Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Air America taps Lionel for morning drive

Looks like Air America, in the midst of all its on-air shuffling, has found a new place for the currently-in-exile Lionel. He will be offered in morning drive via Air America's syndication division.

By sending him out via Air America Syndication, rather than their normal channel, they are positioning him not necessarily as a liberal, or any other type of ideological political talker, but rather as someone offering “breaking news of the day and topical discussions with high-profile guests and callers.”

No word yet on other shifts soon to be vacated by the departing Jon Elliot (who has been hired to do afternoons in San Diego) and Ron Kuby (reportedly moving to the vacant 12-3P ET time slot.

Here's the press release:

NEW YORK -- AAM Syndication, a division of Air America Media, is launching “The Lionel Show” nationwide on Tuesday, May 26. The new morning show will air weekdays from 6-9A ET and stream live online at

"The Lionel Show" will feature breaking news of the day and topical discussions with high-profile guests and callers, mixing it up with Lionel in the unpredictable way that has become his trademark.

"Lionel is the perfect morning talent for today’s talk radio stations, both AM and FM," said Bill Hess, senior vice president of programming for Air America Media. "Talk stations in all genres are looking for entertaining, topical programs for the key morning drive time slot. Lionel is a proven winner in that daypart, given his top-rated performance at WABC/New York and success in national syndication over the years."

"Lionel is a long-standing member of the Air America family, and we’re pleased to renew our relationship with the launch of his new morning drive-time show," said Bennett Zier, chief executive officer of Air America Media.

Lionel is a 20-year talk radio veteran. Prior to joining Air America in 2007, Lionel hosted a nationally-syndicated show six days a week on the WOR Radio Network. Beginning his career at WFLA 970AM in Tampa, Lionel has also worked with WABC 770AM in New York, WCBS 880AM, Premiere Radio Networks, Rex Broadcasting and, an internet-based talk radio service. He also hosted "Snap Judgment" on Court TV (now TruTV), and has been a guest on numerous television outlets. In 2007 and 2009, Talkers Magazine highlighted Lionel on its "100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America" list. Newsweek described Lionel as "an intellectual known for his irreverent politics and social humor." In addition to his radio work, Lionel is an author and musician. Prior to radio, he was a prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer in Florida.

After earning his undergraduate degree at the University of South Florida, Lionel attended the Stetson University College of Law.

"The Lionel Show" will originate from AAM’s studios in New York City.


Aaron said...

Woot! Maybe in this slot he can get some affiliates since he only has Bill Press for competition. I would prefer him getting the Jon Eliot slot so he could pick up Jon's former affiliates right off the bat, but still, 6-9 is better than 9-12.

Brady Bonk said...

Anti-woot. Lionel is fine and all, but the landscape of liberal talk radio sure does look splintered these days, and moving Lionel to morning drive isn't going to unsplinter it. The mighty umbrella of AAR continues to look more a weakling every passing year, shuffling 1A1M programming around hoping if we get this voice in that timeslot, then maybe...meanwhile, the mighty Randi Rhodes puts out a shingle, Thom Hartman puts out a shingle, Mad Mike, shingle, all the premium talent has to find its own backing or to go it alone and opine into a hairbrush...I am glad for sure that I can still receive broadcasting from my liberal talkers...but oh for The Golden Age of AAR...those were the days!

Anonymous said...


Hope stations have the balls the choose him over Bill Press. For some reason, I doubt it.

if only he could get Derm, Doob, AL B, Juice, and Pete back to be on the other sid-a-the glass.

can't wait, god you've made my day thank you

ctk said...

similar to randi coming back, li-o-nel coming back to air is a good thing because it's yet another progressive talk show on the air.

and also with randi, i'm not going to listen. randi's loud and nearly boorish almost to pigman levels. li-o-nel is just not funny.

i predict that because li-o-nel is in syndication with aam, he will do his show live, but any station that picks him up will put him either in the 3-6p et slot or late nights at 9-12 as a safe alternative to what i personally call "screaming with mike". i think that wwrl would likely put him somewhere, along with kuby

Jill said...

=hits head against the wall=

And Air America blows another opportunity to get hip, young comedy/news back on in the morning drive in favor of an un-funny, un-interesting guy with a voice that sounds like a toothache feels who wasn't making it in any of his other timespots.

Of course it doesn't matter to me here in NJ, because we don't get Air America's morning show anyway.

What a sad wreckage AAR has become. Why don't they just re-hire Danny Goldberg to finish the job?

Anonymous said...

What do you think Stephanie Miller's 'big news' is on Monday's show? Last time it was some lame Goldwater-Miller campaign.

FrankInMiami said...

I'm of the opinion that radio should enlighten as well as entertain. Lionel is as funny as they get in radio, unless your definition of funny = low brow. I avoid shows that use characters and other simplistic comedy. I prefer comedy that inspires thought, which is precisely what Lionel brings to the table.

Anonymous said...

agreed Franln. I also love the way critical analyses an issue, as well as his interviews. I look foward to hearing my alarm clock beep at 6:00 AM, meaning I have six minutes to get to my comp for Lionel.

Aaron said...

WWRL, you should get a wifi radio, so you can just set your alarm to wake you up to Lionel and not have to make a mad dash to the computer. I have one and it's great.

Anonymous said...

i considered getting one but i decided against is due to the price. if they work as well as you say i'll deffinately go for it. thanks

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