Friday, September 30, 2005

Lanpher leaving Franken show

Katherine Lanpher is leaving as co-host of Air America radio's "The Al Franken Show'' to write a book. Her last day is Oct. 7, and she has mixed emotions about the move.

"I think any change, even if it's one that is positive, is exhausting and saddening. It's topsy-turvy and scary,'' she said by telephone Thursday from her New York office.

Lanpher, 46, is a former Pioneer Press columnist. She hosted Minnesota Public Radio's Midmorning show from 1998 to January of 2004, when she moved to New York to join fellow Minnesotan Al Franken's fledgling radio show.

Her book, a memoir/essay collection, will be published in the fall of 2006. It will launch a still-to-be-named Time Warner Book Group imprint for books that will address mid-life and reinvention.

(more) login

Thursday, September 29, 2005

AAR leaves WHAT-AM in Philly, may land on another affiliate

Al Franken and Randi Rhodes are getting the boot from Philadelphia airwaves, as WHAT-AM (1340) is pulling off programming from Air America, the liberal talk-radio network.

Friday will be the last day, and a new WHAT lineup will begin Monday, said general manager Kernie Anderson, adding that "things were not working out" with Air America after about a year.

WHAT aired Air America's programming from noon to 7 p.m. weekdays, sandwiched between the rest of its lineup. The juxtaposition of liberal talk and WHAT's African America-targeted talk programming seemed an odd fit from the start.

Ratings were abysmal.


An Air America spokesman said: "While we hate to lose affiliates, it is very common to add and drop affiliates due to local market conditions. While we hate to lose WHAT-AM, we are currently in negotiations with another station and hope to make that announcement soon."


Sacramento Shuffle

Air America is switching stations in Sacramento. The website for KSAC (aka Talk City) claims that changes are coming to the station in October. KSAC will drop AAR programming around Monday, October 3, and will replace it with Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, Ed Schultz, and an expanded Christine Craft.

Rumor has it that relations between Air America and Talk City have never been good, and AAR sought out a new affiliate. They found one in stronger-signalled adult standards station KCTC (1320). Air America will be silent in Sacramento for a month before moving to KCTC on Nov. 1, according to Air America spokeswoman Jamie Horn.

"1320 AM is a more powerful station that will allow us to reach Stockton and Yuba City for the first time," Horn said in a prepared statement. login

Chattanooga, TN gets liberal talk

WDOD-AM plans to switch on Monday to from adult standards music to a "progressive talk format," officials said Thursday.

AM 1310 “The Voice” will target listeners who hold moderate to liberal political view points, and will be billed as “Modern Talk for Modern Times.”


The new WDOD-AM programming line-up includes:

AM 1310 “The Voice” WDOD-AM

7AM-8AM Bill Press Show
8AM-9AM Chattanooga’s Street Talk
9AM-12PM The Stephanie Miller Show
12PM-3PM Al Franken
3PM-7PM Randi Rhodes
7PM-10PM Majority Report with Janeane Garofalo
10PM-1AM Mike Malloy

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Danny Goldberg explains the AAR Associates Program

NOTE: I am posting the entire article, since it is more or less a statement by Air America's CEO, Danny Goldberg:

Right Wing Media Gets Desperate

Recently, Air America Radio came under attack from the same cast of right wing media characters who have attacked the Network for ideological reasons from day one.

A recent piece in the New York Post by John Mainelli states that “Air America is in...bad financial shape.” On September 20th Bill O’Reilly on Fox News which, like the New York Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation said that Air America “could be on its last legs.”

This is untrue.

Air America is in strong financial shape. Last week we started broadcasting from our new multi-million dollar studios.

Several weeks earlier the Board of Directors of Air America’s parent company accelerated re-payment of a loan from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club of $875,000 two years in advance of a previously agreed upon re-payment plan. In the last several months, Air America has expanded its executive team to augment our efforts on the internet and in affiliate relations.

The pretext for the latest smears is an initiative I launched last week called Air America Associates, in which I asked our listeners to support our programming financially and at various levels offer bumper stickers, tote bags, etc. as a way of thanking them. (We received thousands of responses, far beyond what we projected for the first few days).

Many of our listeners also listen to NPR stations and Pacifica and are used to supporting radio programming they like. I got the idea from the Nation Magazine’s program “The Nation Associates” which helps them fund investigative journalism. Like Air America Radio, The Nation is a for-profit company.

But the conservative propagandists have tried to make it seem like there is something unseemly because Air America Radio is both commercial—and a radio network, as O’Reilly said last night, “I have never seen a commercial enterprise ask their listeners for money—ever” This is also false. The modern model of the broadcasting business involves numerous revenue streams. If anything, Air America has been late in fully building such an infrastructure which the “Associates” is a part of.

For example, Rush Limbaugh’s Web-site offers his fans the “Limbaugh Letter” for $34.95 a year and a totally separate service called Rush 24/7 which includes access to archived programs at the cost of $49.95 a year. The Limbaugh site also features the “EIB Store” which sells such items as $19.95 polo shirt which amusingly says, “My Mullah went to G’itmo and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.”

The Sean Hannity Web-site features a “subscription” to something called, “The Hannity Insider” for $5.95 a month.

But no one tops the self proclaimed non-spinner Bill O’Reilly. Bill O’ offers a “premium membership” for either $4.95 a month or $49.95 a year. He also offers a “Gift certificate” for $14.95. Products for sale on the Web site include:

-- Radio Factor diner coffee mug available in white or navy blue for $14.95
- O’Reilly Factor keychain for $7.95 “while supplies last.”
--Three different “No Spin” tote bags at $14.95 apiece
--Ten different hats at a cost of $16.95 each
--The “no spin” jacket for $79.95
--The “ Unisex Black Fleece” embroidered with “The Spin Stops Here” for $39.95
--Several bumper stickers including one that reads “Boycott France” for $2.50
--License plate frame for $18.95
--Three different “No Spin” tote bags at $14.95 each
--An O’Reilly Factor Gear Bag at $64.95
-- “Mens Garment Bag” for $64.95 (sorry ladies!)
--a “Spin Stops Here” organizer briefcase
--A “Spin Stops Here” pen and pad bundle for $19.95
--Two different designs of “Spin Stops Here” doormats for $49.95 and
--Two different “Rain Stops Here” umbrellas at $24.95(“Show everyone who protects you from the rain”)

Mainelli’s article also repeated another falsehood about Air America saying “More recently the 70 station left network has been suffering lower ratings.” His corporate cousin O’Reilly wishfully stated on August 17th said “Air America—nobody is listening to it,” On Aug 3rd O’Reilly claimed that “Air America cannot support itself because of low ratings” and on July 26th O’Reilly said “The Air America radio network continues to fail with catastrophic ratings here in New York City. ”

In fact, the ratings for the Bill O’Reilly radio show in New York were worse than those on Air America that he described as “catastrophic” In the key 25-54 year demographic which talk radio offers to advertisers, the Spring, 2005 Arbitron ratings showed that Monday-Friday from 2-4 PM when O’Reilly is on WOR-AM and which at Air America’s 1190 WLIB-AM contains the last hour of “The Al Franken Show” and the first hour of “The Randi Rhodes Show,” that O’Reilly had a .3 share and Air America a .4 share. O’Reilly had a cumulative audience of 75,400 and Air America had a cumulative audience of 89,300.

Inevitably ratings go up and down and vary from time slot to time slot and from market to market. Right wing bloggers have had fun cherry picking isolated pieces of ratings reports to distort the enormous enthusiasm Air America’s growing audience has demonstrated. At the vast majority of our affiliates Air America ratings are up. On a nationwide basis the most recent Arbitron ratings Spring 2005 book showed that our affiliates reach over three million people per week each of whom listens for an average of several hours a week. This is more than triple the amount of people who were listening when measured one year earlier in the Spring, 2004 book.

I do not intend to write something every time something like this happens. In the almost six months during which I have been CEO of Air America Radio, I have refrained, for the most part, from responding to the litany of attacks, lies, half-truths and smears from various members of the right-wing media. In general, it seems to me that paying too much attention to these people only encourages them and that we, at Air America, need to get used to the fact that the spirited progressive opinions of our on-air talent and of our audience will attract the kind of mean-spirited smears that are endemic to contemporary political conversation.

After having a near monopoly on talk radio for so many years, some conservative media types are literally freaked out at confronting robust, persistent and passionate opposition. On Sept 26th, O’Reilly desperately claimed that “Air America’s basic flaw is that “Americans do not want to hear that their country sucks 24 hours a day.” Of course the talent and management of Air America have a love of our country which is what animates all passionate debate on political issues form the left, right and center.

It is an obsession with stifling debate—even at the cost of using lies and distortions, which is un-American.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Air America starts 'Associates Program'

Following the lead of people like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity, Air America is starting their own 'insider' program. This was announced via email to devoted listeners, and no press release was issued, as far as I know. Message board communities across the web are talking about this. Of course, the so-called conservatives are blasting it, claiming that it was little more than begging. Same with people on the left. I was a bit skeptical myself, but after realizing that many other talk hosts are doing virtually the same thing, I say, why not? After all, I never accused Limbaugh, Hannity and their ilk of whoring themselves. Hey, they're just marketing themselves. And if people want to pay them for it, so be it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Radio host gets love, no 'muffins'

CARRBORO -- Radio host Stephanie Miller started her show at the ArtsCenter last week with a potentially deadly faux pas.
Five minutes before air time, Miller, casually dressed in blue jeans and a long-sleeve black T-shirt adorned with a stop sign on the front that read WAR, greeted the audience with "How ya doin', Chapel Hill?"

"Carrboro!" someone shouted back, to a round of applause and laughter.

It was all in fun, though. From start to finish, liberal radio host Miller's live appearance Friday morning, in front of about 270 WCHL listeners, was all love. If any of her "right-wing love muffins," as Miller likes to call her phone-in antagonists, were in attendance, they didn't let themselves be known.

Flanked by "voice monkey" Jim Ward, Miller went right to work lampooning President Bush's address to the nation the night before. Ward was a big hit with the audience, which finally had a chance to see him get into character physically. He squinted and tucked his lips when he imitated the president, donned glasses (and, again, squinted) when he did Donald Rumsfeld ("Do I expect to be rewarded with another shiny medal? You bet"), and crimped his neck and sneered when he did Sean Hannity.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Ed Schultz Show Picks Up Affiliate No. 100

Jones Radio Networks-syndicated progressive talker Ed Schultz can now be heard in his hometown, on Sinclair Telecable's WTAR/Norfolk. WTAR owner/GM Bob Sinclair says, "Our listeners are thrilled with the addition of The Ed Schultz Show to WTAR's lineup. We are proud to be the 100th affiliate and elated with his national success." The Ed Schultz Show airs live Monday-Friday from 3-6pm ET.

Air America Radio Completes New Studio

Air America Radio has announced the completion of its new Network studio. Air America and its featured programming will now broadcast live from its flagship station, WLIB 1190 AM.

The announcement was made by Network CEO Danny Goldberg and President of Air America Radio Gary Krantz.

Beginning this week, all weekday programs on Air America Radio (with the exception of The Al Franken Show and Springer on the Radio will broadcast from the Network’s headquarters on Sixth Ave. in New York.

“Beginning today, Air America Radio hit another major milestone and began broadcasting to NYC and 70+ markets across the country. This is another huge step forward in its growth as the fastest growing radio network in the United States with our new state-of-the-art studio,” said Krantz.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Investors seek to bring AAR to smaller communities

The co-founders of Air America are forming a company to buy rural radio stations to spread the reach of the liberal-oriented radio network. Northbrook (IL) venture capitalists Anita and Shelley Drobny, who retain a minority interest in Air America, are seeking to raise an initial $5 million to buy eight or nine stations in communities with fewer than 100,000 residents.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

WHJJ/Providence phasing out AAR

Not surprising. Ratings dipped (as they did for competition) in the past year or so. WHJJ caught a lot of flack for replacing much of their local programming with syndicated fare. Now they're going back to that.

...WHJJ decided to go with a syndicated lineup from liberal talk network Air America. Ratings immediately dropped, falling 16 percent from the fall of 2003 to the fall of 2004.

Bill George, program director for WHJJ, said the Air America experiment is essentially over.

"We tried to do something big and different," he said. "Needless to say, we were not pleased with the results . . . we are now committed to live and local talk."

WHJJ is still broadcasting The Al Franken Show, Air America's showcase, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., but George said changes in that time slot will be announced within a few weeks.

Friday, September 09, 2005

KPTK/Seattle shuffles it's lineup

KPTK-AM (1090) is shuffling its weekday lineup to emphasize West Coast hosts beginning Monday. Stephanie Miller's Los Angeles-based show takes over the 6-9 a.m. slot currently held by "Morning Sedition," which moves to 3-5 a.m. Thom Hartmann's show, originating in Portland, takes over the 9 a.m.-noon slot currently held by Al Franken, who moves to 3-6 p.m. Ed Schultz stays at noon-3 p.m., while Randi Rhodes takes the 6-10 p.m. slot and Mike Malloy is heard 10 p.m.-1 a.m.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Will Moore turn Katrina into film?

Will Michael Moore turn his cameras on Katrina?

The controversial filmmaker is “seriously considering” turning the devastating storm and its aftermath into a documentary, says a source. “It has all the elements that made ‘Fahrenheit 911’ such a powerful film,” says a source. “The political outrage, the human suffering, and the incredible footage.”

Moore’s rep didn’t have a comment by press time, but Moore certainly isn’t being silent about Katrina on his Web site. “There is much to be said and done about the manmade annihilation of New Orleans, caused NOT by a hurricane but by the very specific decisions made by the Bush administration in the past four and a half years,” he wrote. “Do not listen to anyone who says we can discuss all this later. No, we can’t. Our country is in an immediate state of vulnerability. More hurricanes, wars, and other disasters are on the way, and a lazy bunch of self-satisfied lunatics are still running the show.”

AAR branches out, signs Hartmann

AIR AMERICA RADIO is launching a new syndication division to offer shows separate from the network's regular offerings to both Progressive Talk and other talk/music formats. The new AIR AMERICA SYNDICATION's first offering will be KPOJ-A/PORTLAND's THOM HARTMANN's national show, which will be sent out live Noon-3p (ET) weekdays (and will be aired SUNDAY middays on WLIB-A/NEW YORK). JONES MEDIAAMERICA is handling sales for the new venture.

AIR AMERICA RADIO President GARY KRANTZ said, "THOM HARTMANN has shown enormous success in many markets around the country, from SEATTLE to PITTSBURGH. "We are thrilled to have THOM be a part of AIR AMERICA's unmatched line-up of talent and are looking forward to helping him grow in affiliations, audience, revenue, and most importantly, as an important progressive voice in the media landscape."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

KQDS-AM/Duluth, MN picks up AAR

As of September 6, KQDS (1490 AM) is carrying programming from Air America.

The station broadcasts day and night with 1KW of power. Not very strong, but strong enough to cover the Twin Ports of Duluth and neighboring Superior, WI. Their previous format was a feed of CNN Headline News, so this is obviously an upgrade to a more distinctive and attention-grabbing format. There is no website for this station. Come to think about it, Red Rock Broadcasting, owners of KQDS and a few other stations (including classic rocker KQDS-FM), as well as the local FOX affiliate (KQDS-TV) doesn't have websites for any of their stations.

“We are very pleased to offer another choice to area radio listeners,” said Shawn Skramstad, Red Rock Radio general manager. “Air America presents a counter viewpoint to the prevalent right of center talk radio you can find on most other talk radio stations.”

Skramstad is also confident that Air America’s Minnesota connection will contribute to its success. “Both Al Franken and his co-host Katherine Lanpher are from Minnesota,” Skramstad said. “I think those connections combined with Al Franken’s entertainment and comedic value will go over well with radio listeners in this region.”


Sunday, September 04, 2005

Here's a new one: WLTQ/Charleston, SC drops AAR for adult standards

Usually, it's been the other way around. And this is after ratings have started to improve.

The Clear Channel AM has dropped the liberal Talk radio network's programming and is now simulcasting sister News/Talk WSCC-FM. Clear Channel/Charleston Director/Talk Programming Richard Bachschmidt tells R&R the simulcast is only temporary: On Tuesday WLTQ will flip to Adult Standards as "AM 730, The Music Of Your Life."

Friday, September 02, 2005

Bill Press looking to syndicate on his own

Pharmaceutical executive Milan Panic and money manager Richard Blum, the husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), are among the investors in a new liberal radio program created by former CNN commentator Bill Press.

Press, a former co-host of CNN's "Crossfire" television show, is seeking to raise $2 million for a private company that is distributing the new program. He has raised $450,000 from 11 investors, according to an August filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Press, a former chairman of the California Democratic Party, said the program will emphasize "progressive" values, and his goal is to syndicate it nationally. The idea is create a profit-making venture and a counterbalance to such conservative talk-radio hosts as Rush Limbaugh, Press said.

The program began broadcasting June 26 through Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. XM Satellite Radio, Sirius' main competitor, last year began carrying Air America Radio, a liberal station whose hosts include entertainers Janeane Garofalo and Al Franken.

Bill Press' site can be found here. He is currently carried on three terrestrial stations:

WARF 1350 AM - Akron, Ohio
KRXA 540 AM - Monterey, California (streaming)
KKNS 105.9 FM - Missoula, Montana

He can also be found on Sirius Left, channel 143.

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