The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

01 November 2006

Al Franken, San Francisco, Air America


Stuart Loses SF, Station Suggests Exit Coming Soon

*** There is a fresh update to this story on the main page ***

Is Al Franken soon ready to hang up his headphones for good?

Our friend Stuart Smalley has just been cancelled in San Francisco, of all places, with station KQKE-AM's program director citing his impending depature from Air America Radio as the reason.

Is Franken looking for an early out on his contract, which expires next spring?

Here's KQKE Program Director Bob Agnew's letter to listeners, released late yesterday:

As we get close to one of the most important elections in our time, 960 The Quake is putting more outstanding talent on the air to help you understand where this country is heading and what you can do about it.

No one Air America personality's departure created as much of a stir as did Mike Malloy. 960 The Quake is pleased to announce that Mike Malloy is returning to the Quake's airwaves. On Monday, November 6th Mike Malloy will be heard live from 6pm to 9pm. Thom Hartmann will now move into the mid morning 9am to noon slot, replacing Al Franken.

There has been lots of speculation about Al Franken's future with Air America and his planned moved into the political arena. While there is nothing official at this time, it has been made clear to us that Al Franken will not be with Air America in the future.

We feel it is important to you that we have the most talented hosts on the air, who will be with us for the long term. We believe that Thom Hartmann is the new rising star in Progressive Talk radio and he is firmly committed to 960 The Quake for the long term.

We have also brought Rachel Maddow back to 960 The Quake in her new time of 3p-5p. John Scott will also return to host the afternoon version of the Progressive News Hour. We feel that circumstances with Air America has helped 960 The Quake build its strongest line-up ever: Our programming is live from 3a until 9p so you can become much more involved in the Progressive Process.

Our New Line Up effective November 6th will be as follows:

6AM - 9AM --- Stephanie Miller
9AM - 12N --- Thom Hartmann
12N - 3PM --- Ed Schultz
3PM - 5PM --- Rachel Maddow
5PM - 6PM --- Progressive News Hour
6PM - 9PM --- Mike Malloy
9PM - 11PM --- Randi Rhodes
11PM - 12AM --- Eco Talk w/ Betsy Rosenberg
12AM - 3AM --- Lionel
3AM - 6AM --- Bill Press

Note that fellow
Air America talker Randi Rhodes has also taken a hit here, with a demotion to 9pm and cut to just two hours on the air nightly. What's left on KQKE is a B- List roster of mostly substandard "progressive" talk programming.

As for Hartmann, no reasonable case can be made that he's any kind of "rising star" in talk radio. Despite a considerable amount of time on the air, few stations have ever chosen to pick up his syndicated show and the ratings have been lackluster where he is heard. So this argument doesn't hold water.

KQKE's inability to generate even a tiny one share in the San Francisco ratings has been a source of embarassment for liberal talk radio, considering the political makeup of the Bay Area. In the most recent figures, the station generated a 0.9 overall, good for 27th place.

We also know that Air America Radio paid Clear Channel a considerable amount of money to air its shows on their San Francisco station, that's what kept Franken & Co on for as long as they were. With those payments cut off, the company has clearly lost its incentive to carry this failed programming.

As for Franken, we were inclined to believe that he would stick it out as long as possible, with the idea that the network would be bailed out by a wealthy suitor.

If you've been following this site for any length of time, you've by now learned that It Takes a Village To Keep Al Franken Fat and Happy. If there's even a penny of potential income to be gained, he's going to hang around for it.

Until a declared US Senate candidacy, which could be a year or more away, there's no reason why Al would have to leave the airwaves. And if he has a year ahead of him as a host, there's no immediate justification for cancelling his show, unless there's something else going on.

But if one of Franken's key stations cites his coming departure as a reason for dumping the show, we may have to take that at face value. Will Al address this on his program?

We're not holding our breath.

IMAGES: David A Lunde

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  • part of the reason the company filed for bankruptcy is so the existing contracts would be null. they do not want al franken. he sucks up too much of the budget and provided no return. his name was needed to get recognition for the station, he's done that, and now both parties are ready to move on.

    By Blogger hardcore conservative genious, at 01 November, 2006 09:37  

  • Those fine advertisers don't want their good name besmirched by aligning themselves with the shrill harpies that make up AAR. They've (quite rightly) figured out that the miniscule audience that would hear an ad on AAR would dwarf the number of red-blooded Americans who would boycott the company for running ads on a left-leaning station.

    Smart businessmen, I say.

    Honestly, is ANYONE from AAR's audience going to join the Navy?!? Of course not, they're much to smart for that, as John Kerry reminded us yesterday...

    By Blogger BF, at 01 November, 2006 10:49  

  • I've been predicting AAR closing shop up right after these elections

    Looks like I'm right.

    I'm circling 10 November 2006 on my calendar as my bet.

    Anyone else?

    Brian -

    Is Randi Rhodes fat enough to be considered the fat lady? Can she sing?

    By Blogger Lokki, at 01 November, 2006 11:02  

  • It's probably for the best that Franken is quitting soon. Because calling John McCain a coward, as he did on his show apx. 12:15 EST today, is just not smart.

    I guess this is just proof that noone is listening to Franken. If, for example, Hannity had called Wesley Clark a coward, I'm thinking it'd be a blogswarm in less than 1 hour.

    By Blogger BF, at 01 November, 2006 13:39  

  • I understand with the rest of America, but how can a liberal talk show fail in San Francisco?

    My comment on Robert's "ABC memo reveals Air America advertiser blacklist" is that it makes sense: They want some customers to actually hear the ads. *wink*

    By Blogger blogagog, at 01 November, 2006 16:06  

  • I've been SAYING that corporate America has conspired to keep all progressive programming off the air, and was ridiculed for it.

    Now, confronted with the evidence, you complete fraudulent lying freaks CONTINUE to deny the truth?

    You morons, the United States Postal Service is on the list!

    As far as Franken, I don't know why he is leaving. It could be that it's not working out....but I've pointed out repeatedly that your anti-Franken obsession ignores that he's actually one of the least progressive hosts on their roster!

    Is it not possible that Franken himself may have more lucrative opportunities in store? I'm not saying he does, or that it's even likely, but it doesn't seem unlikely either, with the emerging need for journalists and radio hosts with at least some semblance of integrity, in a post-neocon world?

    God Bless Mike Malloy.
    God Bless Sam Seder.
    God Bless Randi Rhodes.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 01 November, 2006 16:47  

  • Sigh..

    Poor Baloney. All these progressive hosts are on the air and the sad sack Baloney is not...

    Nor will he ever likely be...

    By Blogger BWTechnical, at 01 November, 2006 16:59  

  • Keep on hittin' that hash, fanatic. You're entertaining.

    By Blogger L.N. Smithee, at 01 November, 2006 17:25  

  • Hey, hash, robert; you need a little something called "evidence" to prove a "conspiracy." That memo is not evidence. You failed to mention that also on the list is the American Heart Association -- that corporate giant -- and Levi Strauss, whose CEO has given tens of thousands to Democrats exclusively since the late eighties.

    I once worked at a television station's sales department and saw memos in the files of advertisers saying their spots weren't to be shown on the short-lived "Dr. Laura" TV show. I guarandamntee you there is a similar list regarding her radio show; Procter & Gamble, United Airlines, Sears, Radio Shack, and other companies yanked their ads from the popular radio show when she was under attack by the Gay-stapo. Was that a "conspiracy?"

    By the way, robert, you wrote "nearly 100 ABC advertisers" were on the list. The doggone PDF clearly shows 90 advertisers, hand -numbered by the person who received the memo. If John Kerry knew about your math skills, he might wanna send you to Baghdad.

    By Blogger L.N. Smithee, at 01 November, 2006 17:58  

  • REI denies it demanded to be kept off of AAR programming.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 01 November, 2006 20:20  

  • Robert - do you understand how radio works?

    Do you get the concept of "targeted marketing?"

    Let me illustrate: If a company like Hewlett-Packard is advertising its latest high-end laptop, it follows that the ads should be run on stations where the listenership is disproportionately on the higher end of the income scale. Otherwise, it is tantamount to advertising a Cadillac to someone who is currently driving a Pinto.

    Furthermore, if AAR was running an ad for organizations that the typical AAR listener may find objectionable (like the US Navy recruitment ads as an example), then it saves everyone time and trouble and headaches if those ads are stripped out at the station.

    ABC Radio Networks owns about 27 or so stations, mostly centered around the top five or six media markets (NYC, LAX, SFO, CHI, DFW, PHI), none of which are AAR affiliates. However, their top of the hour news service - with its embedded advertisements - goes out to stations nationwide, and some of them may be heard on AAR.

    It is within ABC's right to instruct stations not to air those advertisements. And it is within the rights of those advertisers to have their messages heard wherever and whenever they damn well please if they've paid for the airtime.

    By Blogger SierraSpartan, at 01 November, 2006 22:30  

  • Stacy, that argument would only hold water if the same companies were boycotting regressive talkers as well as progressive ones, which I happen to know is not the case.

    Besides, the US Postal Service? What business does the US Postal Service have, taking ideological positions?

    Are you comparing the US Postal Service to Microsoft?

    The US Postal Service is a branch of government. I'd always assumed those were PSA's.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 02 November, 2006 00:48  

  • Typical liberal whining. You libs think that corporations HAVE to advertise on your sucky progressive crapola? No they don't. You totalitarians aren't in control yet. Free Speech also means the right not to say things where you don't want them said.

    Any radio station that depends on Bill Press for any timeslot is desperate.

    By Blogger PCD, at 02 November, 2006 08:33  

  • hash,

    So you're saying it's Executive, Legislative, and Post Office?!?

    By Blogger BF, at 02 November, 2006 16:05  

  • Dunno. Maybe the devil will call Rush again, and they'll trade drug recipes!

    God, it's all so seventies today!

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 03 November, 2006 00:35  

  • Is the US Navy supported by taxes?

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 03 November, 2006 13:14  

  • Where are all those angry neoconservatives since the election? This blog is kind of ridiculous. This right wing/left wing thing is so old and boring. The election simply validates that America is tired of rhetoric and talking points from neocons. True conservatives don't play this game. As well, liberals who lump Reps and conservatives into the same bag as knee jerk-Rush Limbaugh-loving-windbag-neocons are equally as ridiculous. Thanks to Richard Viguierie (?) conservative radio and media has 20 years of clout. Air America is new, underfunded and weak. However, even the architect, Mr. Viguierie is highly critical of this administration and President. Times are changing. Drug addled, gas bags like Limbaugh my get many listeners, but only the sycophants will be left soon.

    Watched Duetche Vision and the BBC the other day. There news on politics and economics are both outstanding. US news, radio and print news is so ethnocentric and boring. NO international perspective, no rational economic news, and no detached political reporting. All hype and hyperbole here in our country. Opinions are fine, but they should be based on some substantiated fact.

    By Blogger Mike Shannon, at 15 November, 2006 13:07  

  • This is what I think: Al Franken

    By Blogger Chus, at 10 September, 2008 05:49  

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