Thursday, June 14, 2007

Air America ditches news division

In a not-so surprising move, Air America Radio has decided to eliminate its news division, according to the New York Daily News. The hourly news updates will cease at the end of June.

This was a financial move, not in desperation, but for economic efficiency. "We spent the last three months looking at all the options," a staff memo from COO Scott Elberg stated. "In the end, it didn't work."

The dropping of the hourly news updates seems in keeping with owner Stephen L. Green's pledge of fiscal efficiency. In addition, very few affiliates even carried it, opting for other syndicated news offerings from the likes of CNN or CBS. Air America's news updates were heard most prominently on their webstream.

The news department's staffers include Wayne Gillman, Bill Crowley, Mike Piazza and Mark Scheerer.

15 comments:

Emacee said...

About time!

Air check collectors roll tape for the final "IIIIII'mmmmmm WWWaaaayyynnneee Giilllllmaaannnn."

Jim said...

I guess I understand the need to save money, but there's nothing as head-swiveling as hearing a progressive radio host righteously skewer Bush on one of a million issues, only to have that followed by some CNN tripe that effectively de-skewers him again. Isn't there value in having some sort of political consistency (not a rigid ideology) in AAR?

How about some out-of-box thinking? I guess there are dozens of high-quality bloggers who would be glad to do 2 minute voice updates: "Here's what I'm saying, and here's the underlying story, and here's my URL", all for free or close to it. God knows AAR could use more of the progressive blogosphere's vitality and depth, and the bloggers could use more immediacy and outreach to the pre-blogging masses. Sounds like a match made in Moscow!

Emacee said...

Not to be negative, but what I would have liked to have seen AAR do would have been a liberal version of Paul Harvey. Instead they had these guys reading wire copy.

Apparently, they out-sourced news on the weekends and the weekend newscasts were not bad. It seemed like whoever was doing them gave some thought to the kinds of stories which would interest and appeal to AAR's audience.

Only a few stations have been using AAR's newscasts anyway. Mostly CNN and ABC.

Jared said...
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Jill said...

So what happens to NewsDaddy?

You know, I'd love to support what AAR is doing, but after putting up with one group of crappy managers after another, and of course after yesterday's travesty of The Odious Lionel giving a ton of airtime to that homophobic, misogynist bigot who already gets more air time in the MSM than he deserves, Bill Donohue, I think the Air America concept is dead, dead,dead. I hope Sam Seder gets something else really soon, because Mark Green is so bad he's almost enough to make me long for the days of Good Old Danny Goldberg.

Almost.

NYLefty said...

Air America couldn't have bloggers do updates "for free or close to it" because of AFTRA, the broadcasters' union. AAR would have to pay them what the fired newscasters have been getting, so that wouldn't save a dime.

hashfanatic said...

Thank you, Jill.

I'm in complete agreement with you regarding Donohue...if anyone should be fired, it should be Lionel for that smug, self-righteous, regressive attitude of his. He is absolutely an interloper.

I will mike Wayne Gillman! Also, Crowley would occasionally guest on one of the "1.0" shows (perhaps Majority Report?) and I came to like him. He sounded like he knew what he was talking about.

Emacee said...

Sounds like AAR has managed to alienate its friends, while not doing anything to attract a broader audience.

Green hires his friend Bernstein from WOR (not exactly a great track record) and Bernstein hires the same guy he hired at WOR (typical).
I'd also bet AAR is paying Lionel an idiotically huge, Frankenesque amount of money (they don't have).
No matter who comes in, AAR is the gang that couldn't shoot straight.

Now for something positive:
Democracy Radio worked! For far less money, without making themselves look stupid, DR developed and nurtured the two most successful national liberal talk shows: Stephanie Miller and Ed Schultz. Twice at bat. Two hits. Two runs. And they shut down Democracy Radio! Why kill what was working for what was not working (even then)? I suppose it would be too much to expect Drobny, Green and the rest of park their egos find Tom Athans hiding in some "undisclosed location" and bring back the one thing that worked, and worked well.

NYLefty said...

As I pointed out in an earlier thread, David Bernstein left WOR in March 2002. Lionel started at WOR in 2003.

And Lionel has said that he took a pay cut to move from WOR to Air America.

will in chicago said...

I do not like this move, as it seems to represent a weakening of the Air America Radio brand. I can understand the need to cut costs, but sometimes I have heard a CNN story on my station that seems to be slanted towards the right.

I just hope that the employees of the news division land on their feet.

Bob and JoAnn said...
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Bob and JoAnn said...

At least we won't have to rush to the radio to turn the radio sound off before the talkingtoofast idiot comes on selling rice... right after the news.

hashfanatic said...

You mean "buycarolinaand...MA-HAT-MA RICE!!"

(repeat three times)

Tell me ABOUT it.

I still haven't gotten those horrible Ovaltine children out of my memory...

headonradionetwork said...

At the Head On Radio Network, we use The Quality News Network.
It's a very balanced and content filled news brief. Tell your AAR affiliates to give it a run. Tony Seton (founder) is a long time real journalist and news producer.
Aside from one news reader who sometimes sounds like happy hour starts a bit early. It's good. I think they do try to report news. Not too left, not too right.
In fact it reminds me somehow of times gone by. When news was reported and not spun.

Emacee said...

Quality Network sounds like the group which once did AAR's newscasts on weekends. Anybody know for sure?


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