The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

17 February 2009

Libtalk Network NovaM To Shut Down


Report: Co-founder Sheldon Drobny Attempts Suicide




Libtalk network Nova M Radio has been shut down, according to the attorney for Randi Rhodes, Robert V Gaulin of New York. This also brings Mike Malloy's syndicated program to an abrupt end as well, at least for now (update below: Malloy's camp is denying this will affect his show, All Access reports a new firm may assume this role).

Moments ago, Gaulin sent this letter to your Radio Equalizer:

Randi Rhodes’ on-air home for less than a year will shut its doors. In an email message of February 17th from counsel for Nova M Radio, Inc. to Randi’s entertainment attorney, Robert V. Gaulin, the company is said to have been advised to file for bankruptcy protection next week. All payroll deposits were reversed on Tuesday, leaving Nova’s employees unpaid for the past two weeks.

On Sunday, Nova received a letter from Mr. Gaulin asserting that the contract with Ms. Rhodes was terminated due to material breaches and other reasons. Ms. Rhodes had not broadcast for over a week prior to this time, a situation which was diplomatically referred to as a “problem” that was solely within Nova’s control to solve. A few days earlier, Sheldon Drobny, founder of Nova M, and a co-founder of Air America Radio, attempted suicide and is hospitalized in Chicago.

Mr. Gaulin indicated on Randi’s behalf that “We saw this coming, but are most saddened by the tragic news regarding Sheldon Drobny. Randi is devastated by the impact of these events upon her fiercely loyal audience, affiliates and sponsors.
Discussions are already being conducted for Randi’s swift return to the air. Stay tuned…”

Thank you

Robert V. Gaulin

Beyond Nova M, Anita and Sheldon Drobny are well-known Democratic Party fundraisers inside Chicago's machine politics. Before this venture, they founded Air America Radio and had since hired away two of its former hosts, Rhodes and Malloy.

In 2006, they attempted to retake Air America Radio after it went bankrupt, but were thwarted by other bidders. From that point, they focused on building NovaM, embarking on a tour to generate funds to purchase stations in a number of cities. Sheldon then became a vocal critic of Air America.

In 2005, Michelle Malkin and your Radio Equalizer teamed up for a series of investigative pieces on Air America Radio and its financial scandal tied to funds illegally diverted from an inner-city charity.

In addition, we collaborated on special reports regarding the Drobnys and their post-AAR ventures.

It's not clear whether any of NovaM's programs will continue to broadcast. Rhodes has already been away for well over a week and her website has been completely shut down.

An as-yet unsuccessful attempt has been made to contact Anita Drobny for comment.

We wish Mr Drobny a speedy recovery.

UPDATE: Mike Malloy's producer - wife has issued a strong denial of indications it will affect his program:

"This also brings Mike Malloy's syndicated program to an abrupt end as well, at least for now."

Kathy Malloy here. Randi Rhodes' lawyers have no information about our broadcast status. Our program is most definitely NOT coming to an abrupt end, now or in the future. This is completely untrue. We have intact and continuing affiliate relationships that may be harmed by this lie on your website. I strongly suggest you remove it now.

Kathy Bay Malloy
Executive Producer
The Mike Malloy Show

But how will the show continue in Nova M's absence? We're awaiting an answer to this question.

UPDATE: Anita Drobny has responded to our email:

brian...shelly suffered a nervous breakdown...we tried as hard as we could to bring another voice to our nation...i guess we far as randi goes, we couldn't meet one of her contract issues....i wish her well and hope for all of us to overcome this horrible economy we are faced with....thanks anita

In a follow-up,
Drobny confirms that Malloy has found a way to continue broadcasting. Meanwhile, Rhodes flagship WJNO in West Palm Beach has temporarily substituted Sean Hannity's program in the afternoon slot due to the absence of her program.

Stand by for updates on this breaking news story.

FOR New England regional talk radio updates, see our other site.

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  • Swift Return? Still Claiming to Be #1?
    John Scott's (Green960) Take on the topic
    "Here's what's happening: Randi is done at Nova M. I do not know when or if she will ever be back on the air. No one is really talking, and all I am seeing are a bunch of lawyer letters. It's BS......
    You want to hear something positive and good once in a while, instead of this incessant drumbeat of Debbie Downer WAH-WAH the sky is falling. Of course, the sky IS falling or so it seems,, but we already know that. The Bitter Bus is already full, I want to get off...."
    Thank you Mr. Scott.
    Or as one of her dissillusioned listener writes: "Last time I listened, the only ads on her show were for hypnotized weight loss, buying gold, or cream for women to put on their faces while they sleep. Do these advertisers represent the "... fan base that could rival that of the Oakland Raiders in loyalty"?
    Randi has done everything in her power to scuttle her own career by attacking fellow broadcasters, her employers, national figures that don't deserve the gutter mouthed...scorn, or any of the multiple tv hosts that have had to tell her to shut ...up and let someone else speak".

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 February, 2009 15:19  

  • It looks like Nova M is now "something new":

    "Nova M Becomes On Second Thought"

    So Mike Malloy will have a syndicator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 February, 2009 16:31  

  • Leave it to Randi Rhodes to drive the Drobny's up the wall with her obnoxious contract demands.

    What did she want- a limo to transport her phony ass to work.

    Alot of the comments on KKGN are fed up and sick of Randi Rhodes.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 February, 2009 16:45  

  • "We wish Mr Drobny a speedy recovery."

    I'll Second That in a heart beat!

    Thanks Brian!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 February, 2009 17:20  

  • You all on the right had better wake up. Times are hard even for the Clear Channel Folks and Hannity and Rush may be next.
    For all of ejaculating all over yourselves "Thinking" Liberal Talk radio is dead.."think" again. Randi will land on her feet,as will Malloy and any one else at NOVA M. Because this IS a free country and free speech will go on.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 February, 2009 17:45  

  • Listen to Jeff Farias at
    He is a FORMER Nova M employee and has the scoop!
    HE is coming on NOW!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 February, 2009 17:54  

  • Thank you, Brian, for your balanced coverage of this situation.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 February, 2009 18:29  

  • "Leave it to Randi Rhodes to drive the Drobny's up the wall with her obnoxious contract demands."

    I was thinking the on the same lines ... Her ego. Never have been a fan (her delivery style)just a supporter!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 February, 2009 20:43  

  • How real do you thing the "mental breakdown/attempted suicide" story really is? What an odd thing for someone's spouse to devulge...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 February, 2009 20:47  

  • Is this why Democrats are talking about the Fairness Doctrine - even the former prez, Clinton has chimmed in with his opinion. No class - GWB took the abuse like a man but Clinton is a putz who really thinks his legacy was destroyed by talk radio. Hello Bill, sex with a starry eyed intern caused your problems, talk radio just put it out in the public forum. Liberals are such babies - can't make money or keep and audience so they go after success.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 February, 2009 20:48  

  • One minor detail, pally ... gwb may have destroyed the country killed millions of Innocent people and robbed the American people of trillions.

    Bill Clinton Got a B.J. While minding the store.

    Mike Malloy is live and on top of his game tonight on Nova M !

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 February, 2009 23:06  

  • We have no idea what the contract dispute was, nor do we know if Randi was the cause of Mr. Drobny's nervous breakdown. It sounds like the company was on rocky shores already. Remember, this is a tough business and the people who survive have to be tough and depend on strong egos to persevere. Randi's personality and pushiness are what keep her going, and keep her digging for the truth and bravely telling it. If you want a polite person, that's your right -- but ragging on Randi Rhodes, jumping to conclusions because you find her crass, are exercises designed to leave us all without the facts and insight we so desperately need in the mess George Bush has left us. Randi is smart, works hard, tells the truth. Arguing about her personality is akin to complaining about the type of palm trees at the oasis ...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17 February, 2009 23:29  

  • LOL!!!!



    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 18 February, 2009 00:06  

  • "Randi is smart, works hard, tells the truth..."

    Horse puckey. Randi tells lies, tells kill-Bush jokes on the air, and is a stammering drunk.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 18 February, 2009 00:47  

  • For whatever it's worth, the NovaM website is still up and running (as of 1:15 am EST) with no indication of their demise.

    By Blogger Carl, at 18 February, 2009 01:09  


    This IS the 16 page complaint.
    Holy Sh*t

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 18 February, 2009 01:13  

  • as usual liberaltalkradio blog refers to Brian as "Radio Tranquilizer" and a "right wing blog run by crazy people". Meanwhile, Hannity is on live on WJNO. Lib talk fans must feel like Dr Smith from Lost in Space: Oh, the pain. The pain!

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 18 February, 2009 03:43  

  • Apparently, Deever Dave doesn't know that Premiere Radio Networks (which has Rush), while owned by Clear Channel, has actually been increasing it's share as the O&Os start falling.

    People will pick up Rush and Hannity because they bring in money. That's part of the charm.

    Deever Dave, all you bring in is syphillus. It's affecting you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 18 February, 2009 06:42  

    of Networks
    Bourbon, Vodka, Beer Bottles
    and Her Own Stability!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 18 February, 2009 07:23  

  • Why is saving libtalk radio not part of the stimulus package? All they need is for Congress to artificially legislate income for them, since the free market won't cooperate with their plans for success.

    Rush and Hannity just signed new, lucrative deals to continue their programs, and Mark Levin just expanded from 2hrs to 3hrs, and adding new stations in new markets all the time. For the above commenter, Rush and Hannity are not going to go broke any time soon. The threat to them is from Capitol Hill and The White House, not the free choices of radio listeners.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 18 February, 2009 13:34  

  • If you turn a profit, you'll stay on the air. If you don't, you won't. That's the way it works. Left wing radio has tiny audience because most lefties listen to music and seldom pay attention to current affairs (easily provable from simple "Man on the street" interviews).

    If Hannity, Rush, yada-ya, start losing their audience, then they'll go off the air. Otherwise, the left will have to scream, cry and force their way back on the air by getting laws passed... But people still won't listen to them. Randi, have another drink sweetie.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 18 February, 2009 14:25  


    You are falling behind!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 February, 2009 00:01  

  • The possible demise of NovaM began months ago when popular host Jeff Farias was fired; others left with him. Jeff has joins uproots radio on the web; and, continues to have one of the best programs going. Many of us, loyal to NovaM, still listen to Jeff and will follow him anywhere.
    Malloy continues to broadcast, as usual, Mike and Katherine Bay are an unbeatable team and enjoy having listeners here and in other countries, and their calls are not free! We are Malloy's Minions and will never forsake him.
    I'm not worried about Randi Rhodes; she will land on her feet, she always does!
    Dogpatch, AL

    By Blogger Edie, at 19 February, 2009 10:02  

  • Brian, It is nice to see you extend some kind words for Shelley Drobny. As a NovaMradio fan this is sad news, but the writing has been on the wall. However, you fail to mention that "On Second Radio" has changed the website, and is sticking with Mike Malloy and Nancy Skinner. While your politics generally make me sick, I am sure we can agree that this is not good news for the broadcasting world. No matter how one feels about the Fairness Doctrine, it is clear that not all formats can rise at the expense of ownership alone. Advertisers are spending less in light of the crisis the country faces.They are certainly going to make attempts to reach an already large audience. Clear Channel is faced with challenges right now, as one commenter noted, as are networks all over the country.

    By Blogger Kyle, at 19 February, 2009 11:33  

  • says (per the WSJ article) they were
    losing $100k per month toward the end and quotes Anita Drobny as saying ""There were so many wealthy progressives out there that could have made [progressive radio] happen,'-- but they didn't want to help. "It ended up being on Sheldon's shoulders."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 February, 2009 14:04  

  • I have listened to Randi for 10 years, back when she was on WJNO. You may not agree with her politics but she is always entertaining.

    Nancy Skinner is dull. I tried several times to listen to her but it was like listening to paint dry. No one can rival Randi's research skills. Yeah she's crass at times but that's her style.

    I look forward to her return.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 February, 2009 16:14  

  • IMHO ~ The rising STAR on AAR or in general is none otha than ... RON REAGAN Jr !

    Love his radio chops !

    I'll try notta gloat...

    BTW ~ I'm Embarrassed the way some lefty blogs have scrubbed LEGIT non libelous or slanderous comment's for personal and vindictive reasons!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 February, 2009 23:33  

  • Randi will return bigger and better than ever because she is the real deal. Truth and honesty will prevail, just like Barak Obama did in 2008. If you like what Limbaugh and Hannity spew, you have sadly ingested the kool-aid and there is no hope for you. You will find that in our evolving society there will be no room for hate-mongering liars that carry the water for a failed party

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 22 February, 2009 12:48  

  • "Randi will return bigger and better than ever because she is the real deal."

    Doubtful. Mainly because the market for liberal talk is at an all-time low. Randi has a lot of baggage which is well known by management in the industry thereby making it less than probable any major national syndicator will sign her to a contract. The most likely scenario is that Rhodes will work for a radio station for a while waiting for a liberal network to start up willing to take a chance on her and if she keeps her nose clean some existing network or new network may sign her. But currently all existing liberal radio networks (and there aren't many) have even less coverage than Air America and NovaM with the exception of NPR. And frankly NPR isn't showing any interest in Rhodes at the moment most likely because she has exhibited contempt towards NPR in the past especially after they snubbed her. Rhodes has burned many bridges and even though in the radio biz "never say never" tends to be fairly commonplace, the possibility that
    "Randi will return bigger and better" anytime soon is next to nil.

    Now before you lib extremist go about dismissing my evaluation because I am conservative, keep in mind that my evaluation has been effectively mirrored by several liberal media analysts already.

    By Blogger Carl, at 22 February, 2009 14:20  

  • One other thing, when one uses "hate-mongering liars" keep in mind that such aptly describes Randi Rhodes.

    By Blogger Carl, at 22 February, 2009 14:21  

  • I'm so glad Katherine Bay has responded to stated concerns on this page; I will take her word on this and any other topic.
    NovaM is not the only game in town; I'm positive the Malloys know what they are doing.
    Please do as Kathy asked; the last thing we should do is do anything that could do anything to adversely affect them. Peace.
    One of Malloy's Minions

    By Blogger Edie, at 22 February, 2009 18:47  

  • Randi Rhodes will return to the national radio airwaves soon. Stay tuned for the official announcement.

    Robert V. Gaulin
    Attorney for Randi Rhodes

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 March, 2009 13:20  

  • I'm go glad the consrevatives have it all figured out for us! Since more than 55% voted for Dems/liberals, there is no demand for their point of view on the radio waves! LOL!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 March, 2009 14:41  

  • This is satire;
    ... tell me did they mix some brown m&m's with the red one's as specified on her rider ...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 04 March, 2009 16:08  

  • The Malloys will not be denied! We will follow them anywhere!
    Dogpatch, AL

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 05 March, 2009 08:35  

  • "..Stay tuned for....another episode of "As Randi Turns" No Thanks! This is an outdated soap opera and RR sounds like a broken record.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 06 March, 2009 20:39  

  • [i]
    Doubtful. Mainly because the market for liberal talk is at an all-time low. Randi has a lot of baggage which is well known by management in the industry thereby making it less than probable any major national syndicator will sign her to a contract.[i/]

    Who, this is obviously an observation from someone who has no idea what they are talking about in terms of the radio business. Before pointing fingers at Randi I would take a look at your butt boys Bush and Billo first. Randi by example is a saint. Give me a break with that kind of Perez Hilton garbage.

    Radio is show business. Pure and simple. She'll get back on the air, and that will annoy most of the posters here. But she will. And it may be awhile given how lawsuits and legal entanglements go. Mostly the critiques are men who can't deal with a broad like Randi playing in the same leagues as their "heros" Rush and Billo.

    Also, love the stupid remarks about the Fairness Doctrine. A little news: It's a urban myth MADE UP by the REpuhs. No democrat or liberal host has ever wanted the Fairness Doctrine back. It's just another stupid ploy. Like the "War On Christmas", "Weapons of Mass Destruction" and "Sanctity of Marriage"...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 08 March, 2009 01:22  

  • Well, it's not as if voices of reason have billionaires pumping $$$ into progressive/liberal radio. The far right does; and, so most of the people are ill informed.

    They work their guts out, if they're lucky enough to still have a job, plop themselves in front of the box and let the lies and half truths wash over them; then they fall into bed with this crap in there heads!

    Of course, it doesn't help that most of our fellow Americans are dumb as a sack of hair!

    Thom Hartmann is just one of the great voices on the left; most of the others struggle. Why, one might ask? Because they actually believe in what they do; bless them and, shame on those of us who will not support them.

    Jeff Farias, Peter B. Collins, Mike Malloy, Randi Rhodes and many others, who are not corporate whores and actually strive to serve 'we the people'.

    By Blogger Edie, at 08 March, 2009 14:08  

  • Before you pronounce who may or may not be a "corporate whore"...why not wait and see who Randi announces who her next employer/syndicator shall be...Randi has a certain "flexibility" when it comes to her memory her own previous comments about such matters.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 09 March, 2009 21:43  

  • I'm not worried about Randi; she will survive. However, I am sorry to see Peter B. Collins go away. It's just too goddamn bad that so called liberals in out country will not support rational talk radio. Murdoch, Scathe and their ilk will pour millions into their 'think tanks',radio and tv! Liberals turned their backs on us long ago!

    By Blogger Edie, at 16 March, 2009 15:45  

  • Randi is sorely missed by all her listeners and I hope she reads all these posts. To Randi: you have the courage tell everyone like it is and are not intimidated by anyone which obviously some folks can't handle. Please come back to us soon Randi.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 23 March, 2009 22:33  

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