The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

05 June 2006

Robert F Kennedy Jr, Air America, Randi Rhodes


For AAR's Troubles, RFK Jr Blames Big Oil, Others

Just days after Robert F Kennedy Jr gave tinfoil hat- wearing conspiracy theorists everywhere a shot in the arm with allegations of a stolen 2004 election, he's back with a fresh round of kookdom.

This time, he's at least cooked up a semi- original conspiratorial plot: according to Kennedy, Air America Radio's revenue shortfalls are the result of a coordinated nationwide corporate blacklisting.

Is Big Oil really to blame for the lack of advertising on talk shows hosted by Al Franken, Randi Rhodes and Janeane Garofalo? Don't take our word for it, from a new interview by Inside Radio's Mike Kinosian, here's the quote:

A serious bottom-line problem Air America encountered when it signed on just over 26 months ago (March 31, 2004) was not being able to get advertising dollars from large corporations it regularly criticizes. “The network has been boycotted by the pharmaceutical, oil and automobile industries – which are the biggest advertisers,” Kennedy points out. “We can’t get those advertisers because they’re the ones we criticize.”

Here at the Radio Equalizer, we hate to ask the obvious question, but did they really boycott Air America over its programming, or was it simply a case of seeking more effective outlets in which to place their advertising?

Unlike NPR and PBS, where corporations underwrite shows, Franken & Co. exist in the private sector, where sponsorships are earned.

Advertising agencies aren't stupid-- they look closely at national ratings data. If the audience isn't there, they don't bother. Using a cost- per- ratings- point formula, syndicated shows that fail to attain a minimum audience- reach threshold aren't even considered, because they're not worth the trouble.

Capping off a bad week for RFK Jr's credibility (many on the left attacked him over his Rolling Stone election piece), he steps in Air America- related doo doo for a second time in the same interview:

That type of circumstance would cause many people to re-think and adjust their principles. However Kennedy steadfastly declares, “The only thing that intimidates me is the idea I might do something that wasn’t right. At Air America, we’re going to do what’s right. We’re going to continue to fight for the truth and expose [it]. If we have to, we’ll be a voice in the wilderness. Winston Churchill once said, `If you keep telling the truth, it will ultimately penetrate.’”

All of this "truth" would be great, if only Kennedy would discuss Air America's own
history of corporate sleaze. Instead, he's been completely silent on the subject.

Meanwhile, fellow host Randi Rhodes is busy pushing her own conspiracy theory: that the mainstream press isn't revealing the truth about personal "troubles" in the Bush family.

From liberal blogger Jaded News:

*Friday, the Goddess of Radio, Randi Rhodes, discussed at length an article published by Wayne Madsen that First Lady Laura Bush has moved out of the White House and is now staying at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC. “It is not known how long Mrs. Bush plans to remain at the Mayflower, however, her security detail has been present at the hotel during hours when the First Lady would normally be residing in the White House,” Madsen reports, and Ms. Rhodes read on the air during her radio program (3-7p Eastern time, on Air America Radio).

It is alleged that Mrs. Bush has moved out because she is fed up with the affair between George and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Go ahead and take a moment to go puke at that thought. Pushing the gag reflex farther, Randi encouraged listeners to think of the offspring of this “middle-aged interracial relation”. The only image popping into heads all over the nation was that of Mad Magazine mascot, Alfred E. Neumann. Yeah. Ew. His brains, her teeth.

Mr. Kennedy, even if it had solid ratings growth, how many corporations would really want to attach their names to this kind of programming?

Elsewhere: Glenn Reynolds wonders if Google has peaked in popularity.

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Note: Brian Maloney is an Inside Radio columnist.

Boys and Girls: David A Lunde, Once I Was: Pete at IHillary, Janet Parshall vs Rhodes: C-Span


  • At least Bush likes Black women, weren't all of Bills hussies white? Hmmm.

    By Blogger Lonewatchman, at 05 June, 2006 21:26  

  • Madsen is a former CIA kook who came to the rescue of Jason what his name and said Karl Rove was going to be indcited in the Plame affair last week. Did not happen cuz they locked up the sealed indictment in area 54 or something just about as nutty. Put this one in the same category. BDS in its later stages can litteral drive some folks stark raving mad. And if they started there to begin with, like Madsen, well its really a pitiful sight.

    By Blogger Seriouslyunserious, at 05 June, 2006 22:34  

  • So evidently the thought process of Young Master Robert indicates that his radio show should go something like this:

    Young Master Robert: "...It is obvious that this government has been taken over by Big Oil and Big Pharmaceutical. Big Oil has directed Chimpy McHallibusHitler to invade Iraq to drive up the price of oil! Can't ya see it? It's right in front of you! More proof after the break!"

    Voiceover announcer:"This segment of 'Ring of Fire' was brought to you by our good friends at ChevronTexaco - Always trust the man who wears a star! Unless, of course, that star is six-pointed, then he may be a Zionist NeoCon, in which case you should RUN AWAY!"

    (commercials for Nexium and Cialis)

    Young Master Robert: "Coming up later on 'Ring Of Fire' we'll discuss the Medicare Part D scam and how it was cooked up by the pharmaceutical companies spefically to keep Al Gore's mother taking her cat's antibiotics instead of getting some for herself. Now, back to how Big Oil is screwing this entire nation..."

    I think we can look at the alleged Curse of the Kennedy family as a cross between social Darwinism and Murphy's Law: Anything that can go wrong with Darwin's Law, will go wrong with Darwin's Law. Because it sure looks to me like all the smart Kennedys have succumbed in some variation to Darwin, leaving the stupid ones alive and propogating their stupidity into further generations.

    By Blogger JD, at 05 June, 2006 22:43  

  • It is beginning to look like most of the Kennedy family needs to be permanently locked away in rehab and mental institutions. They are becoming the "Crazy Aunts" of the Democrat party.

    By Blogger PCD, at 06 June, 2006 08:08  

  • What I don't get is why corporations should be expected to support programs that actively hate everything they do.


    By Blogger Emerson, at 06 June, 2006 12:24  

  • They should be expected to buy air time on Air America because of the cliche that a capitalist will sell you the rope to hang himself with. On its face a ridiculous assertion, but some cliches become cliches because there's more than a grain of truth to them. They should buy the time because there's an audience that's measurable, even if it is much smaller than Limbaugh's.

    By the way, Air America does get some national advertisers. They're very similar to the kind of people that advertise on Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity: Ovaltine, Gold Bond Powder and Ant Spray.

    I haven't done a detailed analysis of this, but any AAR hosts that get major carriage do get national advertisers, namely Al Franken and Randi Rhodes. Those hosts that are barely carried by most of the affliaties (Jerry Springer, Janeane Garofalo, Mike Malloy) don't get those same ad buys.

    This is where the AAR cash flow problems come in: many of the "Air America affliates" are actually carrying Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, (not Air America employees) or, horrors, even running local hosts during some shifts. Maybe this is why Franken gets a lot of money; he's one of the few AAR hosts pulling his weight. Maybe I'll do some actual research on this and check back in.

    By Blogger Scott, at 06 June, 2006 13:07  

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