Hartmann speaks at the 2010 Chicago Green Fest
May 7, 1951 |
Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.
|Occupation||Radio/TV host, political commentator, author, former entrepreneur|
Thom Hartmann (born May 7, 1951) is an American radio host, author, former psychotherapist and entrepreneur, and progressive political commentator. His nationally syndicated radio show, The Thom Hartmann Program, airs in the United States and has 2.75 million listeners a week. From 2008 to 2011, Talkers Magazine rated Hartmann the most popular liberal talk show host in America, rising from number 10 among all talk show hosts in 2008 to number 8 in 2011.
Hartmann's article "Talking Back To Talk Radio" became part of the original business plan of Air America Radio and he started his radio program out of his home in Vermont in March 2003. He replaced Al Franken on the network on February 19, 2007. On March 1, 2009, Hartmann moved syndication of his show from Air America to the former Jones Network, now owned by Dial Global (which also syndicates Neal Boortz, Ed Schultz, Michael Smerconish, Bill Press, Stephanie Miller, and Clark Howard). In the summer of 2009, his program began to also be offered to nonprofit stations via the Pacifica Radio network, and some community/nonprofit stations in the U.S. are also carrying his show. The radio program is also simulcast as a TV program by Free Speech TV on Dish Network and DirecTV. Additionally, he stars in a one-hour daily TV show which his production company records at the studios of and licenses to the RT news network (which carries it into over 500 million homes in over 100 countries, The Big Picture; that TV show is also syndicated by Free Speech TV and carried on both Dish Network, DirectTV and local cable TV stations.
Hartmann is a lay scholar of the history and textual analysis of the United States Constitution; attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); Thomas Jefferson; the assassination of John F. Kennedy; the Federalist Papers; electronic voting rigging; and environmental issues like climate change. He has authored many books on political topics and ADHD. He is the inventor of the hunter vs. farmer theory of the condition.
Early life 
Hartmann was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the son of a staunch conservative Republican, atheist father and a Christian mother, and grew up in nearby Lansing, Michigan. His paternal grandparents were from Norway. Interested in politics from a young age, he campaigned for Barry Goldwater during the 1964 presidential election when he was 13. Although a gifted student, Hartmann was expelled from high school during tenth grade and later earned a GED.
Hartmann enrolled at Lansing Community College and transferred to Michigan State University, majoring in electrical engineering. In 1968, Hartmann opened his first business, a repair shop named The Electronics Joint located next to Michigan State University and became a part-time disc jockey at local country music station WITL. With Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Hartmann protested against the Vietnam War . Thom Hartmann was ordained as a Minister of Coptic Fellowship International in the early 1970's.
Business career 
Hartmann began his business career in the early 1970s while in his 20s, co-founding The Woodley Herber Company. Woodley Herber sold herbal products, potpourris and teas, and operated until 1978. It was during this time that Hartmann obtained three degrees in herbology and homeopathic medicine. Thereafter Hartmann moved to New Hampshire to begin The New England Salem Children's Village, which still operates in Rumney, New Hampshire. He was Executive Director of NESCT for five years, and on its board for over 25 years. NESCT's child-care model was based on that of the German Salem International organization, and through his affiliation with that group he helped start international relief programs in Uganda, Colombia, Russia, Israel, India, Australia, and several other countries between 1979 and today.
Hartmann founded International Wholesale Travel and its retail subsidiary Sprayberry Travel in Atlanta in 1983, a business which in the intervening years[clarification needed] has generated over a quarter of a billion dollars in revenue. According to their website, Sprayberry Travel was lauded by the Wall Street Journal in 1984 for being one of the early adopters of frequent travel programs analogous to the recently initiated frequent flyer programs of the airline industry. He sold his share in the business in 1986 and retired with his family to Germany to work with the international relief organization Salem International. In the late 1970s, he had been a trainer in advertising and marketing for The American Marketing Centers (now defunct), and in 1987 after returning from Germany founded the Atlanta advertising agency Chandler, MacDonald, Stout, Schneiderman & Poe, Inc., which did business as The Newsletter Factory. He sold his interest in that company in 1996 and retired to Vermont.
Talk radio career 
Having worked as a DJ and news director at Lansing radio stations from 1968 to 1978, Hartmann returned to radio in February 2003 with a show on a local station in Vermont, then a month later picked up the noon-3 PM ET slot on the i.e. America Radio Network and Sirius Satellite Radio. In 2005, he moved from Vermont to Oregon and, in addition to continuing his national show, also co-hosted a local talk show in Portland, Oregon (with Carl Wolfson, the late Heidi Tauber, and later Christine Alexander), from 2005 until early 2007 on KPOJ, initially an affiliate of Air America Radio owned by Clear Channel Communications. But KPOJ now (March 2013) airs a sports talk format, and is affiliated with Fox Sports Radio.
Hartmann's national program, on the air since 2003 and now in the 3PM to 6PM ET daypart, was chosen by Air America to replace Al Franken on most Air America affiliates in 2007. Some stations, such as The Quake in San Francisco, had already dropped or moved Franken for Hartmann, who now is, according to Talkers Magazine, America's most important liberal talker. As of March 2012, the show was carried on 81 terrestrial radio stations in 34 states as well as on Sirius and XM satellite radio. A community radio station in Africa, Radio Builsa in Ghana, also broadcasts the show. Various local cable TV networks simulcast the program.
According to his syndicator Dial Global, more people listen to Hartmann's show on more stations than any other progressive talk show in America. The Thom Hartmann Show is estimated by industry magazine Talkers to have 2.75 million unique listers per week. In addition to Dial Global, a subsidiary of Triton Media Group, the show is now also offered via Pacifica Audioport to non-profit stations in a non-profit compliant format and is simulcast on Dish Network Channel 9415 via Free Speech TV Network.
Many guests appear on the show purporting points of view on diverse social and political topics. Some guests proffer progressive views similar to Hartmann's, but more than half are conservatives, libertarians, or Ayn Rand Institute members who espouse opposing views. A vigorous debate with the host usually ensues. There are four regular guests on the program, and they are sympathetic to Hartmann's political views. Sen. Bernie Sanders (Ind.-VT) appears every Friday during the first hour of the show titled "Brunch with Bernie". Ellen Ratner of the Talk Radio News Service provides Washington commentary daily. Victoria Jones who is the White House correspondent for Talk Radio News Service appears occasionally as does Dr. Ravi Batra an economics professor at SMU.
Like all talk radio shows, The Thom Hartmann Program takes calls from listeners. When callers asked Thom how he was, he used to reply, "I'm great, but I'll get better." But after a time callers would regularly try to elicit this response so he's stopped replying this way routinely. Hartmann ends each show with the phrase, "Activism begins with you, democracy begins with you. Get out there, get active! Tag, you're it!"
TV program 
Hartmann produces a one hour daily TV show, The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann, which is seen worldwide on the Russian-based RT news channel, as well as on Free Speech TV; through Free Speech TV it is also seen on selected local-origination and Public-access television cable TV channels.
Other areas of notability 
Hartmann is a writer who has published more than twenty books on diverse topics. The title which won the most critical acclaim is The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight. In 1999 he was invited by the Dalai Lama to spend a week in Dharamsala after the Dalai Lama finished reading this book. Hartmann won the Project Censored Award in 2004 for Unequal Protection. As a result of a book on spirituality, The Prophet's Way, he was invited in 1998 to meet Pope John Paul II.
Trained in the 1970s in Neuro-Linguistic Programming by Richard Bandler (Hartmann is licensed by Bandler's Society of NLP as both an NLP Practitioner and an NLP Trainer, and Bandler wrote the foreword to his book Healing ADD), Hartmann popularized some of its concepts in Cracking the Code (2007), which argues that Newt Gingrich and Frank Luntz made use of them in the 1980s and 1990s for Republican Party causes and advocates using them to advance liberalism. His book Healing ADD also leans heavily on NLP techniques. His book on the JFK Assassination (written with Lamar Waldron) titled Ultimate Sacrifice is cited extensively in the last two chapters of Gore Vidal's recent autobiography as having "finally solved" that case.
Hartmann was one of several contributors to Air America, the Playbook, a 300-plus page collection of essays, transcripts, and interviews by liberal radio personalities. It was published shortly before the 2006 Congressional elections and was on The New York Times Best Seller List for October 8, 2006.
Leonardo DiCaprio made a web movie titled Global Warning that was inspired by The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight. Hartmann appears in DiCaprio's 2007 documentary The 11th Hour, as well as the feature documentary film Dalai Lama Renaissance (with Harrison Ford), and Crude Impact. IN 2010, Warner Brothers and Leonard DiCaprio announced they are making a major motion picture based on the book Legacy of Secrecy authored by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann. Hartmann also narrated the 2011 documentary film Heist: Who Stole the American Dream?
Political views 
Hartmann is considered to have progressive/liberal politics (although he describes himself as part of the radical middle). He is the author of numerous books including Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights, in which he argues that the 1886 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company (118 U.S. 394) did not actually grant corporate personhood, and that this doctrine derives from a mistaken interpretation of a Supreme Court clerk's notes. Hartmann considers this a clear contradiction of the intent of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He has also written on the separation of church and state, drawing upon the Federalist Papers to argue that the Founding Fathers warned against the notion of the United States being a Christian nation. He contends that the 2000 American election and 2004 American election were stolen through electronic tampering, denial of the voting franchise by rigged voting lists, and limiting availability of voting machines in selected precincts. He also accuses the Bush administration of eroding democracy and individual freedoms.
Hartmann is also a vocal critic of the effects of neoliberal globalization on the U.S. economy, claiming that economic policies enacted during and since the presidency of Ronald Reagan have led, in large part, to many American industrial enterprises' being acquired by multinational firms based in overseas countries, leading in many cases to manufacturing jobs' – once considered a major foundation of the U.S. economy – being relocated to countries in Asia and other areas where the costs of labor are lower than in the U.S.; and the concurrent reversal of the United States' traditional role of a leading exporter of finished manufactured goods to that of a primary importer of finished manufactured goods (exemplified by massive trade deficits with countries such as China). Hartmann argues that this phenomenon is leading to the erosion of the American middle class, whose survival Hartmann deems critical to the survival of American democracy. This argument is expressed in Hartmann's 2006 book, Screwed: The Undeclared War Against The Middle Class and What We Can Do About It. One of the book's main arguments is that media deregulation leads to corporate media's shifting the American consensus towards the acceptance of privatization and massive corporate profits – which causes the shrinking of the middle class.
In the book Ultimate Sacrifice, he and co-author Lamar Waldron argue that President John F. Kennedy's assassination resulted from a conspiracy by two Mafia godfathers (Carlos Marcello and Santo Trafficante, Jr.) who took advantage of a proposed 1963 USA-sponsored coup against Cuba's Fidel Castro to kill the President and then hide their tracks in the resulting cover-up of the top-secret coup plans. Gore Vidal, in his autobiography Point To Point Navigation devotes much of the final two chapters of his book to praising Hartmann's and Lamar Waldron's scholarship in "solving" the JFK case (JFK was a friend of Vidal's).
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder 
Hartmann has authored in the area of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and adult attention-deficit disorder (AADD) and is the creator (first proposed by him in 1978, first published nationally in 1992) of the now well-known hunter vs. farmer theory that ADD is an expected evolutionary adaptation to hunting lifestyles. These individuals have the ability of rapidly shifting their focus and external attention and of holding multiple trains of thought. This ability causes difficulties when they must live and work in cultures in which "farming" – well-planned, predictable, organized and repetitive behaviors – is typical. His first book on the disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder: a Different Perception was described by Scientific American as "innovative and fresh". Hartmann has established specialized schools[quantify] for children with ADHD, such as The Hunter School in Rumney, New Hampshire, which he co-founded with his wife Louise.
- 2011: Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country. Berrett-Koehler. ISBN 978-1-60509-706-0.
- 2010 (second edition): Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became "People" – And How You Can Fight Back. Berrett-Koehler. ISBN 1-60509-559-1.
- 2009: Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture. Viking. ISBN 0-670-02091-5.
- 2008: Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination (by Lamar Waldron with Thom Hartmann). Counterpoint. ISBN 1-58243-535-9.
- 2007: Cracking The Code: How to Win Hearts, Change Minds, and Restore America's Original Vision. Berrett-Koehler. ISBN 978-1-57675-458-0.
- 2006: Screwed: The Undeclared War Against The Middle Class and What We Can Do About It. Berrett-Koehler. ISBN 1-57675-414-6.
- 2006: Walking Your Blues Away: Practical Bilateral Therapies for Healing the Mind and Optimizing Emotional Well-Being. Park Street Press. ISBN 1-59477-144-8.
- 2005: Ultimate Sacrifice: John and Robert Kennedy, the Plan for a Coup in Cuba, and the Murder of JFK. Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-7867-1441-7. by Lamar Waldron, with Thom Hartmann
- 2004: What Would Jefferson Do?. Harmony Books. ISBN 1-882109-38-4.
- 2004: We the People: A Call to Take Back America. Coreway Media, Inc. ISBN 1-4000-5208-4. Unknown parameter
- 2004 (revised ed.): Unequal Protection. Rodale Books. ISBN 1-57954-955-1.
- 2004 (revised ed. – first ed. 1998): The Prophet's Way. Park Street Press. ISBN 0-89281-198-6.
- 2004 (revised ed. – first ed. 1997): Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 1-4000-5157-6.
- 2003: The Edison Gene. Park Street Press. ISBN 0-89281-128-5.
- 2000: Thom Hartmann's Complete Guide to ADHD: Help for Your Family at Home, School and Work. Underwood Books. ISBN 1-887424-52-0.
- 2000: The Greatest Spiritual Secret of the Century. Hampton Roads. ISBN 1-57174-166-6.
- 1998: Healing ADD. Underwood Books. ISBN 1-887424-37-7.
- 1996: Beyond ADD. Underwood Books. ISBN 1-887424-12-1.
- 1996: Think Fast!. Underwood Books. ISBN 1-887424-08-3. by Thom Hartmann and Jane Bowman, with Susan Burgess
- 1995: ADD Success Stories. Underwood Books. ISBN 1-887424-03-2.
- 1994: Focus Your Energy: Hunting for Success in Business. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-51689-2.
- 1994: ADHD Secrets of Success: Coaching Yourself to Fulfillment in the Business World. Select Books. ISBN 1-59079-017-0.
- 1992 (first edition): ADD: A Different Perception. Underwood Books. ISBN 1-887424-14-8.
- "The Top Talk Radio Audiences", TALKERS Magazine, Spring 2010
- Talkers Magazine Heavy Hundred, Talkers Magazine, 2008-2010  
- Free Speech TV schedule", retrieved 02-14-2010
-  Where to watch RT
- "Thom Hartmann". Who's Who in America, 63rd Edition.
- "What if your child is stuck in a fundamentalist church by your ex and you think its wrong?",YouTube video, by Thom Hartmann
- "July 13, 2009 show notes". Thomhartmann.com. July 13, 2009. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
- "Radio Activist-Seven Days". March 3, 2004. Retrieved March 7, 2011.
- Hartmann, Thom (September 27, 2012). "The American Dream - Thom's personal story". The Thom Hartmann Program. YouTube. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
- Hartmann describes being expelled from high school at the 0:15 mark.
- Hartmann describes being in his school's gifted student program at the 1:35 mark.
- Hartmann, Thom (September 27, 2012). "How Ronald Reagan killed the American Dream". YouTube. Hartmann describes his educational history at 5:40.
- Thom Hartmann, Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture.
- Stan, Adele (January 14, 2011). "Progressive Profiles: With New TV Show, Radio Talker Thom Hartmann Brings Substance to Style". Alternet. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
- Hartmann, Rebooting the American Dream, p. 97.
- Man's Got Heart; Insider Radio - Personality Interviews; September 11, 2006
- Hartmann, Rebooting the American Dream, p. 98.
- New England Salem Children's Village
- "About Our Company, Overview", Sprayberry Travel (website), retrieved 02-17-2010
- Salem International
- Newsletter Factory
- "Air America sold; Al Franken quitting". January 29, 2007.
- The Ayn Rand Institute: Thom Hartmann Interviews
- "Best Sellers", New York Times, October 8, 2006
-  Variety: DiCaprio to star in JFK tale Assassination story based on book 'Legacy of Secrecy'
- Holden, Stephen (March 1, 2012). "Tracing the Great Recession to a Memo 40 Years Ago". The New York Times.
- ThomHartmann.com "Radical Middle"
- ThomHartmann.com "Unequal Protection by Thom Hartmann"
- listing of book at Amazon.com, Amazon.com, retrieved March 26, 2010
- Hunter School
- Thom Hartmann – Biography ADD-Holistic Mailing List
- ThomHartmann.com Official site. Includes information on and streaming of the radio and TV shows, essays, chatroom, and a discussion board.
- Past episodes of The Big Picture on YouTube
- Various video clips at BigPicture.tv Hartmann speaking on various topics.
- Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class and What We Can Do About It, Hartmann talks about his book in a video at Fora TV.
- Thom Hartmann with the Dalai Lama Videos made during the filming of the documentary Dalai Lama Renaissance.
- "When Democracy Fails" Podcast on Google Video.
- C-SPAN Q&A interview with Hartmann, February 7, 2010