Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sirius Backstage interviews Mike Malloy: "A traditional Democrat"

To celebrate his return to Sirius Left, Sirius Backstage has a great interview with radio talker Mike Malloy. In it, he talks about how he got involved in radio, Air America Radio's problems, life after Air America with Nova M Radio and Sirius, his political beliefs, who should/shouldn't get the Democratic nomination for president in 2008 and being a liberal talk show host vs. a conservative one. It's a highly recommended read.

...(Air America) was a great idea to begin with, but a sad story. The founders were pushed out by new investors who didn’t know anything about radio but wanted to play radio executive. There was a huge disparity in pay: Al Franken was making 2.6 million per year, but Mike Malloy was making 88k. I think Al Franken contributed to the demise of the network. At one time he had a staff of 20 or 30 people, writers and workers and all this other bullshit. There were many factors that caused Air America to go into bankruptcy: The executives didn’t know what they were doing, and when they hired radio people who knew what to do, the executives weren’t listening, and the radio people left. They couldn’t get investors because they didn’t have a viable structure as it is now. It would have been easy to be a success. Everybody jumped on the bandwagon to snipe at Air America, from Hannity and Limbaugh to all the others in between. It built an instant brand overnight. I still have friends who work there, they were talented people like Rachel Maddow, Randi Rhodes, Sam Seder, and many others. As far as the company itself, I’m really pissed.

...I define myself as a traditional Democrat. I am pro-union, only 13% of the workforce is now unionized compared to 35% 50 years ago... I believe in the equality of the law. Gays have the same rights as everyone else, and that all these constitiuional amendments to ban gay marriage are bullshit and bigoted. I believe in racial equality as well, at least in the workplace... [Affirmative Action] is the way Bush got into Yale. His father was there, so Bush got in. I also believe there should be regulatory agencies to watch the federal government. That’s what I mean by traditional Democrat.

...As far as liberals are concerned, liberals in radio are marginalized, and that’s why it’s so difficult to find them. The marketplace isn’t saying “we want conservative talk”, it’s utter bullshit. Take a look at the recent elections, take a look at polls, and see if the country wants conservative talk. Those decisions to make shows come from the top, and it is done by one of the five radio companies who control over 90% of the airwaves. The right winger will tell you that the marketplace determines what brand of butter you buy, what radio show people want, and its not true. If 70% of the nation hates George Bush and 80% of talk radio hosts support George Bush, there’s something fucked about that. I don’t know how to counteract that other than the talk radio I do is decisive, its hard hitting, and when the managers don’t screw with what I say, I have come up pretty big with a 6, 7, 8, 10 share in markets like Chicago and Salt Lake City. Another problem is advertisers. If advertisers don’t like what I say about the Bush crime family, there is nothing I can do about that. Again, if all things are equal, if you have a talented liberal and an average conservative, you will see the conservative picked up by the radio company. If you look at these no talent hacks like Sean Hannity, or Limbaugh who is a drug addict, they’re on 300 stations, why is that? Because he has a phony ass Christianity belief, supports the war. It’s a real shitty situation out there. It is not an equal field.

Read more of this interview at Sirius Backstage.

3 comments:

Fred Flintstone said...

Some people have refused to believe how out of control and out of whack AAR's pay structure and other spending were. Now that Malloy says it, maybe they will have to pay attention.
Are you listening, Phil?

ltr said...

Who the hell's Phil? Is he a character on Star Trek?

Mathwiz said...

There was a huge disparity in pay: Al Franken was making 2.6 million per year, but Mike Malloy was making 88k....

I'm unsure what Malloy's source is for Franken's income, but if his numbers are right, there's a plausible explanation: $2.6M/yr was most likely his total income, including residuals from SNL and investment income - not his salary from the O'Franken Factor/Al Franken Show.

I realize that's AAR's top show, and that AAR has made plenty of boneheaded mistakes, but it simply strains credulity that they'd pay enough for any show to support such a salary for its host.

Maybe I'm wrong (I frequently am) but I'd like a bit more than Malloy's word before I place all the blame for AAR's problems at Franken's feet.


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