The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

31 August 2006

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.

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

AP photoshops:
David A Lunde for the Radio Equalizer


  • More reasons why I despise right-wing radio. The son-in-law of the Chairman of Salem Communications, syndicator of Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved and other radio cretins, is running for the Repug Senate primary in Florida against Katherine Harris. Wouldn’t you know that simultaneous to Harris’s pending implosion, Hugh Hewitt brings on the heir to the radio dynasty to his talk show and fawns all over him. The candidate, Will McBride, counts Karl Rove as a close family friend.

    How convenient ....

    By Blogger @whut, at 31 August, 2006 08:34  

  • WHT, how is that any different than Sam Seder inviting on Steve Sinton, candidate for the Georgia 6th and, oh by the way, "creator of Air America"?

    How convenient indeed...

    By Blogger BF, at 31 August, 2006 10:07  

  • Brian,

    Another super job on uncovering more of AAR's problems:
    * Financial - no money
    * Content - lame
    * Advertisers - plenty of PSA's
    * Listeners - none

    It looks like AAR's goal is to hold on by their fingernails until the November elections are over.

    Unfortunately, every week they stay on the air is another huge paycheck to fatten up Franken's political warchest in his run for the Senate.

    Let's just hope that the penny-pinching at AAR will cause Franken to make the honest decision to get out of his fantasy world and face reality (as well as campaign finance laws).

    Oh, wait a minute...
    Franken and Honesty?


    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 31 August, 2006 10:13  

  • Freaks,

    Did you see what Charles Barkley said about you here

    I suppose it is time for a small minded and petty boycott of TNT basketball or a campaign similar to the renaming of french fries and french toast.

    By Blogger none, at 31 August, 2006 12:28  

  • brian, what are you going to write about if your wish comes true and AAR finally shuts down?

    you're exactly like Bush and his gang. they claim to despise terrorists, but without them, they wouldn't have any supporters. it is the same with you and AAR. if they shut down, your blog will be history. since i don't listen to AAR, i'm hoping they do shut down just so you disappear.

    By Blogger hardcore conservative genious, at 31 August, 2006 12:49  

  • How hard is it to provide a citation?

    By Blogger geor3ge, at 31 August, 2006 13:54  

  • what are you going to write about if your wish comes true and AAR finally shuts down?

    HCG - I don't think you have to worry about Brian's future. There will still be a lot more bottom dwelling creatures in the sea after the demise of the experiment known as AAR.

    Your comment was used over and over again regarding Rush Limbaugh. What will he talk about after Clinton is gone? Oh, dear me, Rush won't have anything to talk about!

    Well, he is still the #1 Talk Show host in the world and Clinton's been out of office for more than half a decade.

    Brian will do just fine without AAR.

    And America will do just as well without AAR.

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 31 August, 2006 14:01  

  • geor3ge:

    You must be new here: I'm not going to out my internal sources.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 31 August, 2006 14:02  

  • benson - i noticed you didn't tackle my 'bush needs terrorists like maloney needs AAR' analogy.

    also, how many times has Brian been on O'Reilly to talk about something other than AAR? i'm fairly certain that number is zero.

    as for Rush, half the country likes what he has to say. he didn't constantly attack Clinton, he went after others.

    look at the number of responses maloney gets on AAR stories and compare that to the number of responses to non-AAR stories. there's no contest.

    without that network, he has nothing.

    By Blogger hardcore conservative genious, at 31 August, 2006 15:13  

  • Gee a Liberal posting a blog with the address ilovebeing stupid, what a surprise, of course you love being stupid, you are a Liberal.

    By Blogger Max Conservative, at 31 August, 2006 15:38  

  • Getting back to the AP topic, my question is why can't AAR use a web browser and get their news from news websites.? In other words can't Al Franken cite an AP report if he read it on's website?

    By Blogger none, at 31 August, 2006 16:26  

  • elmonica:

    Sure, Al could refer to an AP report because of Fair Use. But you need the service to use stories in full and to access the audio cuts. It's really an issue for the news department, not for Franken, unless he wants to read extended excerpts of an AP story on the air.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 31 August, 2006 16:37  

  • "But you need the service to use stories in full and to access the audio cuts"

    What do you mean by "in full". Are the AP stories on news sites rewritten and/or excerpts of the original AP story?

    What percentage of news stories have audio clips associated with them?

    By Blogger none, at 31 August, 2006 16:50  

  • "what do you mean 'use in full'?"

    Herr Derr Dumb: How about, "read the article's full text and use any and all additional audio clips in presenting your news report"?

    Does that work for you? Or should I deliver the answer in Braille?

    By Blogger Unknown, at 31 August, 2006 17:01  

  • TC,
    The question is for Maloney. Are the articles used on news websites not the full text of the orignal AP articles.?

    By Blogger none, at 31 August, 2006 17:04  

  • and as per "how many have audio" clips, do you REALLY believe your local radio station tapes every major league game in the off chance of catching a play-by-play guy going bonkers over a home run, dunk, or sixty yard romp?

    They shovel audio the same way pics are shoveled to print outlets.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 31 August, 2006 17:05  

  • Forgive my idiocy for not knowing exactly how the "news" is compiled at radio stations but from what I remember, some news guy came on the air every half hour and talks about news events for two minutes. 99.9% of the time that news is already posted on the web.

    I can see T.C.s point on sports audio clips but I don't recall exactly how much use is made of those clips at Air America.

    Therefore, I am trying to understand what added information does the AP subscription provide to AAR.

    By Blogger none, at 31 August, 2006 17:43  

  • elmonica:

    Let's put it this way:

    Issue one: Air America has a binding contract with AP that it has had trouble paying.

    Two: nearly every station and network in America pays for AP wire access. Pilfering reports off the web for free can be done (if you're a two-bit operation), but any substantial use of AP's copy requires a contract for their services.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 31 August, 2006 17:47  

  • Brian,
    Believe it not I wasn't questioning the merits of your report. I agree they should pay their bills and they should have an AP subscription.

    I was just curious about the legality of whether they could use other news sites to compile their news reports as well what additional information the AP subscription provided.


    By Blogger none, at 31 August, 2006 17:55  

  • Most, if not all radio stations, with even a small news department, rely on the AP--at least in this country--as a chief wire service. And some stations also sign up for AP Radio News, like WICC in Bridgeport, CT.

    Now WICC is a Cumulus station. Recently, Cumulus announced a deal that would give their stations access to Metro Source from Westwood One--giving them a secondary wire service to go with AP.

    I have used Met Source when I was in radio--you can edit text and sound from stories and play voicers and wraps on the screen w/o paper. Just click the link--and presto--sound!

    I wonder, how much does it cost for a station to have a wire service like AP and affilation with a net like ABC Radio, Fox News, CBS, CNN or USA Radio? Just curious.

    By Blogger The Real Bob Anthony, at 31 August, 2006 20:43  

  • I wonder whether AAR will stop doing news or whether they will "pilfer" the news by relying on other public news sources(web or t.v.) and how they will give credit to those sources.

    By Blogger none, at 31 August, 2006 21:04  

  • Well, Elmonica, I took a look at what Chuck had to say. He had very little specific to say about the GOP outside of the 'Katrina, God and gays' talking points. However, he did get into specifics regarding another group of folks in the body politic. Here's the excerpt:

    "The former NBA MVP, who is considering running as a Democratic candidate for governor in his home state of Alabama, also said Democrats have concentrated too much on criticizing President Bush in the last two years instead of focusing on what they can do to improve things in the country.

    'They're criticizing a guy who can't run again, who can't get fired,' Barkley said during an appearance on 'CMI: The Chris Meyers Interview,' which will air on Sunday night on Fox SportsNet. 'So they spent the last two years criticizing him instead of saying, 'Some things aren't right. This is our game plan.' And now we're two years away from the election, and we have no solutions and no front-runner.'"

    Call me crazy, but it looks to me like ole Chuck was tossing water on both parties in that article. Perhaps it's an ESPN-FoxSportsNet-GOP conspiracy...

    By Blogger SierraSpartan, at 31 August, 2006 22:27  

  • Hey BFF WHT, how is that any different than Sam Seder inviting on Steve Sinton, candidate for the Georgia 6th and, oh by the way, "creator of Air America"?

    How convenient indeed...

    How convenient of you to hide the truth. Steve is Jon Sinton's brother, and Jon is the executive at AAR. Steve is the DJ with the smooth radio voice. They are both big boys who can take care of themselves. On the other hand, Will McBride is a wee-little tittie-baby who has to rely on his wifey's daddy-O connections to make a play on a Senate seat. How pathetic.

    And fun to watch Spew Spewitt grovel at the feet of his corporate master.

    On the other hand, you don't hear Seder taking any quarter in his disdain for AAR's decisions regarding the Malloy move. Unlike The Spew, our guy Seder is no corporate suck-up.

    By Blogger @whut, at 31 August, 2006 23:47  

  • By the way, Hugh Hewitt got pawned by Seder over the air for whining about his lack of air time on *ucker Carlson's MSNBC show. Seder and Hewitt were guests earlier this week, and later that day Hewitt spent maybe 15 minutes on his own show whimpering like a puppy because Seder talked too much and Carlson let him get away with it.

    Hewitt not only grovels but displays insufferable vanity and Seder called him on it.

    By Blogger @whut, at 01 September, 2006 00:01  

  • JD,
    Nice spin on that article. Don't feel too bad about Barkley being a Democrat because you guys still have Don King who the other day called George Bush one of the greatest presidents. Why does that not surprise me coming from a convicted tax evader.

    By Blogger none, at 01 September, 2006 14:11  

  • Elmonica - who's the one who was spinning?

    In the article, as shown on the ESPN website, Chuck spent more words disparaging the Donks than he did the Elephants.

    If one was to take your word for it, Chuck's comments were completely anti-GOP.

    However, not trusting the word of the garden variety liberal on this board, I actually read the article and found that it didn't entirely comport to your description of it.

    Quelle suprise.

    That wasn't spin, bub - it was fact checking.

    By Blogger SierraSpartan, at 01 September, 2006 15:14  

  • JD,
    Chuck's criticism of his own party for lack of direction or missed opportunities is quite reasonable to me and for you to try and turn it into the substance of the article is SPIN. You may judge the significance of issues raised in an article based on word count but I don't.

    You are a garden variety Sean Hannity drone.

    By Blogger none, at 01 September, 2006 16:49  

  • I have written about AAR for a while on my humble blog. Despite the fact that I am a conservative, I see three problems with it - forgive me if Brian has said this before:

    1) AAR got to the market way, way, too late to generate sufficient operations revenue (like 2003? Way after the internet started, and long after talk radio began it's decline in audience share).
    2) Liberals/leftists/progressives have NPR, which is way more established, way more informatvie, and way more interesting. No way are those on the left side of the spectrum going to change stations from something with gravitas (and credibility) to something juvenile.
    I have talked to many progressives I know, and they would much rather listen to their NPR stations.
    3) Conservative talk radio got it's audience largely because there was a dearth of conservative commentary. Now, there is too much. And there is even more progressive commentary than conservative commentary. So why add something new, when there is not the volume of demand to support it?

    Those are just a few of my reasons.
    If Soros and company, who have billions in disposable income, aren't supporting the progressive station (as so advertised), this really shows how much value this really has.

    By Blogger EricMatthew, at 04 September, 2006 22:54  

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