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Interview with Martha Zoller, January 10, 2013

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:13 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: This is Callie Holmes.

00:00:33 - Family history

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Partial Transcript: So to get started, I kinda wanted to get you talk a little more about your parents' backgrounds.

Segment Synopsis: Zoller recounts her family's history, including how her parents' met, her father's participation in World War II and his work as a traveling salesmen, and her mother's involvement in the PTA during school integration. She discusses her parents' balance between work and family and its influence on her.

Keywords: POW; PTA; World War II,; school integration

00:11:03 - Desegregation of Columbia High School / Blockbusting

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Partial Transcript: And so, you had mentioned before that you were in Columbia High School when it was desegregated.

Segment Synopsis: Zoller remembers attending the desegregated Colombia High School in DeKalb County during the 1970s. She recalls the black student walkout that caused controversy and news coverage of the school and her response as a member of the student council. She discusses her parents' response to the political tension at the school and living in an integrated neighborhood. She also recounts the process of blockbusting of home sales in integrated neighborhoods.

Keywords: Columbia High School; DeKalb County School System; blockbusting; real estate depreciation; school desegregation; student council; student walkout

00:16:21 - Attending the University of Georgia

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Partial Transcript: I remember you saying you graduated high school a little bit early and decided to come to the University of Georgia.

Segment Synopsis: Zoller remembers graduating early from high school, studying journalism, and living in Myers dorm at the University of Georiga. She discusses how Myers Hall was the first co-ed dorm, the university football culture, and the political atmosphere of the university. She recalls the "Unknown candidate" who ran for president of the Student Government Association during the time she was at UGA.

Keywords: University of Georgia; Unknown candidate; co-ed dormitory; football culture; political atmosphere

00:22:49 - Transition from liberal to conservative political viewpoint

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Partial Transcript: And so I kind of wanted to talk a little bit about how you've sort of developed the political ideas and viewpoints you have now.

Segment Synopsis: Zoller discusses the process of questioning that guided her transition from a liberal to a more conservative political viewpoint. She describes her parents' political affiliations, voting Democrat in the 1980s, and volunteering with Michael Dukakis' 1988 presidential campaign. Zoller discusses her views on abortion, abortion clinics in the South, counseling pregnant women, and the extremism of anti-abortion rhetoric.

Keywords: Democrat; Michael Dukakis; Republican; abortion; liberal vs. conservative

00:30:54 - Reflection on feminism and family choices

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Partial Transcript: Would you consider yourself a feminist?

Segment Synopsis: Zoller discusses her decision to be a stay-at-home mother and going back to work at the local radio station. She comments on the artificial division created between stay-at-home mothers and working mothers and advocates for a mutual support between women. Zoller also discusses the judgement and social pressure that stay-at-home mothers experience.

Keywords: childcare; family choices; feminism; personal choices; stay at home mother; women's rights

00:35:35 - Introduction to talk radio / Reflection on career success and challenges

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Partial Transcript: And so let's take a step back for a minute. How did you start listening to talk radio?

Segment Synopsis: Zoller discusses first listening to Rush Limbaugh's talk radio show and recounts starting to work on the local talk radio station. Zoller reflects on her career success, criticism from callers, and threats made against her.

Keywords: Rush Limbaugh; criticism; personal success; safety threats; talk show callers

00:41:08 - Evolution of talk radio in 1990s / Career opportunities

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Partial Transcript: And so, what was talk radio like in the early 90s?

Segment Synopsis: Zoller discusses the volatile state of talk radio in the early 1990s. She reflects on Rush Limbaugh's talk show and its effects on the rebirth of AM radio. Zoller also discusses the lack of representation of women in the media industry and her work as a columnist and TV panelist for the public affairs show, The Georgia Gang.

Keywords: AM radio; Rush Limbaugh; TV personality; The Georgia Gang; columnist; public affairs; talk show; women's representation in media

00:51:08 - Talk radio impacts and effects

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Partial Transcript: And so, through doing the talk radio and The Georgia Gang, you have to talk a lot. And how has that helped you shape your viewpoints about political issues?

Segment Synopsis: Zoller reflects on interviewing influential people throughout her career, her love for lifelong learning, and her openness toward altering one's political beliefs. She discusses the Internet's impact on radio and print media, the most important news sources for Georgia politics, and the impact of talk radio in Georgia.

Keywords: balance of opinions; media reporting; news integrity; news sources; talk radio

00:58:36 - Decision to run for state congress

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Partial Transcript: How did you make the decision to run for office?

Segment Synopsis: Zoller discusses her reasons for campaigning for Georgia Congress, her fundraising challenges, and her approach towards fundraising. She reflects on the negotiation between accepting donations versus political favors in politics.

Keywords: campaign fundraising; congressional race; integrity; money management

01:03:21 - Women in politics and the Republican Party

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Partial Transcript: What do you think is different about being a woman in politics?

Segment Synopsis: Zoller discusses the the challenges of women in politics, the "good ol' boy" network, and representation of women in leadership positions. She reflects on the nature of women's involvement in the Republican Party and advocates for changing the way that the Republican Party's stance on women's issues is perceived within society.

Keywords: Republican Party; fundraising network; good ol' boy network; volunteer base; women in politics; women leaders; women's issues

01:16:08 - Tea Party in Georgia

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Partial Transcript: But I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about sort of the leaders of the Tea Party, particularly in Georgia.

Segment Synopsis: Zoller discusses the diversity of the Tea Party groups in Georgia and the need to focus on the central issue of fiscal conservatism. She evaluates the factors behind the success of the Reagan Administration and how they can be applied to the management and organization of the Republican Party in the present. Zoller discusses the criticisms and media portrayal of the Tea Party.

01:24:33 - Views on governmental spending reform / Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: What do you see on the horizon here in Georgia, in particular, with the new Congress and all of that?

Segment Synopsis: Zoller discusses the future of state and federal spending and reflects on the importance of revising the Social Security benefits program. Zoller concludes by mentioning her continued efforts to communicate the conservative message to more women and minorities.

Keywords: Social Security; balanced budget; federal spending