The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

31 August 2006

Rachel Maddow, Sam Seder, Jerry Springer


Yet Another New Air America Schedule?

As we've said previously, it truly takes a scorecard to keep up with Air America Radio's constant, behind- the- scenes schedule shuffling. But the cake- topper emerged today, with a New York Daily News story by David Hinckley, who has been a consistent libtalk apologist / cheerleader.

If his details are correct, the report conflicts even with some of the network's official statements:

The progressive network Air America tonight scoops up the slings and arrows it aims at President Bush and moves them to its new home a few blocks downtown.

Starting tomorrow, Air America will be heard on WWRL (1600 AM), ending a 29-month run at WLIB (1190 AM).

WLIB was the network's original flagship station when it launched on March 31, 2004, but the two parties could not work out a new agreement to continue.

Not all Air America programming will be picked up on WLIB, which will retain its own morning show, from 5-9, with Sam Greenfield and Armstrong Williams.

Air America picks up with Jerry Springer, 9 a.m.-noon; Al Franken, noon-3 p.m.; Randi Rhodes, 3-7 p.m.; Sam Seder, 7-10 p.m., and Mike Malloy, 10 p.m.-midnight.

Air America also has several weekend shows that may be carried on WWRL.

The move to WWRL will reduce Air America's coverage in some parts of the metropolitan area, since WWRL's signal isn't quite as strong as WLIB's and there are areas where it is hard to pick up.

Questions continue to circulate about the financial health of the network, which has experienced cash crises and relatively high turnover of executives.

The company has consistently said it is here to stay. Part or all of its programming is heard on about 90 stations and is available on satellite and the Internet.

Its ratings in most cities are modest, partly due to the fact it is often heard on smaller AM stations, rather than the giants that carry the Rush Limbaugh-level commentators.

Could Hinckley's information possibly be correct, given that:

Sam Seder has already announced on the air and at his website that he has an agreement to take over Jerry Springer's 9am-noon timeslot. It was also confirmed by the Boston Globe. Is the deal off?

While Franken is expected to remain from noon- 3pm, Randi Rhodes has had her show cut by an hour, now extending to six, rather than 7pm.

In addition, the network had already indicated that Rachel Maddow's new show would run from 6-8pm. Has that changed?

Finally, even Mike Malloy himself has confirmed that he's been fired by Air America. Has that been undone?

So, what gives? Does Hinckley know something that we don't?

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Down The Drain: David A Lunde

Air America Radio Finances, Associated Press


Ca$h- Starved Air America Struggles To Pay AP

*** Exclusive To The Radio Equalizer ***

By Brian Maloney

Air America Radio is apparently so broke that it is now struggling just to pay for basic news services, the Radio Equalizer has exclusively learned.

Locked into a contract for Associated Press wire services until next year, the much- hyped but floundering liberal talk radio network has recently attempted to negotiate for revised terms, including temporarily disconnecting certain elements of its AP coverage until it can theoretically resume full payments in 2007.

Perhaps al- Reuters could offer to fill the void, free of charge?

The AP did not respond to a Radio Equalizer press inquiry on the status of Air America's contract.

Use of a wire service, especially the AP's, is an essential element of any broadcast company's newsroom operations. Only the smallest radio stations in the country might attempt to function without one, but even that is not common.

Without the AP or another network feed, anchors are placed in a terrible position where they must improvise newscasts without running afoul of copyright laws and other restrictions. In monitoring recent Air America newscasts, there has been a notable absence of audio cuts and identification of the sources of reports. Why that is the case is not clear, but it does make for a rather odd- sounding news break.

And at Air America's website, news updates are written more in the style of a blog, with links to various reports, including some at that feature AP coverage. But that kind of indirect linking doesn't require one to subscribe to the wire service.

If Air America is in fact having trouble paying the Associated Press, where does that leave other creditors and vendors? After all, the AP wire couldn't possibly be considered one of the company's biggest monthly expenses. In addition, AAR's news is sponsored by the SEIU labor union, under a long- term deal. Why doesn't the SEIU money directly cover the AP's cost?

The other big question raised by this news is what has become of the money from George Soros, Rob Glaser and others.

Have Franken and Rhodes really sucked it all up so soon? If we find out what happened to all of that lefty dough, we'll let you know.

Thanks to Dave Pierre at Newsbusters for linking to this story today.

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AP photoshops:
David A Lunde for the Radio Equalizer

30 August 2006

Mike Malloy Fired, Air America Radio, New York City Ratings


Malloy Fired, New Questions Emerge

Hot- headed extremist Mike Malloy says he's been unexpectedly fired by Air America Radio, according to his website and a posting by his producer / wife Kathy at the Democratic Underground. Apparently, he's already done his last show for the network (hat tip to Boston's "Raccoon Radio" Bob).

So far, AAR hasn't updated its program schedule, but that's no surprise: it also still lists Janeane Garofalo, who left some time ago.

Since recent indications were that Malloy would survive the liberal talk radio network's dramatic downsizing, this news further sheds light on the turmoil that has enveloped the floundering operation. Mike, who uses an ancient photo of himself on his website, was expected to move with Air America to its new and smaller flagship station in New York, WWRL- AM. So what is going on now?

Though Malloy and wife Kathy weren't being paid much by Air America, very little of its programming schedule outside of Franken, Rhodes and a couple of others now appears to be avoiding the chopping block.

Malloy's angry style and rhetoric have mostly been ignored by the media, with the exception of a couple of particularly extreme moments. One occurred when he lashed out at a conservative group that politely invited him to broadcast from their convention, calling them "neo- nazis".

And earlier this year, Malloy's idea of being a "team player" was to threaten our inside sources at the network.

And as for numbers, Malloy wasn't generating any: in the spring 2006 Arbitron survey, his combined (adults 25-54) ratings stood at a pathetic 0.5 share in New York City, compared to a 2.1 for rival Lionel on WOR 710 AM and 2.2 for the just- cancelled John Batchelor on WABC. For Malloy, that represented a drop of 29% over the previous ratings period.

What Mike did have, however, was a hard- core cult following by some of Air America's most politically extreme listeners. Apparently, the network felt that wasn't a demographic worth maintaining.

The bigger question, of course, is why the inner turmoil at the network continues unabated. Programming decisions seem to change by the day, with a scorecard needed to keep track of them.

With so many internal managers having recently departed from AAR's New York headquarters, who is now calling the shots, other than Jim Wiggett in San Francisco and Rob Glaser in Seattle?

UPDATE: a reader emails this:


Great job on your blog- I never miss it.

Regarding Mike Mallory's firing, maybe it's coincidence, but pretty much at the beginning of subbing for Randi Rhodes Tuesday, Malloy was ripping on "the suits" at Air America and their move to the new station in New York.

As I was listening, I was thinking, "wow, he could really p*ss off the bosses with his rant". I'm guessing he did. hehe

Again, just my two bits based on what I heard.

Keep up the great work.


E F, this might explain why Malloy was ripped right out of the middle of a fill- in stint for Randi Rhodes. Another host abruptly replaced him mid- week.

UPDATE: the ratings information above is at best misleading, as WLIB began airing ABC Radio's Satellite Sisters in Malloy's timeslot earlier this year. The crappy numbers mentioned belong to them, not to Malloy. Beyond New York, it's hard to tell just how many stations were running his show. He did well in Portland, Oregon, (over a 6 share in the evenings on KPOJ) but not in Los Angeles, where his late night slot generated only a 0.1 share (adults 25-54).

In addition, the Radio Equalizer has heard that at least some of Malloy's stations were caught off guard by his firing, having not received the customary notice of his show's cancellation. At least one affiliate was scrambling Wednesday to make other plans at the last minute.

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Old Picture, Like Rats: David A Lunde for the Radio Equalizer

Ann Coulter, Al Franken, Al Franken: God Spoke


Film Site Claims Coulter Wants Scene Cut

*** Updated With Fresh Coulter- Hate Example ***

As payback for past mistreatment, is Ann Coulter now sticking it to Al Franken? Or, is Mr Smalley merely manufacturing another convenient "controversy" in order to hype his new film, Al Franken: God Spoke?

According to CHUD, a film industry news and discussion site, Coulter has demanded that a scene featuring her and Franken during a 2004 Connecticut debate be cut from the final version. And CHUD contributor Devin Faraci even suggests that Coulter is intentionally trying to sabotage Franken's new film:

Ann Coulter has demanded that a great scene where she gets her skinny ass handed to her be cut from the documentary Al Franken: God Spoke. The film, which follows Franken’s book tour for Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, his involvement in liberal radio network Air America and his eventual decision to run for office, includes a scene where Coulter and Franken engage in a public debate at The Connecticut Forum in 2004.

In the scene they briefly argue about the late Minnesota senator Paul Wellstone, then they’re asked a question about which historical figure they would like to be. Coulter says FDR, so she could never introduce the New Deal. Al Franken quickly and easily decimates her with his answer – he’d be Hitler, so he could stop the Holocaust.

But then on Monday directors Nick Doob and Chris Hegedus were informed that Coulter wouldn’t give them permission to use the footage, even though the film has already screened at the Tribeca Film Festival with the scene intact.

Franken, as usual, has been quick to turn this into a "Coulter can't take the heat" kind of slam. From Faraci's report:

“I’m heart- sick about it, frank- ly,” Franken told me today. “It’s a funny scene, with the Hitler thing. And also she’s awful.”

“We went under the unthinking presumption that it was a public event and we could shoot it,” says co-director Nick Doob. “It was really, in fact, a miscommunication in our office. To use that footage we had to have permission from Ann Coulter.”

The filmmakers don’t know what Coulter’s exact problem is with the footage. “We don’t really know,” says Doob. “She just didn’t want it in the film.” If I had to guess I would say it’s a two-pronged thing: she doesn’t want to be in the movie getting owned, and she wants to spite Franken.

Explains Franken: “We don’t get along at all. I don’t like her and she doesn’t like me.”

Previously, we've covered backstage Franken / Coulter tensions here and the film's progress here. In the latter instance, we hoped that the film's producers would let us get to know the real Al Franken a bit more, but instead, it appears that God Spoke is just another piece of Frankenfluff.

Whether Coulter will have anything to say about this latest flap is anyone's guess.

UPDATE: More unhinged anti- Coulter hate from film industry websites:

Normally I hate to get political (because politics is less interesting than movies), but after doing a few painful hours of serious research, I've come to the conclusion that right-wing lunatic Ann Coulter is probably the most horrific non-murderer I've ever come across. She sells a lot of books, true -- because ham-fisted choir-preaching, arcane ravings and sloppily-written bile make for fun reading, I guess.

Seems that the self-adoring Ms. Coulter is branching out into fields that don't include self-promotion, intolerance and hate-mongering; nowadays she fancies herself a film editor too: Nick Doob and Chris Hegedus, directors of Al Franken: God Spoke have been forced to remove a sequence in which Mr. Franken (verbally) beats Coulter down and wins an argument without breaking much of a sweat.

Despite the fact that the conversation took place at an open debate and is most definitely an item of public record, Coulter has to approve the footage for it to stay in the film -- and, as a huge proponent of ignorance, spite and censorship, she refuses to do so.

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Waaaah!: David A Lunde for the Radio Equalizer

29 August 2006

Rush Limbaugh, Clear Channel, Air America Radio


For Carrying Libtalk, He Takes Shot At Employer

Because talk titan
Rush Limbaugh rarely delves into the inside workings of the talk radio business, it was fascinating to hear him take a thinly- veiled shot at his own employer yesterday.

What causes these infrequent moments? Does his irritation with our crazy (and very sleazy) industry sometimes become too difficult to keep bottled up?

In this case, he seemed to chastise Clear Channel Communications for almost single- handedly saving Air America Radio from collapse in early 2005. For the company, the results have been underwhelming, to say the least.

Limbaugh's program is syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks, a division of Clear Channel.

From the official transcript:

"Everybody is saying that the Fox News guys were released 'unharmed.' I don't consider it to be 'unharmed' when you have a pistol pointed at you and you must renounce your faith and convert to Islam."

"There's a message here. This is a glimpse into our future. This is their stated goal: You don't convert, you die. You remain an infidel; you're going to be a target."

"They asked Clinton about Hurricane Katrina on television over the weekend: 'Well, you know, I probably would have done a little more about it because I have such a special attachment to that area.' I'll bet. The red-light district."

"Algore also blames consolidation on the fact that nobody listens to liberal talk radio. They're out there in the market! If it weren't for a couple of big ownership groups out there, Air America wouldn't be on 90% of the stations that they are on."

Actually, Rush, it's hard to think of a second ownership group that has supported Air America the way we've witnessed with Clear Channel. Clearly, Gore doesn't know what he's talking about, because libtalk probably wouldn't be on the air today without the company's major stamp of approval.

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WTKK, Boston Herald, FOX 25 Boston, Michael Graham


Boston Talker Caught Up In Mosque Suit

A New England- based Islamist society's ongoing effort to sue nearly anybody who questions its government- supported mosque building project in Boston's Roxbury district has now ensnared a local radio talk host.

As a result, the Islamic Society of Boston's hardball tactics are again attracting attention, from the Boston Herald, radio industry trade publications and a number of regionally- based political blog sites. Check here for considerable coverage from Atlas Shrugs, New England Republican, Overlawyered, Blogofacists, Ultima Thule and Cao's Blog, in addition to And Rightly So!

So far, however, the biggest conservative websites have missed the news on the ISB's legal effort to force Boston talker Michael Graham and WTKK- FM to cough up materials related to a recent guest appearance by a Jewish group representative who challenged the project during Graham's show.

Is it an attempt to silence critics of the Roxbury mega- mosque? According to the Herald's Laura Crimaldi, the ISB is demanding Graham's show notes and other information used to "support his remarks" regarding the project:

A lawyer for the Islamic Society of Boston said the subpoena is part of routine evidence gathering for its defamation case against The Boston Herald, WFXT-TV (Fox 25) and advocacy groups that have questioned the mosque, including the David Project, a Jewish group.

Some civil liberties lawyers who reviewed the sub- poena, however, ex- pressed concern that it goes too far and could chill free expression.

ISB attorney Howard Cooper said “the appearance for the lawyer of the David Project on the Graham show is directly relevant to the issues before the court in the pending litigation, and this is why a subpoena has been issued simply asking for copies of the broadcast.”

But after reviewing the subpoena, attorney Harvey Silverglate, a Cambridge civil liberties specialist, described it as “extraordinary.” He noted that it also asks for materials used by Graham to support his remarks about the ISB, documents related to David Project lawyer Jeffrey Robbins’ appearance on the show and communications between Graham and other defendants or attorneys involved in the ISB defamation suit.

“Courts have to take seriously their obligation, their duty to protect the First Amendment, because civil litigation can be overwhelming and can really easily turn into harassment,” Silverglate said.

During the mid-August broadcasts on WTTK-FM (96.9), Robbins and Graham discussed the ISB and a controversial Muslim scholar, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, and other issues.

North Carolina attorney W. Andrew Copenhaver, who is not involved in the defamation suit, said if he was defending WTTK in this matter he would argue the subpoena is a “fishing expedition.”

Beyond that, of course, is the question of whether Graham actually retained any notes from the program. Only the most organized host might consider doing so and even then, there may not be any practical reason to save them. Your Radio Equalizer (who happens to work for Graham's competitor, WRKO- AM) generally files away only a one- page summary of what was discussed during any given show. Since it would take a warehouse to store the mountains of materials that accumulate even after just a few shows, everything else is thrown away.

For background on the mosque project, this 2005 Boston Globe story is useful:

Boston's new Mosque and Cultural Center was meant to be a beacon of tolerance, a symbol of understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims. Instead, the unfinished red-brick shell at Roxbury Crossing has become just the opposite.

Conceived before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and blessed by the city, the mosque has been beset by challenges. A Mission Hill man is suing the city, alleging that the land deal that got the project underway was unfair. Others have accused officials of the Cambridge-based Islamic Society of Boston, which is building the mosque, of sympathizing with Islamic extremists.

The accusations have battered the project. Donations have slowed to a trickle and Islamic society officials blame the allegations of extremism, which they have vehemently denied, for deterring benefactors. The funding difficulties have all but halted construction and forced the society to seek bank loans to complete the project, a step they had long hoped to avoid, given Islam's prohibition on charging and paying interest. However, those loans were denied, society officials said.

Mosque supporters say the harm done goes beyond bricks and mortar, that the rancor surrounding the project has deepened suspicions between Muslims and non-Muslims. The Roxbury site has become a setting for conflicts that extend far outside the neighborhood, into issues of constitutional rights, Middle East politics, and national security.

''One of the major objectives of this project was to be interaction between Muslims and non-Muslims in recognition that there is a lot of misunderstanding among Americans about Islam, and quite frankly among Muslims about American culture and society," said Salma Kazmi, assistant director of the Islamic Society of Boston. ''This feeds a lot of resentment and mistrust, the sense of people generally being against us. It's not a healthy environment."

The original completion date for the mosque was November 2004. The project has faced so many delays since then that mosque officials are reluctant to set a new completion date. With each month of delay, construction costs have risen, swelling the budget for the project from an original estimate of $22 million to around $24.5 million, and putting the new mosque's first day of prayers further from reach.

The other big issue, really the elephant in the room, is what the ISB is trying to accomplish by going after nearly every news media outlet in Boston. If it isn't about trying to shut down critics through the court system, then what is the point of the suit?

In WTKK's case, being dragged into the case could very well provide the station with a much- needed dose of ratings- generating publicity. After former local afternoon host Jay Severin departed to host a national evening show (which WTKK carries), the station's overall ratings have suffered significantly, with a year- long downward trend and no sign of recovery.

Will the station fight, or roll over? So far, that isn't clear, other than an indication that it will insist the ISB give it adequate time to gather up whatever materials it might be able to produce.

ELSEWHERE: Ottaway Newspapers, the left- leaning local publication division of Dow Jones, is selling off a number of its papers, including the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Not included are the New Bedford Standard- Times or the hypocritical Kennedy- loving, wind farm- hating Cape Cod Times. A lack of circulation growth was cited as a reason for dumping the Sentinel, which has been owned by Dow Jones since it purchased the paper from California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson and family in 1982.

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Roxbury mosque photo: Boston Globe

28 August 2006

Huffington Post, Steve Young, Liberal Talk Radio


To Explain Libtalk's Failure, 'Progressives' Blame Network

Coming this time from a Huffington Post contributor, a fresh batch of excuses for Air America Radio's failure to succeed has now emerged.

We've recently been following this emerging trend and expect to see a great deal more of it in coming weeks. That's because a lot is on the line for the left, since Air America was widely touted as the network that could success- fully take on conservative talk's biggest stars.

Of course, asserts Steve Young, it couldn't be that the public simply doesn't want liberal talk radio. Instead, Air America's management and air talent should share the blame, he says.

But that conveniently leaves out the significant number of lefties who have tried and failed at syndicated talk radio, years before Air America even came into being: Jerry Brown, Alan Dershowitz, Mario Cuomo, Bernie Ward and many others come to mind.

Young is an author and television writer who apparently hosted his own program on Air America's low- rated Los Angeles affiliate KTLK-AM at one point.

By simply parroting conservative radio's on- air tactics, he claims, so- called "progressive" listeners have found Air America's programming insulting, rather than entertaining.

One problem: can Young give us some idea of exactly where the network's hosts have copied the styles of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity? To your Radio Equalizer, the programming resembles NPR far more than that of KFI or WABC.

And, in a real attempt to give his piece credibility, Young disarmingly starts off by "agreeing" with Bill O'Reilly:

If you listen to Bill O'Reilly, liberal talk radio, especially in the guise of Air America, is on the ropes. Has no idea what it's doing. An utter failure. Ready to go under.

If you've ever read anything I've written, even my children's novels, I don't believe I've ever agreed with anything O'Reilly has said or written...till now.

Bill may have a point.

No, liberal talk is not ready to go under, though if they don't reassess their approach soon, finding a signal strong enough to hear a broadcast past the stations's parking lot may soon be in the offing.

And in backing the erratic, Courtney Love-esque Randi Rhodes, Young quickly loses credibility:

The only successful one who doesn't do it with comedy is Air America's Randi Rhodes, but Rhodes is so well-read and radio-hardened, that her arguments far surpass the bloviator test. Simply, she doesn't bullshit her audience.

Steve, get real: Randi has a team of writers to keep her "well- read", yet she still can't seem to maintain her train of thought through an entire point. Franken's performance, however, does not seem to warrant the same praise, according to Young.

And after making many excuses for the network's weak performance, he does appear to hold out a slight bit of hope for Air America:

Let's hope that Air America changes will bring on those who know how to be smart and funny on the radio. There are those in waiting that might be ready to step in. I mean, besides me.

There's plenty of comedy talent out there, but satire isn't enough. A sense of how
you come across on radio is needed too. Funny can't be taught. Radio comes with experience. Air America, as well as local stations need to bring on the funny people and show them how radio can work for them. At the same time, programmers and station managers must be willing to learn all talk radio is not the same, least of all, liberal talk. It doesn't mean there is no room for serious discussion, or partisan cheerleading, but let's give the liberal audience some credit for being more than pablum munchers. If we don't they soon won't care what you're serving up. They won't be there to listen.

This is actually a common mistake in the radio industry: the perception that conservative talk radio succeeds because it makes its listeners laugh. Actually, it's more about an energetic and entertaining delivery, combined with a compelling sense of what matters to the listenership. Liberal hosts can't seem to put together these crucial elements.

Here, Young falls off the edge of a cliff. How could "progressives" have such a strange view of themselves?

Liberal listeners don't want an ideological hole drilled into their skulls. They just aren't angry enough to buy that. They're political weakness is they're willingness to be analytical. Being analytical necessitates taking both sides into account.

Right wing radio's success comes from angrily demonizing the other side as completely utterly uneffective. Liberal radio needs to be far more innovative to draw their audience.

Since so- called "progressives" aren't about to admit that their viewpoints are unpopular with the public, we'll watch to see how clever the excuses for libtalk's failure become in the weeks and months ahead.

ELSEWHERE: Ever wonder where Hitchcock got the idea for The Birds? Beyond a 1952 short story, the real incident occurred during August, 1961.

And at Hot Air, a big score: video of the outrageous Emmy / Conan / plane crash skit.

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The Fool: David A Lunde for the Radio Equalizer

26 August 2006

Springer On The Radio Blog, 'jerryspringer', AAR


For Months, He Used Jerry Springer's Name

Consider the mystery of 'jerryspringer' to be solved.

Via an email to the Radio Equalizer, the poster who successfully impersonated Jerry Springer on his own website for several months has come clean regarding his antics.

Previously, we had wondered whether these notes were really coming from Jerry and many others had been just as curious.

Still a mystery, however: why Jerry and his staff allowed someone to post messages critical of Air America Radio under the trashmeister's own name for so long.

Here's the prankster's letter:

I’m jerryspringer, or at least I was. Apparently they finally figured out how deactivate the user id (I tried to log on from another site and the user id is no longer valid). I guess my home IP address is permanently banned as I now receive this message when attempting to access AAR:

“For some reason or another, you have been banned entirely from viewing the Air America website. Most likely for malicious use. If you feel you have gotten this message in error, please send an email explaining your situation to webmaster with the subject "Unban me, please".

Oh well, too bad. I guess they’re just humorless twits.

Like you, I was really surprised that the user id was available. Just for clarification I didn’t use it very often and I think I’ve had it for 2 maybe 3 months. To be honest I generally only used it to piss off Jerry’s major domo/ butt boy Jene Galvin and Jene would usually delete the posts.

I thought it humorous that they didn’t kill the user id before yesterday – I suspect they didn’t know how. For the most part it’s not a good blog and I thought I’d
introduce some humor. I tried to be careful when using jerryspringer not to create entries that implied it was really Jerry Springer.

I didn’t say ‘my show’ I’d say ‘the show’ – didn’t use ‘our’, ‘we’, ’I’ figuring people would figure it out. I have another user id and I check in from time to time and leave the occasional post. But Thursday it just went over the top. I knew Jene was in Alaska so I logged in as jerryspringer.

Apparently, they weren’t paying any attention. It may have been the show's biggest blog day and things were pretty wild. The rest, as they say, ‘is history’. I just wish I could have been there when they found out about the runaway blog.

I do apologize if this has caused you any problems. I was just making sport of them and since they won’t be around much longer I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

In a second email, "jerryspringer" had this to say:

I prefer folks know the truth. I was little stunned when I read your blog tonight. Figured I needed to come clean. Again, hope I didn’t cause you any problems but I must admit it was great fun.

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25 August 2006

Talk Radio, Seattle, San Antonio, Indianapolis


When Execs Interfere, Talk Radio Suffers

To just about anyone working in the talk radio industry, it's no secret that very few middle and upper- level managers share the conservative viewpoints that have made so many stations successful. In fact, in the Radio Equalizer's own experience, many are quite clearly far to the left.

So, as an ever- greater number of veteran talk programmers are pushed aside in favor of sales managers and other corporate suits without experience in the format, it's inevitable that the emotionally- based temptation to impose their own lefty views would soon overcome common business sense.

Topping the endangered species list for years has been Seattle's KVI-AM, considered by many to have become the first conservative- themed talk radio station in the country back in the early nineties.

But with notoriously- liberal family ownership and now lacking a qualified program director, KVI yesterday signed its own death warrant by adding a liberal host in midmornings and promoting a "moderate" (read: Lincoln Chafee) airhead to the all- important afternoon drive slot.

In my latest Inside Radio column, we examine the annoying and self- destructive urge to interfere with what makes talk radio successful. Also in the piece: a look at the latest political fallout from the loss of country FM radio in Los Angeles.

To read it, click here.

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Jerry Springer Blog, Springer On The Radio, Talk Radio


Mysterious Blog Posts Reveal Anger

Has Jerry Springer been lashing out at Air America Radio?

Based on comments left on his Springer On The Radio blog last night, it sure looks that way. Included are predictions that the liberal talk radio network, funded by high- profile "progressive" backers, will soon fail.

As we've noted over the past several days, it appears that Jerry's radio show has been cancelled by Air America Radio, even if no official word has yet been given. But the little- known Sam Seder, until now an evening talker there, has indicated that the timeslot will soon be his.

On August 9th, your Radio Equalizer first reported on Springer's likely demise from the network's schedule, but in recent days, turmoil has spread across the entire network's lineup. After an apparent (but clearly unsuccessful) push to remain with the operation, Jerry seems to be the odd man out.

So far, Jerry has said nothing in public. Or has he?

Ever- observant Radio Equalizer reader Colby spotted these comments left on Springer's blog Thursday evening:

AAR Blogs

Do you think the blogs will survive after AAR goes belly up? I mean, you really don't need the radio programs to keep the blogs alive. This blogging stuff is kinda fun!

by jerryspringer at August 24, 2006

When not IF

Even Bill Gates wouldn't pour unending funds into an operation that looses as much cash as AAR. I'm guessing its over by January. Drobny, Glaser, et al. with try another model and quit funding AAR.

by jerryspringer at August 24, 2006

You're sounding a little bitter there Jerry. Heard about the Sam Seder thing huh?

"This is not the far Left, it's the moral center." - Jesse Jackson

by Naraka at August 24, 2006

From earlier Thursday:

Jene's in Alaska

Jene's the only guy with keys to the computer and he's in the Alaskan wilds so don't expect a daily blog for awhile.

The show's been on life support for awhile and if it weren't for the contract with Clear Channel it would likely be gone.

by jerryspringer at August 24, 2006

Of course, the big question is whether or not this is really Jerry Springer, but he'd be crazy to let someone else register to post comments under the Mayor Of Hell's name and on his own website.

Far more likely is that with the show's coming end, Springer is no longer compelled to keep quiet about the situation at Air America Radio.

UPDATE: Colby now wonders if "jerryspringer" might be a faker (but one with a lot of inside information). If that's the case, then why has this person been allowed to impersonate Jerry for months on his own site? Your Radio Equalizer isn't sure what to think, as this seems a bit too blatant to be allowed in plain sight of everyone. Since registration is required to post on the site, one would expect a name like "jerryspringer" to be reserved for the host himself.

Thanks for your continued and vital Radio Equalizer support, via Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of what you ultimately order!

Springer image: David A Lunde

24 August 2006

Jerry Springer, Sam Seder


Host Claims He'll Take Jerry's Slot In Mid-September

On his Majority Report blog today, Air America Radio host Sam Seder claims he's won the war against Jerry Springer and will soon take the trashmeister's 9am- noon radio timeslot.

So far, however, there's been no official word on the changes and Springer's own site says nothing.

Though we first exclusively reported on Springer's impending demise back on August 9th, events over the past week made it unclear who would get his timeslot. For several days, it even appeared the Mayor Of Hell had in fact held on to it.

Reports from behind the scenes described a bloody battle of egos at the floundering network, with Jerry appealing his case all the way to the Supreme Court: Rob Glaser in Seattle, that is.

From Seder's site:

That is what they call in the radio business a tease. Sorry, couldn't help myself. I will be moving to the network 9a-12p slot starting sometime in mid september. They're still working out the details of the launch.

Don't know what the show will be called as of yet. There is desire form the network for me to call it the Sam Seder Program or show or something like that-- supposedly it's a branding issue or some other crap. I am not terribly comfortable naming a show after myself because it bores me in one sense and probably because of deep seeded psychological issues.

But more specific- ally, I am very attatched to the name Majority Report. It's what the first prototype of this show was called on one night in Feb. 2003 when Tom Scharpling gave me two hours on his Best Show on FMU. It has a two and a half year history which I shared with Janeane. Most importantly, I now associate it with you, our listeners and particularly our bloggers. So with all that said, we'll see... but, and I bold this so there is no doubts this blog will remain.

In the end, however, it may not matter who wins this battle: the network is dire financial straits, to an extent far greater than ever before. How long Seder, Franken and Rhodes can really expect to continue their shows

And as for Springer, it's not clear where he will take his talk show, but because it does have high- profile industry backing, we may yet see Jerry resurface somewhere else.

ELSEWHERE: Glad to see somebody in the blogosphere actually cares about the ongoing atrocities in Zimbabwe. Read The American Thinker's report here.

Thanks for your continued and vital Radio Equalizer support, via Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of what you ultimately order!

Springer sandwich: NBC - James Edstrom

23 August 2006

Boston Globe, Sam Seder, Jerry Springer


Even In Network's Dying Days, AAR Puff Pieces Continue

Question: what's the difference between a floundering liberal talk show host and an entire group of successful ones?

Answer: while the latter continually find themselves ignored, the former enjoys the kind of puffery that only the mainstream media can provide. Here at the Radio Equalizer, we've put a name to this unique form of journalistic mayhem: Frankenfluff.

Inspired by the obscene amount of free publicity Air America talker Al Franken routinely receives from his media fellow- travellers, the trend seems to continue, no matter how badly the liberal radio network performs.

Even Franken, however, might be jealous of the fluff- dose doled out to fellow talker Sam Seder in today's Boston Globe. From the moment it was published, your Radio Equalizer began to hear from other hosts who wondered what it would take to get that kind of free publicity for themselves.

Meanwhile, the story's timing couldn't be worse for Seder, Janeane Garofalo's former "Majority Report" co- host. At the moment, he's locking horns with the likes of Jerry Springer over the network's 9am to noon timeslot. It still isn't clear who will win, though Jerry has reportedly been making frantic phone calls to Rob Glaser in Seattle in an attempt to save his own show.

Yet the Globe story claims he's been awarded the 9am- noon slot! That's probably because at the time the piece was written, it really did appear that Seder's show was headed there. Now, his future is entirely uncertain. If Springer wins the battle, there probably won't be a place for Seder.

In fact, even at the Majority Report's own website, cold water is poured on the Globe report:

I'm going to recycle this graphic every day until we get word that Sam & the MRR crew will have a home on the new AAR lineup.

Please don't read anything regarding Sam's status at AAR into the graphic. It's just an attempt at humor.

As for the overall story, it tries to make the case that Seder would be world- famous, if only he would stop turning down top- notch gigs! In a lengthy piece that never stops making excuses for Sam's past behavior, we're to believe he's the master of his own failure.

While at first glance it reads like a hit piece, in truth, the story is really all about Seder as the Underrated Genius. If only the world was worthy!

Here's an example:

`Sam's always had a strong impulse to alienate people, to make the audience unhappy," says his longtime friend, comedian Jon Benjamin. ``As a result, he's incredibly adept at failure."

That's no joke. Seder, a onetime actor and comedian from Worcester, has a knack for not succeeding. He's turned down TV roles that would have made him a millionaire and taken jobs others would run from.

If he's not as well known as his comedian friends Sarah Silverman and David Cross -- and he's not -- Seder bears much of the blame. Still, at 39, he's famous to a few: Seder's movie ``Who's the Caboose" is a cult favorite; TV executives say they'd love to work with him; and his Air America show, ``The Majority Report," a mix of lefty politics and loopy humor, is one of the most popular on the fledgling network.

``This is the first time I've had a steady, infinite-horizon job," Seder says, standing outside Air America's New York headquarters. ``But I'm sure I'll [mess] it up."

Seder, whose mother, Mari, is an artist and whose father, J. Robert, is a prominent Worcester attorney, considered becoming a lawyer. But, to the dismay of his dad, he dropped out of Boston University Law School to pursue a career in comedy.

``Sam said to me, `I think I want to be a comedian,' " recalls Seder's father. ``And I said, `Oh, Jesus.' "

While this kind of publicity might have helped Seder a year ago, at this point, it seems a bit too late.

As for Air America's schedule, as soon as the internal fighting ceases, we'll update you with the "winner" of this dubious contest.

ELSEWHERE: Who knew MSNBC had fans listening on XM Satellite Radio? With XM choosing to dump the Olbermann- tainted network, they're now up in arms. In my latest Inside Radio column, read the latest on this and the effort to keep country music alive and well in Los Angeles!

Thanks for your continued and vital Radio Equalizer support, via Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of what you ultimately order!

Randi Rhodes, No-Fly List, Seattle, Air America Radio


AAR Host Complains Of Hassle During Seattle Trip

Loose cannon libtalker Randi Rhodes claims she's been placed on the Transporation Security Agency's No- Fly List, according to her website. As a result, a weekend getaway apparently turned into a significant inconvenience when she was briefly blocked from boarding a flight.

The Air America Radio host claims the incident occurred during a trip to Seattle. At some point, she was able to "clear up" the "mistake", providing fodder for a tirade- laced return to the airwaves yesterday.

On Internet discussion boards, including the one at her own site, listeners and industry insiders speculated as to what would cause the "error".

From her fan site:


that just means they know you are paying attention... and *WE* are paying attention to *YOU*

i hope that doesnt stop ya from coming back to seattle. it was SO AMAZING LIFE CHANGINGLY awesome!!! meeting ya!!!

come back! come back!

but the thing about the hempfest kids... it isnt so much just the pot smokers... it is pretty much across the boards here. those stories made me laugh so much! you sounded like me when i first got here talking about the seattle kids...

but it doesnt take long to become one...

And this:

Having been on the no-fly list since the 90s, due to being a legal observer for ACT-UP/LA, this all seems part and parcel of the annexation of America from itself. Divide and conquer, limit and control.

The airlines are doubly screwed, poor things.


She's telling the story now.

Labeled a "PR Hold".

"Maybe you have the same name as a terrorist."

An amazing screwup by the TSA.

And this:

Wouldn't it be a lot less trouble for her to just use her broom?

Of course, the BIG question is whether this was really a foul- up by the feds, or if they do consider Rhodes a bona fide threat to aviation security. Think your Radio Equalizer is joking?

Consider her past antics:

On-air anti- Bush hate skits and rhetoric considered so over the line in 2005 that the Secret Service felt compelled to investigate.

Bizarre public behavior, including crazed, disjointed performances on C-SPAN and CNN.

Increasingly- weird show monologues, including one that claimed Bush was happy to see people killed by Hurricane Katrina (because they were likely Democrats) and another that accused US Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito of being similar to a "hooker murderer".

Does this sound like a person you want sitting next to you on a plane? Or even on the subway (luckily, she has a car and driver in New York City, so you won't see her travelling with the common folk)?

Does Rhodes project a sense of stability in public? Not at all.

Whether Rhodes would engage in outright acts of terrorism seems unlikely, but could she quite easily turn into the next Catherine Mayo?

Without a doubt, the answer is yes!

UPDATE ON SPRINGER STORY: The Boston Globe reports today that Sam Seder has taken Jerry Springer's 9-noon Air America slot. But will that turn out to be correct? We hear that the fighting over Springer's show continues, with Jerry fighting hard to remain at the floundering network. It's quite a strange (and lengthy) Globe profile of Seder, by the way, we'll have more to say about it later today.

THANKS TO Bizzy Blog and OrbusMax for their links today.

Thanks for your continued and vital Radio Equalizer support, via Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of what you ultimately order!

Driving Miss Randi, The Randimobile: Pete at IHillary

22 August 2006

Air America Schedule, Jerry Springer


Springer's Eleventh-Hour Survival Bid?

Is television trashmeister Jerry Springer in a panicked eleventh- hour bid to rescue his liberal radio talk show from impending doom? According to one unconfirmed tipster's report, that may be the case.

As we first reported earlier this month, Springer's radio show is not likely to continue as
part of Air America Radio's New York City lineup when it moves to a smaller signal next month. Now, we're hearing that the infamous Mayor Of Hell will do anything to remain on the lefty network's schedule!

Was Jerry able to blame his evil twin "Terry" for the talk show's many shortcomings? We're not sure if Mr Glaser is quite that gullible!

While some readers have wondered why we've had so little to say about upcoming lineup changes at the network, it's this very type of fluid situation that has mostly kept us on the sidelines.

With enough infighting, backstabbing and shifting alliances to make Jerry's TV producers drool, it's hard to pin down a program schedule that seems to change by the day.

We wonder:

Will Rachel Maddow really take an hour from Randi Rhodes and move to the 6-8pm slot?

Will Sam Seder (Janeane Garofalo's former co-host) move to mid- mornings if Springer is the casualty?

Why didn't fellow libtalker Stephanie Miller join the network's schedule?

Even now, it isn't 100% clear whether recently announced lineup changes will in fact take effect on September 1. Shortly, we should get official word on what the floundering network's schedule will look like, but even then, it might be wise to take what you see with a grain of salt.

Thanks for your continued and vital Radio Equalizer support, via Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of what you ultimately order!

Top left Springer image: David A Lunde

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