The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

03 November 2005

AAR Needs More Help!

IF A SPRINGER FALLS

Air America's Latest Begging Ignored?



If a liberal radio network falls in the forest (hitting a few spotted owls on the way down) and there isn't anyone around to hear it, does it make a sound?

After a second letter begging for help, that seems like a fair question today.

Sent to supporters on Halloween, it makes more suspect claims and again paints a misleading picture of Air America Radio's overall health.

To the Radio Equalizer, however, the real story is that few seemed to notice this second appeal to the network's remaining faithful diehards:



October 31, 2005


Dear Friend of Air America Radio,


It’s Halloween and the right-wing is terrified…of you.

Want to know why? Here are just a few examples:

On October 17th, Rush Limbaugh said this to Sean Hannity:

“In my mind they don’t even exist…for a moment you almost feel sorry for then.

Then you realize no, they don’t exist. And they don’t pose a threat.”

But on October 28th, less than two weeks later, Al Franken, broadcasting on a network that Rush once called “Dead Air America,” beat him like a drum:

"Air America Radio announced today that 'The Al Franken Show' beat 'The Rush Limbaugh Show' for the first time in San Francisco and Portland, Ore., two of the top twenty-five markets, in the target demo of 25-54, according to Arbitron Summer 2005 Metro. The two shows air at the same time ( 9am-12pm ) in both markets.'

While poor Rush is whistling by the graveyard, his fellow ghouls are out screaming and shrieking and rattling their chains:

Bill O’Reilly recently predicted this to a group of advertisers:

'[Air America ] is about to fold ... because Americans don't want to hear that their country sucks 24 hours a day."

But somehow those pesky facts never seem to get inside the "No Spin Zone." Here are a few:


* The ratings for the Bill O’Reilly radio show in New York were worse in the demo of A25-54 than those on Air America that he described as “catastrophic.”

* In the key 25-54 demographic which talk radio offers to advertisers, the Summer 2005 Arbitron ratings showed that Monday-Friday from 2-4 PM when O’Reilly is on WOR-AM and which at Air America’s 1190 WLIB-AM contains the last hour of “The Al Franken Show” and the first hour of “The Randi Rhodes Show,” that O’Reilly had a 0.6 share and Air America a 1.8 share. O’Reilly had a cumulative audience of 45,800 and Air America had a cumulative audience of 95,700 .

Last month, we launched the Air America Associates program and the howling of the right-wing hypocrites was nothing short of hysterical:

Ann Coulter, the undisputed queen of self-promotion, was cackling with glee at the prospect of using Air America Radio as a marketing device for her latest right-wing screed:

"That money you were thinking about donating to become an 'Air America Associate' – Air America Ass' for short - why not do something useful with it? Buy my book for friends and loved ones."

Sorry, Ann. People just don’t seem to be paying attention to you the way they used to. As of this morning:

* Al Franken’s “The Truth (with jokes)” was at #7 on Amazon while the paperback edition of “How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must) is at #1,042.

But while we may enjoy the right-wing’s fear and loathing of Air America Radio’s success, we can’t afford to sit back and take it for granted. The dramatic growth of Air America Radio over the last 19 months – we’re now on in 70 markets covering more than 60% of the nation – only happened because of you.

And we need to keep growing just as quickly, because only this morning, President Bush's idea of "Trick or Treat" was to nominate Judge Samuel Alito, Jr. for Sandra Day O’Connor’s seat on the Supreme Court. Often referred to as “Scalito” because of his extreme right-wing views, if confirmed Alito could well change the balance of the high court for a generation to come.

We at Air America Radio make you this promise. We won’t let them get away with this without a fight. But we will need your help to do it.

How can you help? Three ways:

* If you are currently listening to Air America Radio on your local station, call them and thank them for carrying Air America programming. A list of stations is available at http://www.airamericaradio.com/stations.

* If you don’t have an Air America Radio affiliate in your area, let us know: http://www.airamericaradio.com/feedback

* Join the Air America Radio community! We need you! http://www.airamericaradio.com/associates

Thank you for all you do for our country.

Danny Goldberg

Air America Radio CEO



Let's take a closer look at their claims:


But on October 28th, less than two weeks later, Al Franken, broadcasting on a network that Rush once called “Dead Air America,” beat him like a drum:

"Air America Radio announced today that 'The Al Franken Show' beat 'The Rush Limbaugh Show' for the first time in San Francisco and Portland, Ore., two of the top twenty-five markets, in the target demo of 25-54, according to Arbitron Summer 2005 Metro. The two shows air at the same time ( 9am-12pm ) in both markets.'



Are ultraliberal San Francisco and Portland really indicators of nationwide success? Of course not.

While they haven't released the actual figures, assuming they're correct, these two leftist cities don't provide much to brag about.

Since San Francisco's KQKE-AM isn't doing very well overall, Franken must account for the bulk of the station's ratings. And KPOJ-AM's Portland success is old news, as the whole network was built on the idea it could be repeated.

That turned out to be a fatally flawed strategy.

And if KQKE's success is so enormous, why is Piquant LLC paying Clear Channel so much money to run Air America programming there?


While poor Rush is whistling by the graveyard, his fellow ghouls are out screaming and shrieking and rattling their chains:

Bill O’Reilly recently predicted this to a group of advertisers:

'[Air America ] is about to fold ... because Americans don't want to hear that their country sucks 24 hours a day."


Why don't Air America execs want to talk about the network's financial condition? Because it's horrific. Take away Rob Glaser's (a Seattle liberal who also serves as CEO of RealNetworks) constant personal financial bailouts and it might already be off the air.

Beyond Glaser, just a handful of significant "investors" are still foolish enough to flush their money down Air America's toilet. They're true believers, but may be reaching limits.


But somehow those pesky facts never seem to get inside the "No Spin Zone." Here are a few:


* The ratings for the Bill O’Reilly radio show in New York were worse in the demo of A25-54 than those on Air America that he described as “catastrophic.”

* In the key 25-54 demographic which talk radio offers to advertisers, the Summer 2005 Arbitron ratings showed that Monday-Friday from 2-4 PM when O’Reilly is on WOR-AM and which at Air America’s 1190 WLIB-AM contains the last hour of “The Al Franken Show” and the first hour of “The Randi Rhodes Show,” that O’Reilly had a 0.6 share and Air America a 1.8 share.

O’Reilly had a cumulative audience of 45,800 and Air America had a cumulative audience of 95,700 .




The problem is WOR, not O'Reilly. One of the nation's worst-run talk radio stations (it's hard to find anyone in the industry who would disagree), WOR refuses to modernize, outside of carrying his and Michael Savage's programs.

Overall, WOR is a throwback to another (pre-Limbaugh) era, when talk radio was full of cooking and lifestyle shows. It's not a recipe for success and WOR is slowly dying as a result.

Remember, WLIB-AM overall is still stuck in neutral, with a tiny 1.2 audience share and rank near the bottom of New York's pack.


Ann Coulter, the undisputed queen of self-promotion, was cackling with glee at the prospect of using Air America Radio as a marketing device for her latest right-wing screed:


"That money you were thinking about donating to become an 'Air America Associate' – Air America Ass' for short - why not do something useful with it? Buy my book for friends and loved ones."


Sorry, Ann. People just don’t seem to be paying attention to you the way they used to. As of this morning:

* Al Franken’s “The Truth (with jokes)” was at #7 on Amazon while the paperback edition of “How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must) is at #1,042.


Coulter's probably had less to say about Air America than any conservative, why highlight her? As for her book, it isn't a new release, so the comparison isn't reasonable.

Meanwhile, they still refuse to recognize critic Michelle Malkin, or her new book, which continues a neck-and-neck battle with Al Franken's The Truth (With Jokes).


But while we may enjoy the right-wing’s fear and loathing of Air America Radio’s success, we can’t afford to sit back and take it for granted. The dramatic growth of Air America Radio over the last 19 months – we’re now on in 70 markets covering more than 60% of the nation – only happened because of you.


Even broadcast industry liberals know this is rubbish: very few of the 70 stations carry all, or a majority of Air America's programming, during their broadcast day. As for the 60% coverage claim, that number seems to change with every new press release.

When the first request for "associate" funds was made, Malkin and I each received many alert emails from readers. In addition, it attracted a great deal of press attention.

This time, hardly anyone seemed to notice, which could be the most ominous sign yet of Air America's impending failure.


UPDATE: Ned Rice, writer for CBS's (very funny) Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson, checks in with this:


I enjoyed your post today about Air America's latest request for hand-outs. When they first introduced the Air America Associates program I immediately signed up with a pledge of $1, reasoning that it would probably cost more than that just to process my hefty bequest.

That got me in a mailing list for crazed e-mails from Franken and Randi Rhodes, so it was worth every penny. Today I tried to make another $1 pledge from my work address.

I entered "$1" in the box that said in huge letters "Pledge Any Amount!" and it came back to me with the message, "Only donations of $5 or more will be accepted". This just keeps getting better and better.

How long before Randi Rhodes and Stephanie Miller start renting themselves out for bachelor parties to keep the network afloat? Not that that would raise very much. Still, you get the sense from listening to her show that Randi knows what the inside of a giant make-believe cake looks like.

A.A.R. hosts seem to have gotten a note to be more "intense" on the air judging from how even more shrill some of them have become in recent weeks.

Sam Seder (Majority Report) basically screams his entire show now, and local (L.A.) hosts Johnny Wendell and "Dr." Firpo Carr have both taken to the preacher's cadence favored by Al Gore in recent speeches. It all has the unmistakable whiff of desperation about it.


Your Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of your final purchase selections, help to support this site's efforts. Thanks again!

Infidels by Pete at IHillary.

20 Comments:

  • Brian,

    you write: "... it makes more suspect claims and again paints a misleading picture of Air America Radio's overall health."

    The problem is that you didn't actually dispute any of their claims. In fact, you acknowledge that the numbers they cite are probably correct. the only issue is that you happen to draw different conclusions (Portland/SF don't matter because they're liberal bastions -- although that doesn't explain boston's books -- and WOR's overall failings in NY).

    drawing different conclusions are fine, and it's part of your calling as a blogger. However, please choose your words more carefully. The claims are not suspect, because you agree with them. You simply differ about the conclusions.

    Finally, as I asked earlier: Where is your evidence that the station is struggling financially. It has deep pockets of some rich friends, and none of us (you, me, other RE readers) have seen their budgets or books. Conclusions based on facts are fine, but why begin making them based on pure supposition?

    By Blogger Justin, at 03 November, 2005 12:23  

  • Justin, I think you're fairly recent to the party here, aren't you?

    I do carefully choose the words I use. Very carefully.

    Michelle and I have always produced the goods when it comes to Air America and that remains.

    Keep watching.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 03 November, 2005 14:54  

  • I've been here for a while Brian, and posting for the past couple of months. In this post, I do not believe that your words were made carefully. You write that AAR's claims are "suspect," but then provide nothing to refute them, or even that opens them to suspicion. Again, did you mean to say AAR's "conclusions" instead of its "claims?" These are two different animals.
    As for the goods. There is only one "good" of value when discussing a company's financial stability/instability. It is its annual financial statement. If you've got it, please let us all know. I obviously have a rooting interest in this (as do you), but I would not be so brazen as to write that AAR is, or isn't, financially stable, since I have no access to its financial records.
    If you also don't have it, however, then you should stop writing about its financial troubles as fact. I know you think that AAR asking for "associates" is because they are desperate for money to stay afloat. Have you ever entertained the thought that they are simply greedy/good capitalists (like many corporations)?
    Again, if you don't know for sure, please stop pretending that you do. If you do know, prove it.

    By Blogger Justin, at 03 November, 2005 20:22  

  • Justin must have donated $100 for the special edition AAR rose-colored glasses. It allows him to view failures as successes and vice versa. Years after AAR has folded, he'll still be touting their record-breaking ratings.

    By Blogger Shaun, at 03 November, 2005 20:57  

  • I also note that AAR slices a thin demographic and claims victory. A bit like saying, "Al Franken is creaming Rush Limbaugh among left-handed lesbians of color ages 28-32."

    Second, I wonder if the pie in NYC in Portland isn't divided between Limbaugh and one or more other conservative talkers. Here in DC, for example, Limbaugh competes with Glenn Beck, G. Gordon Liddy, and other Rush Limbaugh affiliates in Frederick and Baltimore. ... and is on a station that many conservatives have turned off because they fired Michael Graham.

    By Blogger V the K, at 03 November, 2005 21:31  

  • LOS ANGELES, Oct. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the Arbitron Summer 2005 ratings survey for New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, Mr. Rush Limbaugh beat liberal talkers in the ratings game. In New York, Mr. Limbaugh's Persons 12+ audience is more than three times larger than Mr. Franken's audience. Heard Monday through Friday on WABC-AM from noon-3 p.m., The Rush Limbaugh Show scored, among Persons 12+, a 4.8 share with an average quarter-hour audience of 159,400 listeners. Mr. Al Franken, who airs at the same time on WLIB-AM, has a Persons 12+ share of 1.4 with an average quarter-hour audience of 47,800 listeners. Mr. Jerry Springer also airs on WLIB-AM and has a Person 12+ share of 1.0 with an average quarter-hour audience of 30,100.

    http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/051026/law038.html?.v=33

    By Blogger Lidsville, at 03 November, 2005 21:39  

  • shaun,

    you misunderstand.
    i'm not looking through rose-colored glasses, as i'm not saying AAR is a financial success. the difference between me and brian is that i also decline to declare it a financial failure. why? because neither him, i nor you have seen the books. until we do, any definitive success/failure statements are premature.
    i focus on money because brian often does. if you want to talk ratings, they obviously have been poor for AAR (save for in certain markets). but they showed minor growth in most major markets in the summer books, so the current evidence points toward the positive, albeit very tempered positive. i've got an ideology like everyone else, but really am trying to look at this objectively. if you feel i am not, please be specific so that i can amend my ways...

    By Blogger Justin, at 03 November, 2005 23:39  

  • If AAR is doing splendiferously, why did it take them so long to pay back the "loan" from the Boys & Girls Club? That's less than a mil, so it should have been pocket change for them.

    Yet, it took them months to do that, and shortly afterwards they started their reverse-affiliates program. Very, very odd.

    BTW, if anyone's been following Sheldon Drobny's posts at the HuffPost, they might also enjoy this. I would have used an L. Ron picture but that might not be safe.

    By Blogger LonewackoDotCom, at 04 November, 2005 01:37  

  • "If AAR is doing splendiferously, why did it take them so long to pay back the "loan" from the Boys & Girls Club? That's less than a mil, so it should have been pocket change for them."

    So long? The loan is being repaid two years ahead of schedule.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 04 November, 2005 05:34  

  • "I also note that AAR slices a thin demographic and claims victory. A bit like saying, "Al Franken is creaming Rush Limbaugh among left-handed lesbians of color ages 28-32.""

    The 25-54 year old demographic is hardly slicing things thin. They're the people that buy cars, insurance, etc.. They're who advertisers pay to reach.

    In fact, if you look at the hillbilly heroin addicts own press releases, he also highlights that demographic.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 04 November, 2005 05:38  

  • "Air America's Latest Begging Ignored?"

    Funny that Rush and Hannity would make fun of exactly the same thing that they do. Rush, Hannity, and O'Lielly all offer premium memberships for a fee.

    But including that fact wouldn't fit well with Brian's spin.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 04 November, 2005 05:42  

  • As usual, Mr. Tuck is lying. Rush, for example, sells access (members-only email, downloadable broadcasts, exclusive content, Ditto-cam) that isn't available to the "general public".

    If people REALLY wanted an AAR bumper sticker, they could get one for a buck over at the AAR store. Why then are they charging $25 through the AAR Associates program?!?

    Oh, and someone needs to check the transcript because I could have SWORN I heard Randi yesterday accusing Republicans of pedophelia and bestiality.

    By Blogger BF, at 04 November, 2005 08:56  

  • Apples and Oranges, Dick. Rush, Hannity, Laura Ingraham and others sell merchandise and premium services because their shows are already popular. They don't need to charge $25.00 for a 50-cent bumpersticker because their networks will go down the crapper if they don't shakedown the listeners.

    By Blogger V the K, at 04 November, 2005 09:10  

  • You're quite the liar, Bryan. In addition to a gift, the membership at AAR also gives you a members only content in the form of a newsletter and invitations to various AAR events. Unlike Rush, you can get their shows free or post on their blogs. Hannity charges $5.95 a month for his newsletter.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 04 November, 2005 09:26  

  • "Oh, and someone needs to check the transcript because I could have SWORN I heard Randi yesterday accusing Republicans of pedophelia and bestiality."

    She was talking about Irving L Libby's porn novel, which contains pedophilia and beastiality.

    Have you ever gotten a fact right, Bryan?

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 04 November, 2005 09:29  

  • And Libby's novel has WHAT to do exactly with Mike Brown?

    Well, I stand corrected! That extra AAR jack goes towards a newsletter!!! Hot Damn, I'm signing up today!

    By Blogger BF, at 04 November, 2005 09:59  

  • way to go, dipshit. you did an excellent job of showing how well air america is doing without disputing any of their numbers. you do realize that you have done the right an incredible dis-service by posting this, right? we're all doomed. our vast right wing conspiracy is coming to an end. why are we conservatives so stupid? why do we not listen to anyone who has a differing (and accurate) viewpoint??

    By Blogger hardcore conservative genious, at 04 November, 2005 11:25  

  • You know, I too find it funny that AAR chose Coulter's book to pick on. What's even funnier is that they're gleefully pointing out that Franken's book is narrowly edging out Michelle's in the Amazon.com ratings (as I write this Franken's book is at #7 and Michelle's is at #8 on the non-fiction listing), but don't bother to notice that Do As I Say (Not As I do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy by Peter Schweizer is pegged out at #1.

    By Blogger Nathan, at 04 November, 2005 12:59  

  • In the case of the loan, what they should have done is repaid it immediately, and put it down to cleaning up the old administration. Instead, they dragged their feet on it. Some people are cheap, but in a similar situation people with lots of money wouldn't drag their feet. Ergo...

    Regarding the Associates Program, I didn't notice until now that it included an email newsletter. That makes all the difference to me, and I shall sign-up posthaste.

    By Blogger LonewackoDotCom, at 04 November, 2005 16:27  

  • "The problem is WOR, not O'Reilly. One of the nation's worst-run talk radio stations (it's hard to find anyone in the industry who would disagree), WOR refuses to modernize, outside of carrying his and Michael Savage's programs.

    Overall, WOR is a throwback to another (pre-Limbaugh) era, when talk radio was full of cooking and lifestyle shows. It's not a recipe for success and WOR is slowly dying as a result."

    That is an almost given. Except for Savage and O'Reilly, WOR is just about unlistenable. The problem is that they are trying to cater to women--a demo dominated by AC and seniors--which either fit standards or are denied totally by ads--which is a bunch of bunk as older people tend to have more disposable income.

    And in terms of not modernizing, WOR has moved to new studios after years at 1440 Broadway--in fact they are a few blocks down from where they used to be.

    In terms of programming, dump Joan Hamburg, Rocco DiSpirito and all those medical programs. Time to call say Jones Radio for Neal Boortz and Clark Howard.

    Also not mentioned in the article was Bob Grant--who has been with WOR for about a decade after being unceremoniously let go by WABC after telling it like it was about Ron Brown's death.

    Look in this Limbaugh era, WOR may be different than WABC or other stations of WABC's ilk. But in this case daring to be different is a disaster for the station.

    Also, a weak company in Buckley Broadcasting owns WOR. Buckley owns 4 stations in CT--WDRC 1360 Bloomfield and three stations in Waterbury (WWCO), Torrington (WSNG) and Meriden (WMMW), which simulcast the WDRC signal except in certain cases. Hannity and Savage are carried on the WDRC chain. BTB, WDRC was Connecticut's first radio station not WTIC. I believe 1922 was the sign-on year for DRC 1924 or 25 for TIC.

    By Blogger The Real Bob Anthony, at 04 November, 2005 20:36  

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