The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

15 February 2007

Thom Hartmann, Air America Radio


AAR's Hartmann Claims Three Million Listeners

Call it Mainstream Media Magic (MMM): their unique ability to declare a favored cause a success, when it clearly isn't.

And we can't think of a better example than the long, twisted saga of Air America Radio, which still manages to enjoy favorable press coverage, even as it emerges from bankruptcy.

While the network's financial troubles have generated a great deal of attention, wildly inflated audience and affiliate assertions are still accepted by the media as factual. Would it kill them to verify some of these silly claims?

From the Associated Press today, here's a particularly outrageous example:

Portland progressive radio-talk host takes over Franken's Air America spot


PORTLAND -- The restaurant that radio talk show host Thom Hartmann -- comedian Al Franken's heir apparent on Air America -- has chosen for lunch speaks volumes.

On the one hand, it's an old-fashioned Midwestern fish-fry joint, where the perch comes battered and the fries are thickly cut, perfectly in keeping with the Michigan-born Hartmann's well-honed message of economic populism, of the sort that's been popping up with increasing frequency as both major parties try to lay claim to the country's middle-class voters.

On the other hand, the menu takes care to note that their cooks use 100 percent rice bran oil -- par for the course for a man whose broadcasting booth is virtually wallpapered with anti-right wing paraphernalia, including a poster of Dick Cheney dressed as a member of Hitler's feared SS corps.

Both sides of Hartmann's personality are about to go on much wider display beginning Monday, when he takes over the departing Franken's slot on Air America, the liberal-leaning radio network that aims to be the left's answer to conservative juggernauts.

Franken, the network's headliner since its inception three years ago, announced Wednesday that he's leaving to seek the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate from Minnesota. He's leaving Air America at a pivotal juncture -- the network is being acquired by a New York real estate agent after filing for bankruptcy protection last fall.

Hartmann's show, already live-syndicated nationally on about 30 stations (including KPTK-AM/1090 in Seattle), with a listening audience of about 1 million, will now be offered to about 80 stations as the liberal network moves to right itself. The trick is to convince local stations that liberal talk radio is as viable a business model as its conservative counterpart, especially after a handful of affiliates dropped the format in its first few years, citing low ad sales.

Air America affiliates in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Miami have already pledged to air "The Thom Hartmann Show," boosting his total to around 3 million listeners.

Who are we kidding here? Only in his dreams could a snoozer like Thom Hartmann hope to reach three million listeners.

And 80 stations? We're working overtime trying to keep track of all of the outlets that are cancelling this type of programming.

Our guess: on his best day under the new scenario, Hartmann would lucky to reach one- tenth of that claimed audience. At this point, even that estimate could be quite generous. He just doesn't have the stations necessary to produce a number like that.

So where did he get these crazy figures? Perhaps, as Franken himself would say, Hartmann has "pulled it out of his butt."

Classic Franken images: Pete at IHillary, David A Lunde

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  • Hartman, has great numbers in his markets, do the homework, he has beaten the drug addled closet homosexual, Rush in several markets repeatedly, boring? Only for someone with no attention span. Anyone with a brain, finds him great. Blows Franken out of the water, he was boring.

    Maloney, has the attention span of a 3 year old, he needs the Anti-Muslim jokes to entertain him.

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 15 February, 2007 11:27  

  • The number does not sound over-inflated at all. 3 million is not that many for a show on multiple markets anyway

    and yes Maloney, there are Americans, with a brain, who do not need Limbaugh-like comedy bits to be entertained. Shocking? Once more America is smarter than you think they are. Hartman will destroy Franken's numbers within a year. count on it.

    Keep on stayin stoopid, the drug addled, 3 times divorced, drop out, closet homosexual (google it) awaits you.
    Have a cigar.. limbaugh likes the Cigars, we all know what cigars remind the pig man of............

    If you do not like it, too bad. I speak the truth.
    Cons are a cancer on America's progress. They represent everything that is wrong with America

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 15 February, 2007 11:34  

  • Hello from Baghdad.

    I apologize this isn't directly related to the topic, and not to divert from the sophisticated insights of MoP above, but I wanted to ask for your help.

    I and a Vietnam vet friend of mine have launched a new site, which allows active duty military to (legally) tell Congress and the media that they should support our mission, and that their criticism does hurt our morale while emboldening our enemies.

    This site is partly in response to the leftist site AppealForRedress. It was created by a big money group and given a free pass by the media. I don't have any money for advertising, and I don't expect the media to help.

    So I'm emailing/pasting this message to military friendly sites, as time allows me. If significant numbers of military members can be informed, I think we could get thousands of signatures and have an impact at this crucial juncture in the war.
    Thank-you for your help.
    LT Jason Nichols, USN
    MNF-I, Baghdad

    By Blogger LT Nichols, at 15 February, 2007 12:56  

  • BTW the ABC affiliate just put out their first poll of the coming match up, Frankenstein vs Coleman. In what will likely shock our progressive trolls it is a 57% to 35% rout. And not in Frankenstein favor either. I guess those listeners are just not in Minnesota, a place that both Humphrey and Mondale found pretty hospitable.

    By Blogger Seriouslyunserious, at 15 February, 2007 13:01  

  • LT Jason Nichols, USN

    Tell your fellow soldiers about the billions squandered

    they have contempt for you
    they despise the military

    they are using you

    the Bush administration urinates on you on a daily basis

    learn to accept it

    America will do whats right, and bring you home

    BTW: what is your mission?
    and what does Victory look like?

    of corse you can not answer
    you will never see an end to the civil war
    your degenerates in the White house creaded an Islamic theocracy in Iraq, look what they used you for

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 15 February, 2007 14:23  

  • seriously posted
    ABC affiliate just put out their first poll of the coming match up, Frankenstein vs Coleman. In what will likely shock our progressive trolls it is a 57% to 35% rout

    WHO CARES? patriots took back the senate
    and patriots will take back the white house
    Coleman BTW, voted for debate, a Republican with a brain, it saved his ass

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 15 February, 2007 14:24  

  • MoP,

    Only an idiot like you would make that claim. Voting in favor of cloture is voting to TERMINATE debate.

    Now, unless you leftie clowns have redefined "debate" into a codeword for "only our speech and not yours" would MoPoop's statement be true.

    By Blogger PCD, at 15 February, 2007 14:41  

  • PCD
    You are wrong again, last week only 2 conservatives voted for the Debate, coleman was one of the 2
    look it up

    the argument was about how they were going to vote for it, a majority vote vs 60+ super majority vote.
    Dems wanted up or down vote
    Repubs wanted 60+ fillubuster style vote

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 15 February, 2007 15:48  

  • As of my count, AAR has only 65 total stations (that includes ones just broadcasting one show) and just 47 broadcasting a majority of AAR programming.

    By Blogger Aaron, at 15 February, 2007 15:51  

  • PCD,
    You are a disgrace to rightwing punditry.

    By Blogger Elmonica, at 15 February, 2007 15:59  

  • Where are all those patriots in progressive Minnesota? The land of Wellstone!

    Cant find them on the progressive radio dial and cant find them in a blue state. Now why should I believe that Hillary is going to capture the White House with her very high negatives???

    By Blogger Seriouslyunserious, at 15 February, 2007 16:44  

  • Now why should I believe that Hillary is going to capture the White House with her very high negatives???

    abd why should one believe a flunkie flip flopper like McCain, or a cross dressing, surge supporting fascist like Rudy would win?

    Hillary does have a better shot
    Only reason why con radio has ratings, is a lot of dysfunctional wackjobs listen in the insane asylum
    con radio raings does not represent America

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 15 February, 2007 16:55  

  • "con radio raings does not represent America..."

    Indeed, they do not, MoP.

    Not by a long shot, Blessed Is The Lord.

    Incidentally, Hartmann is amazing.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 15 February, 2007 19:41  

  • And Airhead america does? Whoa that be some fine shit you're smokin.

    By Blogger Seriouslyunserious, at 15 February, 2007 19:59  

  • Where did I say that AAR did, moron?

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 15 February, 2007 21:54  

  • Given what talk radio has become, it still remains to be seen that Hartmann's cerebral, educator style will catch on nationally. But I was inspired by listening to him in Boston last summer, where I got an education on FDR's anti-royalist (unbridled capitalism) speeches that are needed more than ever now. However I admit that when I'm traveling and I have a choice of pods, I reach for Steph, Sam, Ed, Al in that order even when Thom is available.

    Here in Australia, the talk radio is so balanced that the major newspapers will report the call breakdown (2-1 against Howard's attack on Obama) as a legit poll. The hosts seem a bit liberal to me, but both sides are aired thoroughly, unlike in the states where the GOP has pirated the AM airwaves to run a 24/7 dirty disinfo operation for 15 years now. The result: total wreckage of the US reputation in the world (no students even want to visit and are going east instead), bankruptcy of the treasury, a theocracy of obese Billy Sunday crackpots lining up to lay their pudgy pasty hands on the next GOP Pres candidate who can sufficiently seethe with hatred.... This is the America that AM talk radio has brought us, a monopoly juggernaut guarded by Chief Ankle-Biter Baloney who now trains his yappy Pekingnese chops upon Hartmann.

    By Blogger gregrocker, at 15 February, 2007 23:41  

  • greg, what are you smoking? You sharing the crap Hash puts into himself. The agencies that place Foreign exchange students are begging for homes to place their students.

    Oh, for the big mouthed lefties, I did have exchange students on multiple occasions.

    By Blogger PCD, at 16 February, 2007 08:59  

  • When you say you "had" students, what exactly do you mean?

    Isn't your sort of behavior illegal in your state?

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 16 February, 2007 12:06  

  • I am in Sacramento, where until next week there are two progressive radio stations, KSAC and KCTC.

    KSAC was the Air America afiliate until Entercom's KCTC decided to get in the market. When Franken moved to KCTC, KSAC picked up Thom Hartmann. The progressives that I know preferred Hartmann over Franken from 9-12 and then would switch to Randi Rhodes.

    So we when Ed Schultz switched to 9-12 and we lost Thom, we were not too happy.

    And now Thom is going to KCTC and KCTC is changing its format to ESPN Sports effective Feb. 26.

    Thom Hartmann is the voice of "we, the people". He clearly explains the importance of an educated middle class (represented by labor unions) in maintaining a democracy, and how corporate personhood is responsible for the divide.

    I think that Thom Hartmann is the most important voice is progressive radio and his voice was heard before Air America was founded.

    He also does a 3 hour local show in Portland before the national show.

    I believe that the 2006 election has proved that there is an increasing audience.

    Last night, Keith Olbermann announced that his contract for Countdown has been renewed for four more years. As the only dissenting voice on TV News, I think that he proves that the right mix of progressive voices can succeed.

    Thom Hartmann is an asset that Air America is finally using. Too bad, KCTC1320 AM is not going to give it a little more time.

    Save Thom Hartmann and KCTC and Air America in Sacramento!

    By Blogger bonniesac, at 16 February, 2007 12:13  

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