Wednesday, March 07, 2007

What's next for Air America 2.0?

The contracts have been signed. The keys handed over. And now, Air America Radio is under new management.

So what's next for the new Air America, and new owners Stephen and Mark Green?

First off, the goal is to make it successful. New president Mark Green acknowledges that the network can't be influential unless it's also a business success.

He's "very confident" it will be both.

Under the new structure, which the Green brothers laid out to the staff yesterday, Stephen will be chairman, Mark will be president and Scott Elberg will stay on as chief operating officer.

While many in radio are highly skeptical about the network's future, Mark Green said it can turn around with a plan he calls "basic blocking and tackling."

"We will increase our affiliates, increase our advertising, strengthen our programming, lower our expenses and expand into new platforms," he told the New York Daily News, also emphasizing that the Internet crucial in Air America's future success.

"The model for listening is changing," he says. "My own kids are in the generation that no longer gets its content from the top down, by someone else's decision. They decide themselves what they want and find someone who provides it. It works from the bottom up.

"If Air America doesn't evolve toward internet radio, it's unlikely to survive." According to Webcast Metrics, Air America is one of the most popular webcasts on the internet, ranking fourth in overall listeners.

Green praised the current staff while adding, "Everyone can always improve."

He says the network is satisfied with New York's WWRL as its flagship and he expects a stronger city presence, given the Green brothers' local roots.

Green is adamant that the network will not merely represent a political party, but will serve the people. "We will not be an arm of the Democratic National Committee. We will be a voice for our listeners." Air America "is in tune with a majority of Americans right now on issues like the dreadful Iraq war. We have the wind at our back."

Success won't happen overnight, and Green will be the first to admit that. "We must succeed as a business. It won't happen in three months, but it won't take three years, either. The more successful we are, the more our influence grows."

You can read more at the New York Daily News.


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