The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

20 October 2006

Air America Radio Bankruptcy, Thom Hartmann


AAR Defenders Compare Network To FOX, Wash Times

Even in the face of tens of millions in losses, poor ratings, sleazy scandals and lavish corporate spending, some at Air America Radio aren't going down without a fight. And in defending their nearly- dead liberal talk network, comparisons are being made to both the FOX News Channel and Washington Times.

And somehow, George Soros has now conveniently been erased from memory.

Leading the charge is host Thom Hartmann, whose show is syndicated by Air America Radio and heard on perhaps a few dozen stations. Writing for the Huffington Post, Hartmann makes absurd comparisons that attempt to suggest Air America could yet be as successful as FOX News.

Can he turn the tables against this global right- wing media conspiracy, or is Hartmann simply delusional?

Let's take a look:

There are times when doing the profitable thing is also doing the right thing.

That's certainly what Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch thought when they lost an average of $90 million a year for about five years before the Fox News Channel became profitable. It's what Reverend Moon believes, as his Washington Times newspaper lost hundreds of millions of dollars and, according to some reports, even today continues to lose money.

And its what the people who have made Air America Radio possible - names you probably wouldn't recognize because they've invested millions of their own money but don't seek the limelight - believe.

Each of these endeavors hit nail-biting times.

Sure, Thom, but FOX worked with a business plan and didn't pay its early hosts and anchors lavish sums of money. In addition, it didn't raid a children's charity for start-up costs and then try to keep the story out of the news.

And the Washington Times? It's owned by a religious entity, so there's simply no way to make a comparison here. It's nothing like a liberal radio network.


There was, however, a happy ending (for Murdoch), which helped fund the money-losing Fox News Network:

"Today, the studio and the Fox owned-and-operated stations are News Corp.'s cash machines."

Brit Hume noted, in a 1999 interview with PBS:

"This operation loses money. It doesn't lose nearly as much as it did at first, and it's -- well, it's hit all its projections in terms of, you know, turning a profit, but it's - it will lose money now, and we expect for a couple more years. I think it's losing about $80 million to $90 million a year."

This is not, of course, to celebrate losing money. It's just a demonstration of the old truism that sometimes "it takes money to make money." And sometimes it takes money to make a difference in the world, as well.

While Fox News and The Washington Times have devoted themselves to promoting the interests of America's most wealthy, most of the programming of Air America Radio has been committed to discussions of labor, the middle class, and holding up the founding ideals of this nation.

Hartmann's ideological dishonesty here is astounding: Air America Radio has from day one been about pumping up the bank accounts of liberal elitists like Al Franken. Any network that pays Stuart Smalley $2 million a year in addition to many perks, despite a lack of audience performance, isn't at all concerned with the working class.

It gets better:

It's a tragedy that for the lack of an investor the size of Rupert Murdoch Air America is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. But its existence and ongoing presence in the marketplace is an essential part of the dialogue that is known as democracy.

Okay, buddy, now you've truly jumped the shark. What about billionaire George Soros? Didn't he pump a considerable amount of money into this stinker?

Or how about RealNetworks founder Rob Glaser? He blew at least $10 million on Air America.

In addition, you've received help from Peter Lewis of Progressive Insurance, the secretive Durst Organization, made up of wealthy New York City landlords and many others.

Elitism has been at the very core of Air America's operations from the beginning, just as it has at the Huffington Post. The kind of people you associate with, Mr Hartmann, wouldn't know working class if they tripped over it on the way to one of their lavish Manhattan cocktail parties.

Verdict: this is a truly delusional moment in HuffPo history.

Money Laundering, Sugar Daddy: Pete at IHillary, Soros Juggling, Sponsorless: David A Lunde

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  • I don't know that George Soros has anything to do with Air America.

    Air America's management is currently infested with right-wing fascist corporatist types like Glaser, Wiggett, and Ennis.

    Why would George Soros have anything to do with them? How?

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 20 October, 2006 22:09  

  • You know Hash people wouldnt think of you as such an idiot if you thought just occasionally before you typed away. Did you do any research before your mouth diarhea took over? Ever heard of It lists political contributions so you can see who someone supports. Lets take that rightwing fascist Rob Glaser of Seattle Washington and look him up there. You know the chairman of Real Networks. HMMM Donations to:

    John Kerry
    Maria Cantwell
    Ron Wyden
    Patty Murray
    Democratic Senatorial CC
    America Coming Together
    Debbie Stabenow
    Chuck Schumer
    Tom harkin
    Barbara Boxer
    Progressive Majority
    John Edwards
    Tony Knowles

    Some of these get multiple donations. All are large donations.See any Republicans let alone any moderates on that list? Sound like that right winger to you? If yes you must be Karl Marx's long lost cousin.

    Idiot. I could do the same again for the others but why. YOU KNOW NOTHING OF WHICH YOU SPEAK. A person of any character would be terribly embarrassed and might not show up again for awhile. The person I am expecting will play "nevermind" and change the subject. Fool.

    By Blogger Seriouslyunserious, at 20 October, 2006 23:13  

  • Do you think he voted for Bush, seriouslyretarded? What do you think?

    Besides, what do such donations mean? Rethugs make donations to Democratic institutions all the time, to cover their tracks. It's nothing to them.

    Interestingly, you didn't even TRY to defend the other two evilians.

    And you still haven't explained why you believe Soros has anything to do with Air America, what that is supposed to mean at any rate, since AAR has now been bankrupted by the moneychangers, and how you'd justify people like Scaythe....

    It's not the issue that confounds me. It's you rabid, paranoid right-wing morons who try to pretend that you have the inside track, yet you have no clue.

    Waste some more money on some more imaginary "Islamofascists"???

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 21 October, 2006 01:54  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Not HER Again, at 21 October, 2006 16:37  

  • Idiot but I repeat myself.

    By Blogger Seriouslyunserious, at 21 October, 2006 19:03  

  • Surprise, surprise.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 21 October, 2006 23:39  

  • Let me try to look at some of the names on seriouslyunserious' list:

    John Kerry--Le Poodle--don't need to know more about him other than he's a part of the Boston Political Machine, which runs Massachusetts--make that TAXachusetts--politics!

    Maria Cantwell--uber leftist Washington State pol

    Ron Wyden--don't know him

    Patty Murray--The Osama Mama--she commited treason in my book by praising UBL. She and Cantwell are Washington State's version of Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer!

    Democratic Senatorial CC--don't know them

    America Coming Together--check their profile out:

    Debbie Stabenow--Michigan Senator who may as well be in the same book as John Conyers! And she recently got endorsed by a pro-union group called Change To Win.

    Chuck Schumer--EVERY weekend is another photo op for a man who talks like he's had a badly made egg cream!

    Tom harkin--friend of the left in a red state. What are the people in Iowa thinking???

    Barbara Boxer--I wish there was a Boxer rebellion--AGAINST THIS FEMINISTA!

    Progressive Majority--Progressive? THAT BUZZWORD IS TROUBLE. By the way, here's their profile from Discover The Network:

    John Edwards--Pretty boy--where' he been?

    Tony Knowles--don't know who he is.

    By Blogger The Real Bob Anthony, at 22 October, 2006 10:41  

  • "Right-wing fascist corporatist types like Glaser, Wiggett, and Ennis?" For them to be right loser, you would have to be so far left that you are out killing our troops and trying to do it with Cindy Sheedike...

    By Blogger Owen, at 22 October, 2006 21:48  

  • Now, now, widdle one.

    Don't get your widdle loofah into an uproar...

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 22 October, 2006 22:19  

  • Still haven't heard how the terrible George Soros "funded" Air America, btw!!

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 22 October, 2006 22:20  

  • Okay, hash, here's some education for your lazy ass:

    Jim Wiggett of Pleasanton CA is CEO of the Jackson Hole Group, and also the new AAR CEO. His donations for the 2006 cycle go all-Donk (Steve Filson, Patricia Madrid, Ron Klein, Tammy Duckworth, Heath Shuler, Francine Busby, Diane Farrell, Steve Sinton, Dem state central committee of CA), total of $6600.

    In the 2004 election cycle, Wiggett donated to all-donk concerns, as well as to America Coming Together - e.g., Soros - in a very token fashion.

    There are very limited records on Bob Ennis in the CRP database, but the total given for three nationwide political contributions is about 1500, spread across the parties and the nation.

    Your theory on Glaser was blown out of the water, and now here is the proof on Wiggett.

    Got any other boogeymen to throw out there?

    Or do you still insist that a man who has made 13 separate donations to ALL Donk concerns and ZERO to GOP concerns is still a "right wing fascist corporatist type?"

    It's okay if you're stupid, hash. Just try not to be stupid on purpose, mmmKay?

    By Blogger JD, at 22 October, 2006 22:25  

  • How, JD?

    I could afford to give a sizable donation to Westboro Baptist, the Moonies, and Kahane Chai tomorrow. That still wouldn't prevent me from working to undermine them the day after...

    Glaser engineered the so-called bankruptcy takedown, to keep the original progressive founders from wresting ownership back from you wingnuts. Wiggett never saw a bad decision he didn't make, and Ennis, an associate of RUPERT MURDOCH actually engineered AAR's true heart and soul, Mike Malloy's termination and brought on Armstrong Williams!

    So STOP this revisionism (or perhaps that term hits a little too closely?)

    AAR had an amazing concept, over eight million listeners, advertisers lined up down the block, and some of the best talk radio hosts (and, regrettably, some of the worst) the industry had to offer. One does not have to puzzle over the dichotomy of how bad decisions and a failure to keep out Rovian thug infiltrators and moneychangers out accompanied a downward slide at a time when true conservatives and moderates were deserting the neocon ship of rats in droves!

    The entire radio business needs an enema.

    The fact that these machinations can even take place in 2006 and, indeed, be denied and even embellished on says more about the Republican culture of corruption and the pervasive stranglehold that neoconservatism has on the world than any thirty-second hit piece ever could...

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 22 October, 2006 23:01  

  • Whassamatta, hash? Fact just keep getting in the way of your purple sky world, don't they?

    "AAR had an amazing concept, over eight million listeners, advertisers lined up down the block, and some of the best talk radio hosts (and, regrettably, some of the worst) the industry had to offer. One does not have to puzzle over the dichotomy of how bad decisions and a failure to keep out Rovian thug infiltrators and moneychangers out accompanied a downward slide at a time when true conservatives and moderates were deserting the neocon ship of rats in droves!"

    And you're accusing US of revisionism?!?

    Damn. Just, damn.

    If AAR had, in your words, "advertisers lined up down the block," then why was it conducting a pixel sale to get back on the air in Phoenix? Why did have their little quasi-PBS sponsorship drives?

    And "some of the best talk show hosts in the industry (and, regrettably, some of the worst)?" Who was amongst the 'best?' Malloy? Winnstead? Seder? And if they were, in your words, "the best," then why weren't they holding forth on nationwide shows on their own prior to going to AAR?

    "So STOP this revisionism (or perhaps that term hits a little too closely?)"

    Physician, heal thyself. Yeesh.

    By Blogger JD, at 22 October, 2006 23:51  

  • You answered your own question. For instance, Rhodes was forever beating Rush in their own backyard, yet they told her she'd never be syndicated, for Rush would not allow it.

    You're forever mewling about the free market, but the pure fact of the matter is the neocon propagandists have always been given a free ride (just LOOK at some of the nontalents on WABC, for example, to a point where no one would want Phil Boice's job).

    Yes, I would say Malloy and Rhodes were leaders in their field, and they both had considerable radio experience. I'd put Seder almost as high up on the list, and credit him even more so because he didn't have such a background. I believe Franken's one of the worst radio personalities I've ever heard, but not for the reasons I see delineated on this blog, which is just personality assassination, not legitimate criticism. As neocon influence crept into management, there was a marked decline in the rest of AAR's programming (the Unfiltered hatchet job, Springer, etc.)....progressives literally had no ear toward the end of AAR's tenure, and the disjointed nature of the programming showed.

    Advertisers were literally scared away from advertising on AAR by the was this demonstrated?

    Because the same thing is happening to neocon radio in New York as hears a lot more ads for hypnotists and penis enlargers, just like AAR's weaker programs had!

    And all because of crooked numbers...

    Believe me, ad men could care LESS what is said on the radio....they just want the listeners to hear their ads! Big business dudes like yourselves should be the first to understand, you're being hoisted on your own petard.

    Oh, one will miss Monica Crowley anyway...

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 23 October, 2006 00:15  

  • For instance, Rhodes was forever beating Rush in their own backyard

    You do realize that they were on the same station and not competing, right? You do realize that more people listen during drive time than they do during midday, right?

    By Blogger BF, at 23 October, 2006 08:59  

  • Not true, because working people more likely stream off their computers (those Republicans who actually work are aware of the fact that it's usually difficult, if not impossible, to pull in talk radio on cheap AM radios in office buildings)...

    The thrust of my comment was that Rush recommended how solid, well researched liberal talk was an immediate threat to his future prospects and had Rhodes's potential for syndication quashed.

    This is the problem with neocon talk shows. They are pussies, simply because they refuse to actually engage in dialogue with progressives (remember that in a recent ranking of fairness of talk show hosts, Rhodes was #2, whereas Limbaugh and Hannity finished dead last.

    Progressive hosts welcome dialogue with dissenting opinions regarding issues, whereas neocon hosts are forever mewling over this one or that one, but know full well their whining won't stand up to scrutiny, so they ban the critics...

    If anything, I believe so-called conservative radio's glory days have come and gone, and a new era is nigh, as the political pendulum slowly swings in a new direction.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 23 October, 2006 17:14  

  • You quest sounds vaguely familiar... oh yeah Linus sat up all night in the Pumpkin patch waiting on the Great Pumpkin. Last ten times I saw it, it did not turn out the way Linus described it. Dont let yourself be deterred from your own vigil. Courage!

    By Blogger Seriouslyunserious, at 23 October, 2006 19:25  

  • Amazing, hash, just amazing.

    To believe your view of things regarding the failure of AAR, we have to believe the following:

    1) A man who is syndicated on 500+ stations nationwide is so afraid of the magickal power of one woman (Rhodes) that he will start a conspiracy in order to bring down an entire network in order to sabotage her future career. At the same time his company, Premier Radio Networks, sponsors any number of different talkers, most with a right bent and some of which are in direct competition in various markets, but he's okay with that.
    2) The new management of AAR, whose political leanings and contributions have been demonstrated by hard evidence to be entirely left-leaning is, secretly, sympathetic to the neo-con agenda; thus, they have taken over AAR in order to sabotage it.
    3) The talents at AAR are 'leaders in their field' and yet have come from relative obscurity until crashing on the scene at AAR - and then becoming spectacular ratings failures because of the interference cited in item #2 above, even though those people cited in item #2 above did not arrive on the AAR scene until four months ago, but were still able to carry out the neo-con sabotage anyway.
    4) People are now being scared away from advertising on radio shows because they don't want to suffer the same fate as befell AAR.

    I would offer a one-step alternate hypothesis:

    1) AAR flopped because the people there did not understand what made talk radio successful, and thus were not able to consistent ratings which can then be sold to advertisers who, by the hashman's own words, "just want the listeners to hear their ads."

    Anyone want to apply Occam's Razor to that one?

    By Blogger JD, at 23 October, 2006 19:44  

  • Silly me...I'm still waiting to hear how George Soros funded Air America!

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 23 October, 2006 22:19  

  • No you are Linus sitting in quiet but hopeful silence ( when you are not running your yap here) for the coming of something that no one else has observed. Is it at all strange to you that no one else sees it? HMMMM

    By Blogger Seriouslyunserious, at 24 October, 2006 10:35  

  • No, seriouslyunhinged, I'm referring to the statement, posted several days ago:

    "Okay, buddy, now you've truly jumped the shark. What about billionaire George Soros? Didn't he pump a considerable amount of money into this stinker?"

    I'm trying to ascertain if George Soros DID indeed do this, or if this is just another overblown neocon urban legend (translation=lie)...

    How is this question translate to yet another tiresome cartoon analogy, sprung from childhood tales that neocons never seem to mature out of, or voyeuristic scatalogical references seemingly sprung straight from the moonbattery blog?

    Did Soros finance Air America, how do you know that, and how would that be revealing, at any rate?

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 24 October, 2006 17:00  

  • "Progressive hosts welcome dialogue with dissenting opinions regarding issues"

    You have GOT to be kidding. I have listened to air america many times, and most of the hosts are degrading to all who would dare oppose them. The immediately start name calling and taunting like they were a bunch of grade schoolers on the playground. No facts, no logical discussion, just a barrage of degrading immature commentary.

    On the other hand, I have NEVER heard such junk talk from most conservative hosts.

    By Blogger RealityCheck, at 24 November, 2009 19:53  

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