Monday, May 12, 2008

The fate of Sam Seder


That's the number of live installments of Seder on Sunday that have aired so far on Air America Radio. And it may be the total number as well, since Sam Seder's 52 week contract for the show has now expired. The next two weeks will consist of previously recorded shows, but after that, it's anyone's guess. Seder has become the second on-air talent at Air America in the past six weeks to leave the air due to an expired contract, following Randi Rhodes, who jumped to Nova M Radio in April.

Will Sam re-up for more Sunday/fill-in shows? Will he still be the web guru for Air America's website? Will he bolt for Nova M Radio or another venture? So far, there is no real concrete word, even from the oft-candid Seder.

Via his independent show blog, Seder says that his most recent Air America contract called for 52 live shows. That contract expired yesterday, but he has two previously recorded episodes in the can to last the next two weeks. He still plans on doing his webcam-exclusive shows, including ones with Marc Maron.

He will also still serve as online editor for Air America's website.

And he's still hoping to snag the vacant 3-6P shift vacated last month by Rhodes:

I may end up as Air America's 3-6 pm host. I really have no sense as to the chances of that happening. If not, there may be other opportunities at AAR or at other liberal talk networks. Don't know that those opportunities would happen soon or months from now, but I love doing liberal talk radio and one way or another I'll make it back on air.

The afternoon shift is still being occupied by a revolving door of guest hosts. Ron Reagan takes over the shift today and will fill in this week, followed by former WABC host Ron Kuby next week. Air America management has still not ironed out any permanent plans for a full-time replacement. It could be a possibility that Seder could take over another slot, since the 6-9A ET morning slot has been vacant since the beginning of this year, and the network could possibly move another host, such as Rachel Maddow, into afternoon drive.

As for Seder's on-air future with the network, that's anyone's guess. But seeing as Seder has always been direct with fans on his dealings with the network, I'm sure we'll find out soon.


FSL said...

Used to be some small stations were doing nothing but take AA all day. For five months almost those stations have had to make other arrangements for morning drive. Nothing against Sam, but why should station come back to AA in the morning now?

Cat Chew said...

Rhodes' contract expired?
I thought I read different.

ltr said...

It did. That's the real reason she was 'suspended.' It wasn't the 'whore' video. She even said it herself. And that's also how she eventually up and left for Nova M.

NYLefty said...

"Used to be some small stations were doing nothing but take AA all day. For five months almost those stations have had to make other arrangements for morning drive.

Really? When AAR first started some stations were doing that, but I'm not aware of any that were doing it five months ago.

Cat Chew said...

I thought Rhodes had an excellent longer term contract and the new suits wanted to renegotiate. Maybe I'm picking nits (not my intention, btw, I'm just interested in this sort of detail and you seem to be more knowledgable about this kinda thing), but had Rhodes' contract expired?

Off topic but... I'm still glad you're back and it's still very fine to read you.

ltr said...

Re: Rhodes' old contract, I wrote about it here

Her deal expired, and she was hoping to sign a new one using the previous terms. She was even willing to accept a pay cut to get it. But AAR's new owner wanted to tighten the contract in their favor, taking away the 'no-fire' clause and probably installing typical management-friendly terms, such as a 'non-compete' agreement (which would have forced her to sit out for a specified period of time if she and AAR were to part company). This is typical in many radio contracts. AAR offered her more money to take this new deal, but she claimed it wasn't about the money, it was about the terms she had fought for.

So, Rhodes held out. She could not go back on the air at AAR without a new agreement (might have been an AFTRA thing, but AFTRA is the Terry McAuliffe of unions). They passed off like she was on vacation, then 'suspended' her over the San Francisco thing. She finally up and left a week later and signed with Nova M Radio, which offered her the deal she wanted.

ltr said...

"Used to be some small stations were doing nothing but take AA all day. For five months almost those stations have had to make other arrangements for morning drive.

Really? When AAR first started some stations were doing that, but I'm not aware of any that were doing it five months ago.

There are maybe only one or two stations that still do that. He still thinks half the stations out there just leave the thing running and check in once a week to dust and clean.

And it isn't really that tough to just type in a line of ode in the Prophet automation computer to pick up Bill Press or Don Imus instead of The Young Turks. And it isn't like AAR goes silent either - they play reruns of the previous day's afternoon show in morning drive. AAR sends out a satellite signal 24/7 to whoever wants it.

Jim said...

At a moment when there is the greatest possible opportunity to grow and consolidate progressive media, in the pre-heat of a possibly transformative election, AAR is drifting and flailing. What a disappointment.

To anyone's knowledge, has AAR *ever* done a survey of dedicated listeners? Have they ever done anything to mobilize their members? Seemingly pathetic mismanagement and clueless marketing.

LonewackoDotCom said...

jim: AAR once offered a ToteBag to their members. That was good, as it reduced waste products released into the atmosphere. Still, even today, one sees the occasional bag being toted through the Westside or Silverlake, but it just doesn't do much good. I blame incompetent management and not a fundamental lack of interest, of course. It couldn't be that.

irv said...

aar was once a leader in left of center talk. now it is a confused, mindless &financially poor company. my prediction: aar will be gone after the 08 elections

ltr said...

Aside to LoneWacko:

After perusing your blog, I do have to ask: You do realize Al Franken doesn't do a radio show anymore, right?

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FSL said...

NYLefty and LTR:

Thanks for the update.

Basic point still stands. Just because AA puts something on in AM drive does not mean stations which carried the Turks or Morning Sedition will come running back, especially given three of the five top liberal talk show hosts are not coming from Air America.

AA seems so obsessed with going up against the right-wing hosts that they never realized that morning drive is the most important day-part in radio. It's where a station makes or loses money.

Bill Press started out weak but he and the show have improved. AA needs to come up with a bigger and better draw, one that will work in morning drive. But that means spending money.

They should concentrate on Thom Hartmann and Rachel Maddow. And move Lionel back to evenings after Maddow, where he had a following. And pray that Maddow doesn't decide to jump to TV full time and Hartmann doesn't get a better offer from another distributor.

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