09 June 2006
Well Air America has been pulled from the format at WWAA here in beautiful Atlanta. The fact that a VERY liberal town (after all we are home to Rep. Cynthia McKinney featured in the Atlanta Film Festival's Blackout) could not sustain this format is not surprising. I have often pointed out that a liberal agenda is very hard to distill into a simple, supportable philosophy.
Some of its tenets translate very well, aid to the poor and maintaining rights for all. But these are not enough to rally the masses. Hence the huge problems for liberals in developing a sustainable base. A conservative message, by its very nature, is easier to promulgate.
Air America's lack of success is directly related to its inability to appeal to a mass market. It has nothing to do with the talents on the air (except Randi Rhoades). I think Franken is a funny guy. I also think he is sincere in his beliefs. If you read a little of his biography, you get the sense of the strong, north-midwestern upbringing which solidified his ideals. Sadly even in Milwaukee, no affiliate has been able to be found.
Having done a short stint in network radio - that's a long story! The challenges of garnering audiences with a handful of marginal AM stations is almost overwhelming. The catastrophe that is programming for AM radio (now arriving at FM's doorstep) has been rolling since FM entered the scene in the 1970s. I would contend that the audience numbers purported by Air America are largely fictitious. Arbitron and RADAR figures for AQH (average quarter hour) consistently post Air America dead last in major markets.
Citizen Un was heartbroken to hear about Air America's demise. Thankfully, it still plays on satellite and a quick setup of XM in the AAV (Atlanta Assault Van) should return the joys of liberal snarkiness to her ears. Air America has been plagued with problems. Not the least of which was content, marketing and scandals. At the end of the day, one has to wonder whether launching an old school media enterprise in the age of the internet was such a good idea after all?
I actually think I can hear the execs at NPR breathing a sigh of relief...