The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

07 March 2006

Air America, New York Post, Radio & Records, Billboard, John Mainelli

LASHING OUT

Air America, Media Supporters Play Kill The Messenger




If there were any lingering doubts regarding the mainstream media's double standards on Air America reporting, they were forever removed today.

In conjunction with the company itself, well-positioned "kill-the-messenger" pieces began to appear this afternoon, after a number of New York City newspapers investigated and added to our exclusive Friday report.

Later in the day, the firm itself resorted to lashing out, while Internet radio message boards were slammed with more personal attacks, not only against us, but All Access, New York Post reporter John Mainelli and the New York Sun's David Lombino, as well.

Yes, anybody who dared to cover Air America's troubles honestly and fairly was in for it from this increasingly unhinged group of Franken-friends.

Once again missing in action: the New York Times, always there for Air America fluff pieces, curiously absent when it's time to report the truth.

A rough timeline since our Friday report:


--- Yesterday, industry trade site All Access was able to obtain a vague and cryptic Air America response to our report the liberal radio network would soon lose its flagship station, WLIB-AM in New York City:

In response to MALONEY's report, AIR AMERICA RADIO spokeswoman JAIME HOOD told ALL ACCESS that “it is business as usual at AIR AMERICA RADIO, we will not, nor have we ever discussed, our confidential negotiations with third party companies, investors, or others in a public forum. We have no plans of leaving the NEW YORK CITY airwaves and plan to be on in NEW YORK for many years to come.”


--- This morning, the New York Post published its version of the story, by talk radio industry veteran John Mainelli, with additional research added (such as the Rev. Al Sharpton's potential role in squeezing out Air America):


March 7, 2006 -- AIR America is close to losing its New York flagship station - knocking Al Franken and his liberal colleagues off the air on their second anniversary.

The network has a two-year lease with WLIB (AM 1190) that is reportedly set to expire April 1 - and at least one reliable report says it is "extremely likely" the deal will not be renewed.

Losing its New York outlet would be a serious blow to the fledgling liberal radio network. "Radio Equalizer" blogger Brian Maloney - who blew the whistle on questionable loans to the lefty network last year - published the first report that WLIB was on the verge of evicting Air America some time soon.

Air America's options for a new home are not promising. All of the city's other strong-signal stations are spoken for, leaving only weak-signal "fringe" stations that do not cover the entire city and suburbs.

Air America parent Piquant LLC has reportedly been paying Inner City Broadcasting - controlled by former Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton and his son, Pierre - $2.5 million a year to air Franken and others.

An Air America spokeswoman told The Post, "It's business as usual," and declined further comment.

Air America got unwanted headlines last year when it was learned that previous management had received what investigators called an "inappropriate" $875,000 loan - since repaid - from a Bronx charity.

Calls to Inner City execs were not returned.

The leading contenders to take over the WLIB lease are former Clear Channel exec Randy Michaels, who syndicates competing lefty talker Ed Schultz, and the new Radio One black-focused talk network that includes Rev. Al Sharpton.


--- Meanwhile, David Lombino
at the New York Sun also filed a morning report (excerpted here):


By DAVID LOMBINO - Staff Reporter of the Sun
March 7, 2006


Air America Radio, the liberal radio network that is home to host Al Franken, is refusing to address reports that it will be dropped by its New York flagship station, WLIB.

A spokeswoman, Jaime Horn, said she would not comment on the reports due to ongoing negotiations, but added, "We have no plans of leaving the New York City airwaves and plan to be on in New York for many years to come.


--- Investigative partner
Michelle Malkin offered her coverage analysis here.


And this is where Air America's media defenders went into high gear to protect Al Franken & Co:


--- The once-respected, increasingly sleazy Billboard Magazine's Radio Monitor continued its outrageous pro-Air America slant, even trashing Mainelli's coverage:


The Post, in particular, seemed to offer a sensationalist slant to its reporting of the alleged loss of WLIB. Reporter John Mainelli wrote, “Air American is close to losing its New York flagship station, knocking Al Franken and his liberal colleagues off the air on the second anniversary.

Danny Goldberg, CEO of Air America Radio, responded late Tuesday morning to “recent reports via the conservative media” in a staff memo in which he said, “Air America’s ratings in New York went up substantially in the fall 2005 book. Air America’s New York audience is large, growing and valuable. In every conceivable scenario, Air America will continue to be on in New York City.”

“It is vital, when analyzing chatter about Air America to consider the source,” Goldberg continued. “In almost all cases, the people who say bad things about our company’s business are conservative ideologues who have a particular interest in damaging Air America, for one reason and one reason only: the political opinions expressed by our on air talent. Bill O’Reilly alone has mentioned Air America on 37 separate occasions since our programming went on the air. Al Franken has offered to debate O’Reilly in any number of forums including on “The O’Reilly Factor” and O’Reilly has declined.”


More on this later, including a response from well-respected, longtime industry programmer and reporter Mainelli.

By the way, what does Bill O'Reilly have to do with this story? The loss of WLIB is the issue.


--- Spreading the disinformation further was a Media Week version of Billboard's biased piece.


--- Topping the cake, a highly misleading report from Radio & Records, which misstates Air America's response, further assisting the company's spin efforts (errors are highlighted):



In a memo to the AAR staff, CEO Danny Goldberg denied published reports that the liberal Talk network is facing financial challenges and a loss of its N.Y.C. flagship, WLIB/New York. "It is vital, when analyzing chatter about Air America, to consider the source," said Goldberg.

"In almost all cases, the people who say bad things about our company’s business are conservative ideologues who have a particular interest in damaging Air America for one reason and one reason only: the political opinions expressed by our on-air talent."

Commenting on AAR's financial viability, Goldberg said, "Our board continues to be very supportive of our company, and we continue to operate on a firm footing in all respects." As to reports that the network is facing a loss of its lease of WLIB from Inner City Broadcasting, Goldberg said, "We will not, nor have we ever discussed, our confidential negotiations with third-party companies, investors or others in a public forum. We have no plans of leaving the New York City airwaves and plan to be on in New York for many years to come."


To correct Radio & Records, Air America has yet to deny it faces a loss of WLIB-AM. It's not contained in any of their statements.

In addition, the latter comment was apparently made yesterday by Air America spokeswoman Jaime Horn.

Watch for another update tonight.

Thanks for your continued and vital Radio Equalizer support, via Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of what you ultimately order! Because this investigative work is taking an increasing amount of our time, it's needed more than ever.

Images: Pete at IHillary for the Radio Equalizer

11 Comments:

  • I would like to Thank the NY Sun and the NY Post for being the only MSM to move this story forward.

    I am looking forward to "More on this later, including a response from well-respected, longtime industry programmer and reporter Mainelli."

    and of course,Thank you too Brian, for all the work you do!

    By Blogger FYIFYI, at 07 March, 2006 19:03  

  • Will someone please explain to me the right wing animus towards Air America? A relatively small network of privately owned low-powered AM stations is a menace how?

    I'm not a big fan of the entity that is Air America Radio, but I do enjoy liberal/progressive talk radio. I think Alan Colmes, Stephanie Miller and Ed Shultz are far better talk show hosts then their AAR bretherin, but so what? Why do you care so much? Why does Bill O'Reilly care so much?

    I'm confident that liberal talk radio will survive Air America (should its fold), because there's an audience for it. Ratings in certain markets prove it.

    But who cares?! Try flipping around the dial somewhere in rural America on any afternoon. You'll hear Rush and Hannity on half-a-dozen stations anywhere you go. So why is it an issue that in about 90 towns and cities, you can hear another point of view?

    By Blogger Martimac, at 07 March, 2006 19:06  

  • Martimac -

    I think that a lot of the dislike of Air America comes from the sullenness and vitriol of the attacks by most of the broadcasters. Franken isn't that amusing, but is somewhat listenable, but Randi Rhodes grates on the ears and nerves while she spews.

    I'd rather looked forward to liberal radio - but looked forward to amusement from it. It would be fun to see conservatives skewered the way Limbaugh does (Used to do? I haven't listened to him in years). Recall his condom updates with the musical theme "My beautiful balloon"... Funny, even if you didn't agree. Again, Limbaugh doesn't (didn't) force his opinion on you... he simply made fun of the foolishness of the left.

    I would think that the best comparable on the left of the spectrum would be Jon Stewart. He amiably pokes holes in right wing hot air bags. It's not offensive as much as it is funny.


    Back to the original topic, I also think that there is a view of Air America as a purely cynical propaganda machine - one that was never intended to fill any journalistic or entertainment void. Millions have been spent on Air America with the attempt of influencing elections.

    It doesn't come across as "Give the people what they want" but rather as "Give the people what we think they should agree with".

    These are purely my opinions and may vary from those of others, and from reality, but you asked...

    By Blogger Lokki, at 07 March, 2006 19:20  

  • Martimac, you're making a Strawman argument. I know of no conservative who wants liberals banished from the airwaves (though many, including myself, experience a certain amount of schedenfreude when detailing liberal radio's "successes"). The "animus" comes from a refusal by liberal radio (and their backers) from acknowledging reality when it comes to a lack of ratings and financial success. Just because you were third in the 35th largest market doesn't automatically make you Rush Limbaugh.

    By Blogger BF, at 07 March, 2006 19:22  

  • The "animus" comes from a refusal by liberal radio (and their backers) from acknowledging reality when it comes to a lack of ratings and financial success. Just because you were third in the 35th largest market doesn't automatically make you Rush Limbaugh.


    Great point. Yet, unlike the rest of America, the liberal agenda pushes for illogical moves such as wasting money on useless things whether they be radio programs or social programs.

    By Blogger Cutter, at 07 March, 2006 20:08  

  • hypocrisy

    Main Entry: hy·poc·ri·sy
    Pronunciation: hi-'pä-kr&-sE also hI-
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural -sies
    Etymology: Middle English ypocrisie, from Old French, from Late Latin hypocrisis, from Greek hypokrisis act of playing a part on the stage, hypocrisy, from hypokrinesthai to answer, act on the stage, from hypo- + krinein to decide -- more at CERTAIN
    1 : a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially : the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion
    2 : an act or instance of hypocrisy

    By Blogger Pissedoffcabbie, at 07 March, 2006 20:23  

  • Before TJ gets a chance:

    WE KNOW. YUO = JACKASS.

    By Blogger Fatmouse, at 07 March, 2006 23:45  

  • strike 4,398 for Maloney. Congrats on your final attempt at credibility. When this story falls flat you shan't even get the Post to reprint your bull.

    Anyhoo, that's not why I am here.
    I noticed that you re-redid your bio and re-inserted your big mention in TIME Magazine. I thought I'd excerpt that story here, Senor Conspirator.

    Time Magazine July 7, 1997
    AUSTIN, NEVADA;
    CONSPIRACY, U.S.A. IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, WHERE THE HIGHWAY IS EMPTY, IT ALL FITS TOGETHER


    Mapped here under the big bold sky is America's Geography of Conspiracy....." The drive-time talk jock (out here it's always drive time) is the inflammatory Brian Maloney, who makes Rush Limbaugh sound like Alan Alda. Maloney tends to open his monologues with the question that prefaces most conspiracy rants: "Don't you find it interesting that...?" For Maloney, there seems to be no such thing as a meaningless coincidence. When a caller nominates Charlton Heston for Speaker of the House, it is not a joke."

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH
    I'd like to see the faces of every reporter that quoted your unsourced info now.

    By Blogger samseder, at 08 March, 2006 00:38  

  • Brian,

    Please add Iowa Voice to the list of blogs that report AAR and "Stewart Smalley" are going down.

    To the libs who don't get it. Sleeze Bigs, like AAR beg for people's contempt. They pander to the losers of the left and lie their rearends off daily.

    They are leftwing hate broadcast daily.

    By Blogger PCD, at 08 March, 2006 09:02  

  • martimac, my dislike of AAR came in the first week when Randy Randi Rhodes invited Ralph Nader on her program when he was running for president.

    Right after he came on, she started screaming and yelling at him. Here was a guy who was a political candidate for Presdient and here she was- trying to rip him a new one.

    It was disgraceful.

    By Blogger tradersmith, at 08 March, 2006 10:53  

  • You know everytime I put on WLIB, my ears burn like nobody's business! Should WLIB leave AAR, here's what I think should happen:

    1) Turn it back into the black radio voice it once was

    ------------OR-----------------

    2) Give the station to Salem, who does own WMCA 570 and make things like say WFIL/WNTP in Philly where WFIL is Christian Talk and WNTP has the talk including Savage, Bennett, Ingraham, Prager, etc.

    *--BTB, WNTD was once WIBG, for those from Philly, FIL and IBG were rivals in the Top 40 market back in the day--ironic than 990 and 560 in Philadelphia are now under one company.

    Now Savage is on WOR when they aren't broadcasting Rutgers athletics so that wouldn't work. And Laura Ingraham is on WABC

    But perhaps, WLIB could get Neal Boortz and finally give him a spot in New York outside of WSTC/WNLK here in Lower Fairfield County. Boortz was on WICC, but they now have local talk with Jim Buchannan a veteran of the station, which turns 80 this year!

    Of course this is my only thought to kind of give WABC a little competition, the kind WOR outside of O'Reilly and Savage can't give.

    By Blogger The Real Bob Anthony, at 08 March, 2006 20:21  

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