Think Progress reports, mournfully, that Air America Radio will declare bankruptcy.
Air America Radio will announce a major restructuring on Friday, which is expected to include a bankruptcy filing, three independent sources have told ThinkProgress.
Air America could remain on the air under the deal, but significant personnel changes are already in the works. Sources say five Air America employees were laid off yesterday and were told there would be no severance without capital infusion or bankruptcy. Also, Air America has ended its relationship with host Jerry Springer.
The right wing is sure to seize on Air America’s financial woes as a sign that progressive talk radio is unpopular. In fact, Air America succeeded at creating something that didn’t exist: the progressive talk radio format. That format is now established and strong and will continue with or without Air America. Indeed, many of the country’s most successful and widely-syndicated progressive talk hosts — Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller, for instance — aren’t even associated with Air America.
In an exclusive report, the Radio Equalizer, Brian Maloney, has published that Doug Kreeger, a board member who has been with Air America Radio since its earliest days, has resigned from its parent company, Piquant LLC. Maloney credits the find to "an internal source."
In addition, reports Maloney,
[Kreeger] has been a major investor in the company and likely still holds at least two million common and preferred units, as well as warrants. In a much smaller quantity, his wife Wendy has also held company shares.
At this point, however, these units could at best be described as illiquid assets, with little or no realistic cash value.
In addition, at key points where Air America saw a particularly urgent need for ready cash, Kreeger was there to help with further investment commitments.
Air America Radio is apparently so broke that it is now struggling just to pay for basic news services, the Radio Equalizer has exclusively learned.
Locked into a contract for Associated Press wire services until next year, the much- hyped but floundering liberal talk radio network has recently attempted to negotiate for revised terms, including temporarily disconnecting certain elements of its AP coverage until it can theoretically resume full payments in 2007.
In yet another sign of its rapid decline, Air America Radio has just FIRED talk show host Mike Malloy. Although Malloy frequently spouted wild tinfoil hat theories based on no facts, he did have a devout fan club among the extreme left. As a result, Air America radio is about to lose even more listeners as is evidenced by the outrage over this firing in the leftist blogosphere. Some sample comments over the Malloy firing from the Democratic Underground:
"I will not be listening to AAR if mike is not part of their line-up, I love Randi but not enough to tune in to an outlet that is destroying itself from within."
"I predict that Firing Malloy will be the end of Air America."
"Air America is dead to me."
"Shultz, Franken and the rest of the remaining lot ... are nothing but useless boring idiots IMO."
There are many more similar (and more profane) comments of outrage from the leftist blogosphere over the Mike Malloy firing at the DUmmie FUnnies.
Liberal radio network Air America has lost another station, this time in Chattanooga, TN. The reason: lack of viewers and advertisers.
The failure of Air America across the U.S. is because the liberal mindset does not fit well with lengthy radio shows. For an ideology based on emotions, the show goes on well after the liberal listener's daily emotional outburst has subsided.
Chattanooga’s oldest radio station, WDOD, has ended its 11-month experiment with progressive talk radio.
At 10 a.m. this past Monday, the station switched to a format featuring musical oldies and standards from the late 1950s and the 1960s and 1970s, according to Danny Howard, director of programming and operations for WDEF and WDOD....
From the comedy grapevine of Air America this morning, host Rachel Maddow (perhaps best known to talk-TV fans as a regular panelist on MSNBC's defunct Tucker Carlson "The Situation" show) followed up on President Bush’s line about defeating the terrorists in Iraq so they don’t “follow us home.” She cracked, “then we’d have to feed them and love them and get them their shots.” (Isn’t that seriously about the way the Left wants us to treat them, as in Gitmo?) Minutes later, Maddow chuckled over this Los Angeles Times story this morning about accidental shootings by Los Angeles police. Scott Glover and Matt Lait claimed "a Times analysis of two decades of police records highlights another danger to officers, one little appreciated even by officials who oversee the department: Officers over those years shot themselves or one another nearly as often as they were shot by suspects."
In a special bonus feature in our ongoing “Friday Night Fights” segment, a real barnburner took place Wednesday evening on CNN’s “Larry King Live.” In the left corner, Air America radio personality Randi Rhodes. In the right corner, nationally syndicated radio host Neal Boortz (hat tip to Ms Underestimated with extraordinary video to follow).
As fight lovers would expect, this was a classic battle between the conservative approach to boxing with the more progressive tactics of an extreme southpaw. This was evidenced right after the opening bell, as Boortz jabbed with why Israel has to defend itself:
There’s a new poll out from Scripps Howard/Ohio University claiming “Thirty-six percent of respondents overall said it is ‘very likely’ or ‘somewhat likely’ that federal officials either participated in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon or took no action to stop them ‘because they wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East.’"
When you watch the following video (with graphic images and language that might be offensive to some), you will understand why (hat tip to Ms Underestimated). This nine-minute clip includes an interview done by Jack Blood, a syndicated radio talk show host with some bizarre ideas about America. His guest was Dylan Avery, the 22-year old director of the 9/11 conspiracy theory schlockumentary “Loose Change.”
As you watch, you will be amazed to hear two Americans mock the
After being plugged relentlessly by the New York Times and other "objective" media outlets, the ratings for Air America continue to drop. Brian Maloney has the details:
Like an ice cream cone left in the hot July sun, Air America Radio's ratings are melting in some key (read: liberal) regions of the country.
Based on fresh ratings data released Thursday evening, the "progressive" radio network has lost strength in three cities where it had previously found the most listener support: Portland, Seattle and Denver.
Representing the spring 2006 Arbitron reporting period, these results provide one of the two most important report cards for the entire year.
One of the frequent complaints liberals make about the Bush admin is that it is far too secret with everything, cutting off the public from information that it has a right to know. It's a complaint that's usually made by either party when it's out of power. The minority party usually tries to paint the majority as a corrupt and less-than-transparent.
Curiously, though, some new Democratic complaints of a lack of transparancy are now arising, but they're not about Republicans. Via Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters, we learn that more moderate Democrats are raising questions about a liberal group lavishing millions of dollars on leftist groups like Air America and Media Matters in exchange for silence about their finances:
An alliance of nearly a hundred of the nation's wealthiest donors is
roiling Democratic political circles, directing more than $50 million
in the past nine months to liberal think tanks and advocacy groups in
what organizers say is the first installment of a long-term campaign to
compete more aggressively against conservatives.
A year after its founding, Democracy Alliance has followed up on
its pledge to become a major power in the liberal movement. It has
lavished millions on groups that have been willing to submit to its
extensive screening process and its demands for secrecy.
These include the Center for American Progress, a think tank with an
unabashed partisan edge, as well as Media Matters for America, which
tracks what it sees as conservative bias in the news media. Several
alliance donors are negotiating a major investment in Air America, a
liberal talk-radio network.
But the large checks and demanding style wielded by Democracy
Alliance organizers in recent months have caused unease among
Washington's community of Democratic-linked organizations. The alliance
has required organizations that receive its endorsement to sign
agreements shielding the identity of donors.
Brian Maloney (The Radio Equalizer) has identified something interesting at Amazon.com: “Is liberal Air America host Sam Seder's new book inadvertently encouraging readers to join the conservative cause?”
He continued: “In what is either a strange error, an Amazon.com staffer with a real sense of humor, or a bona fide trend, Air America host Sam Seder's new book FUBAR: America's Right-Wing Nightmare seems to be encouraging buyers to purchase Ann Coulter's Godless instead!”
For those not familiar with how Amazon works, when you go to the site and enter a book title, a page comes up that describes the book, gives some reader reviews, offers other books of typically similar content or style that readers might also enjoy, and then documents what people have actually purchased after looking at such titles. In the case of the F.U.B.A.R. page, these numbers are currently (at 10:50 AM ET, July 6):
What do customers ultimately buy after viewing items like this?
Over on Air America Radio on Monday, Sam Seder (Mr. FUBAR) was sitting in for Al Franken. Late in the show, he hosted the blogging artist known as Atrios, Duncan Black. Seder promised they would soon get into celebrating how Washington Post reporter Dana Priest "handed his ass" to Bill Bennett on "Meet the Press" Sunday, as we blogged yesterday.
Seder called Bennett a "bloviating gambling addict," but that charge wasn't wild enough. He then said Bennett's Book of Virtues left out the gambling, as well as "visiting a dominatrix when you're in Vegas as well," where Bennett allegedly had the dominatrix "do very, very strange odd things" to him. Is there any proof? Seder joked it would be "irresponsible as a commentator not to comment on that."
CNN commentator Jack Cafferty appeared for a phone interview on the leftist Stephanie Miller show on Tuesday (9:30 AM D.C. radio time), as Miller oozed over how much she loved his "anti-Bush administration rants" and joked that the country needs "President Jack Cafferty." When the show's impressionist, Jim Ward, started doing a rather underwhelming Wolf Blitzer impression, suggesting Blitzer thinks President Bush is on a historical plane with Churchill and Abe Lincoln, Cafferty was self-deprecating about their on-air relationship, saying something like (paraphrasing): "Wolf comes from a more traditional news background," so it's odd for Blitzer to sit next to a "fringe lunatic" like him.
Miller mentioned several times how Cafferty is on her "future husbands list," and asked Cafferty for his take on the two soldiers found killed in Iraq today. He said there was not much to say, it's "horrible," and then sounded a lot like a Murtha: it's "time to get the Hell out of there...pack up and come home. Enough already." He claimed he was "not a peacenik," but the war "just reeks" and has "no upside" for America.
Air America Radio seemed rather unimpressed by the Zarqawi story out of Iraq this morning. I caught some of the opening minutes of the Stephanie Miller show today. They were playing clips of the Rose Garden Bush remarks and just mocking his accent. "He's extra-twangy today," mocked Miller. The show's impressionist started doing Bush in a William Buckley-esque Connecticut accent, implying the Texas talk is all phony.
Then they began joking "we're auditioning for a new boogey-man," as if Zarqawi was a phantom in a closet. (A caller later suggested Simon Cowell host the boogey-man auditions.) By 9:15, the show shifted back to automatic pilot, mocking Gary Bauer's appearance on Fox with John Gibson on opposition to "gay marriage." (They also mocked Tony Perkins on the same subject on Hardball.)
How quickly can you hear a falsehood on the Al Franken Show on Air America Radio? Well, today, for me, it was about 15 seconds. (Is that a world record?)
I flipped on my radio. Bill O'Reilly was on commercials. So was Dennis Prager. I pressed a button, and for the first time in months, I stumbled upon the voice of Al Franken on Air America Radio. He was interviewing a guest, a nice, but naive-sounding, woman whom I later found out to be Anya Kamenetz.
In a few seconds, I heard that Al and her guest were discussing the economy, college, and the military. Within 15 seconds of tuning into Air America, Al's guest spewed the following whopper (audiotape on file):
"Well, the facts are this. The military is not meeting its recruiting targets. It's missing them year after year."
Yikes! Did she say "facts"? Well, here are some facts:
Because it’s been so heavily subsidized, you forget that Air America Radio hosts do shameless commercial plugs like any other talk-radio star. I’ve heard Al Franken chat about his Craft-Matic adjustable mattress, for example. Today checking out the Stephanie Miller show on DC's Progressive Talk 1260, the hopeless Bush-hater turned into a commercial pitch-woman by hosting Roger Schlesinger of Manhattan West real estate, the “Mortgage Minute Guy,” as he discussed the hot new trend toward second homes, and how they can set you up smartly in the Las Vegas area or the Coachella Valley in California. Liberal Air America fans shouldn't be buying second homes, when there's so many charitable causes to support, like say, paying back Air America's robbing the kids of the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club?
According to the May 12 Today show, if you’re an "ordinary" American, you should be afraid of the President’s "snooping." Using the time honored media tradition of word repetition, the NBC program sought to portray the NSA’s gathering of phone numbers as highly sinister. In a report that aired at 7:07AM EDT, reporter Kelly O’Donnell stated that the phone records of "ordinary citizens" were compiled. In the 8AM hour, Ann Curry reported that the phone information of "millions of ordinary Americans" had been compiled. An hour later she again announced that those "ordinary Americans" had been targeted. Get it? It’s the average citizens who ought to be worried.
Media Week reports that Air America is about to lose the New York station that carries Air America, viewed as the liberal answer to Rush Limbaugh, et al. And what a shame it is to lose a station with the call letters WLIB. Having a diversity of opinion is always a good thing, but the media have propped up a dead horse while not realizing that liberals prefer other formats to get their daily fix of Bush bashing.
Air America Radio will lose its New York flagship station, WLIB-AM, on Aug. 31. While the left-leaning radio network’s original lease for the Inner City station ran out March 31, AAR managed to get an extension which only lasts until Aug. 31, according to an informed source.
Matt Drudge reports that Air America Radio has been failing in New York of all places. Also, "Crashing the Gate," the book made by the creator of the liberal Daily Kos ("the most read blog on the internet," as he states), has only sold 2,062 copies in book stores.
Left-leaning new media has hit turbulence at the marketplace, newly released stats show.
A book hyped by major media as documenting a progressive revolution of "blogs" and political power, DAILY KOS 'CRASHING THE GATE,' has sold only 3,630 copies since its release last month, according to NIELSEN's BOOKSCAN.
In his recent book Pants on Fire: How Al Franken Lies, Smears, and Deceives, Alan Skorski (who has been featured on C-SPAN's Book TV) analyzed Al Franken's body of so-called "research," including his 2003 bestselling book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Skorski provides compelling evidence that "Franken appears to have plagiarized" passages of his book from a 2001 report on the Fox News Channel by the liberal organization FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting). Skorski's most striking examples:
Even Fox's "left-right" debate show, Hannity & Colmes--whose Crossfire-style format virtually imposes numerical equality between conservatives and "liberals"--can't shake the impression of resembling a Harlem Globetrotters game ...
FRANKEN, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them (Dutton, 2003, hardcover 1st edition), page 63:
For those of you unfamiliar with the Hannity and Colmes dynamic, it's a conservative-versus-liberal talking head show, kind of a combination between Crossfire and a Harlem Globetrotters game.
--- Just to stay afloat, it requires constant cash infusions from Rob Glaser and George Soros.
--- To sustain a bloated management and staff structure, company spending remains outrageous, with lavish salaries, perks and other benefits. Franken and some of its other hosts are compensated at rates up to ten times industry norms.
--- Does the firm ever intend to make money, or is it merely a political operation?
--- From skits advocating violence against President Bush, to the Gloria Wise taxpayer funds transfer scandal, Air America has had a nearly endless knack for generating bad publicity.
The New York Post is reporting that the liberal radio network Air America might be about to lose its big New York station (hat tip to Drudge):
“AIR America is close to losing its New York flagship station - knocking Al Franken and his liberal colleagues off the air on their second anniversary.
“The network has a two-year lease with WLIB (AM 1190) that is reportedly set to expire April 1 - and at least one reliable report says it is ‘extremely likely’ the deal will not be renewed.”
How can this be? Isn’t there a HUGE demand for this kind of liberal broadcasting…especially in this part of the country? Well, as has been well documented by the new media – and largely ignored by the antiques – AA has a bit of a financial problem. Apparently, things have NOT improved:
While Air America Radio's loss of two affiliates in Phoenix and
Missoula, Montana is generating news this week, the company itself probably
hasn't been able to give either city a second thought.
Why? In a
development sure to rip the heart right out of the liberal radio network's
already ailing body, it appears extremely likely their leased New York City
flagship station WLIB-AM will soon abandon Air America programming.
worse, litigation looks probable over the station's lease.
At the very end of this post on January 27, I asked this question about Air America Radio (AAR), which at the time was surviving by the good graces of one rich guy's wallet:
Are Al Franken’s ridiculously outsized earnings (including a LOT of money up-front) from a network that is funded by one guy a “clever” way of circumventing campaign-finance law and underwriting a possible Franken run for the US Senate in Minnesota?
My question only concerned Franken. But now that The Democracy Alliance (no working web site; an April 2005 article about the organization's plans is here), a far-left liberal group that includes billionaire George Soros, Peter "the Progressive" (Insurance) Lewis, and Rob "Meathead" Reiner as prominent members, has, according to Radio Equalizer Brian Maloney, promised to underwrite up to $8 million of Air America Radio's future losses, the scope of the question has expanded, and others are asking it, including Bill O'Reilly at Fox News. In an interview on O'Reilly's TV show (transcript here), Cleta Mitchell, an attorney who specializes in campaign finance law, called AAR's financial maneuvers "money laundering."
Brian also makes an important point for those who thought that AAR would actually compete with the rest of Talk Radio as we currently know it:
The Washington Post gossip columnists Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger report today that Air America night-time radio host Mike Malloy sent a nasty response to an invitation to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference -- which Air America colleague Al Franken attended for a debate last year:
"Um . . . you're kidding, right? Why would I have any desire whatsoever to attend or participate in a convocation of neo-Nazis????? I had two uncles fight against you [expletive] in WW2. And, now, surprise! surprise! here you all are on US soil. Kindly get the [expletive] off my email. Thanks."
[CPAC Media Director Andrea] Saul said she was stunned by his response. "I'm all for a difference of opinion, but this is entirely uncalled-for, and all the more offensive when you consider that I'm Jewish, lost family in the Holocaust and had a grandfather almost killed during WWII." Her complaints to Air America execs have gone unanswered. A spokeswoman said the network would have no comment.
Tasteless personal attacks are nothing new on Air America Radio, but some deserve special mentioning. Coming out of a taped skit at the beginning of the second hour of her afternoon show on Friday (January 13, 2005), here's the incomparable Randi Rhodes (emphasis mine / audiotape on file):
Comedian and “Air America” radio host Al Franken was on NBC’s “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” last night, and took the opportunity to defame all three of America’s leading conservative media personalities. First, O’Brien set him up nicely by asking:
“I’m curious. How do your books sell compared to say the books by you know, Rush Limbaugh or O’Reilly? The books from the right, 'cause I know those, those are popular books, too.”
Are overtly liberal media ventures like Air America or Al Gore's Current TV doomed to failure? Yes, according to NBC Universal president Bob Wright.
The media exec ventured this opinion during an interview with his MSNBC employee Tucker Carlson at a media symposium. Broadcasting & Cable gives this account:
Carlson made a suggestion: Why not start a channel that overtly caters to liberals? "There's tons of liberals out there," Carlson said.
Going after a lefty audience would be futile, Wright said. "For some strange, probably genetic, reasons"—we're pretty sure that was a joke—"they don't listen to a lot of radio and they don't watch a lot of television."
Another disincentive: Despite all the media attention given to cable-news programming—from Bill O'Reilly's histrionics on Fox to Anderson Cooper's exhibitionistic empathy at CNN—American viewers are not all that interested. Wright pointed out that the cable-news networks combined draw fewer unique viewers all night long than a single half-hour of NBC Nightly News.
"You'd think it would be 25 million people. It's smaller than that, it's 5 million-6 million," Wright said. "It's not a very large group."
Unsaid by Wright was that programs hosted by outspoken and overtly liberal talking heads are going after a market that's already saturated with shows hosted by people who won't admit they're liberal.
A couple of years ago, when Fox News sued Al Franken over the use of the trademark "Fair and Balanced" on his book cover, many in the MSM were happy to play it up big time. Franken's Lies book shot to #1 with the help of all the free publicity.
Today, the tables may be turning. How will the media react if Al Franken decides to file a lawsuit of his own against a conservative writer? According to Peter Schweizer, author of a new book Do As I Say (Not As I Do), Franken is threatening to sue him over material in his book that Franken's lawyer says is "legally actionable."