The sale of Air America Radio to the Green Family was completed today. As suspected, Mark Green, brother of the principle investor, Stephen L. Green, will take a prominent role in the management of AAR. He will be president and his brother Stephen, chairman of the board.
Scott Elsberg will stay on as COO and Terry Kelly’s, Progressive Radio Group and Rob Glazer’s Democracy Allies will be minority shareholders.
"We’re obviously thrilled and relieved that the Green family will now take control of Air America and help take it to a new level," said Elberg. "We look forward to expanding our audienceand continuing to give a voice to the progressive movement in this country."
"Air America is a great idea and iconic name, but it’s also been an underperforming asset with unrealized potential," said Stephen L. Green. "We intend to stabilize its structure, programming and balance sheet – and then to turn it around by next year. I’m a businessman used to making money and Air America will be no exception."
"We plan on a two-step turnaround to make this great brand Air America 2.0," added Mark Green. "First, we'll make sure our programming stays informative, sharp and entertaining – so that it's appealing to a growing audience and advertisers alike. Second, we’ll be thinking outside the radio box by creatively distributing great content across many platforms in the next years, including the web, video, mobile and broadband. We intend to become a must-hear content site for all people interested in truth, justice and the Air American way."
Green announced the his first initiatives as AAR's new presdent in a article today in Huffington Post. Those initiatives include a challenge to the New Hampshire Republican Party and the Editorial Page Editor of the New York Posts.
Green stated in his Huff Po piece that he had contacted the New Hampshire Republican Party and the New York Post editorial page.
"Since the Democratic Party of Nevada actually invited Fox News to host that state's Democratic debate," Green stated. "I asked if Air America could host the first Republican debate in New Hampshire, assuring them that "we too can be fair and balanced."
And to Bob McManus, editorial page editor of The New York Post, I proposed that he come on Air America to discuss his views and that Air America commentators would in turn once-a-month write an op-ed on his pages, because 'it's better to exchange ideas than insults.' His 500,000 readers should hear from us and our 2 million+ audience should hear from him."
The new owners will have to do a lot of thinking both inside and out of the box to turn around struggling AAR venture. Over the past year, 20 stations have dropped AAR programming and only two have signed on as affiliates. A month ago , their top talker and high profile spokesman, Al Franken, left to pursue a career in politics, and there are signs that some of the remaining affiliates, like KTLK in Los Angeles, are moving away from the AAR brand.