Tom Athans, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Liberal Talk Radio
Senator's Husband Planning New Libtalk Network
*** 02 APRIL 2008: ATHANS ARRESTED ***
Here we go again!
Air America Radio's high- profile failure to deliver popular and financially successful liberal talk radio programming obviously hasn't deterred other "progressives" from initiating their own efforts.
Instead, with the recent announcement by former AAR exec Tom Athans regarding his new libtalk operation, Talk USA Radio, we will soon have at least four suppliers of lefty programming ready to fight over a tiny listening audience.
After Air America's debacle, do any of them stand a chance?
Athans, Air America's former executive vice president of the syndication division, is a controversial figure even inside the so- called "progressive" community. He's made some enemies on the left and as a result, some have been eager to tip us off to his latest antics.
And as the husband of US Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who is running for a second term this year, it's a wonder Athans hasn't at some point become a campaign liability.
During his time at Air America, we often wondered what he did during the day, in what proved to be a short tenure there. Hired (for whatever strange reason) to set up a Washington DC office for the network, Athans was to oversee its syndication efforts, which never really got off the ground. Previously, he ran Democracy Radio, another liberal talk radio upstart, which folded in 2005.
Having signed a contract in October, 2005, Athans was to have remained in his position until the end of 2006, but left in July. Compensation for the full calendar year was set at $165,000. Nice work if you can get it!
But providing a questionable contribution to Air America hasn't stopped him from attacking his now- former employer. As he told one publication, "There simply needs to be a credible alternative to Air America to ensure that Progressive Talk has a chance for success."
While Athans has already announced the formation of his new libtalk venture, he hasn't said what programs will air or who will back it. Apparently, that will be revealed soon.
Of course, the bigger question remains why it is so seemingly important for liberals to succeed at commercial talk radio, despite such a substantial track record of failure to date. What compels these people to beat a dead horse again and again?
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Photos: Stabenow's website