Air America Radio Bankruptcy, Sale Possible
Air America Out Of Ca$h, Up For Sale
*** This story has been updated: click here ***
Cash- starved Air America Radio is broke and up for sale, the Radio Equalizer has learned exclusively.
In addition, a liberal website is reporting that the so- called "progressive" radio network will announce a bankruptcy filing on Friday. As of this moment, the story has yet to be verified.
What our own sources are telling the Radio Equalizer is that two potential buyers have recently been looking to scoop up Air America's assets. But internal board squabbling has created a disunited front, with some members looking to hand the network back to eccentric co- founder (and Huffington Post contributor) Sheldon Drobny, while the rest shop for buyers.
Jon Sinton, a former Air America and Clear Channel Radio executive, is said to be leading the effort to seek a purchaser.
Drobny, meanwhile, has been scrambling to figure out a way to retake the network and intends to rehire former COO Carl Ginsburg if he is successful.
To Radio Equalizer readers as well as Air America staffers, none of this should come as any surprise. Big layoffs came earlier this week and insiders have been bracing for the worst possible news.
Recently, we had reported on a number of management departures and the fact that Air America could no longer afford to pay the Associated Press for wire service coverage. Plus, the Gloria Wise scandal has still not been resolved.
In addition, this indication of Air America's financial condition allows Al Franken to trigger a clause in his contract that would allow him to immediately depart the network if he so chooses. He first must request a financial statement, however.
If Air America isn't able to continue its programming, it opens the door for new feminist talk radio network GreenStone Media to take over some, or perhaps many, of its stations. As we've reported exclusively, GreenStone, founded by Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem, has gradually begun to take over Air America's physical operations in New York City.
Because readers are telling us they've been having trouble getting to the Think Progress report on Air America's possible bankruptcy, here's an excerpt:
EXCLUSIVE: Air America To Declare Bankruptcy, But Progressive Radio Remains Strong
Air America Radio will announce a major restructuring on Friday, which is expected to include a bankruptcy filing, three independent sources have told ThinkProgress.
Air America could remain on the air under the deal, but significant personnel changes are already in the works. Sources say five Air America employees were laid off yesterday and were told there would be no severance without capital infusion or bankruptcy. Also, Air America has ended its relationship with host Jerry Springer.
The right wing is sure to seize on Air America’s financial woes as a sign that progressive talk radio is unpopular. In fact, Air America succeeded at creating something that didn’t exist: the progressive talk radio format. That format is now established and strong and will continue with or without Air America. Indeed, many of the country’s most successful and widely-syndicated progressive talk hosts — Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller, for instance — aren’t even associated with Air America.
But Think Progress is dead wrong, progressive radio simply isn't strong, beyond the moderate success Jones Radio has found with Schultz and Miller. Two examples aren't enough, especially when there have been so many failures.
In addition, it's quite clear that the "leak" to the liberal blogger was intended to allow the left time to spin the network's failure. It can't be that "progressive" radio is unpopular, instead, the problem is with Air America's mismanagement. Expect that one to be seared into the left's talking points list.
What's next for Air America? That isn't clear, but what is known from our end is that the most explosive stories on what has gone on behind the scenes have yet to be written. Watch for them here.
Meanwhile, Matt Drudge continues his bizarre antagonism toward conservative bloggers, ignoring every story about Air America's troubles that originated from the blogosphere. But today, he had no problem running with the bankruptcy story, since it originated from a left- wing site, even though it isn't yet verified. Update: he provides MORE links to liberal sites!
SPECIAL THANKS to Michelle Malkin for her continued support, read her take here. Michelle has a great point: some of the very sites (sometimes even on the conservative side of things) who have resisted linking to our reports (going all the way back to our collaborations on the Gloria Wise scandal) have now, without hesitation, immediately bought into an unconfirmed "report" from the left, that may or may not be true. We don't trust our own to be accurate, but assume the other side knows what it is talking about.
UPDATE: Randi Rhodes says she will address these reports after a staff meeting being held now. We may be able to get confirmation at that time. Rhodes sounds very distracted. Rush Limbaugh also discussed the story on his show today.
Randi: "why does all the scary crap happen on my watch? I'll be briefed shortly."
AIR AMERICA DUCKS THE ISSUE: a big hat tip to Perry Simon, who just obtained this quote from the company:
"If AIR AMERICA had filed for bankruptcy every time someone rumored it to be doing so, we would have ceased to exist long ago; it may be frustrating to some that this hasn’t happened. No decision has been taken to make any filing of any kind, we are not sure of the source of these rumors and frankly can not respond to every rumor in the marketplace."
Hey guys, this report comes from LEFTISTS! Are you smoking crack in there?
UPDATES: Randi is filibustering, rather than addressing the issue at hand.
Al Franken says he hasn't been paid in some time. Reader John B notes:
He hasn't been paid in a while? Hmmm... might be true, but I recall you had a detailed explanation of how he got paid in advance, on a quarterly basis. So he could be appearing to tell the truth, (woe is me!), but still laughing all the way to the bank (I already got mine!).
John, that's true, Franken and executive producer Billy Kimball planned for this years ago.
ALSO: Read part one of our exclusive new interview with Dr Laura!
COMING TOMORROW: In part two, Dr Laura talks politics and has advice for President Bush!
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Thanks to Michelle Malkin, National Review's Media Blog, Ace Of Spades, Gawker, Wizbang and others for links today.
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