Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Air America Radio sale: The plot thickens

Two days ago, Air America Radio got the go-ahead by the court to start auction proceedings for the network. Of course, these things rarely go smoothly.

According to former Air America investor and current Nova M Radio chairman Sheldon Drobny, lawyers representing unsecured creditors filed an objection to the proposed sale of Air America's assets to a group headed by Stephen and Mark Green. Drobny is apparently furious over the whole deal:

They are not the least bit concerned about who they screw in the process despite the fact that they are supposed to be liberals and fair minded. If the judge in this case grants permission for this sham sale, it will confirm again the fact that the Bankruptcy Court is the worst example of crony capitalism.

The objection claims that the sale is a sham, and the only creditors that will benefit from it are the ones currently running the network. Drobny claims that three current Air America executives will, in fact, be part of the minority ownership group, with SLG Radio, owned by the Green brothers, as the controlling faction.

Drobny accuses them of abusing the Bankruptcy Court unfairly, and of basically trying to screw their creditors:

...The AAR directors that are doing this are collectively worth at least a billion dollars. And the shame of them doing this in the name of progressive talk radio is hypocritical. The Greens and the "3 amigos" will be joined together to try to give AAR a new life. Should anyone trust these people again given their recent behavior?

In addition, Drobny is calling for Congressional hearings to change the current abuses that plague the current Bankruptcy laws. "It would be poetic justice for these investigations to be prompted by the insolvency of what was supposed to be a liberal media company."

It should be noted that Drobny has long had serious differences with the current management of Air America. Regular readers of LTR know that many of AAR's executive office are often at odds with each other. Drobny made an offer for the network last fall, prior to their bankruptcy filing. They turned it down and opted for Chapter 11. The figure was far less than what the Green brothers offered as the winning bid. As for who would have assumed the network's debt, provided that there was indeed no bankruptcy filing, is uncertain.

As always, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Yes, the current execs are sleazeballs (just like most other outrageously rich businessmen). I still don't understand why Rob Glaser and company don't just cut a few checks and put this whole thing behind them. They accomplished what they wanted to do, in establishing a liberal talk radio network, so why don't they just take the loss and claim it on their taxes? And why doesn't Drobny finally just say 'piss off' to these guys, build up Nova M, and give them some real competition? All this rich guy warfare is what helped cripple Air America in the first place. Methinks he's spending way too much time bitching about them at HuffPo, when he could be channeling his energies in a much more constructive fashion. Stop the corporate dick-swinging and get back to work on your original mission. I already read the riot act to Eddie and Sammy earlier today. Don't make me come over there!


gregrocker said...

This just astounds me. In the second of two consecutive stories about liberal talk radio eating its own, the Air America founder finally calls for Congressional hearings, which any close observer knows are the only hope Dems have to pressure media monopolies to add balance to the AM radio dial. Without immediate and sustained Congressional pressure, the media corporations will simply keep the AM dial slanted entirely to the right and every Dem initiative and their Congressional majority will soon be swamped by the rightist radio juggernaut which holds the balance of power in this country.

But Drobny is not calling for hearings on this crucial matter - he wants hearings into the bankruptcy laws so that he can get justice for the latest swindle by capitalist traders doing what they do.


Anonymous said...

I know liberals have a knee-jerk reaction to blame the ills of the world on "capitalists" and "corporate greed."
These people are political zealots as much as entrepreneurs.
Let's save some of the blame for hubris, arrogance and ego. Qualities that affect both the left and the right.
Much of the problem at AAR is they acted like a public sector enterprise - not a business. A real business would have done some serious cost-cutting a long time ago.
Oh, well. Maybe they can find another Boys and Girls Club to loan them money.

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