Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Air America Radio up for sale

OCT. 31 4:30 P.M. ET Air America Radio is talking to several parties about a possible sale and is hopeful of reaching a deal before Thanksgiving, a lawyer for the liberal talk radio network told a bankruptcy hearing Tuesday.

Tracy Klestadt told the court that the privately-held company was in discussions with seven different parties about a sale and was "very hopeful" of reaching a deal by Nov. 22, saying there was a "significant amount of interest."

Klestadt declined to say who the potential suitors for the company were, and a spokeswoman for Air America also declined to comment.

Klestadt was speaking at a hearing at U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, during which the court approved an agreement for financing for the company through the end of the year.

Air America is continuing to operate with financing from an investor group led by RealNetworks Inc. CEO Robert Glaser, who owns 36.7 percent of the company, and two other former board members.

Under the agreement finalized Tuesday, the company needs to have a deal in place with a buyer and have filed a motion with the court by Nov. 22 seeking approval of the sale to guarantee that financing continue beyond that date.

This was an expected move, even prior to Air America's bankruptcy filing. Nova M Radio founder Sheldon Drobny, also a co-founder of Air America, offered $2.5 million dollars to take over the company and its outstanding debt. Former Jacor and Clear Channel executive Randy Michaels, whose Product First (P1) company syndicates the Ed Schultz Show, has also reportedly made an offer. Both potential suitors were turned down by Air America management.

In addition, both satellite radio services, Sirius and XM, have been rumored as possible suitors.

Internal document reveals Air America advertiser blacklist

UPDATED 11/1/06

Last Friday, October 27th, syndicated radio host Peter B. Collins was interviewing Jeff Cohen, a co-founder of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), and author of a new book, "Cable News Confidential", which documents his observations working in the cable news industry, and how corporate sponsors dictate what airs in our media.

During the course of the interview, Collins mentioned that someone had sent him a copy of an internal memo originally sent by ABC Radio Networks. The memo contains a listing of nearly 100 ABC Radio advertisers who insist that their commercials not air on Air America Radio affiliates. According to the memo, the adverstisers insist that "NONE of their commercials air during AIR AMERICA programming." Among the advertisers listed are Bank of America, Exxon Mobil, Federal Express, General Electric, McDonald's, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, and the U.S. Navy.

Today, Media Matters for America posted a scan of the memo, showing that some advertisers don't like to be connected with progressive talk radio. FAIR.org had obtained a copy of the memo from Collins.

You can download the segment from Collins' show here, download the whole show at White Rose Society (October 27, 2006), or see Media Matters for America's expose.

Granted, many companies refuse to allow their ads to air on any kind of partisan or controversial talk radio programming. "No-buy" lists exist for some conservative talkers and shock jocks such as Howard Stern and Opie and Anthony. If advertisers are, in fact, even-handed in this approach, then that's understandable, since many companies shun any kind of controversial programming (which is why Rush works so hard at shilling air mattresses and steel buildings). The problem arises if the sponsors do in fact advertise on conservative talk shows such as Limbaugh or Hannity while going out of their way to shun their liberal counterparts. Perhaps then these companies are trying to tell you something about what they think of your radio listening tastes and ideology?

According to Take Back The Media, Rush Limbaugh Online (unofficial parody site) and Topple Bush, a few of the companies listed on the blacklist memo do indeed advertise on Limbaugh's program, though the list is somewhat out of date. Internet dating site eHarmony is still listed as a Rush advertiser, though Red Lobster and Geico (not on AAR blacklist) pulled their advertising years ago after a TBTM-orchestrated boycott. Johnson & Johnson and Schering-Plough have also advertised on Limbaugh's show. Home Depot and Office Depot also advertise on conservative talk radio shows, particularly Sean Hannity's radio show. Bank Of America is a sponsor of Salem Communications, a radio station owner and syndicator of conservative talk radio personalities such as Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, and Dennis Prager. Salem also owns Townhall.com, a conservative web site that BofA advertises on.

Of the companies featured on the blacklist, Allstate, Aventis, Bank Of America, Bayer, Chattem, Cingular, Clorox, Dell, eHarmony, ExxonMobil, Farmers Insurance Group FedEx, General Electric, Gillette, Hewlett-Packard, Home Depot, Hyatt, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft Foods, McDonalds, Merck/Schering-Plough, MGM, Michelin, Office Depot, Paramount, Philip Morris, Proctor & Gamble, Nestle, Nissan, Red Lobster, RE/MAX, Rentway, Sherwin-Williams, Sony, State Farm Insurance, Travelocity.com, True Value, United Healthcare Services, Visa, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and Wyeth all advertise on the FOX News Channel, home of such controversial conservative-leaning shows as The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity and Colmes, according to website Spending Liberally.

To their credit, Cingular is trying to avoid controversial programming, and pulled advertising from a New Jersey talk show after racist comments from the show's hosts. Other companies such as Radio Shack and Proctor & Gamble tend to avoid confrontational talk radio.

Further investigation shows that some of the companies on this blacklist do support some progressive talk radio, as they are prominently featured on Ed Schultz' show and website. The blacklist companies include Dell, Bayer, Epson Printers, Schering-Plough, Phillip Morris and Chattem. Office Depot, in particular, does extensive promotion with Shultz' show, and Shultz also appears in their radio advertising. Ironically, Schultz' show is featured on many Air America affiliates.

Here is a list of the companies who refuse to allow their network buys to air on Air America:

Allstate, American Heart Association, Aventis, Avon, Bank Of America, Bayer (all products), BMW Motorcycles, Chattem (Gold Bond, Phisoderm, Selson, etc), Cigna, Cingular, Clorox, Coke, Coty, Dean's Morningstar Foods, Dell, Denny's, Discovery Channel, eHarmony.com, Epson, Expedia.com, ExxonMobil, Farmer's Insurance, FedEx, Foot Action, Frito-Lay, GE, Gillette Venus, Goodyear, Heineken, Hershey's, HP, Home Depot, Hormel, Hyatt, Interstate Batteries, JC Penney, Kohl's, Kraft Foods, Levi's, Masterfoods, McDonalds, Merial Frontline, MGM, Michelin, Microsun (?), Morningstar, Nations' Cattlemen's Beef, Nestle, Nissan, NYSE, Office Depot, Outdoor Life Network, Proctor & Gamble, Paramount, Pepsi, Phillip Morris, Pier 1 Imports, Red Lobster, Re/Max, REI Sporting Goods (since denied), Rent-Way, Robert Hall, Schering-Plough, Sherwin Williams, Sony, State Farm, Toys R Us, Travelocity, True Value, United Healthcare, US Navy, USPS, Visa, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Welch's, Wrigley, Wyeth


ABC, REI respond to Air America blacklist memo

UPDATE: More advertisers respond to AAR blacklist accusations

This article and the two updates on this topic are linked at FAIR.org.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Hate-filled death threat letter sent to Stephanie Miller

"The Stephanie Miller Show" is one of the funniest, most informative and most entertaining shows in the progressive talk format, and Miller is a very easy-going, positive and inoffensive host. This longtime TV and radio personality, the daughter of Barry Goldwater's VP running mate William Miller, uses humor and wit as her radio weapon of choice. Unfortunately, a rather disturbed person in Centerville, Ohio isn't laughing after Miller's appearance on FOX News last week.

This viewer, who identified himself as "Sock" Sokolowski, who obviously has a rather strange view of the concept of "freedom," did not take kindly to Miller's appearance on "Hannity And Colmes" last week. Sokolowski sent a hate-filled letter complete with violent threats opposing Miller's first amendment rights. More or less, Sock would like to see Steph go the way of Alan Berg.

Stephanie talked about the letter on this morning's show and even gave this worthless scumbag a phone call, which can be heard at this mp3 link or this mp3 link.

The actual scan of the uncensored letter is posted at BradBlog, with a cleaned-up version available at Miller's site. Below, I have posted the entire, unedited text of it.

Saturday - 10/14/06

The Fox Channel
Hannity & Colmes - 9-10PM EST
Attn: Stephanie Miller
Fox Guest & Cindy Sheehan Supporter
Program of Friday, October 13, 2006
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036

Dear Stephanie:

As with Cindy Sheehan the best thing that could happen to you would be seeing some WONDERFUL activist sticking an AK-47 up your Glory Holes and sending you into eternity. But this is not a threat as I am a paci-fist preferring to confront dumb fucks like you two cunts with words rather than violence. But I would gather my 1st amendment rights permit me to HOPE (!) and PRAY (!) that someone decides you're better off as statistics. Honestly, should I hear of either you leaving this earth prematurely I would initiate a personal celebration that would make Animal House appear to be just another quiet Sunday in church.

However, again an exercise of my individual rights even a liberal Supreme Court can't take away. I will be mailing copies of your appearance on yesterday's Hannity & Colmes to some WONDERFUL people. Without including a cover letter and without a return address we will be mailing copies of your anti-American rhetoric together with any personal information we can cull off the Net to the following recipients. Receivers will be families and friends of others lost in Iraq but who believe their sons/daughters died nobly, others with a SPECIAL fervor and fire-in-their -belly for this country and who totally and completely despise reengades as yourself and, too, several others whose "credentials" I will keep to myself but assuredly shall we say devoted people to this country's future. As the phrase goes we must identify this nation's enemies and though we keep friends close, we MUST keep our enemies closer and you two vile bitches are just that, Benedict Arnolds to the country who gives you the freedom to embarass yourselves and make as ass of yourselves also, and simultaneously.

Therefore, I trust the both of you mother fuckers will continue to show yourselves on TV shows, expose to more and more people, as GUARANTEED your words will someday possibly accelerate your demise again not on my hand, but by somoeone who beleives in such finalizing action. So, PLEASE, don't stop, even expand your words of HATE for America and this Presidency because the more you talk the better chance my hopes and prayers are fulfilled. Would love to celebrate and would for days on end as I always would and will when still another America HATER meets his/her maker.

From the right 'Right,

"Sock" Sokolowski

As a recipient of hate mail and even death threats myself (I'm not making this up), I am appalled at these horribly misguided people who preach about "freedom" and "liberty" and what makes America great, yet turn into the exact opposite when people express views they don't like. They even hang around websites with names like "Free Republic" and "Liberty Post". Unfortunately, extremists like "Sock" don't really seem to understand the concept of these words. And that's sad.

I often ridicule they lies and hypocricy of conservative talk radio and the ridiculous transparent overall bias of FOX News. In fact, I revel in it. Mocking the ridiculous is an enjoyable right in this great nation of ours. But that's where it ends. Do I want to see it gone from our airwaves? Absolutely not, unless the market dictates it. With 300 million people in this country come 300 million different opinions. It sure would be a miserable, boring place if everyone thought the same. What makes this country so great is that we can all agree to disagree. And mailing veiled death threats and calling people 'traitors' and 'anti-America' is the antithesis of the American way of life. This type of behavior makes one no better than the Nazis, the Soviets, the Ku Klux Klan, the Taliban or even the terrorists. People like "Sock" need to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves what it really means to be an American. I think tolerance is key.

To paraphrase our not-so-great leader, obviously this guy hates us for our freedom. And that hate will eat him alive.

What others are saying:

Raw Story
Daily Kos
Democratic Underground
The Moderate Voice

No Quarter has identified "Sock" as an elderly man that should probably know better.

Nashville radio has been "Liberated(!)"

From Nashville City Paper:

It’s one thing to be on the air. It’s another thing entirely to be profitable.

The founders of Great Minds Productions have quit their day jobs, and are now banking on their ability to do both.

Established Oct. 1, the company is now parent to Liberadio(!) , a liberal talk radio show. Liberadio(!) currently airs on Vanderbilt University’s WRVU (91.1FM) and distributes free podcasts daily. Liberadio(!) also publishes a blog and email newsletter.

“This is a niche,” said Mary Mancini, a local businessperson and political activist who co-founded the company with Freddie O’Connell. “In Nashville and in Middle Tennessee, you are swamped by conservative voices. But conservatives are not the only people who buy things.”

Anecdotal evidence indicates the talk show already has a respectable base of listeners – the show was ranked third most popular in the Nashville Scene Reader’s Poll, and both Mancini and O’Connell have been recognized by strangers who heard their voices and names. Their podcasts have 85 subscribers, in addition to listeners who download podcasts individually.

O’Connell and Mancini left their full-time jobs in September. Their plan is to accumulate sufficient funds to purchase three to six months of broadcast time prepaid at a commercial FM station, then hopefully grow from that point. Liberadio(!) is just one product the company hopes to market. The business partners have their sights set on books and documentaries in coming years.

“We’re at the point where we believe Liberadio(!) is a brand,” O’Connell said. “There are naturally ways to monetize all these content streams. It’s been lucky for us to be on that front edge of where technology is going.”

Currently, O’Connell and Mancini know of no other liberal talk radio show in the Nashville area, with the exception of shows on the low-wattage Radio Free Nashville. The market, they believe, is saturated with conservative voices. More than half of Nashville’s population voted for John Kerry in 2004’s presidential election, indicating an untapped audience.

(read more at City Paper)

WPUL/Daytona Beach is optimistic about progressive talk

From the Daytona Beach News-Journal:

Management at WPUL (1590AM) are optimistic about their young, mostly liberal talk format.

The former gospel station switched to a progressive talk format a year ago when it realized there "was a void in the market," said Phinesse Demos, the station's programming manager.

"For so long, people have heard only heard one point of view," said Demos about conservative-dominated AM radio.

"We want to give them another side. It makes for good conversation."

The new format is capitalizing on a backlash against Republicans that's threatening to unseat many incumbents during the mid-term elections. Talk radio provides an outlet for political frustration and alienation, industry officials said.

"We have three progressive shows that are doing extremely well," said Bolton, referring to talk hosts Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz and Bill Press, who are carried by roughly 170 stations nationwide.

KPUL combines the three Jones Radio Networks offerings with shows from Al Sharpton, The 2 Live Stews (sports talk), Lionel and Rollye James, who airs in the overnight hours.

What's interesting is that the network declined to affiliate with Air America Radio when they made the switch last year. No reason was given by station management but a Jones executive claims it was due to Jones' more flexible syndication model.

Demos believes progressive radio has made his station more competitive with WNDB.

"We're coming for them."

Malloy, Nova M take to the airwaves today

It's been two months since Air America Radio cancelled Mike Malloy's late night radio show. Tonight, he's back with a vengeance.

Nova M, Sheldon and Anita Drobny's upstart radio network, inserts the latest piece of their puzzle tonight with Malloy's comeback.

Malloy's return will be confined to one station at the start, Nova M's flagship station KPHX (1480AM) in Phoenix, where it will air from 7-10PM locally (9-Mid ET). The show will roll out in syndication in the next week or two, once technical limitations are resolved.

As with Air America Radio, his former employer, Malloy will still be doing the show from his from his studio in the Atlanta area.

"The Drobny's are good hearted people," Malloy said. "There are very few people in radio who I consider to be 'good hearted.' which I consider to be one of the highest compliments, and I consider Shelly Drobny to be one of them. He's very idealistic, decent man."

What is the future for Nova M?

Malloy replied, "I'd like to see NovaM expand. I'd like to see them bring on more liberal talent-- people who are really didicated to liberal causes... I'd like to see NovaM oick up affiliate stations in major markets throughout the country, who are run by individuals who understand that if you take Chicago, New York, Miami or Houston or LA or where ever, that half of the audience has left talk radio because of all the right wing bullshit... and that it is you-- the program director or sales manager of the radio station-- if you really want to get your audience back, then include liberal programming, because more than half this country (is responsive to the liberal message.)"

Malloy will initially be broadcast on Nova M's, KPHX. The network also controls KXDE (1380AM) in Little Rock AR, which will soon pick up the show. Radio stations in other markets, including San Diego, Madison, Ann Arbor and Portland have reportedly inquired about the show, and KPTK (1090) in Seattle has gone so far as to announce his pending arrival on that station in the coming weeks.

"We love Mike Malloy," said Sheldon Drobny, co-founder of the new NovaM Radio Network. "The response we've had from many of the liberal talk radio slash Air America stations has been tremendous. They want Mike Malloy back. So we're really thrilled that we've got one of the best liberal talk radio hosts, and we're going to build upon that and we're talking to others."

Unlike Air America, Nova M will not be a full-service 24/7 network. They will start with only a few shows, including Malloy, Mike Newcomb's local Phoenix morning show, Peter B. Collins' established self-syndicated show, and a new weekend offering by pollster John Zogby. They are also talking with other hosts from around the country.

Nova M's two current stations will continue to air a mix of local and syndicated programming, including shows from Air America.

Malloy has not been keeping a low profile since his departure from Air America. He has appeared on other radio shows, most recently that of Alex Jones (mp3 link), where Malloy put the blame of his firing on Air America CFO Bob Ennis, formerly of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., owner of the FOX network and FOX News. He also complained about Air America management, who he and his union representative at AFTRA sparred with over unpaid money. The negotiations resulted in a pending two year contract, only to be thrown out by Ennis soon after. Malloy also ripped into former CEO Danny Goldberg and his replacement, Jim Wiggett, who's previous managerial experience was in the cosmetics industry.

As for the present, Malloy will start out on KPHX, which will offer streaming capabilities available to listeners worldwide. His show will likely still be archived at White Rose Society, which currently contains archives going back to before his I.E. America days. It appears that Nova M may also archives some programming.

More tremors at The Quake, as Hartmann will go live

Thom Hartmann announced on his Friday radio show that effective Monday November 6, KQKE (960AM, "The Quake") in San Francisco will carry his show live, locally from 9AM-Noon PT.

The Air America Radio-syndicated show is currently heard on delay on The Quake from 6-9PM.

What is interesting is that Hartmann will displace Al Franken's show, which will presumably move into Hartmann's current slot. Air America is notorious for making rigid demands of affiliates regarding Franken, forcing many of them to carry his show live. It's likely that the rise of competitors such as Jones Radio and the relative decline in quality of Air America's weekday lineup gave KQKE the upper hand in negotiations, Likely this is a scenario of an affiliate in a very large market playing hardball.

Hartmann's show, which originates from Portland, OR, has been doing extremely well in some West Coast markets, even ranking #1 in his time slot in Seattle.

UPDATE: Hartmann's move is not the only one at the station. Bob Agnew, program director of KQKE, posted an announcement on the station's website, announcing the addition of Mike Malloy and Rachel Maddow and the dropping of Al Franken. Randi Rhodes' show will be delayed to the evening hours:

As we get close to one of the most important elections in our time, 960 The
Quake is putting more outstanding talent on the air to help you understand where
this country is heading and what you can do about it.

No one Air America personality's departure created as much of a stir as did Mike Malloy. 960 The Quake is pleased to announce that Mike Malloy is returning to the Quake's airwaves. On Monday, November 6th Mike Malloy will be heard live from 6pm to 9pm. Thom Hartmann will now move into the mid morning 9am to noon slot, replacing Al Franken.

There has been lots of speculation about Al Franken's future with Air America and his planned moved into the political arena. While there is nothing official at this time, it has been made clear to us that Al Franken will not be with Air America in the future. We feel it is important to you that we have the most talented hosts on the air, who will be with us for the long term. We believe that Thom Hartmann is the new rising star in Progressive Talk radio and he is firmly committed to 960 The Quake for the long term.

We have also brought Rachel Maddow back to 960 The Quake in her new time of 3p-5p. John Scott will also return to host the afternoon version of the Progressive News Hour. We feel that circumstances with Air America has helped 960 The Quake build its strongest line-up ever: Our programming is live from 3a until 9p so you can become much more involved in the Progressive Process.

The new schedule, effective Monday:

6AM-9AM Stephanie Miller
9AM-12N Thom Hartmann
12N-3PM Ed Schultz
3PM-5PM Rachel Maddow
5PM-6PM Progressive News Hour
6PM-9PM Mike Malloy
9PM-11PM Randi Rhodes
11PM-12AM EcoTalk w/ Betsy Rosenberg
12AM-3AM Lionel
3AM-6AM Bill Press

Friday, October 27, 2006

Joe Finan Out at WARF/Akron ("Radio Free Ohio")

From Ohio Media Watch:

Midday local talk show host Joe Finan is out at Clear Channel liberal talk WARF (1350AM) Akron ("Radio Free Ohio").

A station press release touts its "new fall lineup" with the full three hours of Miller's show, and the full three hours of Air America Radio's Al Franken Show. The change takes effect today, with Miller's show already airing in the former Finan time slot.

Finan has been completely removed from the "Radio Free Ohio" website, including from the list of hosts and from the station's weekday schedule.

Finan joined WARF earlier this year, after retiring from his long-time radio home, MediaCom talk WNIR (100.1FM) at the end of 2004.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Paranoia and “Propagandapalooza!”

Desperation leads some to make some pretty transparent gestures.

Here's the situation. Your approval ratings have been hovering in the low-to-mid 30s for quite some time. Your war is going horribly. Your party is on the verge of collapse and may very well lose control of Congress in the upcoming elections in two weeks. Your base is turning against you and your party. Americans are even starting to call you out on your persistent fear-mongering. People are just plain getting sick of the GOP shuck n' jive and are ready for the grown-ups to come in and clean house. You're even starting to trip over your own lies.

Here's another hint: Ever notice Dubya stutters and stammers more and babbles like an idiot when in panic mode?

So, what does Georgie Porgie do? On Tuesday he decided to throw a big tent party on the White House grounds for his biggest lackeys, as well as a few who have strayed from the flock. Lawn darts, pony rides, jugglers, chocolate cake. Well, not that kind of party. But there were plenty of clowns on hand. For his little children's party, he invited talk radio show hosts, both local and national, to the White House for a go-round of Bush Administration shills. A cornucopia of the usual suspects, including Karl Rove, Tony Snow, Condoleeza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Dan Bartlett and the usual gang of idiots. People are turning against his party, so it's time to rally the base, and suck up to the propaganda brigade that has slowly started to move away from him.

Not to be confused with his little propaganda pow-wow a few weeks ago, this one was a much bigger event. And it took place on the South Lawn. 'Fair and balanced'© syndicated squawkers such as Sean Hannity, Neal Boortz, Glenn Beck and others were among the 42 talk radio hosts there. There were quite a few anonymous local Rush Limbaugh clones in attendence as well.

So, with this being a rather unrestricted access event to some of the key members of our government, i.e. the ones who collect paychecks from us, one would expect a representative sampling of hosts spanning the political spectrum, right? Or, heaven forbid, even some real journalists? After all, who's paying for this little picnic anyway? Who's footing the bill for the big tent and the porta-potties? You'd thing an event like this would be open to what passes for our mainstream media, right? Well, there was no sign of CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, etc. And certainly no liberal talk show hosts either. Rachel Maddow of Air America Radio requested an invite, but her request went unanswered. Reportedly, the same thing happened to Ed Schultz, who hosts a highly popular afternoon show on over 100 stations across the country. Well, in the interest of fairness, Robert Siegel of NPR was in attendence, because NPR is never mean to anyone. Very low threat level there. FOX News token liberal Juan Williams, who also works for NPR, was there. These are obviously examples of media figures the White House considers 'liberals'.

So, the White House opened the doors once again to so-called 'journalists' who spout things like, "The liberal media wants to suppress the vote, they want to convince you that this race is over, they want you to go away and they want us to lose. I'm here to tell you that you have the power." That is what Hannity told a Republican rally in Cincinnati last week in a jab at the so-called 'liberal mainstream media'.

What's ironic is that Hannity IS PART of the 'mainstream media', though the irony obviously went straight over his head. Well, at least he's an out-front media whore when he's not helping gay men find their soul mates.

Perhaps it is best to see this little shindig for what it really is. The GOP is in panic mode. First was the whole Foley thing and subsequent fallout, which made the party of 'family values' look like complete frauds to the rest of the country that hadn't quite figured that out yet. Then the Bob Woodward book showed them to be liars. And a former White House insider, miffed at how much the Bush Adminstration ridiculed their Christian fundamentalist base, spilled the beans, claiming that Bush, Rove, etc. thought they were just a bunch of “nuts”.

And just the other day, after actor and Parkinson's sufferer Michael J. Fox's campaign ads for pro-stem cell candidates began airing during the World Series, Rush Limbaugh went on the air and accused him of hamming it up and faking it, even (gasp!) going off his meds. He even tried a half-assed backpedal when even his own listeners turned on him. Yes, the same Rush Limbaugh who elicited sympathy for his hearing loss a few years back. Yes, the same Rush Limbaugh who's hearing loss could have been attributed to his massive, near-fatal intake of hillbilly heroin (aka OxyContin). And yes, the same recovering drug addict Rush Limbaugh who was held at airport customs for trying to smuggle Viagra into the Dominican Republic for him and his male buddies. Yes, the same Rush Limbaugh who is a hypocritical drug-addicted pile of whale shit.

Of course, it's hard work reigning in your loyal lapdogs. Otherwise the White House would be able to control walking freak shows like the evil, shrill Melanie Morgan, a conservative radio/TV lunatic who practically abandoned her own family to fuel her expensive gambling addiction, yet tries to spread vile lies about Cindy Sheehan, a woman who lost her son in Iraq. Then again, this would take all the fun out of watching these people embarass themselves.

Update from Air America Milwaukee

Here's the latest email from the grassroots effort in Milwaukee, WI from Nova M to bring progressive talk to the Brew City:

To all of you who have supported this drive to bring progressive radio to Milwaukee, we have some news for you – it probably won’t be through Air America.

By all indications, that grand experiment known as Air America is on life support following the filing for bankruptcy protection.

A setback, yes. But as Randi Rhodes points out, Faux News lost money for quite some time before it became profitable. And progressive talk show host Stephanie Miller explains here why the progressive format is not only alive but poised to expand.

By reaching a weekly nationwide audience of five million listeners, Air America showed that progressive talk radio could be entertaining and informative, and serve as a means to rally the troops. Factors not related to this audience or to their ability to deliver the goods ganged up on AAR.

We were working through the founders of Air America, Sheldon and Anita Drobny, whose goal was to help create community-supported AAR stations throughout the country. Circumstances, however, have compelled them to split with AAR and form their own radio network. Their new course is laid out here and here.

The Drobnys’ company, Nova M, will become a provider of progressive content to high rated radio stations. The Nova M roster will include Mike Malloy, Joe Trippi, pollster John Zobgy and possibly other AAR personalities. Sadly, though, they no longer have the funds available to help us purchase a station.

So where does this leave Milwaukee?

First piece of business. The Happy Hour Party we were planning to have... next week is cancelled. Go and campaign for your favorite Democrat and get set to get down to radio business after the election.

It is clear we just don’t want progressive radio in Milwaukee. Milwaukee needs progressive radio.

Thanks to “in kind” donations by the Journal Company and Clear Channel, the power of conservative extremists in the GOP has been magnified. Moderate Republican politicians have either been silenced or run out of office in the Milwaukee area.

Thanks to right wing talk radio we now have the uninspired leadership of a Republican hack leading county government in a Democratic area.

Progressive radio can lead the way to a brighter future.

Following the election, we will explore a number of options. Still on the table is the possibility of purchasing a local station entirely with community investments. That’s a tall order, but depending on the outcome of this election, more progressive money might be available to make this a possibility.

No doubt the Drobnys will help out where they can. They and their new network would be a source for programming for a Milwaukee progressive station along with others including Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, and Amy Goodman.

We will need your energy, time, contacts with community organizations and yes, money, to make this happen. Even if you don’t have the funds to invest in a major way, anything you can do will help. And perhaps you can also help us make a connection with someone you know who does have major funds to invest.

Give this enough thought and you come to one conclusion – this in an investment we all have to make to keep the progressive revolution going in Milwaukee.

So hit the streets and send Democrats to Madison and Washington, hold off the onslaught of the Green campaign, and don’t let the sponsors of the marriage discrimination and death penalty referenda send us back to the Middle Ages.

As for after the election – STAY TUNED.

Unsecured creditors fighting Air America for money

From the Sacramento Bee:

Paula Nelson, owner of KSAC (1240AM) in Sacramento just wants her money. She claims it to be close to $1 million.

Whether she sees that amount, or whether she'll be paid at all in the Air America Radio bankruptcy reorganization case remains to be seen. And nobody has said what the disputed amount really is, or why it is owed.

Nelson is chief executive officer and president of Sacramento-based Diamond Broadcasting, which owns radio station Talk City KSAC, 1240 AM. She was named Tuesday as part of a trio representing unsecured creditors in bankruptcy proceedings involving the liberal-leaning radio network. The trio also includes William Kimball, executive producer of Air America's flagship "The Al Franken Show," and a representative from the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).

The next court date in Air America's case is scheduled for Oct. 31, according to Tracy Klestadt,the attorney representing the radio network. Klestadt declined to comment further on the case Tuesday.

Air America programming was heard on KSAC until last November, when the network switched to KCTC, 1320 AM. Air America officials at the time cited KCTC's stronger signal and ability to reach outlying cities, such as Stockton and Yuba City. Nobody has really said in public what the real reason for the switch was. Other rumors circulated at the time regarding KSAC often preempting programming. Again, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

But the KSAC/Air America split seemed to have become personal. In a Sacramento Bee story in October 2005, Nelson said the relationship between Talk City and Air America had eroded and that the network had turned its back on the Sacramento station, even though KSAC built a following for Air America's progressive programming.

Nelson also claimed that she persuaded Air America to affiliate with her station, though they had no plans to enter the Sacramento market. Then, she accused them of dumping her.

"I put a tremendous amount of resources building up their profile in Sacramento," Nelson said then. "I convinced them they could get a following. Now, they snub their noses at us and go to another station."

The unsecured creditors such as Nelson, Kimball and others are much lower on the totem pole compared to secured creditors such as former Air America chairman and RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser, who is owed $9.8 million. His loans are secured by collateral, and are at the front of the line. Unsecured creditors get what's left.

According to the Associated Press, Kimball is owed nearly $85,000 in back pay. Nelson's claim is for $500,000 but is listed as "disputed." She claims the amount is really closer to $1 million.

"No hard feelings on my part," Nelson said. "I just want my money."

Monday, October 23, 2006

Malloy, Nova M gearing up for debut

From Sheila Samples at OpEdNews.com:

"Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking."~~John M. Keyne

Much to the dismay of the Bush Crime Family and the Flying Monkey Right, their most fervent nemesis, talk-show host Mike Malloy, will return to progressive airwaves on Monday, Oct. 30 -- a whole week-and-one-day before the mid-term elections. When you consider the corruption and scandals oozing like slime from the right over just the past week-and-one-day, Malloy's return is not a moment too soon.

Mike Newcomb, a Pheonix physician and award-winning radio host, has joined Sheldon and Anita Drobny, the original co-founders of Air America Radio, to form the progressive Nova M Radio Network,Inc. which will feature the popular Malloy nightly from 9PM-MID ET on KPHX (1480AM) in Phoenix, the nation's 5th largest city and 15th largest radio market; and on KDXE (1380AM) in Little Rock, AR. More information on podcasting, Internet streaming and archives will be posted in the interim on the Nova M site and on Malloy's website.

Earlier this week, Malloy said, "We're starting out on two stations, but we're already getting requests from affilliates over a wide spectrum, such as Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Madison, Ann Arbor...This is for real," Malloy said. "We're in it for the long haul. We just sat down together and said 'Okay, dammit -- We've had enough of this. We're gonna fight back!'"

Newcomb, Nova M CEO and Chairman, couldn't agree more. He and the Drobnys plan to lease or to own and operate radio stations across America. In his Introductory Letter to "We the People," Newcomb announced that Joe Trippi, of Trippi and Associates, has joined the Nova M team. Newcomb said Trippi, who changed electoral politics forever by his revolutionary use of Internet fund-raising and campaigning during the Howard Dean presidential run, will help Nova M Radio to "reach out to millions of us who share common values and common goals."

Well-known pollster John Zogby will co-host a weekly one hour show entitled “The Pulse of the Nation”. Zogby will poll particular hot-button political issues and cultural issues, and each program will include expert guests and audience participation. At the end of each show Zogby will reveal the poll's secret results so listeners will know if they have their fingers on "The Pulse of the Nation."

Nova M will also take over syndication of Peter B. Collins' daily 6-9PM ET show, which already airs in several west coast markets.

You can read more about Malloy, where he was when he found out he was fired from Air America Radio, the real story behind the 'right-wing management', their financial obligations toward him, and the root of that network's problems at OpEdNews.com

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Papantonio not worried about Air America Turbulence

From the Pensacola News Journal:

Pensacola attorney and political firebrand Mike Papantonio isn't dismayed by troubles at Air America, the liberal talk radio network seeking protection in bankruptcy court.

Papantonio is an investor in the network, which he predicts will stay in business just as airlines and other corporations survive despite bankruptcy proceedings.

Documents at thesmokinggun.com indicate Air America owes him more than $682,000, but he says he's an investor in the network, not a creditor.

Potential buyers are inquiring about Air America, so he feels good about its future once financial problems are addressed. A court document lists assets at $4.3 million, liabilities at $20 million.

"All we're doing is getting a breather," said Papantonio, who co-hosts the syndicated radio show "Ring of Fire" with Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Air America has outlets in 97 cities but has struggled to find its voice on talk-radio stations, where conservative personalities rule the airwaves.

Papantonio said liberals were slow to realize the power of talk radio.

"Progressives had an elite, look-down-their nose attitude toward AM-FM radio" but now appreciate it, he said.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

On-air shakeup at KCCT/Corpus Christi

From the Corpus Christi Caller-Times:

Longtime Hispanic activist and radio talk-show host Vicente Carranza has left KCCT 1150AM, an independently-owned affiliate of Air America Radio, after being informed he was moving from his 4-7PM weekday timeslot to a later one.

Carranza said Manuel 'Daddy D' Davila Jr., owner of KCCT, informed him about the on-air changes five minutes before the end of his Oct. 13 program, so he didn't have a chance to notify his audience about the change.

"That was a pretty bad decision without letting me know," said Carranza, who has been in radio 14 years. "It took me six months to build up my audience and in a minute's time, he took it away from me."

The owner had intended to move Carranza to the 7-10PM shift, in order to broaden the listenership, and claims to have informed him of pending changes.

Carranza says he has had two offers from other radio stations, including one in San Antonio.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Something for the Christmas list: The InFusion wireless streaming player

Hypothetical situation: You enjoy the vast array of radio programming available online, whether it be liberal talk, eclectic music, foreign radio, or maybe your favorite hometown station. Or, you like listening to Stephanie Miller but your local station thinks you prefer Jerry Springer (or vice-versa)? Unfortunately, to this point we've all been at the mercy of radio stations telling us what to listen to. But someday, the tables could be turned.

With many metropolitan areas building wireless infrastructures, it's inevitable that a device will come along to take advantage of a potential portable streaming boom. And now, that day is very near.

Torian Wireless, a small Australian company, will introduce the InFusion, essentially a 'Wi-Fi 'Walkman'. The InFusion is a portable, battery powered device which you can tune to any of thousands of Internet radio stations. It also has an FM radio, an audio recorder, and an MP3 player with a maximum 4GB capacity (via a memory card).

So, what will this neat little toy do? If you live in a Wi-Fi hot zone, you potentially have access to a vast array of radio and streaming audio choices. Let's say your town doesn't have an Air America Radio affiliate? No problem. You will now. Love the choices offered by Radioio? Bring it with you! Need a cool secret agent soundtrack while you're driving to Casino Royale to face Le Chiffre? Check. Or, for some reason, you feel the desire to listen to your favorite Clear Channel station that sounds remarkably like the Clear Channel station in your town and other towns? They've got you covered.

So, what's the catch? Well, InFusion relies on Wi-Fi connectivity. Meaning that you can only pick up programming in an area that offers wireless capability. This would include just about any McDonalds or Starbucks, many workplaces, and a growing number of municipalities that are building wireless networks. Someday, you will all be able to listen to live streaming audio in the car, bus, subway or even while jogging. Neat, huh?

And the price for this little slice of the future? Torian lists the InFusion for $189 on their site, thought the retail price could be up to $229. Not a bad price for what could be the next iPod. And probably easier than lugging around that big laptop.

Look for a November release, just in time for the holidays.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

KTLK/L.A. sets their own liberal talk agenda

From the Los Angeles Times:

With Air America filing for bankruptcy protection last week, and its local affiliate dropping in the most recent ratings, right-wing critics are gleefully writing the epitaph for liberal talk radio — dead at 2 1/2.

But other observers say that regardless of whether Air America survives, an audience exists and will remain for left-leaning hosts.

"There's a market for good talk radio, no matter what the political label is," said Perry Michael Simon, news-talk-sports editor of AllAccess.com, an online journal of the radio industry, and himself a former talk radio programmer. "The key is that if it's entertaining talk radio first and liberal second, it can work."

"The problem," Simon said, "is that the entire category of liberal talk is judged by what Air America is doing."

Doing their best to get out from under that shadow are stations such as KTLK-AM (1150), Air America's affiliate in Los Angeles. Even before the bankruptcy filing — in fact, since the station debuted in February 2005 — KTLK has been weaning itself from the network's programming.

"We're trying to take this progressive format and make it radio, not make it a cause," said Don Martin, KTLK program director. "I don't want them [listeners] coming here because they call it 'Air America.' "

Read more here.

THom Hartmann: Why Air America Matters

An interesting article from Huffington Post, in which Thom Hartmann expresses an insider's view:

There are times when doing the profitable thing is also doing the right thing.

That's certainly what Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch thought when they lost an average of $90 million a year for about five years before the Fox News Channel became profitable. It's what Reverend Moon believes, as his Washington Times newspaper lost hundreds of millions of dollars and, according to some reports, even today continues to lose money.
And its what the people who have made Air America Radio possible - names you probably wouldn't recognize because they've invested millions of their own money but don't seek the limelight - believe.

Each of these endeavors hit nail-biting times.

In Murdoch's early days building News Corp. (which then helped fund Fox News), as The Hollywood Reporter noted in a 2005 article:

"[C]orporate expansion and the stock market crash of 1987 conspired to create a financial crisis for Murdoch in 1990, when News Corp. reported revenue of $6.7 billion and saw more than $7 billion in debt come due. With News Corp. shares plummeting from $24 to $8 as a result of the Black Monday crash and Murdoch's buying sprees continuing unabated, creditors became nervous. A refinancing plan was put in place, but at the last minute, one small bank in Pittsburgh refused to go along with the scheme, demanding repayment of a $10 million loan.

"That $10 million loan nearly caused the entire collapse of News Corp.: An extraordinary race against time ensued in which Murdoch and his financial advisers struggled to convince the company's 100-plus creditors to agree to a deal by which they would all be paid at the same time. Only at the eleventh hour did the Pittsburgh bank capitulate, to Murdoch's great relief.

"The mogul managed to get through the ordeal without parting with substantial blocks of stock, which likely would have forced him to lose control of the company he created (a fate that befell his rival, Turner). At one point, though, Murdoch reportedly did have to sign over as security personal assets, including his New York penthouse."

Read more.

Ready for another liberal talk network? Introducing... Talk USA Radio

In the wake of the recent announcement by Air America Radio (AAR) that the network would file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, former AAR executive vice president Tom Athans has launched Talk USA Radio, a new radio program supplier that he says will "develop new progressive talk shows in an effort to broaden the format and provide more options to listeners across the nation."

Prior to joining Air America, Athans was the founder and CEO of Democracy Radio where he was involved in the development and launch of progressive talker Ed Schultz - whose program is now syndicated by Randy Michaels-owned Product First - and WYD Media's "Stephanie Miller Show," which is distributed by Jones Radio Networks.

Athans reports that Talk USA Radio has several new programs in development and said, "We’re

WKBF/Quad Cities sold, will flip to Christian talk

UPDATED 10/20/06

The liberal talk radio of WKBF-AM 1270 will give way to a Christian talk format before the end of the year.

Mercury Broadcasting, which owns WKBF, sold the station for $150,000 this week to Quad-Cities Media, a one-man operation making his first move into broadcasting.

The switch should take place in mid- to late December.

WKBF had been managed by Clear Channel Communications’ Quad-City Radio Group, under a joint sales agreement. Larry Rosmilso, Radio Group general manager, said new FCC laws forbid the operation of more than six radio stations, and no more than four FMs, in the market. WKBF, whos ratings were the lowest of the group, was obviously the most expendable.

Monday, October 16, 2006

LTR to buy YouTube for $1.69 billion!

Well, not exactly. If I had that kind of money, I wouldn't be sinking it into YouTube.

Nonetheless, many of you are familiar with this ubiquitous video site. For those of you who aren't, think of it as MySpace, but with actual entertainment value.

And while I'm not sinking my hard-earned dough into this site like Google did, I am putting it to good use.

Introducing... LTR at YouTube!

What is this?

Well, this new YouTube group will act as a sort of extension to this plain ol' blog. Videos relating to material covered here will be accessible in one convenient spot. You can see Randi Rhodes on Larry King Live, or Stephanie Miller sparring with Sean Insannity. Be entertained with clips from "The Daily Show". See some cool documentaries like "Outfoxed". I might even throw in some comedy here and there (I'm partial to Ali G, aka Borat, aka Sacha Baron Cohen myself).

And the neat thing about this group? You can participate! And you don't even need to upload videos!
All you have to do, if you don't already have one, is get a YouTube account (of course, it's free). Then join the group. Once you're in the clique, you can add videos to the group. For example, if you happen to find an interesting video on YouTube that fits in with the gyst of the group, simply add it to the collection.

Only thing I do ask is to at least keep within the flexible framework of the group. Don't add cats flying into ceiling fans or the latest musings from lonelygirl15. No Republican propaganda (please!). And no racist Michelle Malkin-type stuff either (though if you do happen across one with her shooting ping-pong balls out of her coochie, by all means add it!).

So, check it out, and be entertained and informed. After all, it's probably a bit more interesting than this, right?

Free Howard Stern!

So, you're a Howard Stern fan, but you don't want to cough up the coin for satellite radio, huh? Well, you're in luck. For two days, anyway.

On October 25 and 26, you can listen to Stern's hilariously raunchy and provocative Sirius Satellite Radio show for free. And legally.

So, what's the occasion? Or more to the point, what's the catch? Well, Sirius is promoting their new Internet radio service, where they're rolling out "over 75 channels of CD-quality programming over the Internet -- without having to buy a Sirius radio -- for a monthly subscription fee of $12.95 -- the same price as an existing Sirius monthly subscription."

Remember, it's only a two-day promotion. After that, if you like it and you're hooked, whip out the Visa card and get Sirius. And keep in mind that Stern's current show sounds considerably different than his old CBS days. Meaning Stern and the gang can get away with stuff the FCC would likely throw him in prison for if he tried to do it on the terrestrial airwaves. In other words, not for the easily offended or prudish. Still pretty damn entertaining, though. And far fewer commercial breaks.

The two-day free trial of “The Howard Stern Show” marks the first time he has been available to a non-paying audience since he left terrestrial FM radio in December 2005 (or at least the ones who haven't discovered BitTorrent). The service can be accessed by logging on to www.sirius.com.

Nova M to start new liberal talk radio network with Mike Malloy

Venture capitalish Sheldon Drobny, a co-founder of Air America Radio, is starting a new radio network. Most noteworthy of this new venture will be the return of Mike Malloy.

The announcement comes after Drobny was rebuffed in his offer to purchase Air America Radio, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday. Unlike Air America, Drobny's new network will not be a full-service operation. And Nova M-controlled stations in Phoenix and Little Rock will be the flagship stations for programming. It is assumed that their shows, particularly Malloy, will be offered for general syndication. KPHX in Phoenix does offer web streaming.

From Nova M:

We the People,

It is with great excitement and optimism that I announce today the formation of a new progressive talk radio network. Myself along with my partners, Anita and Sheldon Drobny; the original cofounders of the Air America Radio Network, want to be the first to tell all you “truth seekers” that the original truth seeker himself Mike Malloy will be born again live on the public airwaves. The planned second coming (barring any apocalypse) is scheduled for October 30, 2006. The Mike Malloy Show will initially broadcast live, from 9PM -12 Midnight (EST) on Nova M Radio affiliates 1480-AM
KPHX Phoenix (and 1380-AM KDXE in Little Rock).

In addition, I’m equally excited to announce our strategic partnership with Joe Trippi and associates. Joe Trippi revolutionized electoral politics in America with his instrumental role in Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign, raising over $40 million in small donor contributions over the internet. Joe created a new paradigm in how campaigns locally and nationally are conducted by leveraging the scope and breadth of innovative internet-based technologies and digital tools. Joe and his team will help us reach out to millions of us who share common values and common goals.

Also joining our team will be internationally renowned pollster John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International. John will be co-hosting a weekly one hour show, “The Pulse of the Nation” where John polls particular hot button issues from politics and pop culture to the War in Iraq and stem cell research. Each program will include expert guests and audience participation. At the end of each show John will reveal the secret results of the poll and each listener will then know whether or not they have their finger on “The Pulse of the Nation”!

We will continue to build upon the foundation laid by our predecessors and will work tirelessly to fulfill our fiduciary responsibilities to our investors. Equally important, we will with the millions of faithful progressive listeners uphold our vision to promote freedom, social justice, economic justice and peace worldwide.

We have many more exciting announcements to make; new talent, name of new network and so on. So stay tuned and keep up to date at our web site,
http://www.novamradio.com/ ! And as always, from the bottom of my bleeding liberal heart, God Bless America!

In Solidarity,

Mike Newcomb, MD CEO & Chairman,
Nova M Radio, Inc.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Air America Radio files Chapter 11

FYI: Chapter 11 is a reorganization, not a liquidation.

From CNN, Bloomberg, Reuters and other sources:

Air America Radio, a liberal news and talk radio network, on Friday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after consistently losing money for more than two years.

They also sought bankruptcy court protection because of a breakdown in talks with a creditor.

In a filing with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan, Air America said it has lost about $40.9 million since the spring of 2004. The Associated Press reports that the company lost $9.1 million in 2004, $19.6 million in 2005 and $13.1 million so far in 2006. The company plans to keep operating as usual while it reorganizes.

The company said it has 4 million listeners. Its on-air personalities also include Robert Kennedy Jr. and Randi Rhodes. In addition, Air America syndicates a radio show from television host Jerry Springer.

Scott Elberg, who became chief executive on Monday, said in an affidavit that Air America's backers advised the company last month that they would no longer subsidize its operating losses.

Elberg, a former general manager of the radio station WLIB in New York, has been with the network since May of last year.

Air America will keep broadcasting as it negotiates with creditors, according to an e-mailed statement from Piquant LLC, which operates under the network's name. Piquant said it filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in a New York court.

"This regrettable action became necessary only recently when good faith efforts to resolve outstanding debt with a creditor from the company's earliest days broke down," the New York-based company said in the statement.

Last month, creditor Multicultural Radio Broadcasting Inc., blocked the company from drawing on its bank accounts, leaving it without money to operate. The bankruptcy filing will allow Air America to tap these accounts, he said.

Air America said it will seek court permission to obtain up to $3 million of financing from an entity known as Democracy Allies, LLC so that it may operate while under Chapter 11.

None of today's actions relate in any way to the Gloria Wise controversy. WRC-TV in Washington, DC reports that the loan has already been repaid.

And Air America also disclosed in the court documents that two directors departed in the last two months, Douglas Kreeger and Tom Embrescia. Gary Krantz also departed as president in June, and executive vice president Tom Athans and chief operating officer Carl Ginsburg both left in July.

Mike Malloy, who was let go from Air America back in August, chimed in via a post at Democratic Underground, claiming that the "new crop of right-wingers" in management are incompetent, ignorant and not very good at managing a company.

You can see the bankruptcy filing at The Smoking Gun. Air America is reporting assets of $4 million and debts of $20 million.


Sheldon Drobny
Taylor Marsh
Brent Budowsky


My, how time flies. Yes, your Liberal Talk Radio blog is now entering the terrible twos!

Just don't send me a card like the one pictured above.

Whatever happened to... Katherine Lanpher?

No one seems more surprised about the reinvention of Katherine Lanpher than Lanpher herself. Not so long ago, she was a radio personality in Minnesota, a woman with a career, a house and a husband. But today, only a few years later, she’s become a New Yorker who has built a new life in the West Village. Turning away from radio, she has become a regular essayist for The New York Times and the host of the monthly “Upstairs at the Square” interview and performance event at the Union Square Barnes and Noble. And as of Oct. 10, she has also emerged as a published author, who has already received a glowing four-star book review in People magazine. It is, as she says, “a surreal time.”

Lanpher points to three profound changes in her life as the impetus for her book, “Leap Days: Chronicles of a Midlife Move.” Among them: the loss of a brother, the loss of a husband and the cross-country move which began on Leap Day, 2004 and took the
Minnesota Public Radio talker to her new high-profile position as co-host of the “Al Franken Show” on Air America Radio.

Now a New York resident, living just off Washington Street, Lanpher wrote initially about her experiences as a Minnesotan discovering the Big Apple for the first time in her life, essays which were accepted by the Times and became popular pieces with visitors to

The more she wrote, the more Lanpher started reflecting on the other profound periods of growth in her life, notably her time as a young journalist, her struggle to cope with her brother’s death and her decision to end a marriage. As writing came to consume more of her time, she also made the decision to leave the “Al Franken Show,” focusing instead on developing, writing and editing her “Leap Days.”

Together, these essays offer a candid and honest meditation of a life at the crossroads, a reflection of what it’s like to leave the safety of the familiar and to set out on a journey to discover something entirely new.

You can read more at The Villager, including a brief interview about her life after Air America Radio.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

New documentary: The Story of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders (do they give Purple Hearts for carpal tunnel?)

From Daily Kos:

Regardless of how one feels about the war in Iraq, it seems, everyone agrees that the men and women of our armed forces deserve our praise and gratitude for selflessly placing themselves in harm's way in a dangerous land. Yet there is another group of Americans who have been crucial to our success in the war, who deserve our thanks as well. You may know some of their names: Glenn Reynolds. Michelle Malkin. Jeff Goldstein. Robert Novak. Ann Coulter. But there are countless others, some known only to God. Theirs is a story of courage, determination, and above all, typing. They are the conservative bloggers, pundits, and commentators whose loud and prolific support of Republican foreign policy goals helped change the course of American history in ways that will be felt for many years to come.

They are the men and women--mostly men--who have come to be known as the 101st Fighting Keyboarders. And now, at last, their story can be told.


Part I examined the role the 101st Fighting Keyboarders played in building support for the war during late 2002 and early 2003. Now, in Part II, we learn about the role they played during the invasion and occupation of Iraq: while American troops braved the tanks and guns of Saddam's defense forces in Iraq, the Keyboarders played an equally important role at home, using their bellicose rhetoric to create a crucial bulwark of support for their President. It would come to be known as their finest hour.

This is a very important story of some very brave individuals (snicker), the keyboard commandos who risked their lives fighting the good fight while wearing their pajamas sitting behind their basement computer defending our great country (like I should talk, right?). And now, Paul Henry salutes these armchair quarterbacks for the great patriots (tee hee) that they are. Because, as the saying goes, if you can't be an athlete, become an athletic supporter!

You can see this very entertaining and humorous documentary at War of the Words. The first two installments are up, with more to follow. And you can see the trailor here.

Perhaps this is the documentary that Ken Burns should have done.

Mike Malloy coming back to radio (almost)

From Mike Malloy's site:

Listen to Mike Malloy as he substitutes for Jerry Springer next Thursday and Friday October 19 & 20! Check your local Springer on the Radio affiliates for broadcast times.


We hope to have some good news to share with you in the next few days (as well as our Air America saga), thanks for hanging in there! What a long, strange trip its been.

Yes, indeed. It sounds as if Malloy will return to Air America (somewhat) by way of Springer's morning show, which airs on WSAI in Cincy, WCPT in Chicago and WDTW in Detroit, among other places. The show will be streamed as well. Look for it next week. And there are persistent rumors about a new job for him as well, but we'll have to wait for that.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

KEZX/Medford, OR flips to progressive talk (sort of)

Al Franken picks up a new affiliate soon as KEZX (730AM) in Medford, OR will soon dump their current easy listening format and switch to talk. But, it doesn't look like they'll be a typical Northwest progressive talk station.

In addition to Franken, the station will also air Don Imus and Neal Boortz. Yes, you heard that right. The management, in their infinite wisdom, thinks it will be a strong competitor in the market with a delayed Imus in the morning drive shift and C-list conservative screamer Boortz.

This newspaper article makes it look like KEZX is doing something cutting edge. No. Not to put down Medford, but it seems like 'cutting edge' talk radio there has a much different meaning than in other places. KEZX's new format will be what General Manager Dean Flock considers an alternative to the area's conservative outlets.

"There are two right-wing talkers in town and they're both going after the same audience," Flock said. "There's a large audience of people who have an alternative viewpoint. We felt this was a need that hadn't been satisfied in this market. It's not the most popular perspective in Southern Oregon, but there is a large Democrat and independent vote in the area."

"This is a format that has had some success on the West Coast and other parts of the United States," Flock said. "It has also faltered in places."

Unfortunately, Flock doesn't seem to understand the format. Progressive talkers on the West Coast are succeeding with an all-progressive talk format, and personalities such as Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann. Liberals are not going to listen to Boortz and likely nobody will listen to Imus (who does rather poorly outside of East Coast markets). Flock's vision of the format is not exactly the same thing that's being done in other West Coast markets. KPOJ and KPTK are benchmark stations for upper Northwest progressive talk stations. They do very well. Only problem is, KEZX's planned format seems a bit far off that template. Even KTTH in Corvallis and KOPT in Eugene are full-blown progressive talk.

There is no mention in the article what the rest of the schedule will look like. But it is assumed that Imus will be delayed, since he is on during morning drive in the Eastern time zone, which translates to a 3AM start in the West. And since Franken and Boortz air their shows at the same time, it looks like at least one of them will be delayed.

Sure, a liberal/conservative mix of talk can work, and I admire stations that do this, but if KEZX is looking to compete in what seems to be a rather crowded Medford talk market, I'm not sure this is the way to go. As far as I'm concerned, an all-or-nothing approach would be a better route to take. Either they're true progressive talk or they're not. If KEZX is planning to go to war against their much stronger competition, they need to truly offer something different. Imus and Boortz aren't all that different. Better to go with hosts like Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann or Schultz. Al Franken will not prop up a station on his own.

The station will compete against the market's public radio offerings, and particularly with top-rated KMED, home of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glen Beck, and KCMX, which gets the leftovers (Bill O'Reilly, Lars Larson) and the usual conservocrap from TRN (Laura Ingraham, Jerry Doyle, and Michael Savage). Which begs the question: If they're looking for something different than the competiton, why Boortz? On a so-called 'progressive talk' station? Who knows?

I guess Medford listeners will just have to stay tuned. No flip date has been announced, since they're still trying to work out some technical issues in regard to the satellite and automation stuff.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A tale of two talkers (Creative Loafing talks to Mike Malloy)

You want to know about the sorry state of talk radio in America -- and Atlanta? Consider the fates of two homeboys, Neal Boortz and Mike Malloy.

They used to do the right-left gig when both aired on WSB radio and CNN. That was when broadcasting had balance, when Malloy and Boortz defined the limits of debate. And when there were 400 owners of stations. Now, there are a half-dozen mega-corporations.

"Malloy and I were a good example of how two people can disagree so harshly on matters, yet still get along in the real world," Boortz recalls.

Their fates since those halcyon days tell a lot about American media, as well as our disintegrating political culture. And two anecdotes illustrate how right-wing media have captured unparalleled access to power, in return for whoring themselves out as propagandists, while left radio is all but DOA.

On Sept. 15, five members of the Vast Right-Wing Radio Conspiracy were summoned for a private soiree with George Bush. The topic was hush-hush. Gee, I wonder if the quintet was being given its pre-election marching orders to ratchet up fear and defame Democrats. Or to create smoke screens to protect Republicans from criticism about the rich-win-poor-lose economy, their inattention to America's critical needs, their attacks on liberty, and that awful, bloody disaster deceitfully spun as Bush's "war on terror."

The secrecy was undone by Boortz, however. On Sept. 16, he breathlessly proclaimed on his website how he, Sean Hannity, Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved and Laura Ingraham -- a group that has amassed an incredible record of lies, distortion and bigotry -- had the day before been allowed to grovel at Fearless Leader's feet.

Keep that picture in mind.

About two weeks earlier, on Aug. 30, Malloy, who had a daily late-evening gig on the liberal Air America network, was driving to a studio to substitute for another host. En route, he got a call from Jon Sinton, an Atlanta radio veteran who had been, at Air America's birth in March 2004, the network's main man for programming. Sinton describes his current role as "very informally involved."

Despite Sinton's exile, he'd been tapped to deliver bad news to his old pal Malloy: The ax had already fallen, with money as the excuse.

Booting Malloy "was very stupid," Sinton says. "Malloy in many ways was the heart and soul of Air America."

Malloy, who was denied a goodbye broadcast, says: "Even WSB didn't dump me as unceremoniously as Air America did. They didn't notify me or the affiliates. Hell, the affiliates went berserk. 'Where's Malloy?' they demanded."

Check out more from this interesting article at Creative Loafing. In it, an industry columnist's take on the liberal talk format, a little about Evan Cohen and the whole Gloria Wise mess that Brian Baloney orgasms over, and more.

Speaking of Malloy, here's an update from his site:

Still no official radio news to report, but of the three radio opportunities we've been writing about, one is now out of the picture, one remains unchanged (but seems to be cooling off as time passes) and one has become slightly more likely. The bad news is that we do not have a concrete time frame as to when we'll be back on the air. As you know we are very eager to get back behind that mic! We do hope it will be before the end of the month.

As for media news: Here's an article in the latest issue of Creative Loafing. Mike was also recently interviewed by salon.com for an article they're writing about Air America Radio past, present, and future. Atlanta Magazine is also considering an article, or at least a blog.

We're still working on a few issues before we can openly reveal what we've come to believe is the backstory to our untimely dismissal from Air America. You better get out a flow chart because there are more twists and turns than entire seasons of "Lost" and "24" combined. It is truly bizarre.

And it's come to our attention that there are one or two Internet efforts underway to initiate some kind of independent syndication for the Mike Malloy Show. We want to thank all those folks who are working to establish a self-syndicating operation for us. As we've stated in response to your many inquiries via email, we are awaiting official word from a couple of traditional radio outlets before we delve into the world of at-home syndication or netcasting.

We do remain confident that the Mike Malloy Show will be picked up by a network very soon. If not, then we'll certainly entertain all these other opportunities and generous offers in the near future. As always, we so appreciate your support and efforts on our behalf.In fact, your email, calls, and petitions are tremendously helpful. It certainly is a big boost to our morale and is noticed by potential radio outlets as well. Thank you thank you thank you so much, we'll be in touch.

Watch your back,


Oh, and Malloy fans can catch him on MSNBC on Sunday 10/08 at 2PM ET.

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