Liberal Extremism Doomed Air America's Success
This was certainly a bizarre headline to see in Monday’s New York Times: “After Bankruptcy Filing, Recriminations Fly at Air America.” Now, follow that up with these opening paragraphs (emphasis mine throughout):
In its search for a new chief executive this past summer, Air America Radio interviewed seasoned media executives in an effort to revive the faltering network. One interview took a bizarre turn, however, when the executive got into a political argument with Randi Rhodes, one of the network’s on-air hosts.
“I laughed and said, ‘You sound like Republican talking points,’ ” Ms. Rhodes recalled.
Yep. That’ll certainly help you recruit a top executive, Randi! Nice job! Yet, that was just the beginning of a startling analyis from an unlikely source as to how extreme liberal views made the success of this network almost impossible:
At Air America, business and politics always mixed, and that was the problem, critics contend…Detractors label the liberal network’s programming as combative, one-note and emotional. At least its business dealings seem to fit that last description…The search for new investors and managers has been marred by infighting among those who want the network to succeed, according to people in the organization.
Hmmm. You mean extreme liberal ideology can interfere with a corporation’s ability to succeed? Who’d of thunk it?
Fortunately for us, the chuckles in this article hadn’t ended: "This is only the latest twist in the short but contentious history of Air America. At the root of its problems, some critics and competitors say, has been an inability to negotiate a middle path between its political mission and its business.”
Another element that won’t be at all surprising to some was how poorly these folks managed the finances of the network:
Air America ran into financial trouble within days of its appearance on March 31, 2004, when it turned out that its original chairman, Evan Cohen, did not have the backing he said he did. […]
Some people at Air America assert that, under Mr. Glaser and the team he put in place, the network was top-heavy with management, inept at selling ads, unwilling to make program compromises that veered from the liberal message and overstaffed with more than 100 employees when two dozen would have sufficed.
“What they did for $45 million they could have done for $10 million,” said Sheldon Drobny, an investor with a contentious relationship with the network.
Hmmm. Liberals overspending. What a shock. But, hold on to your seats, for the best was still yet to come: “Mr. Kelly said he was disappointed that rich Democrats did not step up to support the network’s political goals. On fund-raising calls, he said, he was often turned down because the business plan was too risky.”
Marvelous. So, these folks wanted rich Democrats to fund their operation, but didn’t understand that such folks actually were interested in the quality of their investment.
I’m verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves.