Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Air America Founders Seek Their Own Stations

Anita and Sheldon Drobny, two of the founders of Air America Radio, are taking the next step to ensure that liberal programming stays on the air: obtaining radio stations.

The couple has announced plans to begin buying or leasing radio stations across the United States through their new company, Nova M Radio. The Drobnys, who own a venture capital firm called the Paradigm Group based near Chicago, started the new company with Dr. Michael Newcomb, and a handful of investors. The name Nova M is derived from Nova Miasto, the town Mr. Drobny's father came from in Poland.

Mrs. Drobny said she and her husband were motivated in part by events that began in October in Phoenix, where a Christian broadcasting company called Communicom Broadcasting bought the station that broadcast Air America programming and subsequently changed the format to religious programming.


Gary Krantz, the president of Air America, said listeners were "very vocal and very passionate" when the network went off the air in Phoenix in early March. He said the Drobnys subsequently leased radio station KPHX-AM in Phoenix, where Air America returns today.

Air America programming is broadcast on 89 stations around the country. Sheldon Drobny said Nova M planned to acquire control of 20 to 25 stations in its first year and he said he thought the number could grow to more than 100 stations in three years. He said that while content was required to establish a network, "you also have to have distribution — that is one of the biggest risks we had as a network because all of the major frequencies were owned by the big three, Clear Channel, Infinity and ABC."

The company is looking for stations in areas where liberal talk radio is underrepresented. He said that even if a community was mostly conservative, there was still a local audience for liberal talk radio. "In the radio business you are looking for market share, not to win an election."


chayar said...

Hopefully, the Drobnys will consider San Diego, which is now unrepresented by progressive talk. We ahve a ready made audience yearning to to ahve a progressive format

Louise Green
San Diego

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