Monday, March 27, 2006

Grassroots effort results in new Phoenix station


I come bearing good news.

We are proud to announce that starting April 3rd Air America Phoenix will return to the airwaves.

Our new home is at 1480 AM KPHX.

We will be carrying all of your favorite Air America personalities plus Dr. Mike Newcomb in the morning.

Thanks to all of you who contributed to the effort. This has been a remarkable effort and perhaps the most intense three weeks of my life. In the end we were able to negoitiate a better deal than we were first offered to get us in the door. We are not out of the woods yet. We need to raise more funds to finish paying the lease. We will be continuing the pixel drive in hopes to offset some of the money we have had to borrow to get on the air.

Go to to contribute.

Thanks again and we look forward to talking with you on the air.

Jeff Farias
Air America Phoenix

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Air America on the defensive (re: New York affiliate)

Air America found itself on the defense for the second time this week following reports in both the New York Post and New York Daily News today (March 7) implying that the liberal talk network was about to lose its New York flagship station, WLIB-AM.

The Post, in particular, seemed to offer a sensationalist slant to its reporting of the alleged loss of WLIB. Reporter John Mainelli wrote, “Air America is close to losing its New York flagship station, knocking Al Franken and his liberal colleagues off the air on the second anniversary. Losing its New York outlet would be a serious blow to the fledgling liberal radio network. Air America's options for a new home are not promising. All of the city's other strong-signal stations are spoken for, leaving only weak-signal ‘fringe’ stations that do not cover the entire city and suburbs.”

Danny Goldberg, CEO of Air America Radio, responded late Tuesday morning to “recent reports via the conservative media” in a staff memo in which he said, “Air America’s ratings in New York went up substantially in the fall 2005 book. Air America’s New York audience is large, growing and valuable. In every conceivable scenario, Air America will continue to be on in New York City.”

He went on to stress that Air America Radio is on track to be stronger still in the coming year and years: “Our audience is bigger, the total number of affiliates carrying our programming is greater, and the amount of revenue we are generating is increasing.

“It is vital, when analyzing chatter about Air America to consider the source,” Goldberg continued. “In almost all cases, the people who say bad things about our company’s business are conservative ideologues who have a particular interest in damaging Air America, for one reason and one reason only: the political opinions expressed by our on air talent. Bill O’Reilly alone has mentioned Air America on 37 separate occasions since our programming went on the air. Al Franken has offered to debate O’Reilly in any number of forums including on “The O’Reilly Factor” and O’Reilly has declined.”

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Missoula’s Progressive Talk Radio Goes Off the Air

The owner of KKNS (105.9FM) dropped their progressive talk Tuesday afternoon, citing weak advertising sales.

Salt Lake City-based Simmons Media, which took over Mt. Sentinel operations and ownership of the station just last month, made the final decision to change formats last week.

“I would have liked to try for a couple more months,” Cowan said. “But if it were my money it was losing, I don’t know if I could do it.”

Getting people to listen wasn’t the problem – liberal talk radio was a huge hit in Missoula from the beginning.

Just last fall, Cowan said, an Eastlan ratings survey in Missoula and the Bitterroot showed the Al Franken show with a respectable 3.6 percent of listeners – ahead of Rush Limbaugh, who runs on two area stations.

“Al Franken was huge,” Cowan said. “(He) clobbered Rush. The listeners were there – and the commercials were inexpensive.”

However, selling ads during Al’s airtime was a different story.


KXXT/Phoenix drops progressive talk format

As long expected, due to the sale of the station, KXXT/Phoenix has dropped their progressive talk format and will likely go with a format closer to the Christian broadcasting orientation of its new owners.

From the station's homepage:

a message from air america phoenix
February 28th, 2006
Dear Friends of Air America Phoenix,

Thank you to the staff, the listeners and the clients for all you’ve done in the past 17 months.

You helped take an unrated, unprofitable AM radio station and pushed it to a tie for 3rd place out of 25 AM stations in Phoenix. You took that same AM station and made it profitable in less than a year and even after the sale was announced you stood by Air America Phoenix and we kept on making money even when our future was in doubt and we didn’t know when our “plug” was going to be pulled. In fact, the last month we were on the air was the 3rd best month we’ve had financially!

Air America Phoenix has now disappeared into the ether and Phoenix is left with multiple Christian formats, some in English and others in Spanish, several “brokered’ time stations (you know the radio stations selling you vitamins, good bowel movements and financial advice) a bagful of right wing “Conservative Talk stations” featuring Rush, Sean, Laura, Bill Bennett, Savage, Medved and all of their local imitators, three “Sports Talk” stations that live off the largess of their sister stations in the big corporate clusters that dominate the dial in Phoenix. Is anyone enjoying Tony Snow on KTAR…did anyone ask for him? And there are 3 “nostalgia” stations on AM and another on the FM dial. (The inside radio joke on nostalgia is that listeners are “dying” for it!) CBS’ new “Free” FM is another station loaded with sophomoric chatter, but without the interruption of overplayed songs! Free FM is a continuous loop of bad FM morning show humor 24 hours a day! CBS should have stood by Howard Stern and they will regret the day they didn’t!

Phoenix has 60 odd radio signals on the AM and FM dial and the best of those signals are owned by four companies; CBS, Clear Channel, Bonneville and Sandusky, they play it safe and considering the level of investment, it is certainly understandable. Innovation and change has to come from the smaller clusters and the one and two station owners. Will they innovate? Take a chance like we did with KXXT? Probably not, they never have and they never will, like the classic definition of insanity they “continue to do the same thing over and over expecting different results”! Only a special company like James Crystal would let me take the chance, Thanks, Jim!

Over the past 4 months I have tried to raise the money to buy a new station for Air America Phoenix. We made offers on 2 stations; one didn’t have an adequate signal to insure success and the other was laughably over priced. I have talked to more BS artists and rich guys who pretend they want to get “involved” and “progressive” venture firms that live in the world of “new media” and think that good old terrestrial radio, the kind that everyone has access to and is free 24/7, is so “over”! When I finally put together the right banker and the right investors, we were out of time! I’m mad at myself for wasting time with the charlatans, the BS artists and the dreamers. I’m also worn out and I have to publicly apologize to the love of my life, Jan, for being so damn grumpy and short since last fall. Baby, you have been just great, thank you!

I need to thank all the great network people; Al, Mike, Stephanie, Sam and Jeanine. And of course my friend Ed Schultz who was the first on and signed! And Randi…I always love you more!

This has been the single best experience I’ve had in broadcasting, better than being number one in Boston! KXXT has simply been the best. The people I’ve worked with at AA Phoenix have been the most dedicated, hard working and they wouldn’t leave when I tried (twice) to throw them out of the building. I love you all and as Jan says we are a family!

Thank you for all you’ve done!

Robert J Christy
General Manager,
Air America Phoenix, 1010 Talk KXXT

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