Thursday, March 31, 2005

Air America's Chicago holding pattern

Thursday marks the one-year anniversary of Air America, the liberal talk radio network launched on somewhat less than a shoestring to compete with the dominant conservative voices up and down the dial.

Several weeks ago, mid-day host Al Franken, the star of the network, announced that a new Chicago affiliate would go on the air March 31 to mark that anniversary.

But Franken was "a bit overenthusiastic," according to Fred Eychaner, a local entrepreneur and nationally prominent progressive philanthropist. Eychaner is the president of Chicago Newsweb Corporation, owners of WAIT-AM(850), the most likely new Chicago-area home for Air America.

"Nothing will happen by Thursday," he said.

WAIT is a daytime-only station in Crystal Lake with a 2.5-kilowatt signal that reaches into most of Chicago (here’s the coverage map). It now plays oldies rock, and Chicago Newsweb vice president Harvey Wells said Air America is "only one of the options" the station is considering as it prepares to make a format shift of some sort.

(click headline link for more)


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