Thursday, February 21, 2008

Air America gets new owner

Sam Stein at Huffington Post is reporting a major changing of the guard at Air America Radio this morning, as Charlie Kireker, a former political official and creator of Pendulum Media, takes over from Stephen L. Green, the New York real estate CEO who helped lift the company out of bankruptcy, as chair of the board.

The move will be finalized in mid March.

Stephen Green will remain as a minority investor. Mark Green, Stephen's brother and Democrat activist, will remain as Air America's president.

"We look at what Steve and Mark Green have done as the transition role of saving and stabilizing the business and now we think it is a good opportunity to expand upon that," Kireker told the Huffington Post. "The company has made a lot of progress, we have consolidated operations, and streamlined things to be more efficient. We are yet to profitability but we are heading there."

Kireker is no stranger to the network. He was a minor investor in one of the companies that rescued Air America's ownership from Chapter 11 bankruptcy last March. That year, the network -- which was purchased by Green Family Media for $4.25 million -- posted more than $13 million in losses. Sometime in 2009, Green said, he envisions that the network will be in the black.

Currently Air America has 65 affiliates, an estimated audience of nearly 2 million weekly, and is set to release a new web-based format for radio listeners.

"It took Fox News five years and a half billion dollar loss to get its feet, find its audience and become profitable," said Mark Green. "We don't have a 'what's his name?" [referring to Rupert Murdoch]. But, we now have secure funding and expanded management team, on-air talent and a business strategy that will get us where we need to be... Reports of our death were greatly exaggerated by the right wing zeitgeist that wanted us to go away."

As for why the current team would leave the network on the brink of profitability, Green noted that his brother's true passion was not in media but in real estate. "The Kireker group is new money, energy and new confidence in the growing of Air America. Steve was happy to be a bridge from phase one when we had financial difficulties to phase three when it is poised for takeoff..."

No programming changes will take place at the present time. The front office stays the same, but Phillipe Collin joins the company as SVP/GM of Interactive Media.

Read more at HuffPo.


RussKC said...

From HuffPo blogger Sam Stein:

"Current political dynamics, however, could position Air America in unfamiliar terrain. Indeed, the network was conceived to be a response to the proliferation of right-wing talk radio. And since it was launched in march 2004, Air America has, for the most part, operated on a landscape of predominantly GOP power. With Democrats slated to expand on slim majorities in Congress and possibly take back the White House, the network's affinity for railing against the powers-that-be may have to undergo an alteration."

Oh, come on, Sam Stein! Rush and Hannity and Savage and Ingraham are still going strong after 8 years of their "Best Friend Forever" (George W. Bush) in the White House, and after 6 years of Republican-"led" Congress.

I'm sure the Republicans will still be TRYING to the best of their ability to continue to screw America for the forseeable future. Fear not.

Plus, there's going to be Nuremburg-style hearings that will bring Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Gonzales and Ashcroft and Tenet and Rice and Snow and Fleischer up on charges of treason. I'm really looking forward to those!

THE_TRUTH said...

I second Russkc's opinion! heehee! :))

reb said...

Air America was established for all the wrong reasons: the notion of trying to find the "liberal" antidote to Limbaugh is ridiculous.

The talk radio audience is an extremely demanding mistress. She needs to be constantly entertained, energized, and informed. Simply railing against conservative talk radio or calling Limbaugh names is not going to cut it.

Air America needs to develop programming that is worth listening to on its own merits. Only then will it begin to rival the juggernaut that conservative talk radio has become.

Dialogger said...

Air America's programming is, for the most part, more informed and entertaining (much more humorous) than right wing talk radio. When are they going to get decent advertisers? Perhaps consumers should boycott companies that would naturally support such good, effective programming but who choose not to based on some behind-the-scenes threat from the establishment powers who try to stifle anything that might aid populism.

Jill said...

Air America HAD programming worth listening to on its own merits -- and Danny Goldberg, among other, destroyed it.

For my money, the early lineup of Morning Sedition, Unfiltered, Al Franken, Randi Rhodes, and Majority Report was some of the best damn radio of my lifetime. It's enough to make you think AAR was built JUST so that it could be destroyed. I'm not sure mere incompetence explains what happened.

Amy said...

Is Mark Green still going to be a major presence on air, now that his brother is less invested?

I like Mark, but I've got a problem with his pro-Hillary bias (he's still calling her campaign neck-and-neck with Obama's today (2/23).

Mark's entitled to his bias, no issue with that, but he doesn't actually declare himself as a Hillary supporter, whereas the network's on-air Obama supporters have all fessed up.

My other issue re: Mark is that as President of the company AND talent, he's not privy to honest feedback and input from his colleagues, so this issue and others might be resolved.

If I were Mark, I'd set up an anonymous, interoffice comments / email account so as to make better use of the staff's expertise and perspective.

btw -- I wish LTR wouldn't dismiss the numbers of us who are streaming Air America.

Most of us aren't even being counted, as we use alternate, stronger feeds from member stations.

Air America's 'official' stream is not only weak but terribly intrusive, what with membership nags and being locked into the web browser.

Meanwhile, the hugely popular freeware internet radio app Screamer comes with Air America pre-programmed as a favorite.

asylumpine said...

Air America has been a miracle for those of us dying from the endless
toxic and fascist waste spewing from crony-capital media.

Long live Air America. I have never heard a progressive host I didn't like.

jafedorko said...

Again, I pray this may mean the resurrection of MORNING SEDITION. God knows we need something to counter Bill Press - he's boring, he's not funny, he's got a rolodex of DLCers and CNN reporters, and it's stultifying radio.

Maybe if the Sirius/XM merger finally goes through they can restructure liberal talk in such a way it gives AAR that morning drive slot again ...

Dermot said...

Is this blog dead?

Craig C Clarke said...

seems very dead

Cat Chew said...

I hope you'll be back, ltr. Miss you and the news. Take care of yourself! Y'all come back now, y'hear?

Air America Radio's anniversary (March 31, 2004, 12pm ET) tomorrow.

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