Air America is ceasing live broadcast operations today:
In a statement to employees of the New York-based network, Air America’s chairman, Charlie Kireker, wrote: “It is with the greatest regret, on behalf of our Board, that we must announce that Air America Media is ceasing its live programming operations as of this afternoon, and that the Company will file soon under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code to carry out an orderly winding-down of the business.
To be fair, I figured it would have been out of business by 2006 at the latest. Apparently there were enough liberals with deep pockets and shallow understandings of the broadcast market to flog the corpse for another four years.
“The very difficult economic environment has had a significant impact on Air America’s business. This past year has seen a “perfect storm” in the media industry generally . . .
But there’s one specific exception to that very broad generality; one niche within the larger format of political talk radio that was, is, and is slated to remain profitable – indeed, is prospering on an epic scale.
That’d be the conservative talk radio that Air America set out to try to knock off, way back in March of 2004 – indeed, the very month that the Northern Alliance Radio Network got started.
Air America launched in March, 2004, and styled itself as a liberal alternative to conservative talk radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage. Although at one point its programming was heard on as many as 100 stations nationwide, it ran into financial trouble early. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October, 2006, and was sold to new investors for $4.25 million in early 2007.
It was never as close as even those numbers make it look. Most of Air America’s “as many as” 100 stations were small, low-power operations on the fringes of their markets; when the network launched, it paid for its air time on its three most important affiliates (New York, LA and Chicago), and quickly ran out of money to do even that. Indeed, the vast majority of its distribution came from Clear Channel, which also distributes Air America’s putative enemies Limbaugh, Hannity and Glenn Beck. Air America programming was only really competitive in one market on one station (KFI in Portland Oregon) and then only for about a year. Indeed, the only liberal talk that is remotely successful is Fast Eddie Schultz (who really is as dumb as liberals think conservative talk is), and Stephanie Miller, who basically does Laura Ingraham’s show with a lefty slant.
So goodbye, Air America. You were good for a few laughs, back when we even cared about your existence (and that ended pretty much back in ’05).
Stop by and say hi. We’re the ones that are still on the air.