Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Air America on the defensive (re: New York affiliate)

Air America found itself on the defense for the second time this week following reports in both the New York Post and New York Daily News today (March 7) implying that the liberal talk network was about to lose its New York flagship station, WLIB-AM.

The Post, in particular, seemed to offer a sensationalist slant to its reporting of the alleged loss of WLIB. Reporter John Mainelli wrote, “Air America is close to losing its New York flagship station, knocking Al Franken and his liberal colleagues off the air on the second anniversary. Losing its New York outlet would be a serious blow to the fledgling liberal radio network. Air America's options for a new home are not promising. All of the city's other strong-signal stations are spoken for, leaving only weak-signal ‘fringe’ stations that do not cover the entire city and suburbs.”

Danny Goldberg, CEO of Air America Radio, responded late Tuesday morning to “recent reports via the conservative media” in a staff memo in which he said, “Air America’s ratings in New York went up substantially in the fall 2005 book. Air America’s New York audience is large, growing and valuable. In every conceivable scenario, Air America will continue to be on in New York City.”

He went on to stress that Air America Radio is on track to be stronger still in the coming year and years: “Our audience is bigger, the total number of affiliates carrying our programming is greater, and the amount of revenue we are generating is increasing.

“It is vital, when analyzing chatter about Air America to consider the source,” Goldberg continued. “In almost all cases, the people who say bad things about our company’s business are conservative ideologues who have a particular interest in damaging Air America, for one reason and one reason only: the political opinions expressed by our on air talent. Bill O’Reilly alone has mentioned Air America on 37 separate occasions since our programming went on the air. Al Franken has offered to debate O’Reilly in any number of forums including on “The O’Reilly Factor” and O’Reilly has declined.”


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