The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

14 June 2006

Al Franken, Janeane Garofalo, Jerry Springer, Randi Rhodes, Air America


Libs Are Convention No-Shows, Springer Moderates Image

*** Exclusive to The Radio Equalizer***

Missing a major opportunity to make a case for their network's future, why did nearly all of Air America Radio's hosts and executives skip this year's all-important New Media Seminar in New York City?

Held just a short distance from the liberal network's Manhattan studios, attendance would have likely provided one final chance for the floundering talk radio operation to lobby for affiliates.

What could possibly have been more important?

If you've been following our New Media Seminar reporting this week (both here and at, it should be clear the event was well-attended by many of the industry's biggest personalities. This year, Sean Hannity, Dr Laura, Alan Colmes, the Reverend Al Sharpton, Dr Joy Browne, Sally Jessy Raphael, Neal Boortz (lower right image), Star Trek/ Howard Stern's George Takei, Michael Medved and Tom Leykis were among those taking part.

While Air America's primary hosts, including Al Franken, were busy working the room last year, only Jerry Springer and one network executive, Gary Krantz, were seen in the convention hall this time.

With Air America busy losing affiliates faster than LaRouchian weirdo Sheldon Drobny can purchase stations to replace them, a critical opportunity to repair their fast- sinking ship was lost.

Have they given up? Is this a signal to the industry that it's all over? Your Radio Equalizer asked a number of attendees what they thought of the absences of Franken, Randi Rhodes, Janeane Garofalo, Rachel Maddow and others from this year's event.

More than once, we heard the view expressed that liberal talk was simply last year's "flavor of the month", with the business now recognizing that Air America just isn't going to generate the ratings and affiliate growth necessary to succeed.

Another person speculated that Franken was probably hesitant to return after last year's room- clearing convention fiasco.

Considering that those who run the talk industry are overwhelmingly liberal and have whined about "right- wing radio" for 15 years, that's probably not an easy admission to make.

The same folks who have made millions from Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity must now realize nothing is going to save what they'd always secretly wished would exterminate conservative talk for good.

During the panel discussions, the words "Air America" and liberal talk were almost never uttered, as though they didn't exist.

Even Springer, the one host who did show up, was careful to distance himself from Air America. Given that he's a key part of their lineup, that's a curious move, don't you think?

During a well- delivered speech entitled "The Fine Line Between Journalism and Showbiz", Springer said he wasn't sure exactly where, or if, he fit in at the liberal talk network. "While I may not be a Bush fan, I don't think he's the devil, either," said the notorious television trashmeister.

One frustrated company executive, who still supports the concept of liberal talk, told the Radio Equalizer shortly after Springer's speech that his own words should be a signal that it's time to give up on talk radio.

According to the obviously annoyed corporate suit, "he's the worst thing they've got, and he's bringing down the whole operation and ruining progressive talk radio for everybody else. Why doesn't he realize he needs to quit?"

After hearing his speech, we couldn't have agreed more. In this setting, he's very impressive, in a way we've never seen on television and certainly not on the radio, where Springer is a nightmare.

While we didn't agree with everything he had to say, Jerry kept our attention with wit and self- deprecating humor.

Joking about being sent downstairs upon his death, he also asserted that he could easily be elected mayor of Hell, Michigan!

In addition, Springer warned attendees, "may you never be on my (television) show." Admitting he'd done almost everything in his life that an evil person would do, he said the only thing left "would be to sell used cars."

Claiming that conservative talk radio was society's reaction to the very clear fact that liberals had permanently won America's culture wars in the 1960s, Springer was quick to stereotype right-leaning listeners.

On the radio, where is this Jerry Springer? During his talk shows, we've never heard even a trace of any of these qualities. And on television, he lets the flying chairs do the talking.

Given recent comments on the death of Zarqawi, as tracked by Bill O'Reilly, we're not so sure how easy it will be for Springer to truly moderate his image, however.

As for the network as a whole, we don't know why the YearlyKos tinfoil convention in Las Vegas and other weekend events were deemed more important, but Air America has now forfeited what is very likely its last chance to make a case for the future.

Have they given up the fight for good?

WELCOME to National Review Online, Shot in the Dark and Memeorandum readers!

ELSEWHERE: Former KOH/Reno talk host and current Washoe County Judge Chuck Weller continues to recover this morning, after being shot by a man apparently angry with his ruling in a family custody dispute.

--- Welsh Christians protest the Cardiff opening of Jerry Springer: The Opera.

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Some images by David A Lunde and Pete at IHillary, Hell: Reuters


  • I always suspected that left-wing talk radio was mostly a vanity project from the get-go. Al Franken and some of the other "talent" seem to have succeeded in padding their bank accounts at the expense of liberal suckers (and poor boys and girls).

    A lot of the left seems to be built around that model. Michael Moore makes a fortune by shilling the propaganda the left wants to hear (while treating his own employees like crap and ripping them off). The leaders of PETA and other left-wing organizations seem to have a good scam going as well: 1. Collect donations from left-wing suckers, 2. Get all the real work done by idiot volunteers 3. Spend donations jetting to conferences in luxurious locales and make TV appearances.

    Who know being a socialist could be do profitable.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14 June, 2006 09:11  

  • as someone who actually attended this convention, i can safely say that it was relatively worthless. there were a few interesting points about new studio equipment and whatnot, but there really wasn't anything there that someone in the industry wouldn't already know about. i don't think that AAR missed out on anything, especially when they can just buy the DVD for $15.

    By Blogger hardcore conservative genious, at 14 June, 2006 09:42  

  • You should do a story on Coulter's crazy ass. A lot of talkers on both sides are coming out against her for being such a hate-filled mouthpiece for the unstable right.

    By Blogger liberal outlaw, at 14 June, 2006 10:00  

  • A huffnpuff post outs Sam Seder as a closet conservative, I wonder what the libwhiners would say if they knew he was just libbing it up for money.

    Damn Sam, your politics sure have changed. I remember one day on our balcony at Connecticut College (remember your neighbor in Harkness?) when Ronald Reagan's helicopter flew over our campus. He had just finished giving the commnencement speech at the Coast Guard Academy. I remember clearly us both standing there. You stood up tall and proud and gave the helicopter one big glorious all-american salute. I flipped the helicopter off. To this day it is one of my biggest regrets. Do you regret your salute?
    By: chicagoartist on June 06, 2006 at 04:19pm
    Flag: [abusive] [best of]

    By Blogger Lifa, at 14 June, 2006 13:10  

  • You should do a story on Coulter's crazy ass. A lot of talkers on both sides are coming out against her for being such a hate-filled mouthpiece for the unstable right.

    By liberal outlaw, at 14 June, 2006 10:00

    I heard Michael Savage getting on her case. He's just jealous because her book is doing better than his.

    Ann Coulter should get a medal for showing liberals' true colors: babies who can dish it out, but can't take it.

    By Blogger Brett, at 14 June, 2006 13:24  

  • I am not a fan of Ann Coulter. But admit it if you have to sit and listen to someone rant and spew, would rather look at Ann or say Susan Estrogenich?

    By Blogger Seriouslyunserious, at 14 June, 2006 13:48  

  • I keep forgetting that the Jersey Girls, Cindy Sheehan, and Ward Churchill all have the high moral ground and cannot be criticized. My question, in the event those moral giants disagree, who wins the high ground?

    By Blogger Rich in MT, at 14 June, 2006 14:59  

  • see how easily distracted idiot republicans are? i mention ann coulter being crazy, and all of a sudden i have shifted the focus from brian's blog to my own topic.

    i am amazing.

    By Blogger liberal outlaw, at 14 June, 2006 15:53  

  • And if no one had responded to Liberal Inbred's Ann Coulter spew, he would have accused Republicans of not having a response.

    Yeah, we know the games played by people who aren't serious about debating real issues.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14 June, 2006 20:32  

  • And I know the name-calling was unnecessary, and I promise to think about feeling bad about it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14 June, 2006 20:41  

  • the name-calling is ok. that's what people do when they don't have anything intelligent to say.

    By Blogger liberal outlaw, at 15 June, 2006 10:18  

  • What is wrong with a liberal saluting the president, even if it was Ronnie Reagan? how does that make him a "Republican"? See, Sam can salute the president and still not approve of his policies. Just because you mentally sick wing nuts, trashed Clinton and never saluted him does not mean Liberals have to act the same. saluting a chopper with the president in it, does not mean you support the president. Sam was simply respecting the office of the presidency, something you wing nuts never did with Clinton. Cons take party over country, normal americans TAKE AMERICA FIRSt

    By Blogger rightwingwhiner, at 15 June, 2006 18:14  

  • Maybe Scam America isn't worried because they are confident the left will win in 2006 and 2008. Trust me when I tell you, the Democrats will attempt to bring back the odious "Fairness Doctrine". If they do, it is with the sole intent of driving Conservatives off the airwaves and in the words of RFK Jr.,that includes Fox News.


    By Blogger Violence Worker, at 15 June, 2006 18:51  

  • name-calling is ok. that's what people do when they don't have anything intelligent to say. By liberal outlaw, at 15 June, 2006 10:18

    Ah, that explains your references to "idiot Republicans" and "hate-filled unstable right."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15 June, 2006 19:12  

  • Lifa said: "You stood up tall and proud and gave the helicopter one big glorious all-american salute. I flipped the helicopter off."

    Had President Reagan seen you two on the balcony, he would have pointed at you and chuckled, and probably said that one guy was saluting the Marines and the other was telling the Marines that America was Number One.

    Going to RWW's take on that story, RWW seems to suggest that Lifa is on the level of a "mentally sick wing nut" for not properly respecting the accoutrements of office of the POTUS. YMMV.

    LO said: "i am amazing." On that, we have no disagreement.

    By Blogger JD, at 15 June, 2006 21:52  

  • hate-filled unstable right - folks like ann coulter, michael savage, sean hannity

    idiot republicans - george w.

    if you can back it up with evidence, it isn't just name calling.

    By Blogger liberal outlaw, at 16 June, 2006 10:04  

  • Isn't it fun to listen to what the Left calls "Truth"?

    By Blogger Collin Brendemuehl, at 23 June, 2006 14:59  

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