Sun, 21 February 2016
The Good Fight is officially on hold.
This may not be news to you, given that the last new episode came out in July. But I wanted to fill you in on what’s been happening on my end.
A little more than a year ago, on a thrilling February day, The Good Fight smashed through its Kickstarter fundraising goal with mere hours to spare. Thanks to your generosity and belief in the vision of the podcast, the show finally had the funds to support its producers for another year of shows.
A few weeks later, on another thrilling February day, my wife and son and I welcomed the newest addition to the Wikler family: my daughter Suzy Lynn, who will turn one year old this Wednesday.
Things changed fast. When it comes to kids, as a wise friend put it, one is one—and two is many.
And two jobs plus two kids? For me, at least, it was too much.
You see, I have another full-time job: I’m the Washington Director of MoveOn.org. And over the last year, that’s grown as well. When I wasn’t telling the stories of real-life David vs. Goliath battles to change the world, I was helping MoveOn members to actually fight and win them—from the Iran nuclear deal to Syrian refugees to, now, the 2016 elections and Supreme Court vacancy.
So even though I loved doing the show, and as deeply humbled as I felt—and still feel!—for the tremendous support of 1044 Kickstarter backers and so many other friends who’ve lent a hand, I had to choose. Kids and the world couldn’t wait, but the show could.
The show could yet return. Our unspent funds are securely gathering interest in a bank account. The microphones and mixers are in boxes in my basement. Our producers have moved on to other projects (hire Susan and Zach!), but the vision and promise of The Good Fight remain intact. If you’re frustrated and want a refund of your Kickstarter contribution, I totally understand; just write and let me know. Otherwise, we’ll keep the resources in trust for another day.
When will that day come? And what will the next chapter look like? I'll be totally honest: I don't know yet.
I've learned that I love broadcasting—I have the itch, and the knack. I've found an audience that loves Good Fight-type stories as much as I do. And the world is brimming with amazing stories and unlikely heroes, now more than ever. But in the course of ups and downs and twists and turns, I've learned that doing something big requires the right team with the right idea at the right moment. For me, that moment isn't now.
Until that moment comes, I want to express my gratitude. It takes a village to launch a podcast. In its first chapter of life, The Good Fight reached the #1 spot on the iTunes charts, clocked well over a million downloads, and told dozens of powerful stories about people who made a meaningful difference in the world. I’m proud to have lifted up their voices. And I’m profoundly thankful to be part of a community so dedicated to fighting the real-life good fight and making this world a better place.
Thu, 6 August 2015
Women and men who serve in uniform often face an enemy within their own ranks: sexual assault. In this story, newly remastered from The Good Fight's 5th episode in December 2013, we tell the story of survivor Trina McDonald as she went from enlistee to victim to survivor to fearless advocate, and how she joined forces with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to take on the system that had failed her.
Note: The Good Fight is on a summer hiatus, but will continue posting remastered reruns until we return with brand-new episodes. Happy summer!
Direct download: 44b_Sen._Gillibrand_sexual_assault_and_the_fight_to_fix_military_justice_Rerun_from_5_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:56pm EDT
Sat, 27 June 2015
One monopoly to rule them all: Comcast's attempt to gobble up Time Warner threatened the very Internet as we know it. But one senator fought back.
Direct download: 44_How_Al_Franken_beat_Comcast_and_saved_the_Internet.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:59pm EDT
Sat, 9 May 2015
Tue, 14 April 2015
Spring is finally here. Daffodils dancing int he breeze, pollen collecting on car roofs, and the symphony of coughs filling the air. It's not just allergies that are making it hard to breathe. It's also coal. Ending coal fired power is the best weapon against the US's asthma epidemic. Host Ben Wikler checks in With Mary Anne Hitt, the Director of the Sierra Club's beyond Coal Campaign, about her recent victories. And Nick Rathod brings Ben up to speed ont he progress of the young but mighty State Innovation Exchange, Progressive's best weapon against the evil ALEC. Here comes the sun!
Wed, 25 March 2015
Direct download: 41_Were_back_Had_a_baby._Got_Kickstarted._And_talked_to_three_heroes..mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:06am EDT
Tue, 3 February 2015
Co-founder Alicia Garza shares the story of how #BlackLivesMatter began—and how it became the rallying cry for a movement, ignited by tragedy, that is fighting for survival. http://tgf.fm/40 And back the show by Feb 5 here: http://tgf.fm/ks
Thu, 29 January 2015
Want more Good Fight magic in the world? This is the moment to help, at tgf.fm/ks. We're running a Kickstarter campaign to raise $100,000 for our second year of shows, and we're already halfway there—but if we don't raise $50,000 more in the next seven days, it all disappears.
Chip in now, and then read this special message from Ben Wikler: Seven reasons to back The Good Fight.
1. Our guests should be household names.
Frank Mugisha is the leading gay rights activist—in Uganda. Sister Simone Campbell is a powerhouse lobbyist... nun. Jose Antonio Vargas won his Pulitzer Prize at age 26, four years before he came out of the closet as undocumented.
Ai-jen Poo helped launch a nanny uprising. Garlin Gilchrist II is reversing the Detroit diaspora. And Larry Lessig is on a shoot-for-the-moon quest to kick big money out of politics.
They're just a few of the amazing people we've been lucky enough to introduce to our listeners. There are so many more out there. Some are well-known already. All of them should be.
If you believe that more people should learn about heroes like these, click here to backThe Good Fight.
2. We're doing something no one else is doing.
This isn't talk radio, and it isn't NPR. We don't rant, we don't pretend every argument is equally valid, and we don't obsess over horse-race minutia.
For us, politics isn't a game. But it is insanely fun. Battles for justice are the greatest stories on earth. They're like The Princess Bride: full of, as the grandfather put it, "fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes... True love! Miracles!"
On The Good Fight, we interview genuine heroes winning fights that matter. Then we take those interviews, edit like crazy, stir in original music, narration, and archival audio—and craft spellbinding real-life David vs Goliath radio stories, told from the behind-the-slingshot point of view. And then we ask our listeners to get involved.
3. A golden age of podcasts is dawning. A huge new audience awaits.
Every week, nine out of ten Americans listen to the radio. That's no surprise: radio is uniquely intimate. We've all had "driveway moments"—when you're sitting in your car, right outside your house, unable to move until the story on the radio is done.
Now it's moving online. Suddenly, America is discovering that podcasts—radio shows on the Internet—can be just as powerful. Thanks to Serial, iPhones, and connected cars, millions of people are tuning in to podcasts for the first time.
The question now is whether podcasts can become, for progressives, the answer to what conservatives did with talk radio in the last century.
This is the moment I've been dreaming of. The moment I've been preparing for.
4. People love The Good Fight.
Here's what they're saying:
We hit a million downloads in our first year. In case you haven't heard the show, or haven't tuned in for a while, we've posted excerpts right here on the Kickstarter page. And if enough of us join in, a lot more great ones are coming soon.
Wait, you haven't seen it yet? Go watch it. Note: the first ending is fake. Stick around for the part with Al Franken.
6. Seriously, though: this means the world to me.
Ever since I was a kid, I've been fascinated by the place where politics and media collide. My first job out of college was producing Al Franken's show on Air America Radio. Five years ago, I made up my mind to try and launch a show—but it wasn't until a friend signed on to help, a programmer and activist named Aaron Swartz, that I summoned up the courage to actually give it a shot.
On a wintry January day three years ago, with me on the mic and Aaron running the mixing board—all in my bedroom closet—we produced our first podcast.
And from that first moment, I loved it.
But it was more a dream than a job. We both had a lot going on. My son, Mac, had just been born. Aaron was leading the fight against SOPA, and wrestling with an unjust prosecution. The show's only sponsor was the bagel store on 7th Avenue—and it paid us in cream cheese.
A year later, to my delight, MoveOn.org agreed to help me get the show off the ground. But by that point, Aaron was consumed by the court case. On the day I started working on the show full-time, he took his own life.
Today, for me, the show is a way that I can honor his memory. The fundamental vision that has always driven it forward, the one that inspired him to join—the idea that the most important fights are also the most fascinating stories, and that by telling them, we can build the empathy and hope and love that are foundational to social change—that vision has never wavered.
7. The stories we tell, the heroes we lift up, define who we become.
We have a choice to make. We can exalt wealth and status and fame—or we can measure our lives by the difference we make in the lives of others.
Researchers have shown that hearing stories about others' moral decisions affects the choices we make for ourselves. Hearing stories of heroes draws out the best in each of us. I know that a single podcast can't shift the moral center of our culture. But it's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
The Good Fight is my candle.
I hope you'll help me spread the light.
P.S.: Whether or not you can give, there are a lot of ways to help. You can forward this email to friends, with a personal note. You can share our video on Facebook by clicking here—or even "donate" your Facebook account to contribute a daily post until the deadline next week. Believe me: appreciate absolutely all the help that anyone can provide.
And, oh wait a second, I almost forgot: REWARDS!
Kickstarter campaigns aren't charity: back the show, and we'll send you stuff!
For $20, you can adorn your forearm, or the family-appropriate body part of your choosing, with a Good Fight temporary tattoo, featuring our beloved behind-the-slingshot logo:
For $40, you can simultaneously prepare yourself for fights against Goliath and share The Good Fight with a friend—by plugging two sets of headphones into the world-exclusive slingshot-shaped Good Fight headphone splitters!
For $75, you get a t-shirt. For $100, you get all of the above. There are reward levels for everyone! $1500 buys you the only existing Good Fight Google Glass, modeled below by my son Mac:
To find out all about all of the other mind-blowing tiers, check out The Good Fight's page on Kickstarter. They make great gifts. And remember, the Kickstarter ends at the stroke of midnight on February 6—so there's no time for delay. Claim your reward, spread the word, and forever join the ranks of Team Good Fight!
Wed, 17 December 2014
For decades, corporations have found Republicans ready to do their bidding thanks to a shadowy outfit known as ALEC. But Nick Rathod, a preacher's son, has a plan to fight back. http://tgf.fm/39
Wed, 3 December 2014
Zach Wahls, as a teenage Eagle Scout, gave a speech that changed the nation. If you ever clicked the headline "Two lesbians had a baby, and this is what they got," that speech was what you got—a speech that shifted the way millions of people thought about marriage equality. But as it turned out, that speech was just his warm-up act. On the latest Good Fight, Zach Wahls tell his extraordinary story—a tale of family, growing up, and a David-and-Goliath struggle to rescue the soul of a great American institution.
Direct download: 38_How_the_kid_with_two_moms_saved_the_Boy_Scouts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:23pm EDT