Air America Radio Buyout, Stephen L Green
AAR Buyer Finally Emerges, Franken Bye-Bye
*** Also: give Maria Bartiromo a break! And: new items at SaveWRKO, and see main page for new Air America updates ***
With a deal finally announced, the only surprise is that the "winning" bidder was a late entrant to the Air America Radio bailout race.
Who wants to waste millions more on this debacle? Apparently, several people do.
According to media sources, including the bankrupt company itself, Air America has been sold to Stephen L Green, a real estate baron and political player in New York City's lefty circles. He's also the brother of Mayor Bloomberg's most recent opponent, Mark Green.
The deal is still preliminary and must be approved by the bankruptcy court.
What isn't news is the added announcement that Al Franken will depart in mid- February, though he did remain on the air for several weeks longer than most thought he would, including us. His expected Minnesota US Senate announcement is now a certainty.
Oddly, during today's show, Franken apparently referred to both Green brothers as new owners, indicating a key role for Mark. Will he soon be added to the weekday schedule?
In its press release, Air America is still making crazy claims about having 81 affiliates and reaching 54 percent of the country:
Upon entering into the Letter of Intent, Stephen Green provided funds to Democracy Allies LLC, which has been funding Air America during the bankruptcy proceeding and which will continue to fund the company as it prepares a definitive purchase agreement for submission to the Bankruptcy Court.
Air America, which does business as Piquant, LLC and is headquartered in New York City, currently produces 19 hours of original programming a day and is heard on 81 affiliates reaching 54 percent of the country. Air America affiliates reach 1.9 million listeners per week, Mon-Sun 6am-12m.
From the Huffington Post:
Air America Radio, in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings since October, will be rescued at the 11th hour by Manhattan real estate developer Stephen L. Green.
Al Franken, the best-known host of the liberal network, will announce his expected departure on his show later today, to explore a run for the U.S. Senate from Minnesota.
Green is the brother of Mark Green, the New York Democrat who served as the city's public advocate in the 90s and ran for mayor against Michael Bloomberg in 2001.
He has already signed a letter of intent, and plans to finalize a purchase agreement within the week.
Air America CEO Scott Elberg confirmed the sale. "This is a great thing, for our affiliates, the company, the audience and every employee in our organization."
Green is chairman of SL Green Realty Corp, a real estate investment trust specializing in office buildings with a market cap of $12 billion.
If Green hadn't stepped in, Air America's shutdown would have been a sure bet, as negotiations with the French family had been breaking down for over a month. But as recently as last week, the Wall Street Journal was reporting the French deal as a nearly- done deal.
As for the troubled network's future, we see no reason why its outlook would improve under this scenario. Though it's losing the huge expense of Franken and his overpriced help, he was also the top ratings- earner and best- known name in the lineup.
Even with Franken, Air America's ratings show no signs of growth and the network continues to lose affiliates, with more on the way. There's simply no business reason to keep it going.
Its biggest challenge will be to convince the public that it still exists! Some people assumed that it shut down at the time it declared bankruptcy.
In the end, what has changed is that a new guy is now in charge of moving deck chairs on the Titanic.
ELSEWHERE: updates at SaveWRKO.
The Money Pit: Pete at IHillary
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