The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

01 April 2008

Air America Loses NYC Slots, Sharpton, Schultz Gain


Libtalkers Booted From NYC Flagship

With key moves that saw Air America Radio hosts booted in favor of other programs by Rev Al Sharpton and Fargo talker Ed Schultz, liberal talk radio's new pecking order has become more clear than ever.

In the biggest upset for the "progressive" talk radio network, longtime New York personality Lionel's timeslot on flagship WWRL-AM was turned into lion-$ell, a new bloc of gutter- level infomercials. Also out in the reshuffling is sadly boring Al Franken replacement Thom Hartmann.

JonesMediaAmerica's Schultz is the big winner, finally gaining a clearance in New York City after many past attempts. In addition, fellow non- AAR talker Sharpton gains a key affiliate with this announcement.

Though Air America doesn't own WWRL, it has served as their flagship since the libtalk outfit lost its previous base at WLIB-AM. Overall, it suffers from a less- than- perfect signal and rampant programming instability.

Now, the New York Daily News reports AAR is looking for a new home:

The network has had ratings problems in New York, some of which have been attributed to WWRL's dial position and spotty signal, and the station itself has shown some ambivalence about Air America. It has continued to carry its own morning show, which now features Coz Carson.

Air America's original agreement with WWRL expired yesterday, said the Air America source, which freed the station to drop some programs.

WWRL continues to carry Air America's Randi Rhodes, 3-6 p.m., and Rachel Maddow, 6-8 p.m., as well as several weekend shows. But the Air America source said this reduced schedule has sent the network looking for another New York station that could be more of a full flagship.

Meanwhile, the source said, a more limited agreement will keep some Air America programs where they are.

WWRL was not commenting on anything yesterday, but replacing two hours of Lionel's show with health infomercials is largely a financial move, designed to bring in some cash.

WWRL's move will inevitably trigger more speculation about the future of Air America. The network got another new owner last month, when Charlie Kireker bought a controlling interest from New York developer Stephen L. Green.

But the source inside Air America said the network is holding its own with affiliates, noting that Hartmann added four stations yesterday, including Miami.

Unfortunately, Hinckley's AAR source is wrong, the network is not holding on to affiliates, with Sacramento's recent cancellation as just the latest example of its declining fortunes.

From here, any future for liberal talk radio will come from firms other than Air America Radio, that is now abundantly clear.

FOR New England regional talk radio updates, see our other site.

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  • Air America at one time had an audience. All the supposed talk radio experts shrieked "get hosts with experience", so AA got hosts with radio experience, Hartman, Lionel mainly and the 2 shows had no listeners. Hartman is simply a Democratic party spokesperson, no progressive wants to hear Hartman proclaim "Obama and Clinton are great progressive candidates", they are not progressives in the least. Hartman lost all credibility the last year with his constant cheerleading of the Democratic party instead of progressive ideals.

    Lionel is a poor fit, Lionel talks rock music, pro wrestling, beer and sex a lot of the time, not exactly what AAR is known for

    All the original AAR radio shows did quite well, were popualr and generated radio buzz and "water cooler talk". Mark Maron's morning show was popular, I remember hearing it in taxi cabc, people talking about it etc etc. Sam Sedar and Garaffalo's evening show even cracked the top 10 in NYC for a few books, Franken pulled decent numbers for a while too (never like the show) All these hosts had NO RADIO EXPERIENCE. Don't forget Mike Malloy (with radio experience) did very well on AAR. They removed all of the popular programs, it is no shock, they no longer have listeners. Air america lost their entire core audence after they cut Malloy and removed Sedar for Lionel.

    As far as WWRL, they are a black oriented station, got complaints from their core black audience and added more black programming to continue their tradition.

    Schultz for Hartman, I can understand the move, Schultz is popular , although I can not stomach the man. Lionel for infomercials, obviously a business decision.

    AAR is gonig to have to understand progressives, liberals, and socialists do not want to hear Democratic party cheerleading. This is why they are failing.

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 02 April, 2008 12:16  

  • On a related topic, Thomas Athans, co-founder of the liberal TalkUSA Radio network in prostitute sting.

    Another media report that conveniently avoids mentioning the political party. The AP report holds off until deep into the report.

    TROY, Mich. (AP) - The husband of U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow told police he used the Internet to make a date with a prostitute and paid her $150 for sex at a hotel, according to a police report.

    Thomas Athans, 46, co-founder of the liberal TalkUSA Radio network, was stopped by police who were investigating Internet-based prostitution at the hotel, the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday in a story on its Web site.

    If this guy or his senator wife was a republican, how many milliseconds would transpire before the scandal hit the front pages of the NY Times?

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 02 April, 2008 12:57  

  • I'm back and MOP has not changed. First line a lie "Air America at one time had an audience" That’s hilariously.

    Then the last line “AAR is gonig to have to understand progressives, liberals, and socialists” Good luck with that one progressives, liberals, and socialists have never made any sense.

    By Blogger pf1, at 03 April, 2008 01:46  

  • Benson,

    Oh please with the whiney "Librul Media" conspiracy crap. Same "librul media" took 2 and a half months to report the Larry Craig (R) Story.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 03 April, 2008 04:52  

  • Seriously the rampant age discrimination at lib stations, Lionel wanted a little chicky poo to be his production assistant screening calls etc..instead of a 40 year old man who had previous radio experience...

    damn...what an embarrassment i could have caused last year suing them for age sex discrimination

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 05 April, 2008 02:46  

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