Monday, March 19, 2007

Those damned Sam Seder rumors

NOTE: This one will likely be updated a lot.

Dan, a reader in Atlanta, sent me an email over the weekend. He went to see Marc Maron do his standup routine at a local comedy club last week. And something that Maron said shocked quite a few of his fans.

In the email, he stated:

I am a longtime Morning Sedition and Air America fan from Atlanta. I now stream, but only occaisionally, mostly to Sam Seder, at first because he has Maron on every Friday. I saw Marc Maron perform the other night at the punchline and at one point in the show, he started talking about Air America because a fan was talking to him about it before he went on or something and Maron said that Air America wanted to hire him to replace Sam Seder and that it was awkward. I'll say. Marc said he turned them down but that Seder was going to be fired.
In a nutshell, Air America told Maron that his friend Seder was being dropped and that they wanted to hire him as a replacement. Maron felt a bit uncomfortable being put in that kind of situation and said no.

I hesitated to report on this, since this was rather vague, no time frame was mentioned (did this offer to Maron happen months ago? Weeks ago?), and nobody's saying anything else about it. It's really just hearsay. So, I decided to wait and see on this one.

Well, a few people picked up on the rumor, most notably Michael Hood at BlatherWatch. He got a few emails too. Still, the rumor was pretty vague, and I make it a policy to only report rumors that have at least some credibility, preferring to leave the fiction and bullshit to the bottom feeders who lack the self-confidence to actually deal in truth. But since many come to the World's Greatest Liberal Talk Radio Blog to find out the 411, and many of Seder's fans have been visiting here as of late, thanks to a link on Seder's site, I felt it necessary to at least make mention of this whole deal.

A possible contradiction of this rumor could pertain to the recent management changes at Air America. David Bernstein was hired last week by new Air America president Mark Green to oversee programming, and in an interview with the New York Daily News, published today, he stated that he wasn't prepared as of yet to overhaul the on-air roster. "...As a product, it's too early to say if we're going in the right direction," said Bernstein. "It may be that in the end, we're already giving people exactly what they want. That's what I'll be looking at." New program directors often don't make radical changes this early in the job, and it's likely that the network would like to avoid a listener-alienating controversy such as the one that ensued with the Mike Malloy debacle.

UPDATE: And BlatherWatch has posted Maron's side of the story, and not surprisingly, it sounds like it was a bit of a misunderstanding. "They [Air America] made me an offer. Initially it was unclear what time slot I would fill," he said. Initial plans were to put Maron in Seder's slot and move Seder back to evenings. Being close friends, Maron turned it down and told him what had transpired. As far as Maron knows, Seder has not been fired.

So there you have it. It's a pretty weak rumor, and extremely vague on top of that. No, it doesn't look like Sam Seder is getting the axe. It's all just a misunderstanding. If anything changes, you can find out the real story at LTR.


William said...

I would be surprised if there is much to this rumor as AAR just put in a new VP of programming. David Bernstein has said he is trying to learn more about the network. Mind you, I can see some changes in the AAR line up. The morning shows have some strong competition, both from national and local shows, and some of the evening shows have strong competitors as well. So, time will tell, but I would expect there to be some change in the AAR line up before summer.

Aaron said...

Sounds to me like a bit of truth supplanted by wishful thinking. I'd like to see Sedition back in full throttle too, friends, but I do not have enough sunny optimism to believe it's ever gonna happen. I do think though that AAR would be smart to cull through that material and release a double CD.

ltr said...

Actually, I'd like to see Maron hired back to team up with Seder on a regular daily basis, I think it would bring out the best of both of them. Maron, who I think is one of the rare standup comedians who actually has a natural radio talent, would work well in a partner role with Seder, who could benefit from having someone to play off of.

hashfanatic said...

well, his program is on now
guess it was the usual rightwing claptrap

Jill said...

Most of us who were Sedition die-hards enjoy Sam's show now and would like to see both of our favorite neurotic, passionate, articulate, funny Jewish guys on the air, whether together or not.

I doubt a re-assembling of Sedition is going to happen. For whatever reason, Mark Riley seems to want nothing to do with Marc Maron. Too bad, because Riley is unlistenable on his own but he was a great foil for Maron.

Whatever they do, I'd like to see Maron back on the air, with Jim Earl contributing comedy bits but NOT serving as curmudgeonly co-host.

I think it's time for an e-mail campaign to Bernstein.

gregrocker said...

I have a Google alert on Air America radio and read almost everything I can about it. It became apparent to me over a year ago that most of the letters and comments advocating for Marc Maron were being written by the same person. I also had the chance to hear Maron when KTLK here in L.A. gave him a 10-midnight slot and this confirmed for me that the idea that hundreds of blog comments in favor of this guy would be preposterous.

The idea that a mentally ill Maron-ette would rope Air America mainstay Sam Seder into this game is sickening to me. We have enough problems with the stunning dirty trick played upon Air AMerica by Clear Channel, which has shut down 20 AAR affiliates since Howard Dean credited AAR with helping to swing a dozen races (including all 3 Ohio affiliates which were key to Dem victory there).

Maron owes an apology to Sam Seder, a genuinely talented and passionate liberal, who tried to help his friend Maron by giving him a weekly segment on his show. Shame!

NYLefty said...

"Clear Channel...has shut down 20 AAR affiliates?" Huh? Clear channel has dropped progressive talk on a couple or three poorly-performing stations, but still has the format in Portland, OR (where it's doing very well), Los Angeles (on a 50,000 watt station), Miami (on a 50,000 watt station), San Diego, Denver, Washington, D.C., Madison, and several other places. More than twenty stations have dropped the format, but most of them are NOT owned by Clear Channel. I can't believe I'm saying anything good about Clear Channel, but saying they've dropped AAR on "20" stations is far from the truth.

gregrocker said...

I listen to Sam on KPOJ Portland. Today I notice on their website that they have added him live 9-12 and are KEEPING him 6-9 pm. That's SAMx2 on one of the most highly rated progressive talk stations in the country, not coincidentally the home base of Thom Hartmann.

paulcone said...

I'm sorry gregrocker, but you're off your rocker. Maron's fan base is far and wide and you're in the minority because the Maron comments run way in favor of him. I'm all for Sam, too, but when's the last time you saw anyone else from AAR on Conan, or doing multiple HBO specials? The work of a "Maron-ette"? I think not.

ltr said...

As far as Clear Channel liberal talkers are concerned, I count five markets in the last six months where CC-owned stations dropped the format. They include:

New Haven
Boston (heard on two signals)
Albany, OR

In the more distant past, they dropped it in Charleston, SC and an FM station in the outskirts of San Antonio (the station's signal did not even reach the San Antonio market and didn't include any AAR programming). There are other instances, such as the Quad Cities, where WKBF there was sold to a company that wanted to install its own format. Clear Channel did not flip that one.

Other stations that had dropped the format during that time period are owned by other companies. For example, Entercom and Border Media Partners each dropped it in two markets. Many of the other former affiliates are owned by smaller companies.

As far as I know, individual CC station decisions are made at the local or regional level. Their HQ in San Antonio doesn't often get involved in piddly stuff individually affecting each of their thousand-plus stations, unless it concerns a national format like KISS-FM.

And to address other rumors and speculation here, there was not any kind of right-wing conspiracy in spreading the Sam Seder rumor. I was informed by a fan who happened to be at the show. Sure, Maloney picked it up, but he's just a shitbag attention whore making up for the fact that he totally sucks as a talk radio host (yes, I've heard him on the air).

I happen to like Maron. I think he's pretty good on the air, and I tend to be rather critical of what I listen to - for example, I never really cared for Franken's show. But of course, to each their own. And yes, I have heard from many Maron fans. And I understand he has a pretty devoted following.

And I'm still convinced that the KPOJ thing is temporary. I'm sure they're taking a wait-and-see approach to filling one of those time slots. And so far, they haven't gotten a ratings book for their current on-air lineup.

Joe said...

No Maron, no no! Unlistenable to anyone over forty. He says " like" fifty times a minute!

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