Monday, September 21, 2009

Air America, WWRL deal up in the air

Will Air America programming stay on WWRL in the future? This is what both sides are trying to determine.

Air America, and their nominal New York flagship station, WWRL (1600AM) are currently engaged in discussions that could determine whether or not the network opts to keep its programming on the station, according to David Hinckley of the Daily News.

The deal between the two parties is set to expire soon, and Air America CEO Bennett Zier says, "As our contract is winding down, we are in negotiations with WWRL about extending the agreement."

Zier declined further comment, but reports have been circulating that the agreement may be allowed to expire, leaving Air America in search of another station.

However, finding another available station in the New York area could be a bit of a challenge. Few strong-signaled stations in the New York area make significant amounts of airtime available for lease, and Air America likely doesn't have the resources to purchase or lease a whole station outright in the nation's largest media market.

Part of the problem between the two parties is the lack of Air America programming carried by the station. As it stands, only the shows of Montel Williams and Ron Reagan are carried in daytime slots. Other programming airs in overnight hours. This is why well-known New York personalities employed by Air America, such as Ron Kuby and Lionel, have never had much presence on WWRL.

The station airs Ed Schultz in afternoons (WWRL's owner, Access.1 Communications, is part-owner of his show), as well as Stephanie Miller and various local and syndicated shows and paid programming. This doesn't leave much time available for lease by Air America, and the network has been concerned about this for awhile, even making noises about looking for other area affiliates.

But, as explained before, that's easier said than done. Which is why Air America has been promoting their web presence more, hoping that the increased ability to receive the network's programming through computers and mobile devices will allow them to bypass the terrestrial hassles.

Air America programming has aired on WWRL since September 2006, when they moved from original affiliate WLIB.


Braised Cod said...

What a coincidence that the AAR programming is on when WWRL's signal strength drops to the power of a walkie-talkie. About an hour before sunset, WWRL dies about 15 miles out of Manhattan. I live 40 miles from Manhattan and I have to listen to KTLK on the computer and NPR in the car. Of course I can get Rush, Sean and Laura on my fillings from WABC. The largest radio market in America sucks ass.

tmode93 said...

Hey, 15 miles is megawatts compared to Air America's leased station in Washington DC which drops to nightlight power (as compared to WWRL's walkie-talkie power). Those in DC have better luck listening to Buffalo's 1520 at night or heck even WWRL !

wwrl said...

and the problem with WWKB is all one can hear at night is Leslie Marshall (sucks) alan colmes (sucks) or joey reynolds (boring). On sunday nights at least they now play R.O.F and On the real, two decent programs

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