The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

25 October 2006

Billy Kimball, Al Franken, Air America Bankruptcy

GUARDING THE HENHOUSE

Franken's Producer Takes Key Bankruptcy Role







Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse, this one takes the cake!

Greedy Billy Kimball, Al Franken's beloved executive producer, has been appointed as a committee member overseeing Air America Radio's bankruptcy by the US Trustee's Office, according to the AP. Along with two others, Kimball will represent the interests of creditors as the case proceeds.

Wait a second, guys, don't you realize that Kimball was a big part of the problem in the first place?

With his buddy Franken, Billy Boy racked up huge expenses, in addition to his mammoth $600,000- plus annual salary, about ten times what such a position might normally pay to oversee a comparable program.

How about all of those lunch tabs, Mr Kimball? Don't think your lavish tastes contributed to Air America Radio's downfall? For that matter, what about Stuart Smalley's huge salary?

The truth (without jokes) is that Franken and Kimball helped to spend Air America into a deep, deep hole from which it may never emerge. Now the goal is to squeeze even more dough out of the place on the way out of there.

From the AP:


NEW YORK - The executive producer of Al Franken's Air America Radio show and two others were named on Tuesday to represent unsecured creditors in the liberal talk network's bankruptcy case.

The U.S. Trustee's office, a Department of Justice division that monitors bankruptcies, appointed three committee members: William Kimball, the Minneapolis-based executive producer of "The Al Franken Show;" Sacramento, Calif.-based Diamond Broadcasting; and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, a union that represents 70,000 journalists and entertainers in broadcast, radio and online.

Kimball is owed $84,893 in back pay, according to court documents. Diamond Broadcasting is owed $500,000, but its claim is listed as "disputed."

The company will continue to operate with funding from a group of investors led by RealNetworks Inc. CEO Robert Glaser. Glaser owns 36.7 percent of the company.

Air America has struggled financially since it was started two years ago, losing $9.1 million in 2004, $19.6 million in 2005 and $13.1 million so far this year.


William Kimball? We're willing to bet that beyond his mother, few have ever called him by that name. By the way, even though the AP missed it, Kimball is actually named twice in the bankruptcy filing: his Kimball Industries is also listed as being owed an undetermined amount of money.

Speaking of Billy, he sure knows how to tick off people in Hollywood. His previous antics (especially during his stint as writer for Craig Kilborn's Late Late Show on CBS) have certainly made enemies.


Meanwhile, Paula Nelson of Diamond Broadcasting, another one of the new committee members, was herself the subject of coverage in today's Sacramento Bee:


Local broadcasting owner Paula Nelson just wants her money, close to $1 million by her estimate.

How much she'll get -- or whether she'll be paid at all -- in the Air America Radio bankruptcy reorganization case remains to be seen.

Nelson is chief executive officer and president of Sacramento-based Diamond Broadcasting, which owns radio station Talk City KSAC, 1240 AM. She was named Tuesday as part of a trio representing unsecured creditors in bankruptcy proceedings involving the liberal-leaning radio network.

Air America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Oct. 13 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

"I hope we can get what's owed to us, so we can move forward," Nelson said.

The next court date in Air America's case is scheduled for Oct. 31, according to Tracy Klestadt,the attorney representing the radio network. Klestadt declined to comment further on the case Tuesday.

Joining Nelson on the bankruptcy committee are William Kimball, executive producer of Air America's flagship "The Al Franken Show," and a representative from the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. The Los Angeles-based union represents 70,000 journalists and entertainers.

Air America was broadcast on KSAC until last November, when it switched to KCTC, 1320 AM. Air America officials at the time cited KCTC's stronger signal and ability to reach outlying cities, such as Stockton and Yuba City.

But the split seemed to become personal. In a Bee story in October 2005, Nelson said the relationship between Talk City and Air America had eroded and that the network had turned its back on the Sacramento station, even though KSAC built a following for Air America's progressive programming.

"I put a tremendous amount of resources building up their profile in Sacramento," Nelson said then. "I convinced them they could get a following. Now, they snub their noses at us and go to another station."


Good luck to any of these people trying to get their money back, where it will come from is anybody's guess. George Soros, where are you when we need you?


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Tiny Kimball image: HuffPo

7 Comments:

  • Watch, the money held in the AAR Lawyer's escrow account from the Gloria Wise repayment will go to Kimball and Diamond Broadcasting, and to no where else.

    By Blogger PCD, at 25 October, 2006 08:49  

  • If it's the same Paula Nelson, she used to be a newsreader at KPFA in Berkeley and has shown up on some releases by Bay Area-based satire
    group Negativland (reading news on KPFA complete with funny sound effects). This was back in the early 80s.

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 25 October, 2006 12:46  

  • Do those releases include the banned-everywhere "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"?

    By Blogger Snowed In, at 25 October, 2006 12:57  

  • A creditors' committee is always named in a Chapter 11 BK. The BK is suppose to be handled to protect the interest of the unsecured creditors, since the secured creditors have secured assets to look to and the unsecured creditors are in priority over subordinated creditors and stockholders. These guys will have to approve a BK plan of reorganization or the company will have a very difficult time getting the judge to approve their plan.

    So an employee could end up quite sideways with the company. That would be quite interesting actually.

    Pass the popcorn.

    By Blogger Seriouslyunserious, at 25 October, 2006 13:41  

  • Well they can't sell "U2" but you can get it for free on their site. More info at negativland.com or go to wikipedia and look 'em up.

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 25 October, 2006 15:54  

  • I'd inquired about the creditors' committee several posts ago and had predicted that it had the potential to be enlightening.

    Key word: potential.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 25 October, 2006 23:28  

  • Well, what do you expect from Liberals except deficit spending.

    Perhaps a bailout from the government is in order.

    Funny that Air America could not find an audience, while right-wind talk show hosts make huge profits.

    I think they could not compete with government-subsidized NPR.

    And let's face it, even liberals find Al Franken annoying to listen to. He is so smug and "I'm right about everything" - he ias annoying as Rush Limbaugh.

    The left does not need a Rush Limbaugh...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26 March, 2008 20:51  

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