Radio Broadcast Legend Chuck Harder Passed Last Month
I learned today that long-time radio broadcaster and syndicator, Chuck Harder, passed on April 10, 2018. He was 74. Harder had a radio career that spanned 40 years and a radio voice and on-air presence that landed him jobs in some of the biggest radio markets including NYC.
During the late 1980s, Harder began syndicating a program called For The People that continues to this day and his now hosted by Keith Allen. Harder's golden and home-spun voice was enticing enough. Although he was accused of being a right wing nut and conspiracy theorist - years before there was an Alex Jones - Harder really tried to live up to the name of his show.
The show's folksy theme song was embedded from many late nights I spent listening to his program. He was UFOs before there was Art Bell. He was a different political perspective before those mushroomed in the Internet age.
He did often feature pro-Constitution guests, believed there was some kind of a conspiracy that was trying undermine The United States, and did a lot of advocacy radio for Ross Perot's 1992 presidential run. Some might argue his large audience at the time helped to fuel that candidacy.
However, he was a tireless consumer advocate who tried to avoid the partisan game. He often featured Ralph Nader and other well-known consumer advocates on his program. He even ventured into the realm of UFOs and space with frequent guest Richard C. Hoagland.
In 1993, by Harder's telling, he was targeted by the Clinton White House (he said specifically Hillary Clinton) through the IRS and was eventually bankrupted and driven off the air. The audit dragged out for 18 years from 1992-2010. This experience did temper Harder's approach when he later came back on air and he became quite anti-Clinton based on that experience.
Other news outlets reported that the IRS audit actually began in 1992, before Bill Clinton took office, and was initiated by the George H.W. Bush White House because of their view that Harder had influenced the election against Bush by supporting a Perot candidacy that allowed a Clinton victory. He was quite popular and was syndicated on more than 300 radio stations nationwide. Either way, it represented a continuation of a long-standing practice of presidents using their power and, oddly, the IRS specifically to silence opponents.
Can you imagine having the IRS digging in your business for two decades? It seems, in this reporter's estimation, as the kind of action reserved for political dissidents. Perhaps both party establishments had in for him for his vociferous opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) because he believed it would destroy American jobs.- again evidence of his populist bent.
What's clear, as with so many other truth-seekers over the years, is Mr. Harder was not appreciated by the establishment in either political party. I was in my mid 20s in the early 1990s and used to catch Chuck from Midnight to 2 a.m. on 810 KCMO when arrived home from my second job. I'd often listen as I enjoyed a late dinner.
I think it's fair to say that Harder was a kinder, gentler Alex Jones years before anyone knew who Jones was. Like Mr. Jones, Harder was always easy to place into a box by opponents seeking to characterize him in a certain light, but much harder (no pun intended) to label to the objective observer. In both cases, views you might not always share with the host were mixed with important topics and truth not being discussed in mainstream discourse.
At the end of the day, I've always been willing to glean those tidbits of truth through the rest of the information. That's always been my personal approach. I listen to people from many perspectives across the political and ideological spectrum to piece together the truth.
His death last month happened with little fanfare for a broadcaster who had such an influence, whatever your personal views of him, on the dialogue of the nations two decades ago.
for 6 Sense Media