Thursday, August 02, 2007

"The Air Americans" to be Grounded in September

A big shake-up is in the works at Air America Radio. Mark Riley, one of the three original AAR hosts still on the air (Randi Rhodes and Rachel Maddow are the other ones) will be gone and so will Riley’s nightly ensemble show The Air Americans to be replaced by a pair of two-hour talk shows. AAR weekend host, Richard Greene will move his show to weeknights – 8-10pm and Bree Walker, who has been hosting a weekend show on KTLK-AM in Los Angeles, will yak from 10pm-midnight.

Greene is new to talk radio, but not to talking and politics. His current AAR show –Clout with Richard Greene, which airs on Saturday Nights from 8-10pm, was launched just a few months ago. Prior to the start of his AAR show, Greene was known as speech coach, author, and political activist. He wrote a book on public speaking called Words That Shook the World and on his website there is a description of a high school public speaking contest.

According to Greene who's weekday show on AAR, which will also be called Clout! will "give Air America listeners ways to get involved, influence the political process and show their 'clout'." The show will include briefings from Majority Leader Harry Reid and Congressman Charlie Rangel, a "Cause of The Week" segment and the regular use of informed and passionate celebrities/VIPs to serve as co-hosts.

Walker on the other hand is broadcast news pro. She has had a 25-year career that started on KGTV, Channel 10 in San Diego in 1980. Walker was both a news reporter and anchor in San Diego, winning several awards and taking the station to number one in the market. She also was an anchor on WCBS, Channel 2 in New York and KCBS, Channel 2 in Los Angeles.

After leaving KCBS five years ago, she focused on disability rights and social activism eventually returning to broadcasting at KTLK where she has hosted a weekly talk show on Saturday’s from 2-4pm.

Walker generated national attention about month ago, when she purchased Camp Casey near the Texas retreat of President Bush, where anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan has conducted a two-year vigil on behalf of her son who killed in action in Iraq.

It is not surprising that AAR has cancelled The Air Americans. The ratings have been low and while Riley’s morning show on the lib talk network had as many as 40 affiliates, The Air Americans have only been picked up by just over a dozen stations. Four contributing hosts on the show – Robert Kennedy Jr., Mike Popantonio, David Bender, and Laura Flanders will continue to appear on weekend AAR programs.

Meanwhile, AAR’s other new weekday show – hosted by Lionel from 9am-noon is also not doing well. While the veteran broadcaster was carried by dozens of stations when he was offered as a late night talker by WOR Syndication, his morning AAR show has only been picked up by 15 stations.

(Talking Radio will be publishing its quarterly ranking of the Top Syndicated Liberal Show Hosts next week. The ranking will gauge the performance all the AAR weekday hosts as well as other syndicated talkers like Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller, Bill Press and others.)

Meanwhile the staff of the embattled lib talk network, which was rescued from bankruptcy earlier this year by Stephen and Mark Green, continues to shrink.

According to four AAR staffers have been let go and AAR’s current staff has been cut back to 44 people. It was double that size about a year ago.

Mark Green, who is President of AAR said that network is “continuing to cut costs and consolidate functions as we dramatically reduce our expenses and move toward profitability,”

Green also had nice things to say about Riley and his soon to be cancelled talk show.

"I'm especially grateful to Mark Riley, who has been an exemplary and loyal Air American since the very start of the network three years ago,” Green said. “From Mark and his producer Ron Dodd to the four staff members --all are consummate professionals who have done their jobs exceedingly well.”

The two new talk shows will start on September 4th. No other programming changes have been announced at this time.


Anonymous said...

Sad day. But I think it's time to see more prog stations other than AAR. Not only do we need more show hosts but more choices. I.E., In Los Angeles, there is KFI and KDAY. Both are conservative talk shows and both are doing OK. Still, Rush Limbaugh can't beat his competitor on CBS radio's KLSX 97.1 Free F.M. Frosty, Heidi and Frank. And morning guy on KFI, Bill Handel has taken FHF's sign off by apologizing to people he spoke rudely of.

On a lighter note, most right-winged listeners crow how Rush is successful. According to Arbitron, with more than 500 stations under his belt, Limbaugh has 10 million listeners. Ironically, that was from 30 million. A weird trend happened when former Talk show host from WXRK 106 F.M. Howard Stern left for Sirius Satellite, ratings dropped drastically. Again Limbaugh went from 30 million to 10 million and former CBS talk show host Don Imus went from a 1 share to 0.5. Everyone lost listeners...except for one show...that's Coast to Coast A.M.

Coast is on Premiere Radio Networks, a successful talk show hosted by George Noory and created by the newly retired host Art Bell. Bell interviewed guests pertaining to the occult, paranormal and downright spooky stuff. When Noory took over, Bell told Noory, "do what you think is right. Don't copy me, do your own thing" So Noory did and besides the traditional programs generally associated with Coast, Noory brought in the conspiracy theories. Noory has on: Alex Jones, Jim Marrs, Steven Quayle, Joyce Riley, Bev Harris, and many others who have criticized the Bush as well as previous administrations for corruption as well as their association with secretive society like: Skull and Bones, the CFR, Trilateral commission, Illuminati and it was Coast who exposed that Ports World ran and secured ports on the East Coast as well as Texas by the country of Dubai, a known country according to intelligence that houses terrorists. Coast is so powerful that Michael Wiener BKA Michael Savage has stopped calling Coast the woo woo show and is giving credit to Noory and his crew for exposing the Patriot Act as a "tool for the Illuminati."

Conservative radio is fading and hosts like Limbaugh may see his ratings drop as well as his career. Stern once said that Limbaugh is a failure at radio, he tried top 40, but as a D.J. was terrible. People are sick and tired of the same Democratic bashing, lies and half truths that Limbaugh spews, that when a Coast member calls into his show, Limbaugh stammers badly and tries his best to not insult the listener or be on the bad side of the Coast family. Oh and Limbaugh saw Alex Jones' Dark Secrets: Inside Bohemian, he thought it was a great horror film, that is until his researchers confirmed everything Jones uncovered.

So right now is a great time to build up progressive radio, the right is failing and their poster children are doing terribly. Firing hosts won't resolve the problem, maybe it's time that the AAR brass work with CBS radio and see if together, they can make prog radio the power source it should be.

barooosk said...

Most right-winged listeners crow how Rush is successful. According to Arbitron, with more than 500 stations under his belt, Limbaugh has 10 million listeners. Ironically, that was from 30 million.

Good point. Eight years ago News/talk had 14.3 share of radio listenership. Today, in spite of the fact, that a bunch of of new talk hosts have launched shows. (e.g. Hannity,O'Reilly, Beck, Ingraham, Levin, Boortz etc -- the format is still stuck at a 14.3 s. Why is talk "maxxed out" when Sports radio grew from 2.1 to 3.2, (52%) Spanish from 6.7 to 11.2, (67%) Religious from 2.1 to 2.9 (38%) and Urban from 8.2 to 10.1 (23%)

Limbaugh's 70% audience decline has something to do with this.

RFKJr. said...

Bill said...

I'd like to see the source that says KLSX beats Rush on KFI.

I also would like to see the sources that alledge Rush has lost 70% of his audience.

Finally, I'd say with all the additional platforms available, talk radio maintaining it's share is pretty remarkable. How does this compare with other formats?

Missy said...

The AAR execs just don't get it. This was the perfect opportunity to bring back Sam Seder to weeknights. Sam has the largest following of all the AAR talkers.

barooosk said...

I'd like to see the source that says KLSX beats Rush on KFI.

I didn't say that -- anonymous did, but it can easily be confirmed if you get your hands on the Arbitron Book for LA

I also would like to see the sources that alledge Rush has lost 70% of his audience.

Ratings are not tracked nationally, but by markets. Bill Handel, morning guy for KFI in L.A.(the market with most radio listeners) and the number 1 local talk host in the country said at the R&R Talk Radio Seminar in March that "Limbaugh has only 1/3 of the listeners that he had ten years ago in L.A.

Finally, I'd say with all the additional platforms available, talk radio maintaining it's share is pretty remarkable. How does this compare with other formats?

Yes, it true that radio listenership is down about 6% in the last ten years, but this has nothing to do with format shares.

Just about every music format is down -- CHR, AOR, AC, Oldies, etc. are down. As I noted above at least four formats are up.

Sports radio grew from 2.1 to 3.2, (52%) Spanish from 6.7 to 11.2, (67%) Religious from 2.1 to 2.9 (38%) and Urban from 8.2 to 10.1 (23%)

As I stated talk radio is unchanged at 14%

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised that the Air Americans is going away. I've tried to be supportive, but the show is dull - and is a mistake for West Coast PM drive time. I've listened to Clout since it started and it's a good show. I've only listened to Bree Walker once the day she spoke with Cindy Sheehan about buying Camp Casey. I think a much better choice would have been to put Sam Seder back on at that time -- and ADVERTISE! Sam has a big following and has been with AAR since day 1. In the beginning he was kind of iffy, but has really matured into an outstanding onair personality - better without Jeanane Garafalo than with her. I know cash is still tight for AAR, but they need to figure out some way of advertising. I live in the DC area and have NEVER seen an ad on either TV or in the news media. The station here is low wattage too, which makes it worse. AAR needs to focus on its large market areas and ADVERTISE!

Bill said...

This may come as a shock but talk hosts - liberal and conservative - have a way of playing with facts and figures. Just because Mr. Handel says it is so, doesn't make it so. Even if Anon is correct in stating LA numbers are down 70% in ten years, doesn't coralate to the programs performance overall.

Finally, thank you for helping to make my point...although there are many more competing platforms, most formats have gone down, a few have gone up, but talk - mostly the consero-talk vareity - continues to be the big dog.

PS - I'm stunned to read that KLSX is actualy beating Rush head to head...really? In key demos?

got kids said...

I have yet to figure out what happened to Sam Seder. The conspiracy theorist in me says it was his criticism of AIPAC that got him in hot water. If true, what a shame.

Godammitkitty said...

Count me among those who miss Sam Seder's weekday (and weeknight) shows. Having him on for 3h on Sundays isn't enough :(

He's a voracious reader, bright, insightful and funny as hell.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that AAR lasted so long. It was boring, inacurate, and at times hostile. I have been a Demo Patriot since my parents came over to this contry from Russia in 92. I.E. 1892 for you guys who are messing up are party. I, on one hand, as a non-combatant, to hear Bar. say he is going to attact a foreign country (PaK), and Hillary undeciseive as ever any woman could be, I am loosing all hope for this party. AS a FEMALE, consertive type Democrat here is what is most important to me, in order of importance. Southern boarder, my parents worked very, very hard for thier citizenship. Troops out of Iraq, now. Health care, I am a baby boomer, and not only do I vote, but I contribute,; any type of prejudice against gay rights in the USA.

Anonymous said...

HEY anonymous at 2:22, yes you, the conservative type FEMALE Democrat babyboomer, might I suggest you go back to school and learn how to spell? And might I add that in stating that Hillary (who I personally do not support) is as "indecisive as any female" you are a disgrace to all women and all Democrats.

Anonymous said...

Whatever... So, when will NovaM be able to pick up Sam? Then move Randi over there... and Thomm can float around... and kick AAR to the floor... I used to listen all day. Now? Cannot stand it. two words - BORE Ing! ... Sad but true.

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David said...

On January 21, 2010, Air America announced that it would immediately cease programming, and the company would file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy ; citing some of the following reasons on their website:
The very difficult economic environment has had a significant impact on Air America's business. This past year has seen a "perfect storm" in the media industry generally. National and local advertising revenues have fallen drastically, causing many media companies nationwide to fold or seek bankruptcy protection. From large to small, recent bankruptcies like Citadel Broadcasting and closures like that of the industry's long-time trade publication Radio and Records have signaled that these are very difficult and rapidly changing times.

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