The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

02 December 2006

Air America Radio Bankruptcy Sale Deadline


Air America Squeezes Out A Few More Days

Hasn't the deadline come and gone? How are they still broadcasting?

Since yesterday, your Radio Equalizer has been receiving emails from readers wondering why there haven't been any updates on Air America Radio's court- imposed sale. As you may recall, the bankruptcy judge had previously granted the company a one- week extension, but that has now expired.

Now, it appears the firm has somehow been given a few extra days to finalize a potential buyout, but the AP and other news agencies apparently weren't there to cover this new development.

What we do know comes from an email sent by Air America's PR head Jamie Horn, according to talk radio reporter Perry Simon:

The network has sent an e-mail to affiliates from VP/Public Relations JAIME HORN about its development of a "plan to take us into a future beyond bankruptcy... we appreciate your patience and dedication to AIR AMERICA through this difficult period, we know that we continue to exist because of your faith in our programming."

It's clear that Horn's email was an eleventh- hour attempt at preventing any further cancellations of Air America's programming, which continued on Friday. But it was likely too late to contain the damage.

Al Franken's program, for example, has either been removed (in Boston) or pushed back to tape- delayed status (in Chicago) on several outlets. That reveals a lack of confidence by Air America's affiliates as to its future viability, though for some reason they do believe the company's syndicated Thom Hartmann Show will continue.

The problem is that the non- AAR libtalk replacement shows have mixed track records in terms of ratings, revenue and potential. As much as one might have questioned Franken's performance, or even that of Rhodes, the truth is their name recognition is far greater than that of Hartmann, a barely- known ideologue with little entertainment value on offer.

On the air for some time, few stations had previously chosen to take Hartmann, though he does claim to do well in Portland and Seattle. We're able to verify this via the Summer 2006 Arbitron ratings. But these are atypical markets; Air America bragged for some time about its performance in both cities, but that did nothing to boost the company overall.

Others, such as Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller, have fared better and are taking some of Air America's previously- held slots.

We also hear that feminist network Greenstone Media would like to grab a number of other Air America affiliates as soon as possible. So far, it has struggled to gain stations for its fledgling but well- financed operation.

In our next update, we'll look at what the company might be worth and what any potential buyer would be gaining.

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Ratings Have Fallen: David A Lunde, Garoelf: Pete at IHillary

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  • "Since yesterday, your Radio Equalizer has been receiving emails from readers wondering why there haven't been any updates on Air America Radio's court- imposed sale."

    Are these readers waiting with bated breath for further announcements on the bankruptcy?

    By Blogger none, at 02 December, 2006 14:31  

  • "that of Hartmann, a barely- known ideologue with little entertainment value on offer"...

    What a ridiculous way to view and judge intelligent, informed, critical political discourse on talk radio.

    Indeed, talk radio as a whole.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 02 December, 2006 14:55  

  • Hartman is not an ideologue, he is an historian with a grasp on these issues. Limbaugh is an ideologue, who is basically a cheerleader. Hartman is a well informed scholar, the kind of voice talk radio needs. Too bad there is not a single individual like Hartman on the radio for the right. Keep cheerleading for hacks like Limbaugh and Savage, they only make your side look idiotic, and help the left.

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 03 December, 2006 14:42  

  • Allegedly an announcement about the sale is due by next week; meanwhile I
    am hearing rumors that the Hartmann-
    in-place of Franken move at WKOX and
    WXKS in the Boston area is just a temporary fix and once 2007 dawns,
    the stations might se habla espanol
    or be religious or whatever brokered
    time they can find.

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 03 December, 2006 17:54  

  • Considering the role the Republicans have played in orchestrating the importation of illegal immigrants for cheap labor to this country, perhaps the format change to Spanish-language would be an apt one.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 04 December, 2006 07:31  

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