Friday, December 08, 2006

The Deflating of Air America
Good News and Bad New for
Air America

This has been a rough couple of weeks for lib talk in general and Air America Radio in particular. The bad news is that five stations have dropped lib talk since AAR filed for bankruptcy about a month ago. – WYOS in Binghamton, WSAI in Cincinnati, WXXM in Madison, WSMB in New Orleans, and WKBF in Quad Cities. The good news is that these stations only account for 4.6% of the AAR’s coverage and less than 1% of the lib network’s ratings.

Meanwhile, the wait continues on whether AAR will be able to secure new management as they attempt to get out of bankruptcy. The Court has given current AAR management an extension on their deadline to come up with a management plan as they continue to operate with $2.7 million loan. A report yesterday in the highly unreliable Radio Equalizer blog stated that a new management team headed up by two executives with Showtime Networks -- Mark Greenberg and Roy Langbord -- and former AAR CEO Doug Kreeger (see photo) was attempting to buy the struggling liberal network. Nothing has come across on this rumor today, so I guess we will have to wait until next week for an update.

Meanwhile over a dozen AAR affiliates have shaken up their program line-ups over the past two weeks. The shake-ups involve rescheduling lame duck Al Franken to late PM and giving the coveted time period to either Ed Schultz, who is now broadcasting live from noon to 3 pm EST. or in some cases to Thom Hartmann. The trend appears to be dropping AAR or downgrading AAR hosts and replacing them with hosts associated with other syndicators.

In a related development WHJJ in Providence has dropped two local liberal hosts – 13 year veteran Arlene Violet and Howie Bart, replacing them with syndicated right wingers Sean Hannity and Quinn & Rose. This appears to be nothing more than money saving move by Clear Channel which has been cutting staffers all over the country since they announced their plan to go private two weeks ago.

Finally, as if anyone was surprised, Radarline has confirmed that Al Franken will be leaving the lib talk network before the end of the year. Attributing their report to a "knowledgeable radio source" the Radarline piece goes to state that the source "expressed doubt that the new [AAR] owner could afford to employ Air America's two biggest names—Franken and Randi Rhodes. According to the bankruptcy filing Franken is owed $360,749.98 by AAR.

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