Air America Radio Finances, Associated Press
Ca$h- Starved Air America Struggles To Pay AP
*** Exclusive To The Radio Equalizer ***
By Brian Maloney
Air America Radio is apparently so broke that it is now struggling just to pay for basic news services, the Radio Equalizer has exclusively learned.
Locked into a contract for Associated Press wire services until next year, the much- hyped but floundering liberal talk radio network has recently attempted to negotiate for revised terms, including temporarily disconnecting certain elements of its AP coverage until it can theoretically resume full payments in 2007.
Perhaps al- Reuters could offer to fill the void, free of charge?
The AP did not respond to a Radio Equalizer press inquiry on the status of Air America's contract.
Use of a wire service, especially the AP's, is an essential element of any broadcast company's newsroom operations. Only the smallest radio stations in the country might attempt to function without one, but even that is not common.
Without the AP or another network feed, anchors are placed in a terrible position where they must improvise newscasts without running afoul of copyright laws and other restrictions. In monitoring recent Air America newscasts, there has been a notable absence of audio cuts and identification of the sources of reports. Why that is the case is not clear, but it does make for a rather odd- sounding news break.
And at Air America's website, news updates are written more in the style of a blog, with links to various reports, including some at Yahoo.com that feature AP coverage. But that kind of indirect linking doesn't require one to subscribe to the wire service.
If Air America is in fact having trouble paying the Associated Press, where does that leave other creditors and vendors? After all, the AP wire couldn't possibly be considered one of the company's biggest monthly expenses. In addition, AAR's news is sponsored by the SEIU labor union, under a long- term deal. Why doesn't the SEIU money directly cover the AP's cost?
The other big question raised by this news is what has become of the money from George Soros, Rob Glaser and others.
Have Franken and Rhodes really sucked it all up so soon? If we find out what happened to all of that lefty dough, we'll let you know.
Thanks to Dave Pierre at Newsbusters for linking to this story today.
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AP photoshops: David A Lunde for the Radio Equalizer