Richard Cotten was born in Phoenix, Arizona to Sheppard M. and Ruth Wilson Cotton. He was a political writer and commentator on the radio program and later newsletter, The Conservative Viewpoint. He served in the United States Navy in the Pacific during World War II.
Cotten began his broadcasting career in Bakersfield, California in the late 1950s. Ten years later he was on thirty stations across America, including two international shortwave stations. He was on the air six times a week and published a newsletter.
His broadcasts focused on the deteriorating White situation in the besieged countries of Rhodesia and South Africa. Also he was one of the first commentators to broadcast from the Middle East documenting Israel’s crimes in the region. The ADL took offense and tried to take him off the air. A landmark federal free speech case resulted in the Supreme Court of the United States ruling in favor of Cotten and against the ADL.
During the early years of American Dissident Voices Richard Cotten did the intro and closing of the radio program. He would close the program with his tradmark saying, "Freedom is not free; Free men are not equal, and Equal men are not free".
Richard Cotten died June 18, 1998 and is buried in Winchester National Cemetery, Winchester, Virginia.