The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

20 June 2005

Air America's New Outrageous Claims

Is Frankenitis Contagious?

Could Be Time To Quarantine Air America's Headquarters

We've heard some pretty outrageous claims made about Air America's programming in recent months: that it was available to 60% of Americans via radio, that liberal (including non-Air America) talk shows have grown faster than Rush did in his first year.

And we were lectured on the "fact" that radio ratings weren't available to the public, therefore we couldn't possibly know whether the network was performing well, or not.

But all of those gems, with room-clearing speeches thrown in for good measure, came from one mouth: Al Franken's (the Rush comparisons have also been made by other hosts).

So imagine the Radio Equalizer's surprise to find equally over-the-top statements made not by Stuart Smalley, but Air America Radio President Gary Krantz, instead.

Is Frankenitis a contagious affliction? If so, it's time to bring the vaccine to AA headquarters.

An Arizona Republic article by Peter Corbett on Air America's progress, tied to a Randi Rhodes visit to the state, contains some of the most unreal claims yet made about the network's performance.

They include unsubstantiated claims of a large Air America audience and incorrect characterizations of ratings performance in one key city.

Let's pick this story apart line-by-line:

Air America has succeeded in creating a buzz about its liberal format and the idea that talk radio should have different points of view, (Michael) Harrison (of Talkers Magazine) said.

However, it's too early to tell if Air America and other liberal-radio enterprises that have emerged in the past few years are financially viable, he said.

No problem here, yes, they get a lot of press, sure, there's still a snowball's chance they might survive.

Air America struggled financially last summer after its launch in March 2004. But the
New York Times observed this week that the network is gaining traction.

Did the Times really say that? Yes, here:

Mr. Franken continues to hedge his bets, partly because Air America seems to be gaining some traction.

"I am not sure that I am running yet," he said, sitting in the concert hall's green room before his appearance. "Part of the calculus is where the radio show goes. I don't want to leave them in the lurch."

Sure enough, there it is in the Times, but there isn't a single shred of evidence to back up the statement! How is it gaining traction? Not a word of explanation.

Now back to the Arizona Republic story:

And it did not hurt that Talkers magazine gave Franken its Freedom of Speech award earlier this month.

Actually, it did hurt Franken, he looked like a fool. Didn't this news reach Arizona?

Gary Krantz, president of New York-based Air America, said the network is financially stable and revenue is growing.

Air America has grown to 64 from 15 affiliates. The liberal talk network is in 18 of the nation's top 20 radio markets and has increased its audience by 265 percent to more than 3 million people, he said.

WOW, here's where Frankenitis takes over! Mr. Krantz, have you been in for a check-up recently? Let's take this step by step:

1. Even if Air America's in 18 of 20 top markets, the stations are tiny and the ratings smaller. What's the significance of this number?

2. Do the 64 affiliates carry ALL of Air America's programming, or just parts of it, even a single show?

3. From where did they get their "three million listeners" claim? From their butts, as Franken likes to say?

Given that not one AAR host ranks in the top 25 for national listenership, how is this possible?

Would they care to back this up with real data for this site, as well as the others in the media who have repeatedly asked for this information? Sixty-four stations with tiny or zero ratings, plus the online listenership, can't possibly equal anywhere near that figure.

That includes Portland, Ore., where Air America is the top-rated talk-radio station in the market.

In the broadest ratings measurement of all listeners twelve and older, as published in Radio and Records, Portland's KPOJ ranks as the number three talk station, behind two conservative outlets. And, they were down in the most recent figures.

I was tempted to blame the Arizona Republic reporter for the huge problems in this story, but I'm not sure it would be fair.

After all, who can expect him to know he's being fed a load of you-know-what? And he did accurately quote the New York Times, as it slobbered all over Franken at an event.

Today, a new radio ratings roll-out begins with New York City, we'll have the latest here after 5pm EDT. As other cities see their data released later in the week, it will be updated.

Air America had better hope for some real improvement this month, because at some point, even the liberal media might discover they're not doing so terribly well.

(Welcome Little Green Footballs, Orbusmax, Free Republic and other new readers.)


  • You're right on the money, here. Frankin-Net is a fraud. All you have to do is look at the ratings. The programs all lack one thing: INTERESTING talk and FACTS. People are not swallowing the liberal tripe and FrankinCo will be done within a year.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 June, 2005 10:05  

  • They lost me the first week when Randi Rhodes started screaming at Ralph Nader because he ran for president last year. Nader was theoretically a guest.

    Terrific start.

    By Blogger tradersmith, at 20 June, 2005 10:52  

  • BEST SINGLE SOURCE ON WHO AND WHAT THE LOONIE LEFT REALLY IS...the party of Paranoia and fraud--Rathergate and DowningStreetgate--lets you know who they are every day, its absolutely Durbinesque.

    High insanity...and very campy!

    By Blogger CapitalGain, at 20 June, 2005 13:38  

  • Think of it this way -- every dime spent on Airhead America is a dime that doesn't go to Heillary Clinton's campaign chest.

    It's a win-win scenario for everyone but Heillary. Works for me.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 June, 2005 14:07  

  • The AZ Republic is my local rag and I read that article. I actually had to laugh about how ill-informed the reporter was. Air America not only has a whopping 0.9 in Phoenix (which is way down the list) but I read recently that it doesn't even show up in the ratings in Boston and DC!

    By Blogger Don Miguel, at 20 June, 2005 14:39  

  • Let "Air America" live...
    Can you say, "fairness doctrine"? Randi Rhodes can. The left does not understand a market driven system.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 June, 2005 14:41  

  • Bri-
    I saw Elvis and he said that he loves you, man!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 June, 2005 15:30  

  • It's laughable how leftists like Franken constantly harp on cases of corporate hype and crime (i.e. Enron, Worldcom, etc.), yet his employer is doing the same thing in regards to their ratings - issuing overhyped public statements about how well the company is doing with no solid data to back those claims up.

    Alos, if other 'regular' companies did some of the things that Air America did in its first year (didn't pay promised employee medical premiums, etc), they would be in court.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 June, 2005 16:03  

  • Is the Hillbilly Heroin Stil Tearing At Rush's Number One Market?

    The Rush Limbaugh premiere station is still on it's rapid dive. Falling below some maryjane induced Reggea, while hard news WINS holds a clear lead.

    New York wingnuts lament that the Rush Station, WABC continues it's free fall, dropping from an Arbitron of 4.5 in the fall to 3.2.

    Liberal upstart, WLIB, not only continues to retain market share, but shows modest growth. There's much more significant growth in the number 1 market's suburbs, perhaps due to the addition of popular communist, Jerry Springer. Stay at home moms and other family value real Americans seem to be tuning in in droves.

    The Bill O'Lielly station is still holding well to the barely alive demographic.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 20 June, 2005 18:57  

  • What's the purpose of your rant? You either agree with the points in the article but say "so what?", or you say "I don't believe it". But you don't offer anything to counter what you disbelieve. Just because you hate AA and want to see more data doesn't mean that they said anything untrue. Heck, you're supposedly in the radio business... go get the Nielsen or Arbitron numbers and post some proof of your opinion. Otherwise you're just laughably mimicking the article you're attacking, with absolutely nothing more substantive than what AA is claiming.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 June, 2005 19:04  

  • The weak signal, WLIB, contiues to add makret share in the boonies of New Jersey.

    Middlesex and Union counties of New Jersey have show an appitite for Al Franken, Randi Rhodes, and Mike Malloy. The liberal station has shown a google percent increase in listeners between the first and second part of the spring arbitrons.

    WingNut radio is still on a rapid decline in this rapid growing outskirt of the number one market of New York. Could it be that the suburb market is rejecting the dominance of hillbilly heroin talk and his hate speech wannabe?

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 20 June, 2005 19:18  

  • Dick Tuck:
    "Could it be that the suburb market is rejecting the dominance of hillbilly heroin talk and his hate speech wannabe?"

    Which hate speech would that be? The one spouted by "hillbilly heroin wannabe wingnuts"? Or enlightened tolerent folks like yourself?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 20 June, 2005 22:33  

  • As a former radio insider, I think I can shed a slight bit of light on things:

    WLIB has ratings that went up .1 share. That's disappointing from all standards put forth. When a station cannot manage anything but a .1, that station's employees are on alert that if they do not turn the station around and get more...they are fired.

    The fact that they are also 24th in ranking shows, simply, that they cannot compete. They are a fish out of water in NYC.

    Portland, Oregon...they are the only city that has substantial growth and stability. But places like Minneapolis, Chicago, Dallas, or even Phoenix? It just ain't there.

    And Dick Tuck needs to understand this.

    By Blogger Sailor Republica, at 20 June, 2005 23:52  

  • Sailor:

    Try not to bring up facts for Little Dick. He has a problem, when confronted by them. ErrAmerika is a profound loser and he knows it. And we know it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 June, 2005 09:21  

  • Boston will have a ratings update on the 23rd according to Radio and Records. In the most recent (5/26/05) ratings for 12 and older:

    WRKO (conservative talk) 4.3
    WTKK (conservative talk) 3.7

    You will not see any listing for WXKS and WKOX, the two stations running Air America in Boston. That's because they
    got a 0.0! (or at least below 0.4--not sure what cutoff point is for "audience too low to measure"). Boston!

    And libs say "they're on two small stations with weak
    signals". Actually during the day (and to some extent at night) the two stations can be heard quite well in the Boston area. WXKS is located in Medford about 5 miles from
    downtown and well within reach of Cambridge, etc. So
    why the no-show in ratings?

    Libs say, "They're not being well-promoted!" They forgot the many articles (often praising the network) in the liberal
    Globe and even the conservative Herald. They forgot the
    billboards and taxi tops with Franken's ugly mug that
    Clear Channel put up all over Beantown. They forgot that
    TV stations like WBZ/4 did puff pieces on Air America.
    So why the no-show in ratings?

    A Boston radio station owner (who is liberal) came out and admitted it: their programming is simply not good. --Bob "raccoonradio" Nelson

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 June, 2005 12:03  

  • Guys, I'm pretty sure Dick Tuck is joking. In his first post, he describes Jerry Springer as a "popular communist" and in his second he cites a "googol percent increase in listeners."

    If he were really agreeing with the leftist hype, I don't think he'd be using either of those phrases. Fellow travellers don't call their allies communists, and nobody takes "googol" seriously as a number.

    By Blogger Nucular Nate, at 22 June, 2005 13:57  

  • First of all, if Air America is so ineffective why do any of you care? Secondly, if you are so concerned with accuracy wouldn't it be in your best interests to focus a critical eye on conservatives as well as liberals?

    By Blogger Louder Than a Bomb, at 22 June, 2005 21:10  

  • Why do we care? Because we wish to be caring. See, we're tolerant...We're willing to let Air America try it's hand, and laugh as it fails miserably in the important markets.

    Softball comments...way overrated.

    By Blogger Sailor Republica, at 22 June, 2005 22:40  

  • The irony is that among the hard-left, Franken is considered Republican-lite, as was Bill Clinton. So, the face of Air America doesn't represent its listenership.

    The real voice of Air America is Mike Malloy, a screaming unentertaining leftist mental patient.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 22 June, 2005 23:21  

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