The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

16 August 2005

Possible Turmoil Inside Air America

Internal Dissent?

On-Air Hints, Plus Springer's Cincy Performance


Is Air America host Randi Rhodes having a hard time containing her frustration with the network?

After the Radio Equalizer's piece featuring a Rhodes memo demanding a private jet to accommodate her Texas travel needs, a number of people pointed out her increasing on-air irritation with the company.

I've been wondering just how long Air America's hosts could keep up the facade of peace and harmony. At what point do the floodgates open?

Reaction was swift to the release of Rhodes's memo, where conservatives such as Captain Ed blasted their lack of concern over $875,000 in diverted taxpayer funds, which apparently went to company coffers.

The money, intended for the Bronx-based Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club, has not been repaid by Air America Radio.

If they can't manage to repay it, as Al Franken says, how can they afford corporate jets?

Liberals were either silent, or accused me of inventing her memo. The Radio Equalizer has not been contacted by Rhodes or Air America Radio.

Discussions of Randi's unhappiness actually originated from the left, in forums such as Democratic Underground and industry chat site Radio-Info.

The DU conversation, featuring Randi's supporters, mirrored some of the emails I've been receiving. From LibInTexas:

something happened on Monday of last week. I didn't hear the show as I was working, but apparently they had a big technical glitch while Randi was in Atlanta and they had to go to a "best of" for the remainder of the show.

Now, this is all speculation, but it looks to me like he (Tim) got the blame for it and AAR canned him. Randi has been dropping subtle hints about what a mess AAR is and how she's not real happy right now. I can guess that she's been told not to talk about it on the air.


Industry discussions follow the same line, that her producer was fired and a new one is being sought. My emailers also reported hearing these on-air "hints".

Rhodes apparently hasn't yet been able to clear the hurdles necessary to make the Crawford trip and there's no indication Air America's corporate jets will be waiting for her on the runway.

If Rhodes continues to gripe, will it lead to others doing the same?

It's getting harder to figure out what's still holding together this house of cards.

A liberal radio insider thinks Rhodes has exposed what's really wrong with Air America, a disconnect between their actions and the underlying ideological cause:

To simply say they're doing this Texas protest to distract from the (other) story is certainly supported by Rhodes calling the situation "Woodstock".

But I would also say that this is what Air America is about, a real horrible life story (Cindy Sheehan's) that's just ratings and fun for them, it goes way beyond just the story of Gloria Wise Boys And Girls Club, with or without it, the culture of AAR is simply about money.

Meanwhile, KSFO/San Francisco talk host Melanie Morgan's group Move America Forward is organizing a counterevent, to take on Cindy Sheehan's Crawford circus, that has Rhodes so excited:

Next week Move America Forward will be leading a caravan to Crawford, Texas - to present an alternative voice to that of Cindy Sheehan, who has become the heroine of the "Blame America First" crowd.

The Move America Forward's caravan (the "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy" tour) will consist of family members who have loved ones fighting in the war against terrorism - stationed in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

The truth is that the men and women in military and their families are the strongest supporters of the war on terrorism, and they do not agree with the message or antics of Cindy Sheehan.

Their voices must now be heard - and with your help we will make sure they ARE heard.
It is also important to note that every time there are stories that Americans do not support the troops fighting in Iraq it emboldens the terrorist insurgents fighting there.

We cannot allow MoveOn.org, Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan communicate a false sense of weakness to the terrorists overseas.


In Air America performance news, The Cincy Post weighs in with a rare, honest piece (for the MSM) on the network's local ratings and that of Jerry Springer himself. Especially interesting: it's Springer's hometown, where he was once mayor.

From Rick Bird's article:

Jerry Springer's radio talk show is hardly setting the city or the country on fire. Likewise the new liberal talk station WCKY-AM (1530), launched in January with Springer as its star attraction, remains barely a blip on the local ratings radar.


Nationally the liberal network Air America has mixed results since it launched 18 months ago with much media attention amidst a polarizing presidential campaign with the network positioned as the counterweight to conservative talk shows that dominate the nation's airwaves.

But programmers and sales managers, both at WCKY and New York-based Air America, continue to dismiss sluggish ratings insisting radio audiences take time to build with success or failure measured in years, not week.


In the latest Arbitron ratings covering April-June listening period, WCKY dropped from a 1.0 share in the winter quarter to a .08 in total listeners.
The station ranked 22nd - down from 19 - among 34 rated stations in the market.

The report says 40,800 listeners sample WCKY in the course of a week.
That compares to the 372,900 that check out No. 1-rated WLW during a week. WLW again finished first with a 9.9 share. WCKY did show a slight increase in 25 to 54-year-old listeners moving from 23rd to 20th place.

Arbitron ratings for the 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekday time period indicate that is the station's highest rated period, which includes the last two hours of Springer's show and the first two of Al Franken's, but still with a measly 1.1 share.

That time period fell from a 1.6 share in the winter book.


Springer hasn't picked up many stations and if he can't pull it off where he's known best as a political person, how would it ever get better elsewhere?

AAR/Franken by Darleen Click, City Kid$ by George Adair, Same 'Ol Bull by Pete at IHillary. Thanks again for your Amazon orders. They help to defray the Radio Equalizer's costs for an upcoming site upgrade.

45 Comments:

  • Once again...some backwater markets (Spokane, ranked #920 might have a spike or blip....but you look at the major markets....and Err Amerika is the USS Titanic and her bow is under the waves, and sinking fast.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 August, 2005 16:52  

  • How sick do you have to be to organize an event that pits grieiving parents against one another? Have we become so partisan that there is no longer common decency.
    Brian - you should be ashamed for promoting such an event. It's one thing to go down to Crawford and counter-demonstrate. It's another to want to "take on" the greiving mother of a dead soldier.

    By Anonymous Justin, at 16 August, 2005 16:54  

  • Justin - His true on-air moniker should by Lyin' Baloney the wingnut talk radio whore phoney!

    He'll stop at nothing to get back on the air again after failing so miserably.

    Nothing is beyond the pale for Baloney. The only thing anyone has to do to qualify as a target is to speak up against the mindless hate that is the wingnut agenda.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 August, 2005 16:59  

  • Sorry, Justin, but when a grandstanding woman like Sheehan takes the grave of her dead son to score political points....she deserves EVERYTHING she gets.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 August, 2005 17:08  

  • Anyone come up with where Rush Limbaugh's ratings were after 2 years on the air yet?
    By the way, Air America launched in May 2004, but if people want to keep saying that equals "2 years", go right on ahead.

    By Anonymous Mike, at 16 August, 2005 17:11  

  • Wasn't 1530 the dial position of WKRP in Cincinnati?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 August, 2005 17:25  

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 August, 2005 17:46  

  • Brian said: ” Now, this is all speculation”


    That the first honest thing I’ve see you say since you started talking about this. . .

    The fact is it IS ALL SPECULATION on your part. Time to find another story line.

    mickh

    By Anonymous mickh, at 16 August, 2005 17:57  

  • "Sorry, Justin, but when a grandstanding woman like Sheehan takes the grave of her dead son to score political points....she deserves EVERYTHING she gets."

    Really. Did she deserve to have that man drive his pickup over the memorial crosses of dead soldiers?

    By Anonymous Justin, at 16 August, 2005 18:19  

  • how many liberal blogs have even touched this story?

    Oliverwillis.com just mentioned it today, basically to blast the non-scandal and the "bias pimps"...

    By Blogger Nerdwallet, at 16 August, 2005 18:34  

  • It's not going to really be much of a scandal when no one's in any trouble, you know. AAR has promised to repay the money, even though there hasn't been any call for them to do so. They're doing that - not under duress of force - because it's the good and right thing to do. They're good people, not creepy criminals like more than a few mic jockeys on the phony-conservative side.
    If anything, I think you wing-nerds are most upset that Franken & co. aren't doing the deny-deny-deny "this is a witchhunt" dance the right wingers do whenever they're caught with their fingers or weiners (or felafels or whatnot) somewhere they shouldn't be.

    By Anonymous get over it, at 16 August, 2005 18:59  

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 August, 2005 19:39  

  • Perhaps she's trying to get fired. Doesn't Clear Channel have a left-leaning set of shows, too?

    By Blogger eLarson, at 16 August, 2005 20:16  

  • Get Over It - They improperly invested money from FEDERAL GRANTS.

    So, It's MY money, and I hereby make a formal demand that they repay ME!

    Just because their investment buddies at Gliria Wise aren't on board is irrelevant - they are the goofballs that gave them the money, and thought it was a good idea in the first place!

    You DO pay taxes, don't you? Or is that why you don't feel affeted by this?

    By Blogger Peter Porcupine, at 16 August, 2005 20:56  

  • "AAR has promised to repay the money, even though there hasn't been any call for them to do so."

    There has been calls to put the entire $875K into an escrow account set up by the NYDOI.

    From the NY Post 8/11/05:

    "The [city] Department of Investigation advised Air America to repay $875,000 into an escrow account from which no money can be disbursed without our approval," said DOI spokeswoman Emily Gest.

    "Air America has not followed that recommendation."

    BTW, it's not nice to futz with government people with "investigation" in their name. Not a good thing.

    By Anonymous Purple Raider, at 16 August, 2005 21:04  

  • Brian I always enjoy your site and comments. I'm going on 40 years in the radio biz.

    But today you 'slanted' a comment unfairly. Randi's memo said, "So I was hoping that someone in the company would let me use their jet?" You called that a 'demand'. Her 'request' certainly shows what her priorities are, but it was not a 'demand' huh?

    By Anonymous cloud master, at 16 August, 2005 21:17  

  • It saddens me that poor children must suffer so that leftist celebrities can live a luxurious lifestyle. Disabled adults must go without so that Air America's wastrels can piss money onto the street.

    Feeble minded apologists, minimize the tragedy, what evil fools. Nothing of worth in their lives at all.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 August, 2005 21:19  

  • Hey asshat! Next time you want to speculate about how I feel about the company, ask! You big no talent pussy! I heard your show in Seattle once. You really suck big time.

    By Anonymous Randi, at 16 August, 2005 21:26  

  • hey,
    does anyone know how is Alan Colmes' show doing. Personally, he's about the only liberal i can listen to, if only on hannity and colmes?

    Isn't he on fox radio? It cant be fox,can it?

    the republican radio arm of the bush administration

    By Blogger Nerdwallet, at 16 August, 2005 21:41  

  • Has anyone here ever heard this Maloney guy do radio? You'd get a better sound by plucking a string across a pigs ass.

    By Anonymous Randi, at 16 August, 2005 21:47  

  • We LOVE seeing you lefties come here and unravel! Keep it up! I want to hear more vulgar attacks on Brian please, and make sure you indict all of Christendom, call Rush a pill-popper, and God forbid you all have forgotten your Rove-spew!

    We love Howard Dean just as much as you do.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 August, 2005 22:28  

  • Randi Rhodes is just preparing for her inevitable departure. The facts are there for everyone to see @ www.radioandrecords.com/rrratings

    The only way they pick up stations is to pay for them. The only way they gain ratings is to remove their talkers. Randi is the WORST on air talent I have ever listened to. I have tried to listen, but after a minute or two my ears bleed. Her voice, her obvious dim wittedness, her lack of preparation, her rigged callers, the list goes on.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 August, 2005 23:39  

  • Sounds like "Randi" just got the latest ratings book... Uh bye bye...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 August, 2005 23:41  

  • Wanna know the difference between me and Maloney? I'm working in radio.

    By Anonymous Randi, at 17 August, 2005 00:23  

  • Hairball America has gotten tons of free publicity, spent MILLIONS on marketing, and been exposed to the public 24 hours a day for a year and a half.

    And after all that - NO ONE (hardly) is listening to them.

    If this ain't a hit by now, it ain't never going to be one.

    Plus, this scandal is not going to get any better as it unfolds, discouraging any new investment and poisoning any remaining "goodwill" they might have.

    The ship be sinking alright.

    Anyway, Brian, congrats! You have a tiger by the tail here, and we will see the lib excuses getting lamer and lamer as more truth comes out.

    And don't you DARE erase the lib excuse factory from the blog - in a few months we will look at them and laugh at how sorry-ass and pathetic these apologists were!

    Fido969

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 August, 2005 00:24  

  • Maloney,

    I just wanted you to konw we just added another station to our affiliates, KTXX 103.1 FM in the San Antonio area. That's 70 stations.

    By Anonymous Randi, at 17 August, 2005 01:31  

  • Randi,
    up to 70 stations...WOW What'd you and Al do go to the local school and steal lunch money from the black kids...maybe a couple purse snatchings at the old folks home to pay off another low watt station.

    scAir America must really suck. My radio show was picked up in April and I already have 220 stations...and all without NY Slimes.

    By Anonymous Jerry Doyle, at 17 August, 2005 01:54  

  • So the ratings went from 1.0 to .08 which means a drop from 100 to 8. Should this trend continue it looks like a very small group of listeners.

    By Anonymous yogi bear, at 17 August, 2005 02:08  

  • Mr Baloney continues to try to find a way to spin this alleged "scandal". Why should Air America spend their resources to locate Evan Cohen? They are not the reason for this scandal despite the fact that Baloney, Ma"lie"kin, and other right wingnuts want this to balloon into a smear of AAR. Randi Rhodes is just fine. At least she is working and doing fine, unlike Baloney who just sits with his anger at his keyboard watching the mailbox for his unemployment check.

    By Anonymous ps911fan, at 17 August, 2005 03:31  

  • They are as much responsible as Evan Cohen is.

    Pretty damn simple to me.

    By Blogger Sailor Republica, at 17 August, 2005 04:40  

  • Jerry Doyle,

    I don't get the chance to hear your show very often these days, but I do listen in when I can. Congratulations on having your show picked up back in April - it's nice to see a pro in the business have success!

    I wonder if Randi would mind clarifying how many stations actually carry her show? While AAR may now claim 70 broadcast affiliates, I can't help but notice that many of them only carry part of AAR's programming, and some that even substitute her show (which I believe is one of the strongest ones on AAR) with offerings from Democracy Radio or others.

    Not that I see the AAR's affiliate strategy as a particularly strong aspect of the company's business. I would speculate that AAR's management will be doing some restructuring soon.

    By Blogger Ironman, at 17 August, 2005 09:39  

  • Too bad YOUR new station doesn't even carry YOUR show Randi, uh bye bye!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 August, 2005 09:42  

  • Hey, "mike", after a year in synd, Rush, all by himself witout ANY MSM trump, was pushing the 100 mark for stations.

    It ain't about the politics, it's about the talent..

    AAR ain't got it.

    By Blogger TC, at 17 August, 2005 10:17  

  • Real numbers please, or shut up.

    By Anonymous Mike, at 17 August, 2005 10:32  

  • after a year in synd, Rush, all by himself witout ANY MSM trump, was pushing the 100 mark for stations

    Right on, so much for the lefties' claim that other programs took longer to catch on. The reason Hot Air America is in last place is because THEY STINK.

    Secondly - What is Err America's "target market"? Pot-smoking un and under-employed pony-tailed hippies and women who don't shave their legs - Now THERE is a demographic that probably has the advertisers lined up around the block!

    It seems that Scar America's ad revenue is not covering expenses by a LARGE margin... and I don't see any hope with this "business model" that it ever will!

    Fido

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 August, 2005 13:22  

  • Would Cindy Sheehan accept a meeting with the president if say 1% (around 1000) mothers of Saddam's victims were present?

    I think not.

    After all, Cindy and nine others like her would only be .005% of the mothers who have "lost their children in Bush's war".

    By Blogger jcrue, at 17 August, 2005 16:34  

  • Well, I'll give y'all this much: seems like there's a good mix of right and left posting on this blog, which is refreshing at least.

    Brian, I haven't heard you on the air so I can't say much about your efforts. Best I can tell though, the AAR efforts have done nothing but stumble out of the starting blocks, wandering aimlessly down a track to nowhere. I suspect they're following the path left for the stalwart and deft leadership of the likes of Howard Dean, John Kerry, and others of their ilk. I'm reminded of Mike Tyson: Once a valiant and tough opponent with a knock-out punch and apparently unbeatable. Now, however, he's left wandering to grope and fondle the bank account and body of any man, woman, and child that will have him. Such a faded star, a truly tragic loss of a once great competitor.

    Perhaps the Democrats will find a party leader and leadership behind which they can rally. Until then, I doubt this will be the last feeble attempt to build a media foundation of sand under a shaky house of 'cads'.

    The Dieker

    By Blogger thedieker, at 17 August, 2005 19:59  

  • Can the MSNBC bashing, will you?

    Joe Scarborough has an hour-long program that helped make me a conservative.

    By Blogger Josef, at 18 August, 2005 01:10  

  • "Alleged scandal"?

    Wow liberals REALLY have their heads in the sand now, don't they? It's not bad enough that they undermine our efforts on the war on terror by holding hands with and even promoting organizations like CAIR (and others), but they DENY what's going on with leftist Air America! bwahahaha

    It's really too much.

    Brian, great job, great post.

    By Blogger Caoilfhionn, at 19 August, 2005 05:59  

  • Great post Brian. Ignore the ignorant trolls and they will go away.

    By Blogger John, at 19 August, 2005 07:10  

  • Justin typed:
    "Really. Did she deserve to have that man drive his pickup over the memorial crosses of dead soldiers?"

    If any of those leftist moonbats put my son's name on their anti-American agitprop the best thing they could expect would be for me to gun my F-150 through 'em. More likely they'd be askin' Al Franken to pick the splinters out of their @$$.

    By Blogger Monkeydarts, at 23 August, 2005 08:40  

  • I think RAndi Rhodes is the best on-air talent ever..BUT....I have the best ratings on theSacramento station that carries AIR AMERICA RADio.

    It has been a gas listening to RAndi live for four hours before I do my live Sacramento show which gives our listeners local,fun,artsy protest events to attend..particularly targeting the BooBENGRABBER...and very successfully I might add!!

    Cheers, Christine Craft
    4-6 p..talkcity 1240 am
    Sacramento,Kali-for-nee-ya

    By Blogger Christine, at 27 August, 2005 17:53  

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