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Thread: Panhandle broadcasting: Air America crumbling? Radio SOS!!!

  1. #1
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    Panhandle broadcasting: Liberal Air America crumbling? Radio SOS!!!

    [B]RADIO $.O.$. SIGNAL

    By JOHN MAINELLI [/B]

    September 27, 2005 -- Amid the scandal over taking $875,000 from a Bronx Boys & Girls Club to fund its start-up, the Air America radio network is in such bad financial shape that its announcers are begging listeners for help paying the bills.

    In a rare move for commercial radio, the all-liberal network began asking listeners for donations and selling blocks of weekend airtime.

    The move comes after the network was pressured by city investigators to repay the $875,000 borrowed from the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club with the money going into an escrow account until a city probe of the loan is finished.

    "Rush Limbaugh didn't take over our airwaves by himself," Air America CEO Danny Goldberg e-mailed listeners last week, asking for cash to counter "conservative zealots."

    "He had an army of dittoheads behind him," Goldberg said, referring to the term for Limbaugh's biggest fans.

    In the style of public radio and TV beg-a-thons, Goldberg offers tote bags, bumper stickers and even personal on-air thank-you messages (for $250).

    "I do think it's a little bit insulting to the listeners to say we want you to both listen to commercials and donate money, but that's better than borrowing from the [Gloria Wise] Boys Club in The Bronx," said longtime radio exec Geoff Rich, who distributes Dr. Laura Schlessinger's radio show.


    The "loan" from the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club was arranged by one of Air America's founding partners, Evan Montvel-Cohen, who was at the same time a fund-raiser for the Co-op City-based club, which was primarily funded by city contracts.

    The scandal, which came to light over the summer, prompted city investigators to yank $10 million worth of contracts for youth and elderly services from Gloria Wise. Charles Rosen, the group's director, was forced to resign.

    Shortly after its launch last year, Air America began bouncing checks and was kicked off stations in Los Angeles and Chicago. Montvel-Cohen was bounced from the network.

    More recently, the 70-station lefty network has been suffering lower ratings, a phenomenon that has hit many politics-obsessed talk stations since last fall's election, including conservative WABC (770 AM).

    "They must be in so much trouble," said former WABC talker Lynn Samuels, now on Sirius Satellite Radio's all-liberal channel. "I'd never heard of a commercial station asking for money."

    An Air America spokeswoman told The Post that the network was "in strong financial shape" and that engineers had recently built "state-of-the-art" studios on Sixth Avenue.

    [url]http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/54171.htm[/url]

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    [B]Panhandle broadcasting: Air America crumbling?

    Liberal radio network asking listeners for donations to help spread message[/B]

    Air America, the liberal radio counterpart to Rush Limbaugh, is now asking its listeners to send in money, leading some analysts to say the network is "crumbling."

    The network, featuring voices including Al Franken and Janeane Garofalo, has developed a program where people become "associate" members by contributing cash.

    On its website, Air America lists the benefits of membership, stating, "In return for your help, we'll send you a monthly Associates insider e-mail with the backstage news from our shows and our headquarters. When we take Air America Radio on the road, we'll invite you to meet our hosts and progressive leaders in your community. And for gifts of $50 and up, we've got free stuff to send you."

    Among the "free stuff," Air America is giving contributors three bumper stickers to help spread word about the programming. Gifts of $100 or more entitle listeners to "a stylin' yet functional tote bag," and for those donating at least $250, "our hosts and staff will personally thank you at this level of giving on AirAmericaRadio.com and on the air."

    "We know we can't achieve this next stage of growth without significant help from you, our loyal listeners," said the network in an e-mail to supporters, according to Mediaweek, which said the "unusual move for commercial radio" was "more common to noncommercial stations and political action committees."

    The problems at Air America were the subject of a segment tonight on "The O'Reilly Factor" on the Fox News Channel.

    "It is really almost comical that they're putting on these sort of panhandling pleas to their audience members," WorldNetDaily columnist Michelle Malkin told Bill O'Reilly, saying bad content was key to the demise. "They've got a trail of debts, a trail of creditors. There's two stories really here. The crumbling of Air America, and the failure and the refusal of the rest of the mainstream media to cover it as a financial, political and entertainment media story."

    Malkin was among the first writers to document a scandal at the network, involving hundreds of thousands of dollars reportedly diverted from the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club in New York to Air America. The network recently repaid the club $875,000 after the word of the diversion seeped into the national media.

    Radio analyst Brian Maloney told O'Reilly, who also hosts radio talk show, the company clearly had a bad business model, and he's not sure it can survive.

    "As things stand now, they may be down to their last couple of months," Maloney said, "but that could change at any moment if [George] Soros or one of the other big guns comes in, steps to the plate and puts up some cash. But otherwise, I think things are looking bleak. They're overpaying the air talent, they're fending off lawsuits, they're overspending. They just put a brand new studio facility in. They didn't need that. That was at Franken's insistence and now he's not even going to use it. He's moving to Minnesota. So they're wasting money, they're not bringing it in. It's a mess."

    As WND recently reported, a California radio station pleaded for advertisers to sponsor the liberal programming of Air America shows it broadcasts, claiming it could not get a single ad.

    Limbaugh reacted to that news, saying, "I think this is the lesson for all of you who wish to show some sort of financial revenue income by carrying liberal radio. You have to orient yourself to fund-raising, not commerce. Commerce has never been part of the recipe here. ... You are doing something good for the cause."

    [url]http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=46552[/url]


    [IMG]http://perso.wanadoo.fr/kwik-e-simpsons/wallpapers/nelson-preview.gif[/IMG]

    [B][SIZE=5]HA [/SIZE][SIZE=5]ha...... [/SIZE] [/B]
    Last edited by Come Back to NY; 09-27-2005 at 11:28 PM.

  2. #2
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    What's next,

    Franken and Garafalo walking through airports checking the coin return slots on payphones????

  3. #3
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    Would it be out of line if I called up to pledge money, but asked that they say some of their favorite stuff; you know - the funny stuff? The stuff that doesn't make sense. Think I could get them to say that Dubya is an Uncle Tom? That would be worth $50 to me. :P

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    [QUOTE=quantum]Would it be out of line if I called up to pledge money, but asked that they say some of their favorite stuff; you know - the funny stuff? The stuff that doesn't make sense. Think I could get them to say that Dubya is an Uncle Tom? That would be worth $50 to me. :P[/QUOTE]

    might work....beggars can't be choosy.....

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    Well they'd have to say it on the air, maybe wearing a tinfoil hat. Then maybe toture them by having them say something really outlandish like abortion is murder. How low would they go for the money?

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    [B]Air America Radio grounded by WHAT-AM [/B]

    By Michael Klein

    Al Franken and Randi Rhodes are getting the boot from Philadelphia airwaves, as WHAT-AM (1340) is pulling off programming from Air America, the liberal talk-radio network.

    Friday will be the last day, and a new WHAT lineup will begin Monday, said general manager Kernie Anderson, adding that "things were not working out" with Air America after about a year.

    WHAT aired Air America's programming from noon to 7 p.m. weekdays, sandwiched between the rest of its lineup. The juxtaposition of liberal talk and WHAT's African America-targeted talk programming seemed an odd fit from the start.

    [B]Ratings were abysmal. [/B]

    Air America, heard on about 70 stations nationwide, also is streamed on XM satellite radio and carried at [url]www.airamericaradio.com[/url].

    An Air America spokesman said: "While we hate to lose affiliates, it is very common to add and drop affiliates due to local market conditions. While we hate to lose WHAT-AM, we are currently in negotiations with another station and hope to make that announcement soon."

    WHAT, which bills itself as the voice of Philadelphia's African American community, will add a 1-to-5 p.m. call-in show from Philadelphia Daily News columnist Elmer Smith. Mary Mason will continue from 6 to 9 a.m. Her producer, Albert Butler, will get his own show from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    Thera Martin-Connelly will host from 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; Tavis Smiley's syndicated show will air from 5 to 7 p.m. Fridays. The syndicated Bev Smith will do 7 to 10 p.m. weekdays, followed by Reggie Bryant from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

    --------------------------------------------

    tick.....tick....tick.....tick.....tick......tick......tick.....

  7. #7
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    AA could go after Howard Stern's audience, but I doubt they would get the jokes. Oh well.

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