The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

07 June 2006

Atlanta, Air America Radio, Al Franken


Air America Loses Major Market, Franken Remains

As we first reported in March, Air America Radio is kissing Atlanta goodbye.

With the exception of Al Franken, the liberal radio network's talkers will soon be without a home in the area, after a new owner took control of WWAA-AM. Plans for the outlet were announced today.

While running Air America programming, the station was perpetually stuck at the bottom of the ratings cellar. So far, an attempt to find a new home for the network has failed.

Now under the control of area businessman Joe Weber, WWAA will run his unusual music mix, in addition to Franken, according to the Atlanta Journal- Constitution's Rodney Ho.

In an interview with former AAR executive Jon Sinton, Ho is fed a record- setting amount of corporate manure (thanks to Pat Riotic for the tip):

Joe Weber, who recently purchased WWAA-AM/1690, will be migrating his eclectic music format (everything from Pavoratti to Springsteen, Beethoven to Aretha) from 1160 starting Monday June 12. 1690 has run liberal talk show syndicate Air America the past couple of years. Weber is planning to keep only Al Franken from noon to 3 p.m.

He says his focus is on mornings and drivetime and by keeping Franken, he hopes to grab a few of those Air America fans. This does mean no more access to Rachel Maddow, Janeane Garafalo, Jerry Springer and Randi Rhodes unless you have XM Satellite radio or you can listen online. 1160, which Weber also owns, will simulcast until he creates a new format there. He wouldn’t say what he’s going to put there.

Jon Sinton, Atlanta-based president of Air America, said he’s seeking a replacement station in the area but doesn’t have a deal set with anybody yet.

In 2004, a group of liberal investors created Air America as a counterpoint to the conservative talk show hosts that dominate the airwaves such as Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham. Besides well-known non-radio types such as Franken and actressa and comic Garafalo, Air America included acerbic Randi Rhodes and former WSB-AM talker Mike Malloy, an Atlantan who is heard at nights.

The network struggled through financial and management problems in its first year and is not yet consistently cashflow positive, Sinton said. “Having started a bunch of radio stations, I know you need at least 36 months to build a business,” he noted.

Nationally, Air America is now up to about 88 affiliates, reaching two-thirds of the American population, up from 48 percent a year ago. It draws more than 3 million listeners a week. Among its strongest cities include Portland, Miami, Boston, Los Angeles and Denver where major radio companies such as Clear Channel, Entercom and CBS are able to promote the network, Sinton said.

WWAA-AM ranked 28th in the most recent spring Arbitron book, tied with conservative talk station 920/WGKA-AM, but Sinton noted that the average Air America’s listener spends far more time with the station than typical radio listeners.

For the record:

Jon Sinton is a former Air America executive who now works as a consultant for the firm. He is not the current company president.

Air America's previous corporate parent was created in 2003, making the outfit about three years old. Sinton's "36 months" are just about up, yet things are getting worse, not better.

Here's a funny line: " not yet consistently cashflow positive..." Let's see a single month that came anywhere near "cashflow positive"!

We've already debunked the "88 affiliates" nonsense, placing a true figure in the low seventies.

Of the cities listed, only Portland is a source of bragging rights for Air America. Boston's a particularly bad example: it generally hovers at or near last place there.

Sinton excuses the bad ratings this way: "...but Sinton noted that the average Air America’s listener spends far more time with the station than typical radio listeners."

If it had a high rate of Time Spent Listening (TSL), however, that would bump up WWAA's overall ranking, as TSL is a component of ratings statistics.


ALSO: At Newsbusters, 15 seconds of Al Franken.

Your Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of your final purchases, are vital to supporting this site's efforts. Thanks again! Note: Amazon is now shipping copies of Ann Coulter's Godless.

Road signs: David A Lunde for the Radio Equalizer


  • The sad part is that since this guy says he's keeping Franken, AAR will continue to proudly list WWAA as an affiliate.

    By Blogger BF, at 07 June, 2006 23:01  

  • " not yet consistently cashflow positive..." Let's see a single month that came anywhere near "cashflow positive"!
    Brian: You have never once produced a corporate balance sheet for AAR. This isn't surprising (they are, after all, a private company), but you're making insinuations without any data to back them up.

    By Blogger Justin, at 08 June, 2006 06:46  

  • As to the "cashflow positive" question, perhaps AAR had a positive cashflow for the month when they stole the money from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club.

    By Blogger Rich in MT, at 08 June, 2006 08:27  

  • " not yet consistently cashflow positive..." Let's see a single month that came anywhere near "cashflow positive"!

    Brian: All your consistent reporting on AAR's finances is starting to bear fruit. Dropping Atlanta is proof that a radio station cannot stay in business by running PSAs all day long. In order to run the business profitably, the radio station needs hard cash generate from legitimate paid advertisers (which AAR is sorely lacking).

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 08 June, 2006 09:22  

  • This isn't surprising (they are, after all, a private company), but you're making insinuations without any data to back them up.

    Since AAR is constantly looking for bailouts, losing stations, and has little advertising, it is entirely fair to insinuate that their cash-flow situation is negative, and entirely fair to challenge them to show otherwise.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 08 June, 2006 09:57  

  • justin said:

    "Brian: You have never once produced a corporate balance sheet for AAR. This isn't surprising (they are, after all, a private company), but you're making insinuations without any data to back them up."

    You correctly nailed the issue with respect to AAR's financials, although I would interpret Brian's "Let's see a single month that came anywhere near 'cashflow positive'" comment as a challenge to AAR's "suits" to open their books to the public.

    And if not the public, why not the employees? There are real benefits that may be gained by doing so....

    By Blogger Ironman, at 08 June, 2006 10:04  

  • the only way Maloney can catch an erection, Air America losing an affiliate. Last night, Brian went to bed with a happy ending. Dreaming of a fascist society, with one view point on the radio, Limbaugh. Guess where my radio is tuned? 1190AM, and guess what my computer is streaming?, kind of makes you cry, doesen't it Brian. Guess where 40 of my buddies radios are tuned 1190AM! Guess where my non-political 6 figure income father's radio is tuned to for political chat, 1190AM. Keep in mind my father is not exactly a "liberal". When I asked him how come Air America, the response "only a mentally handicapped idiot could listen to that moron on ABC Hannity". As much as Maloney wish's for a fascist society, you will never have it. incidently Air atlants is a 1000 watt station which covered 15 miles in Atlanta and was barely heard. Not exactly a flamethrowing signal. Of Corse little Nazi Maloney, leaves out these details.
    Regardless of your sad little blog, all 20 of their atlanta listeners (a signal which you can not hear gets no listeners) will be streaming online as well. Air America will continue adding tiny stations and then dropping them, when the station goes automated. This seems to be the pattern. It burns the little alive that there is any kind of outlet that speaks truth to power. Brian, you can not stop people from exposing the degenerate administration you cherish. progressive talk will continue to assault you on all ends, from public radio like Pacifica, to Air America, to internet radio, no longer do you sick little freaks, control the political language of smear and hate. no longer will Americans have to choose between the drug addled nazi or the drop out from Long island (hannity). As much as Brian despises free-speech and 2 view points, it will continue to florish, untill the right wing controls nothing any longer. You are filthy little fucking animals. I mean it from the botrtom of my heart. I HATE YOU FREAKS, as much as that little whore COULTER HATES US. i WILL PEW HATE THER SAME WAY THAT LITTLE WHORE DOES. YOU OWN NO COPYRIGHT ON HATE. FUCK YOU MALONEY, FUCK YOU LIMBAUGH, AND FUCK EVERY SINGLE FILTHY RIGHT WINGER ALIVE.

    By Blogger rightwingwhiner, at 08 June, 2006 10:11  

  • rightwingwhiner sits at home jerking off in front of a mirror wishing he had a job.

    Have a great day Buckwheat!!

    By Blogger Scott, at 08 June, 2006 10:33  

  • Brian, I suppose you will have to pull the latest rant from rightwingwhiner due to his language, but I'd like to say that his posting is informative.

    It shows how a lefty has to revert to profanity when he realizes he has lost the debate. It is especially enjoyable to read about his 40 imaginary non-existant friends. Maybe his father is imaginary as well?

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 08 June, 2006 10:41  

  • RWW,

    Then why come to this site? All it seems to do is raise your blood pressure.

    By Blogger Snowed In, at 08 June, 2006 11:03  

  • The grammer and diction is priceless from the little pussy who hates us all. You really need to keept it up on the page. You can't even pick up 1190 by the fricking Turner Field for Gods sake. If they had anything going, there are dial positions opening up in town all the time. RWW, you're dad's a pussy too, and you're lying about his political proclivities or his statements. Pussy.

    By Blogger Donald, at 08 June, 2006 11:14  

  • Why do I get the sense that RWW probably has his/her car completely plastered-over with obscene/idiotic bumper stickers?

    By Blogger FlyingTigress, at 08 June, 2006 11:17  

  • The Zarqawi execution has the left a bit unhinged today, so we'll cut them some slack. RWW's language use is a problem, however.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 08 June, 2006 11:32  


    I doubt it. Ann Coulter is coherent, witty, and knows how to spell and punctuate.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 08 June, 2006 12:51  


    By rightwingwhiner, at 08 June, 2006 10:11

    Notice that these "Progressives" have no problem with misogyny when the subject happens to be someone who disagrees with them politically. You see this all the time on Left-wing kook sites.

    But Brian's right. It's been a tough week for loser-liberals.

    1. Bilray beats Busby.

    2. Zarqawi dead.

    3. Coulter's book #1.

    By Blogger Brett, at 08 June, 2006 13:15  

  • 4. U.S. Marines were cleared of allegations of slaughtering civilians at Ishaqi.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 08 June, 2006 21:33  

  • The obscene language is really starting to get out of hand. I don't want to have to delete comments, but soon may have no choice.

    This site has one of the most open policies around when it comes to comments, but it's really being tested by a couple of people right now.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 09 June, 2006 00:00  

  • I really think it's important to research and investigate the subsidizing (read: welfare ) of Err Amerika by Clear Channel.. As we have seen, Err Amerika stations that are not owned by clear Channel tend to "flip" because they can't sell ad time


    By Blogger dennis_kookinich, at 09 June, 2006 21:58  

  • I agree with The Benson Report except what puzzles me is how rightwingwhiner can lose a debate when he is the only one speaking?

    By Blogger Pat Patterson, at 10 June, 2006 02:10  

  • I think Franken is the worst host on AAR -- too bad they're not keeping Springer. So therefore, I will no longer be listening to the station (I live in Atlanta).

    Enjoy that "music mix" or whatever you're going to program on your station!

    By Blogger John Peltier, at 10 June, 2006 10:23  

  • Pat Patterson said: "I agree with The Benson Report except what puzzles me is how rightwingwhiner can lose a debate when he is the only one speaking."

    RWW does more damage to his own side's positions with his rants than any of us could do with our facts or logic.

    By Blogger SierraSpartan, at 10 June, 2006 20:01  

  • It is a sad day in Atlanta, which will make the future return of AA all the more sweet. My wife and I have enjoyed listening to them, though it was often difficult to get their signal outside of XM.

    The only 1690 host I had a problem with was Randi, though she often made up for it by asking tougher questions than the others. We should all be asking tough questions by now.

    As for the others, Jerry and Al, followed by Rachel, were my favorites.

    My wife and I listen more on XM than 1690, so we are only losing the convenience of getting it in both vehicles when we are on the road.

    I have no hate for the right, which is no monolith anyway.

    However, from occastional listening of the right's radio programs I consider Hanity to be a self righteous pontificator who does not represent my world view; Boortz as a shock jock without principles or social ethics; there is Savage, who is delusional and should seek medical help; and another righty - perhaps Beck - with whom I am less familiar but who comes off as very shallow. All of them, except the one who needs medical attention, seem to be using the same boring Republican sound bites day-in, day-out. I find none of these hosts or shows to be intellectually stimulating, or educational.

    Certainly, none of the above compare to the discussion one hears on Al's and Jerry's shows. On the right, if George Will or Tucker Carlson had radio shows I would listen.

    I shall miss 1690 and hope a replacement arrives soon.

    You are not alone.

    By Blogger impeachableoffence, at 13 June, 2006 18:21  

  • So shoot me. I will miss Air America. Backing out of my driveway this morning, I hit the 750 button. Following the traffic report, I switched to 920. Half an hour later, I switched to 1690. What happened? Why is PBS music being played by Air America? What happened while I was on vacation?

    I am not a Republican. In fact I am equally offended by being called either a Democrat or a Republican. I used to call myself a “progressive”, and still enjoy the word despite the attempts of the left to steal the word and debase its meaning.

    Yet, I have voted for the Republican presidential candidate in every election since the second term of Ronald Reagan. I voted for George W. Bush in two of three trips to the polling booth. The only time I voted against him was the first primary.

    Like many independent voters, I have become disillusioned with the President. I am often frustrated and occasionally angry.

    Needing reassurance I turn to “right wing” radio. Unfortunately, “Impeachableoffence’s” comments apply equally well to listeners who lean to the right. “Baby Jesus” Hannity does little to convince us that the president’s policies are the best for the nation. I am a dedicated flag waver, but three hours of repeating, “I am a great American!” does not reassure me. Boortz does not hide the fact that he is a shock jock without principles or social ethics. Entertaining perhaps, but he is too light weight to answer serious political questions. And where did they get Savage? I would happily tune in to hear Royal Marshall but Michael Savage clearly needs medical help.

    Generally, after listening to these programs, my frustration with the Bush administration increases. That is when I turn to Air America. Twenty to thirty minutes with Air America makes me realize what the alternatives might be. I switch back to 920, confident that I voted for the best alternative.

    Without them, my frustration may lead to me voting for a Gore or Kerry.

    By Blogger R.A. Stonecipher, at 14 June, 2006 01:46  

  • For those that the still want to get AAR over the air in Atlanta, WCKY 1530 AM in Cincinnati has a strong enough signal that you can get AAR at night and early in the mornings. I have no doubts that AAR will return to Atlanta in the near future. If they are tied with right wing dribble station 920/WGKA-AM for 28th, then there is definitely a sizable market for AAR in the Atlanta area. AAR has no advertizing of any significance in the Atlanta area, yet still manages to attract an audience. WGKA has billboards with their slogan “liberals hate it” plastered all over town and yet can only garner a 28th ranking. If AAR just made themselves known in the ATL, people would listen to it!

    By Blogger thoughtone, at 14 June, 2006 07:18  

  • WCKY 1530 AM in Cincinnati? I always wondered what station I pick up when I'm driving late at night. I couldn't get 1690, but lo and behold another AAR affilate came in just fine.

    I'm bummed, since I liked Randi on the ride home, even if she made me pull out my hair at times.

    Actaully, I haven't been this bummed since I lost Mark and Mark in the morning.

    Oh well...more NPR I guess. It's the only news I can get anymore that doesn't start out with the who got shot list, followed by the who got robbed list, and ended with the who burned down list. Seriously, Atlanta news is the pits.

    By Blogger Steve, at 15 June, 2006 07:31  

  • To Letters from the left

    same in our house, more NPR when AAR is not available, though XM radio has been very useful.

    I too believe that AAR will return soon. In an important election year; with a local election (Sinton) with AAR connections; and our support, this could actualize soon.

    Did you hear about that former station's new owner's rationale for dropping most of the AAR hosts/programs? If not, check it out.

    He is clearly exercising his right as an owner (though there may be a debate) to deny air time to opposing points of view. It is an extension of the RNC's policy and support to deny voter rights in certain districts, re Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire. It would appear that their envolving strategy involves manuevers like those developed by Nixon's Plumbers group, not persuasion.

    By Blogger impeachableoffence, at 15 June, 2006 12:27  

  • I eagerly await the return of an AAR affiliate. If the United States stood for anything, it ought to be free speech and the melding of all peoples. With the loss of most all leftist voices, the USA becomes ever more unbalanced.
    It's disturbing that various mouths for the right keep hammering about eliminating liberals. This is supposed to be "American", and even more ironic, Christian? Those that purport to love everybody? Liberals light the world on fire, and Jesus was one of the biggest examples.

    We need AAR, and more. We even need blowhards like Hannity and Coulter. We need all of it. The discourse must continue. To extinguish an opinion, an entire ideology, is very scary indeed. Before you know it (especially with NSA hard at work), it's a crime to have certain opinions.

    Come back to Atlanta soon, Air America.

    By Blogger starbanter, at 18 June, 2006 17:30  

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