The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

02 October 2006

Air America Radio Buyout, Sheldon Drobny, Anita Drobny, Al Franken


Co-Founders Appear Poised To Retake Network

*** Exclusive To The Radio Equalizer ***

By Brian Maloney

Sure, it beats a complete shutdown, but perhaps not by much.

Apparently riding to the rescue with an eleventh- hour bid for beleaguered liberal talk radio network Air America Radio are controversial co- founders Sheldon and Anita Drobny. Poised to announce their takeover imminently, the Drobnys are said to be acquiring the long- suffering operation for mere pennies on the dollar, the Radio Equalizer has learned.

Other buyout efforts by parties close to the network were said to have failed because of difficulties in putting together the necessary funds. Accepting this bid was seen as a last- ditch way to avoid a complete collapse, which appeared to be just days away (for more on the network's severe dire straits, watch for an upcoming follow- up to this report).

Sheldon Drobny is an eccentric Democrat Party fundraiser, author and Huffington Post contributor whose past sympathies with the beliefs of Lyndon LaRouche were documented in 2003 by National Review's Byron York.

Many unresolved questions remain, including how much money the Drobnys are able to invest, whether they will assume parent company Piquant LLC's massive liabilities (which include settlements and judgments), or if Nova M LLC, their own station- purchasing vehicle, will simply acquire Piquant's few remaining assets.

In addition, will previous Air America investors be able to recover any of their nearly- worthless cash infusions? That's difficult to say, but preliminary indications were that just one unitholder class would see any payout whatsoever.

That type of asset transfer has been highly controversial in the past, but used nonetheless to keep Air America one step ahead of creditors. In a lawsuit, Multicultural Broadcasting called a previous network reorganization a "sham transaction".

Another major issue is the fate of Al Franken on the network. Will he remain, or has he finally had enough? In the past, Al has worked to distance himself from the Drobnys and their substantial baggage. With his 2008 US Senate contest in Minnesota drawing closer, however, this type of association may no longer suit him.

Last year, Michelle Malkin and the Radio Equalizer collaborated on an investigation of the Drobnys, which can be found here and here. Other background material on the pair can be found here, here and here.

Beyond this development, the biggest question is why anyone would want to keep Air America afloat. Between very low ratings, weak revenues and high fixed expenses, there certainly isn't any compelling business reason to do so.

If you've been watching this situation for any length of time, however, it should be clear that this is about politics and little more. A stubborn inability to admit failure, particularly before a key midterm election, is what drives these seemingly irrational moves.

WATCH FOR PART TWO: a look at how the network reached this point, coming shortly.

FOR THE LATEST on key Massachusetts races, visit Bay State Showdown, our other site.

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  • Air America's wavelength was silent in Dallas this morning.

    No Catholics no nuthin'. Another outlet (in the Nation's 5th largest market) bites the dust.

    No, not dead yet......

    But on 'life' support to even keep breathing.

    By Blogger Lokki, at 02 October, 2006 14:59  

  • Guess this is today's right-wing attempt to keep everyone distracted from Predatorgate.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 02 October, 2006 18:58  

  • EVERYTHING is part of the Republican conspiracy, hashfanatic.


    By Blogger Lokki, at 02 October, 2006 21:45  

  • Well, with molesters, rapists, and torturers running around unchecked in our government, isn't it a wise idea for any truthseeker to watch their back?

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 02 October, 2006 23:29  

  • hashfan:

    "Predatorgate" is the left-wing attempt to keep everyone distracted from their weakness on security.

    By Blogger Pants DailyOn, at 03 October, 2006 05:01  

  • Rapist?? Are you finally admitting Clinton's actions with Juanita Broddrick??

    By Blogger wise_n_texas, at 03 October, 2006 09:30  

  • sad Right wing Sycophant posts
    Predatorgate" is the left-wing attempt to keep everyone distracted from their weakness on security.

    too funny, the moral right is justifying pedophilia, Coulter, Drudge, Limbaugh, Hume all ignoring the crime and spinning away, just like the hack poster above!!!

    As far as "weakness on security", considering nuclear power plants are unguarded, the ports are unsecure and FEMA is a disaster, it is your perverse party of molestation and torture that is weak on security, weak on morals, and wrong for America. Spin away, flunkie. Clinton's penis was more important than terrorism in the 90's. You sick cons can dish it out but can not take it. Get used to the term DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS, hack!

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 03 October, 2006 09:33  

  • Air America's wavelength was silent in Dallas this morning.

    How could you tell, was there less static than normal. I am just west of DFW airport and you cant hear it here unless your ability to decipher between the wow and flutter is extraordinary.

    By Blogger Seriouslyunserious, at 03 October, 2006 10:57  

  • Maloney
    lying about the ratings, Rhodes killed in Fl. last book with a 9.0 share. Highest number I have ever seen for a talk show. That is on the station with Limbaugh as a lead in. Those numbers suck huh??

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 03 October, 2006 11:20  

  • Laundry List Post:

    1. "Air America's wavelength was silent in Dallas this morning.How could you tell...[?]"

    I can hear the station in the car as part of my commute, but, yes, it's always faint and full of static. The Catholics were on the air this morning, but you're not missing much more than you were when it was Air America. It' just a different religion.

    2. Clinton's penis was more important than terrorism in the 90's.

    You said it fella, not me.

    3.isn't it a wise idea for any truthseeker to watch their back?

    Apparently no one is a Democrat anymore - that's passe.
    Liberal has become a dirty word, replaced by Progresive.

    However,Progressive must be over since now we're on to "truthseeker".

    Perhaps not!
    Haven't I heard truthseeker used to describe the UFO/aliens-are-my-friends crowd?

    The only thing behind you to watch for, my friend, is the butterfly net.

    By Blogger Lokki, at 03 October, 2006 11:48  

  • MOP posted:

    all ignoring the crime and spinning away

    And that crime would be?

    By Blogger Lynnwood Rooster, at 03 October, 2006 17:26  

  • "Lynnwood Rooster said...
    MOP posted:

    all ignoring the crime and spinning away

    And that crime would be?"

    lr - watch the news, read something news-like. You not knowing to what MoP is referring certainly isn't his fault...

    Meanwhile - do you leave across the street from me? "Lynnwood" + "Rooster" - too much coincidence there :)

    By Blogger TJ, at 03 October, 2006 17:50  

  • bloody can't bloody fix bloody stupid typing bloody mistakes.

    bloody blogger!

    By Blogger TJ, at 03 October, 2006 18:03  

  • How revolting.

    First we hear Matt Drudge blaming the victims of the Republican pedophilia scandal, and then we hear Savage trivialize the problem of sexual molestation.

    And now, posters here are agreeing with them, because they are married to an ideology.

    Shame on you.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 03 October, 2006 20:33  

  • TJ,

    Dunno... Potentially! I love this area...:)

    Oh, and hashfanatic (and TJ, and I guess MOP as well) what crime was committed?

    Simple question, should have a simple answer... MOP made a statement of fact, I just want to know if he can back it up.

    By Blogger Lynnwood Rooster, at 04 October, 2006 01:04  

  • Any chance we can get a good deal on about 1,000 of those stylish Air America tote bags? They used to cost something like $50 each (well, that's how much you had to donate to get one), but I'm guessing there's a warehouse full of them somewhere. Bet they'd make good cheap trash bags.

    By the way, considering where the network is going, is there any truth to the rumor that the new owners will be renaming it Dead Air America?

    By Blogger The4thEstate, at 04 October, 2006 08:23  

  • Good God, LR, the prospect of Foley using his position of influence and power to intimidate underage pages in order to exploit them sexually isn't a crime to you?

    And conspiring to cover up these transgressions is not a crime to the victims and their parents?

    Neocons, have you NO shame?

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 04 October, 2006 09:47  

  • Hashfanatic said

    Good God, LR, the prospect of Foley using his position of influence and power to intimidate underage pages in order to exploit them sexually isn't a crime to you?
    No more so than a President using his power to get sexual favors.

    Or a Congressman using his power to get tickets fixed and hire his lover who happened to run a prostitution ring out of the Congressman's apartment.

    Or a Congressman admitting he'd take bribes and leaving nearly $100,000 in his freezer.

    The difference is, for Foley he's been pushed out and the facts seem to be that he was pushed out as soon as the salacious IMs came to light (the e-mails, while curious, are not salacious).

    The others are all still regularly defended, even by many here (I presume yourself, too... President Clinton, Barney Frank, and William Jefferson).

    One party actually gets rid of those with ethical (but apparently NOT illegal, as the age of consent was not broached and there isn't a law against Congressmen consorting with their staff) issues, while the other party rallies around their people to try to keep them in power.

    Do you not see the difference? E-mails come to light, Hastert warns Foley (and apparently it did work; no more contact with the pages after that meeting in 2005). Earlier IM records come to light and within two days Foley is out.

    The other party? "It's just sex"...

    By Blogger Lynnwood Rooster, at 04 October, 2006 10:56  

  • LR, how you can compare Clinton fooling around with an adult with a Republican pedophile preying on unsuspecting minors under his care, while his fellow Republicans watched and covered for him, is typical of the complete disconnection the righties have from any sort of moral compass and sense of personal responsibility and accountability that most normal decent Americans have.

    Conservatives have become nothing but a bunch of thieving, perverted losers.

    Let's all put a stop to this nightmare. The world can't wait.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 04 October, 2006 16:49  

  • Hashfanatic,

    I think your statement pretty much sums up the Democratic party...

    It's "just about sex" if it's a Democrat.

    Two questions for you to answer, truthfully:

    1. Was the page underage? If not, then the issue - reprehensible as it is - is about consenting adults.

    2. If the page was not underage, how is this different from what President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky did? Or what Barney Frank and his boyfriend - running a brothel out of Frank's apartment - did?

    If you actually answer those two questions directly and honestly, you'll conclude that all 3 - Foley, Clinton, and Frank - are scumbags and should have been removed from office. One was drummed out by his own party; the other two are still idolized...

    By Blogger Lynnwood Rooster, at 04 October, 2006 17:24  

  • OMG.

    Lynnwood, you cannot discern the difference between two consenting adults having an affair, and a snake, unleashed, writhing in heat, making the scene with underage high school students young enough to be his grandchildren?

    Such MORALITY the conservatives espouse!

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 04 October, 2006 22:27  

  • Hashfanatic,

    You COMPLETELY miss the point. I condemn Foley for his actions. And I don't think Hastert and the other leadership did anything wrong in their handling of it.

    HOWEVER, I also recognize that Clinton, Frank, Jefferson, Reynolds, Murtha, and others did as worse - or MUCH worse (see Mel Reynolds) - and seem to get a free pass from the Democratic leadership.

    THAT smacks of hypocrisy.

    If you're going to condemn Foley - who hit on legal aged boys, but apparently did not actually engage in sexual encounters - you need to condemn Clinton, Frank, and Reynolds as well.

    So, I condemn them all. You willing to do the same? Or is Clinton's abuse of office, Frank's running a brothel at his apartment and fixing his lover's parking tickets (the same lover he gave a cushy job to), Jefferson's bribery scandal, Murtha's role in ABSCAM, and Reynolds conviction for sexual misconduct with a minor.

    Which is it? You going to selectively apply your disgust for people in power abusing their subordinates?

    By Blogger Lynnwood Rooster, at 05 October, 2006 01:25  

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