An announcement, plus a very special show
Lenore Skenazy returns for the Bob Zadek Show Grand Finale
This week I have handpicked a special guest and topic for a special occasion. Read on for my full announcement, or tune in to tomorrow’s broadcast in which I reveal why I’ve decided to wind down my show after almost 14 years on the air.
Lenore Skenazy—aka “the World’s Worst Mom”—first appeared on my show back in 2014, not long after a New York Sun article first earned her that infamous title. The article, “Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone,” spawned such a strong reaction that Lenore began to consider what had become of the country she (and I) had grown up in.
Something has changed in America since the 1950s. Kids don’t play outside in the street. Strangers are presumed guilty until proven innocent. Even trick-or-treating is viewed suspiciously.
Lenore says this is no way for a free society to operate. Her Free Range Kids movement is more important now than ever before. The related Let Grow organization is making it easy, normal and legal to give kids the independence they need to grow into capable, confident, and happy adults.
Lenore’s son is a grown adult now, and no worse off for having ridden the subway as a 9 year old. Almost a decade after her first appearance, Lenore returns to the show tomorrow morning for a very special broadcast: This will be my last show, after more than 14 years on the air.
The End of an Era
I first started the Bob Zadek Show during the Obama administration because I was troubled with the direction of our country. I have sometimes seen my role as the manager of Planet Earth, and as such, I’ve set out to fix the issues by educating the public on what has gone wrong.
I didn’t have Soros’s billions, but I thought I could improve the situation by introducing my audience to the wisest and most informed people I could find.
When Thomas Jefferson was living in France, and having an affair while representing our country, he wrote about the battle between the heart and the head. This same battle rages in the public sphere every day, and people often decide political issues with the wrong organ. I wanted to shift our country’s decisionmaking, so that we would be guided more by the head and less by the heart.
Looking back over the years, I hope I’ve moved the needle. A few shows stand out in my memory. My very first guest was Ward Connerly—the former University of California regent who was actively campaigning to overturn California's aggressive affirmative action statutes through a ballot initiative. Prop. 209, which is still on the books, forbade the California Board of Regents from considering race in admissions. To me, Connerly showed me what a difference one individual can make.
I remember being in the schoolyard of PS 26 in Queens, playing softball and sliding on asphalt. The first thing you did in a softball game was choose sides. The two most popular people got to be the captains, and they then chose sides and they picked the rest of us to be on their teams. It always struck me that the most popular boys got picked first, not the best athletes. I was a slightly better athlete, but infinitely less popular than others, so I got picked last. From the schoolyard at PS 26 through to today, I have always advocated for a meritocracy.
There were many other memorable shows, including the time that the President of the nascent country of “Liberland” dialed in by satellite phone from a speedboat on the Danube River. He had just been questioned by Croatian police as to why he had been inhabiting the “no-man’s land” between Croatia and Serbia. My producer, Charlie Deist, was waiting in the wings in case he wasn’t able to call in, but he did—at the last minute—and we had a great conversation about freedom.
Ultimately, however, every show was my favorite. Having a radio show allowed me access to the smartest people I've ever known, for an hour, all to myself. Because our conversations were mostly live, I knew my guests would be too embarrassed to hang up if I asked the wrong question.
I am sad to be ending my run as the longest continuous libertarian radio broadcaster in the country, but I read a bit of wisdom recently that it’s important to know when something has come to an end. Heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano understood that wisdom when he retired on top, and something is telling me it’s time to end my show.
As a parting thought to my listeners, it was Pericles who said ~423 BC, “Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean that politics doesn't take an interest in you.”
So to my audience out there, you had better keep an eye on politics, even after my show has had its run.
Thanks to all of my listeners.
This news ruins my whole day. It hit me broadside. Don't know how Ill fill my * AM hour Sunday mornings.
Bob, I am shocked. Yours has been one of my favorite shows for as long as I can remember. Thank you for the memories and insights. I will continue to listen to the archive.