Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA
FEBRUARY 7--Bankrupt and about to lose Al Franken, its marquee star, Air America Radio is set to change hands for the bargain price of $4.25 million, according to new court documents. The sales figure was disclosed in a purchase agreement filed yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. According to the agreement, the deal between Air America's owner, Piquant LLC, and a firm controlled by Stephen L. Green, a New York realtor, calls for Green's firm to repay up to $3.25 million in loans provided to Air America after the liberal radio network filed for Chapter 11 protection last October (the company listed debts of $20.2 million). Green's company will also give Piquant LLC $500,000 and pay off up to $500,000 in network debts (the bulk of which, $349,000, is owed to the network's Manhattan landlord). Green's bid topped by more than $1.25 million the nearest offer received by Air America, according to a motion filed along with the purchase agreement.
On March 14, 2007, the new owners of Air America announced the hiring of long time radio veteran David Bernstein to be the new Vice President of Programming. Prior to joining Air America, he was best known as the program director at New York radio station WOR from 1995 to 2002. In an interview with the New York Daily News, Mr. Bernstein explained his vision of Air America's future as "I don't see our purpose as 'answering' conservative radio or Rush Limbaugh. There's no clear majority in this country today. We want to talk to everyone and help everyone make the right choice." On November 15th, 2007, industry news site Radio Online reported that Mr. Bernstein is exiting Air America.
Randi Rhodes, Bob? We know all about Randi down here in Florida...she didn't do very well here.
After being suspended by Air America management for derogatory remarks toward Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton while off the air, the popular Randi Rhodes quit the network on April 9, 2008, citing a contract dispute. Rhodes moved to Nova M Radio the next day. The show is also aired in its former time slot on the Air America Left channel on XM Satellite Radio.
Who is listening?
In Arbitron's Winter 2008 ratings book, Air America stations carrying a majority AAR programming and in markets for which Arbitron reports results four times a year averaged a 1.2 share. The highest rated Air America affiliates were KPOJ in Portland, Oregon (3.7 share), WXXM in Madison, Wisconsin (3.5), and KABQ in Albuquerque, New Mexico (2.6). The lowest rated affiliates were WDTW and WLBY in Detroit, Michigan (unmeasurable), WOIC in Columbia, South Carolina (0.4), WTKG in Grand Rapids, Michigan (0.5), and flagship station WWRL in New York City (0.5).
WXXM in Madison had announced in November 2006 that it would switch to all sports programming by the end of the year. Following a very vocal backlash from the station's listeners and syndicated hosts, Clear Channel in Madison later backtracked, deciding to leave the progressive talk format on the station. WWRL in New York recently dropped Thom Hartmann and now gets less than half of its programming from Air America.
The flagship station in New York city with a 0.5 rating? I thinks Hints from Heloise can top that.
Yes, Bob, Air America is still taxiing (flying would be too strong a term) but they cannor compete with the conservative stations and they know it. That is why congress will try to level the playing field with the Fairness Doctrine. They are not smart enough to know that screaming and sarcasm (ala Rhodes and Franken) does not attract listeners and they reason that forcing people to listen to them is the only way to do.
It won't work, sir.