Thanks for either stumbling onto this page or being so interested in the show that you care to any degree who’s actually behind it!
My name is Jay! Tomlinson, I spell it with an exclamation point like that to add a bit of excitement to my life (and it’s worked!). I was born in 1983 so you can do the math from there.
I became (much more) interested in politics in 2003 during the Iraq war invasion. I began listening to Air America radio just months after it became available in my home town at that time, Sacramento, CA. Thanks to my (horrible) job as a FedEx delivery driver I developed a habit of listening to politics first on terrestrial radio (where I first found The Majority Report in 2003), then satellite radio (where I first found The Young Turks in 2004), then podcasts (once they were invented in late 2004) for around 9 hours each weekday. By the way, one of my nerdiest bragging points is that I started listening to podcasts before they were integrated into iTunes, true fact. Now, having heard so much great political commentary and news each day I found myself with an overwhelming desire to share what I had been hearing with others so I basically invented the concept of curation. This was the very first seed of the idea for what would become Best of the Left.
With zero experience editing audio or managing a website I launched Best of the Left in January 2006 at the age of 23. One of the things I am most proud of my 23-year-old self for recognizing was that I shouldn’t try to be the star of the show or have my opinions front and center. I was good enough at curation but it took years to get to the point where I felt like my knowledge and insights into politics were worthy of an audience.
In 2009 the show won it’s first Podcast Award in the Best Produced category. In January 2010 the show became my full-time job thanks entirely to the contributions of listeners who decided to become members to support the show. In or around 2011 I launched the voicemail line for listeners to call into the show which has come to be many people’s favorite segment of each episode. In 2012 I won a second Best Produced award and also in 2012 I first launched the ongoing activism segment which has become a mainstay of the show.
With the support and contributions from listeners, we plan to keep going long into the future.
Thanks for reading, stay awesome, Jay!
(Email me: Jay [at] bestoftheleft [dot] com)