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Air America


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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 02:59 PM

It seems that Air America is in trouble.

http://www.guardian....1923883,00.html

Ed Pilkington in New York
Tuesday October 17, 2006
The Guardian

Al Franken has a weekly audience of 1.5 million, but rightwing radio rival Rush Limbaugh has at least 13.5 million listeners. Photograph: Ed Bailey/AP

The talkshow star of the progressive network Air America vowed to continue broadcasting yesterday, despite the fact that the company has filed for bankruptcy. "You may notice I am doing the show," Al Franken told his listeners. "It's important progressive radio keeps on doing its work, and we will."

The network of more than 90 radio stations was launched two years ago with the overt ambition of becoming the liberal voice of talk radio in the US and providing a counter to presenters such as Rush Limbaugh, the cigar-toting rightwinger with strong links to the Republicans. It said it would keep on "championing the progressive cause", despite having gone into bankruptcy last Friday.

The right wing had been gloating over the bankruptcy announcement, Franken said. "But 1.5 million people listen to this show every week, and that's with lousy signals and no marketing money."
Last month Air America denied claims that it was headed for bankruptcy, but with just $4m (2.1m) in assets and debts of more than $20m, the semblance of normality could not be sustained. Under a chapter 11 filing for bankruptcy protection, the network will be able to continue broadcasting while it sorts out its financial problems.

The network was the brainchild of Anita and Sheldon Drobny, two left-leaning investors from Chicago who believed that the only way to counter the conservative grip on talk radio was to buy up local stations across the country and begin broadcasting round-the-clock liberal content. The network has 92 affiliated stations, and 2.4 million listeners a week.

But early on its finances looked shaky, with a lack of cash forcing it to cease broadcasting in several large cities, such as Dallas and Philadelphia, or to move to weaker signals. It has also suffered a string of management problems, with three chief executives in the past six months.

"From the beginning it has been a comedy of nincompoops," said Michael Wolff, media columnist with Vanity Fair magazine. "The lesson to draw from this is that progressives and liberals don't know anything about financing a business."

Michael Harrison, publisher of the US talk radio trade magazine, Talkers, said the network had so many debtors it was "the walking dead". "There's a fundamental problem here: if you start a business saying you are going to save the world in a higher cause, and then don't pay your employees, you aren't going to get a lot of support." He said it was founded on a false premise: that America lacked liberal media. "There is tonnes of liberal media - just look at National Public Radio. It just doesn't shout about it."

Talkers' list of the most popular talk radio hosts puts Franken at No 12, with 1.5 million listeners. Limbaugh leads, with at least 13.5 million weekly listeners, while Sean Hannity, who also co-hosts a TV show on the Fox News channel, is second with 12.5 million listeners. Another of Rupert Murdoch's Fox hosts, and a hate figure of liberals, Bill O'Reilly, is seventh, with 3.25 million. O'Reilly said Air America failed "because it is full of haters. They are not fair, they are not funny. Why would anyone listen?"


#2 Stephen Turner

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 11:30 AM

Bill O'Reilly, is seventh, with 3.25 million. O'Reilly said Air America failed "because it is full of haters.


Boy, we are way beyond hypocracy here. I think I will call it an O'Reillyocracy.

Edited by Stephen Turner, 18 October 2006 - 01:36 PM.


#3 Len Colby

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 01:26 PM


Bill O'Reilly, is seventh, with 3.25 million. O'Reilly said Air America failed "because it is full of haters.


Boy, we are way beyond hypocracy here. I think I will call it an O'Reillyocray.

Good point Steve, O'Reilly gave a perfect description of himself!



It would be quite sad if Air America had to shutdown but as I read another forum most liberals (in the US at least) tend to prefer to get their information from other sources (the Net, books, newspapers and magazines etc). The problem is loosing the "hearts and minds" of Americans (esp. voters and campaign donors). I also read (I think it was the same forum) that it was uncommon for callers on Air American the say they were ex-conservatives who had been 'converted' by listening to the ststtion.



As for Al Franken last I heard he was considering running for Senate in Minnesota in 2008 against Norm Coleman to 'recapture' Wellstone's seat. Interestingly the seat has been held by Jews born and raised outside the state since 1978 (except for a few weeks in 20002) and every race since 1990 (except the last few days of the 2002 campaign) was between Jewish candidates. Franken is Jewish and was born in New York but unlike Boschwitz, Wellstone and Coleman grew up in Minnesota. Does anybody know anything about his candidacy?



Len

#4 Stephen Turner

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 01:45 PM

As for Al Franken last I heard he was considering running for Senate in Minnesota in 2008 against Norm Coleman to 'recapture' Wellstone's seat. Interestingly the seat has been held by Jews born and raised outside the state since 1978 (except for a few weeks in 20002) and every race since 1990 (except the last few days of the 2002 campaign) was between Jewish candidates. Franken is Jewish and was born in New York but unlike Boschwitz, Wellstone and Coleman grew up in Minnesota. Does anybody know anything about his candidacy?



Len


Here's an interview with Fraken about the possibility of his standing in Minnesota in 2008. If its Wellstone's old seat lets hope he stays away from airplanes, or Jim will have another book out :D



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