisis after another, emerging from its travails battered and bruised, but somehow still intact.

Left Of The Dial captures the infectious electricity of a bold new venture, as well as the bleak gallows humor that ensued once the money ran out and the network and its staffers were forced to scramble just to stay afloat. Though Al Franken looms large as the network's marquee name, the ferociously neurotic Marc Maron and brassy populist Randi Rhodes steal the documentary—and then the DVD, with an audio commentary that's funny, mean, and brutally candid. In spite of Air America's rocky birth, Left Of The Dial leaves audiences with an emotion progressives haven't had much reason to experience lately: hope.

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