The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

14 September 2006

Think Progress, Air America Radio Bankruptcy


Was Think Progress Used By Backstabbing AAR Faction?

*** Check here for updates ***

For over a year, your Radio Equalizer has watched so- called "progressives" knife each other in the back in order to enrich themselves. Air America's corporate story is filled with victims of these attacks, with a rising body count just in the past few months. Not once has there been any real evidence of concern for others.

To an extent, however, that's typical of the entertainment business. But Air America's internal antics do stand out as particularly nasty.

By far, the dirtiest ploy to date has been Operation Liberals Tricking Liberals, as it could be called, where a left- leaning blog was used on Wednesday to disseminate "news" that may or may not be true at all.

That's right, you've heard it here first: Air America may or may not declare bankruptcy. It's one option for the cash- starved network, but not the only one. And there's no reason to announce it tomorrow, especially now that the cows are out of the barn.

Oddly enough, all network spokesperson Jamie Horn could do when finally allowed to address the by- then out- of- control story was to infer that conservatives were to blame for it. Did even one person buy that downright silly approach?

From the first moment your Radio Equalizer heard about the report from lefty blog site Think Progress that the network would announce this move on Friday, it just didn't smell right. Three independent sources are really claiming this to be true?

They must know little about Air America: it's not easy to get three people in there to agree on the time of day, much less something of this importance. All of them gave the same details on the network's next move?

After consulting with those in the know and considering all of the facts at hand, your Radio Equalizer has come to this conclusion, which can fairly be called an educated guess: an internal faction that is attempting to gain (or regain) control of the network "leaked" this "news" to a major liberal blog site (knowing it would be taken seriously there) so as to immediately depress Air America's value.

With the liberal radio network now worth mere pennies, this shady group can ride to the rescue, immediately imposing its will on what remains of the operation and locking out potential outside buyers.

The plan would have worked, except for the fact that Air America's "bankruptcy" generated so much attention that creditors and potential advertisers are now very, very spooked. Did it destroy what was left of the business?

While reporting on Air America's troubles over the past year or so, the Radio Equalizer has come to realize that most of the network's outside cheerleaders know little or nothing about the way the firm is really run. That made Think Progress an easy target: they bought it outright, while conservatives assumed that liberals wouldn't lie about Air America declaring bankruptcy.

But we've watched Rob Glaser, George Soros and others swoop in at the last second to save this operation in the past and there's no reason to believe it couldn't happen again.

At the same time, former Clear Channel executive Jon Sinton has felt that he could attract buyers for the network and had been talking to at least two potential parties when this "bankruptcy" story hit the headlines.

And contrary to the "concerns" Al Franken is sharing with the media, we know that he recently signed a contract extension that takes him well into next year with the network.

If he's so worried, then why did he re-sign? Is he also part of this scheme? In the past, he was reluctant to talk about the network's troubles, but this time he's blabbing about not getting paid, to anyone who will listen. That doesn't add up.

We won't try and pretend that conservatives don't also do mean things to each other on occasion, but this is one of the dirtiest schemes your Radio Equalizer has witnessed all year. As it stands, there's a fifty- fifty chance that a liberal blogger has been taken for a ride.

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

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Images by David Lunde and Pete at IHillary


  • Drudge always says, "They'll deny it tonight, and confirm it tomorrow." But I think in this case something to better communicate the confusion going on inside AA would be when Rick Moranis said, "I knew it! I'm surrounded by a--holes!" in Space Balls.

    By Blogger Lonewatchman, at 14 September, 2006 10:44  

  • Ever listen to the people calling in to AAR? It sounds like they have 4 or 5 shills that call in with canned questions. At least it sounds like that on Rhodes' show. AAR is a joke. I still believe there is a market for quality liberal talk radio, but AAR wasn't it.

    By Blogger Lidsville, at 14 September, 2006 11:28  

  • And you're comparing these calls to the mental giants that call into Limbaugh and Hannity (mostly drawn from a pool of perhaps two or three dozen individuals each?)

    God Bless Randi Rhodes.

    God Bless Mike Malloy.

    God Bless Sam Seder.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 14 September, 2006 11:37  

  • This story makes sense... the bankruptcy announcement BEFORE the November elections just didn't compute.

    I'd thought about this last night, and decided that even with bankruptcy, the broadcasting could never end before November 3rd.

    It also sounds like the kind of sleazy inside baseball that we've come to expect from the players who created Air America. A ruthlessly cunning move (like the original financing scandal, the Children's club financing scandal, the 'new incorporation', and the failure to pay bills) - disastrously poorly executed.

    These are people who know what it takes to rig a roulette wheel, but can't seem to actually do it without breaking the wheel.

    So, bottom line:

    Air America is still "Not Dead Yet"

    But sooner, little ones, sooner than before.

    By Blogger Lokki, at 14 September, 2006 12:35  

  • I've not researched AAR's executive management, board of directors, and controlling investors. If anyone is aware of links to that kind of information and what their political leanings are, that would be appreciated.

    As an avid AAR listener whenever I have time throughout the day, it seems to me what is happening at AAR is a shakeout of liberals. Malloy is an uncompromising, consistent liberal so they threw him under the bus.

    It looks like to me that the management team is evolving the radio staff to be group of cheerleaders for the non-liberal, DLC wing of the Democratic Party who are just proxies for the multinational corporations that currently have this country under their fascist deathgrip and this is one more independent media source they are integrating into their ever-growing Orwellian government controlled media juggernaut that spews their fog of propaganda to unwitting Americans from cradle to grave.

    By Blogger stopAmericanFascism, at 14 September, 2006 14:23  

  • "[W]ho are just proxies for the multinational corporations that currently have this country under their fascist deathgrip and this is one more independent media source they are integrating into their ever-growing Orwellian government controlled media juggernaut that spews their fog of propaganda to unwitting Americans from cradle to grave."

    Wow. And no mention of black helicopters or Karl Rove? That'd have been like the cherry on top.

    By Blogger Grandes Cigarro, at 14 September, 2006 15:03  

  • >>God

    Now there's a word I didn't expect to hear from a liberal. Are you one of them Bible thumpers? :) And while God
    may be blessing those three you mentioned, He sure didn't bless their ratings :)

    Way for AAR to survive: Franken should leave and demand they cut off his salary (the second part has prob.
    already happened...)

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 14 September, 2006 15:26  

  • If this is really "one of the dirtiest schemes your Radio Equalizer has witnessed all year" then you clearly haven't been reading your newspaper or you would have found far sleazier acts committed by corrupt politicians, mostly republicans.

    By Blogger cui-bono, at 14 September, 2006 18:10  

  • Coon-yes, I believe in God. Is that really so surprising?

    I just like my religion and my politics that both may thrive.

    SAF, I'm in agreement with you.

    As it stands, the lineup is too schizophrenic. In actuality, the DLC and the strong freethinking types don't mix too much, and don't agree much on anything.

    You can see this schism on just about any left-of-center blog or message board.

    I dislike Franken's program intensely, particularly since Katherine Lanpher's departure, but I like some of the regular guests, like Oliphant, Conason, etc.

    But DLC radio will not be a catalyst for progressive change. Radio for truthseekers will (and don't think for a moment that the enemy doesn't realize this).

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 14 September, 2006 18:10  

  • ...where a left- leaning blog was used on Wednesday to disseminate "news" that may or may not be true at all.

    Interesting theory, Brian, but it begs the question: could it be that your own right-wing blog was used to disseminate "news" that may not be true at all?

    While writing about this backstabbing "faction" in AAR, did it occur to you to consider your own source?

    Whose gossip is more credible: someone at AAR leaking to Think Progress, or someone at AAR leaking to Radio Equalizer?

    By Blogger cspank, at 14 September, 2006 18:15  

  • Pavlov was correct about the dogs...

    By Blogger pbrauer, at 14 September, 2006 18:57  

  • Amen hashfanatic
    God Bless Malloy
    God Bless Randi
    God bless Seder

    Every night their message is heard, the freaks on the far right crap their pants. They are terrified when America hears the truth, it wrecks their regressive, bigoted, violent Anti-amrrican agenda. Bush supporters are the misfits of this country, cowardly, bed wetting cowards. It is up to US to continue to speak truth to power. This is why I do talk radio, not to hear my own voice, not to make $$, to speak truth to power and if 4 people learn something everytime I do the show, my job is done
    10PM-MID M and Th
    spitting in the face of the radical, bigoted, cowardly far right

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 14 September, 2006 19:22  

  • I have to agree with SAF to a certain extent - it appears to me that this whole "bankruptcy" story may have been false flag operation, intended to make it appear that AAR is making an "incredible comeback" much like that of The Ultimate Answer in the 1992 NH Donk Primary; the DLC then took that theme and sold it, sold it, sold it and sold it some more. If AAR does indeed go BK, then the DLC folks can swoop in and save it from its own rhetorical excesses. Conversely, if AAR does not go BK, then partisans on both sides of the fence - ThinkProgress on the left AND Malkin/Equalizer (not to mention others) on the right - will end up with a nice three-egg omelet on their collective face.

    When you're talking legal matters like bankruptcy, it is generally a good idea to wait until the documents are filed before going public, because if the documents don't get filed then you (and yes, I'm talking to you, Equalizer) look like an ass.

    The whole meme in the thinkprogress story about AAR's having "created" the nationwide ProgTalk format is just so much balderdash, as it had been tried before with Cuomo, Hightower, Hart, all with spectacular failure. What AAR didn't understand (and still does not to this day) is that what makes a radio show successful, and what keeps people coming back, is content and delivery. Rush was working on his content and delivery for the political talk format for several years at KFBK/Sacramento before going to New York, and doing a local show there as well before syndicating.

    AAR's main fault was that they tried to splash in nationally with people who had never, ever done long-format radio before (Garofalo, Franken, Lanpher) and had no earthly idea how to keep people tuned in. The only person on the air at AAR who was and is anywhere close to a pro is Rhodes, but one person does not a network make. They could have taken people out of some of the local stations like Bernie Ward or Ray Taliafero from KGO/San Francisco, maybe even Webb out of Seattle, who actually knew their way around a board and could tell the difference between a call screener and a screen door, but instead they tried to go the "personality" route. And once the veneer rubbed off of the personality, they were left with having to provide actual content with polished delivery. And the ratings went in the tank.

    The AAR debacle will be seen as a multimillion dollar object lesson: Talk Radio is not conducive to on-the-job training.

    Which, of course, gets me to The Strawman. Once again, Strawman, what you do is not radio. It is vaporcast. It is podcasting. No one is paying money to have your voice broadcasted over the airwaves at any frequency between 530 and 1700 kHz. I issue to you again the challenge: If your show is indeed all that, then why only two hours twice a week? Why is there no mention of ELBN on the NBH website? Why is there no forum listing for ELBN anywhere on the NBH or indieairplay website? Are you not willing to face the slings and arrows of people who are tuning in expecting to hear the 'next bit hit' and instead hearing a two-hour give-and-take Noo Yawk hissy fit? Sure, you have your little blogspot site (with ability to filter the commentary should you so choose) but why is there not even a link to it from NBH or IAP?

    When you're actually on the air, on a station that has to do a legal ID at the top of the hour, then (and only then) you'll be doing talk radio. Until then, you and your partner are engaging in a four-hour-a-week two-man circle jerk. The fact that someone has let you use their bandwidth for your little vaporcast says more about their sanity than it does about your "talent." Either that or they're running low on garage bands.

    By Blogger SierraSpartan, at 14 September, 2006 20:44  

  • AAR's main fault was that they tried to splash in nationally with people who had never, ever done long-format radio before (Garofalo, Franken, Lanpher)

    JD, you have not done your homework at all. Long time Twin-Citian Lanpher was a host on both the local public radio station and the local commercial talk station. Before that she was a journalist for a local paper.

    Watch for her new book at the end of the month.

    And once again: Thanks for all the plugs and hysteria, B.M.

    By Blogger @whut, at 15 September, 2006 01:57  

  • This is why the right-wing radio trollosphere is such a fascinating sociological study. Witness what happened to the ThinkProgress blog posting on the news. From a commenter late in the thread:

    Isn’t it a bit odd (or maybe not) that so many conservative trolls have gathered here so prematurely for their spasmodic victory ball? I don’t think in my entire blog reading history have I come across such a concentration of trolls gathering outside of the sanctity of their recidivist caves and echo chamber communes. This is a testament to the power liberal talk radio has over these goosesteppers.


    By Blogger @whut, at 15 September, 2006 02:31  

  • Hoodlumman,
    You asked who? The DLC.

    Your only response was a personal attack suggesting I'm mentally imbalanced. I fail to see how that adds to the discussion.

    "It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt."
    ...Mark Twain

    By Blogger stopAmericanFascism, at 15 September, 2006 02:59  

  • That pic at the top of the 'Radio Equalizer' homepage... Isn't that actually a photo of the tone controls on a Peavey Guitar Amplifier?

    By Blogger RetroTones, at 15 September, 2006 14:08  

  • That pic at the top of the 'Radio Equalizer' homepage... Isn't that actually a photo of the tone controls on a Peavey Guitar Amplifier? Gonna miss 'ya Air America. not.

    By Blogger RetroTones, at 15 September, 2006 14:09  

  • were never forced to listen to AAR in the first place, were you?

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 15 September, 2006 14:14  

  • J.D
    We will shortly have our own URL, with podcast archives, after NBH is done with the NY theatre festival. They are the offical podcast for this theatre festival, and finishing that up first. We are their last priority at this point. Give it time, J.D, I will gladly give you the link when our URL is finished and up for public consumption. We are in the beginning stages, and NBH has a staff of 4 at this point. Not exactly a huge company, no they have not updated their "forum" to include us at this point, but our commerciaL is heard every hour on their site. NBH's studio is next door to Joe Franklin's studio in times square. Soon we are taking over that studio, and we will eventually have a full live radio studio and a 24/7 live talk station on the web and pod casts. So we will not be on the music stream, but rather on a live talk stream. No we are not on the radio, but what we are doing is the future of radio. Over the air radio is a dying medium, in the next 20 years, ethnic and leased time will be the only thing left on the radio dial. The writing is on the wall. Give us time, you will be suprised what we are working on. $$$ is invested. As of now, we are in the starting phases. Don't be so arrogant as to knock it, we are on our way to a long run, and will be paid very shortly for our "whines"

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 15 September, 2006 14:35  

  • "It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt."
    ...Mark Twain

    Case in point:

    "[W]ho are just proxies for the multinational corporations that currently have this country under their fascist deathgrip and this is one more independent media source they are integrating into their ever-growing Orwellian government controlled media juggernaut that spews their fog of propaganda to unwitting Americans from cradle to grave."

    By Blogger Grandes Cigarro, at 15 September, 2006 14:50  

  • hoodluman,
    Once again you are incapable of saying anything intelligent. So, I no longer will respond to your drivel after this post. For equal time and for the cathartic effect (don't worry, you wouldn't understand). It's my turn to personally attack.

    It seems to me that some "conservatives" have something wrong with their brain and are incapable of expressing an intelligent thought. Maybe it's a result of too many years being amused to death by our titillating Orwellian government controlled media. With all the coverage of tarted up dead 6 year olds and young pretty teachers giving their even younger students blowjobs, it's a wonder you have any time to blog, and based on your contentless responses, you don't.

    Peace, Steve

    By Blogger stopAmericanFascism, at 15 September, 2006 18:22  

  • If you honestly believe that the mainstream media is under the thumb of the government, you really need to spend less time typing and more time reading (and watching) the actual media that you claim are under the dastardly control of the evil Bushies ("EXXXXX-cellent!").

    I could cite a great many examples of how the MSM tilts left -- in fact, I could direct you to a couple of Bernard Goldberg books -- but the most obvious case in recent months is The New York Times' decision to reveal the methods used by the U.S. government to gather intelligence on Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

    If, as you claim, the U.S. government controls the U.S. media, why in heaven's name would the Bush administration make its own job more difficult by revealing its own intelligence-gathering tactics? And for that matter, why would Kerry have gotten more favorable network news coverage than Bush did before the 2004 election (as a study revealed)?

    This is all too ludicrous to even contemplate. But if you still believe in media conspiracy theories, let's see some concrete evidence instead of unsubstantiated accusations.

    By Blogger The4thEstate, at 20 September, 2006 00:56  

  • Crazy photos, how did you get 'em to pose for those?

    By Blogger News & Information, at 20 September, 2006 10:46  

  • just thought you would like to know

    Clear Channel Radio has inked a renewal with ABC Radio Networks that will keep ABC's "Sean Hannity Show" on the air at 80 of CC's stations for another three years. The new deal will keep Hannity's program on the air through 2010 at his Clear Channel Radio-owned affiliates in Houston, Miami, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, along with 74 other markets nationwide.

    Commenting on the Hannity renewal, Clear Channel Radio VP of programming Sean Compton said, "Sean has done an incredible job producing great ratings and, most importantly, desirable demographics for our stations."

    Since Hannity's launch into national syndication in 2001, his daily 3-6 p.m. ET show has grown to reach an estimated audience of 15 million listeners weekly on a reported 500-plus affiliates nationwide.

    The conservative talker has also earned numerous awards for his daily radio program, including two R&R Industry Achievment Awards for National Talk Show Host of The Year in 2003 and 2004, and three National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Awards for Talk Show Host of the Year in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

    By Blogger mauibob, at 28 September, 2006 03:25  

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