Thursday, February 19, 2009

Nova M(ess), Part III - Thursday update

Thought I'd start a new entry for this one.

  • The Wall Street Journal reports that Nova M Radio has indeed filed for bankruptcy liquidation.

    Anita and Sheldon Drobny founded Nova M in 2006 and have been funding the business partly out of their own pockets. Compounding their troubles: Nova M's highest-profile host, Randi Rhodes, vanished from the airwaves earlier this month. Mrs. Drobny also said that her husband is currently hospitalized for problems stemming from the stress of dealing with the network, which has 34 affiliates.


    Nova M's other host, Mike Malloy, is switching to another would-be Air America competitor: Phoenix-based start-up On Second Thought Radio Network LLC. The backer of On Second Thought, Dr. Mike Newcomb, who was involved with Nova M until last year, describes his new network as "talk radio for independent minds." He plans to use former Nova M station KNUV in Phoenix as his company's flagship.

    Ms. Drobny says she and her husband had poured their own money into Nova M, but the business became unsustainable last fall. As advertising revenue plummeted, so did the Drobnys' personal portfolio, making it impossible for them to keep supporting the company. Toward the end, Nova M lost $100,000 a month. The financial stresses eventually affected her husband's health, she says, leading to the breakdown that landed him in the hospital.

    "There were so many wealthy progressives out there that could have made [progressive radio] happen," she said, but they didn't want to help. "It ended up being on Sheldon's shoulders."

  • So yes, it looks like On Second Thought is basically a separate entity, headed by Mike Newcomb. The new network will carry shows from Mike Malloy, Nancy Skinner and Newcomb himself. And yes, they will still honor the former Nova M membership subscriptions. Here's the press release:

    It is with great excitement and optimism that I announce today the formation of a new progressive talk radio network. The On Second Thought Radio Network will continue to build upon the foundation laid by our predecessors and will work dilligently to fulfill our fiduciary responsibilities to all investors and principals involved. Equally important, we will, with the millions of faithful progressive listeners across the country, uphold our vision to promote freedom, social justice, economic justice and peace worldwide.

    ...We will initially be offering a daily 9 hour block of programming with some of the most entertaining, engaging, experienced and provocative hosts America has to offer. We look forward to adding more talent and innovative products to our network in the near future.

    One thing we can assure you is that we will always value the fundamental principle of “We the People” proclaimed by our Founding Fathers. The On Second Thought Radio Network will work tirelessly to hear the voices and honor the commitments of our listeners, affiliates, supporters and advertisers alike. We welcome any and all suggestions as we go through this transition period. Please feel free to email us at and continue to check out our web site, where we will keep you up to date on the latest and greatest that we hope to offer to you!


    Mike Newcomb, CEO
    On Second Thought Radio Network

  • For the time being, KPTK in Seattle is airing Skinner's show in place of Rhodes, who is still M.I.A.
  • Correcting an item in yesterday's entry, Green 960 "Chief Evangelist" John Scott emailed me, saying that the rumor of his station adding Mario Solis Marich in place of Rhodes is not true. That information was obtained via a radio industry trade site. However, he does tease that "We may have a "surprise" show on Monday that may offer some intrigue." Stay tuned.

  • One rumor from yesterday that is true, and has nothing to do with Nova M or Rhodes is the KLSX item. CBS has indeed blown up its last 'hot talk' station (remember "Free FM"?). As mentioned yesterday, that effectively drives the final nail into several syndicated shows, most notably those of Adam Carolla and Tom Leykis (who announced he was being dropped by CBS' Westwood One a couple weeks ago). Replacing talk is a 'new kind' of Top 40 format, Amp 97.1. It appears that, apart from Opie and Anthony, CBS has completely moved away from the Howard Stern area that got them into the hot talk biz in the first place.

  • NEW!!! With all the recent craziness in the world of progressive talk radio and whatnot, the fine folks at Buzzflash, which has interviewed the likes of Rhodes, Malloy, Rachel Maddow, Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann and anybody else you might be interested in promise a real big interview on the way. It's huge! The interview's not up yet, nor am I at the liberty as to telling you all what it is quite yet, but I'll let you know more about it when it goes up (likely early next week). Until then, you can wait in anticipation.

    Lu Cifer, said...

    Ain't it odd how CBS used to syndicate Howard, which is really how they evolved out of Infinity; they also syndicated all these 10th generation "morning zoo" types; BUT, they (to my knowledge, correct me if I'm wrong) only have ONE station (KPTK 1090 Seattle) out of how many hundred, that runs liberal talk! Me wonders how many KKKon stations they have, I'm certain it's more than one! A lot more!
    Things that make you go HMM...

    tarcmeridian said...

    "There were so many wealthy progressives out there that could have made it happen," she said, but they didn't want to help. "It ended up being on Sheldon's shoulders."

    Wow. There went my last shred of respect for the Drobny's. I remember when Nova M was founded. Sheldon Drobny talked smack, saying that Air America was failing because they forced him out and wouldn't do things his way. Nova M would be his way of showing the idiots at Air America how it was done.

    Yeah, well, that really worked out, didn't it? Oh, but the failure had nothing to do with the business plan! Oh, no! It was because "wealthy progressives" refused to open their pocketbooks and throw money at them!

    Air America isn't exactly in the pink of health, either, but at least it's still around.

    jvwalt said...

    Perhaps "wealthy progressives" know better than to throw their money at a Drobny enterprise. Perhaps that's why they are wealthy, no?

    ctk said...

    wow. they sure showed those people how to run a progressive network, with signing all of ONE person to their network for over half the lifetime of their network, TWO network people total with a very conspicuous hole between the shows. that's the way to do it. especially when you had a third host on broadcast locally who was taking national calls. how in the hell did they NOT elevate jeff farias from local phoenix to national network when he was talking about national stories?

    i want to know what caused the financial reversal. i'll bet it had a little something to do with people who found out what really happened with the jeff farias scandal. it seems strange that during a democratic political tsunami that was readily apparant to sweep the nation that this liberal network LOST money. as someone famous once said, "Inconceivable!".

    when you don't get radio people to run radio stations and networks, petty stuff like this happens. that's two networks that financially suffered under the drobny's watch.

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