Sunday, January 24, 2010

Time Mourns Air America's Demise

Leave it to the Obama-worshipping Time Magazine to mourn for the recently deceased Air America:

Financed by some, but clearly not enough, liberal fat cats hoping to provide a countervoice to right-wing radio, Air America lurched to life amid chaos and suspicious bookkeeping that nearly sank the network in its first few months. Flouting received radio wisdom that one strong host creates the strongest listener identity, Air America began with teams in each three-hour time slot, typically pairing a comedian (Marc Maron, Lizz Winstead, Franken) with a radio veteran (Mark Riley, Maddow, Katherine Lanpher). Evenings, radio novices Garofalo and Seder held a yearlong, on-the-air school of self-taught broadcasting. Nobody in charge realized that talking every weekday on the radio is a learned art. Standup comics — who hone their material into 10-minute bits rather than letting it sail for hours on end, and need to be wired, not radio-relaxed — are exactly the wrong people for this job.

The one solo flyer, Randi Rhodes, in the afternoon drive-time slot, showed the network how it's done. Braying and abrasive, funny and whip-smart, Rhodes had what Limbaugh had: a distinctive voice that made people tune in for her next insight or outrage. She built a large, loyal audience — Air America's only show with more than 1.5 million listeners.

Even for a Leftard shill like Richard Corliss, this is a pretty far reach, but it explains exactly why Air America turned into such a limp, foul blimp.

Shows like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage don't rely on 'fat cats' to support them - they earned their audience the old-fashioned way, by building it over time and selling advertising based on their ever increasing numbers.

And the 'suspicious bookkeeping'? How about blatantly stealing money from charity funds earmarked for underprivileged children with the aid of some of those Lefty fat cats? Karma, anyone?

As for the wisdom of pairing a bunch of decidedly unfunny comedians and Hollywood types who knew nothing about the medium with radio types from the likes of Pacifica and NPR, Corliss finds an acorn like the proverbial blind pig without fully realizing it.

Almost all of Air America's on-air personnel had spent their entire public lives in a Leftist bubble,whether it was it Hollywood or on taxpayer supported public radio. None of them had ever actually had to compete for audiences before, let alone deal with debate, and it showed.

A confession - being the type of person who enjoys seeing both sides of things (if nothing else than just to get an idea of what arguments the Left is using) I was actually excited when Air America first came on. I figured,naively, that it would be a Left-bent version of Limbaugh or Hannity's shows, with the air personalities actually defending their views on air with the callers while the sparks flew.

I should have known better.

Every time I tuned in, I listened until I literally couldn't stand any more of the lame, boring gibberish and DNC talking points that passed for content. Rather than a forum for debate, the hosts simply repeated the same old crap while screening calls to make sure that no one - and I mean no one - with an opposing view got on the air. Every once in a long while, an obvious and easily destroyed cretin would make it on to make the hosts look good, but other than that, sheer echo chamber.

Even worse was the not-so-occasional excursions into actual sedition. I personally heard Randi Rhodes, the foul mouthed Leftard harridan Corliss extols above as a shining example live on the air encourage our troops in Iraq to desert and call for President Bush to be treated like Fredo in the 'Godfather':"You take him out in a boat, give him two behind the ear and badda-bing badda boom, it's all over."

She was not fired or even suspended by Air America for gems like that. But it's a key to why she had only 1.5 million listeners ( and I personally doubt she had that many) in afternoon drive opposed to the sort of numbers Limbaugh ( 22 milion listeners and growing, every day), Levin or Hannity pull in.

And here's another little secret Corliss would rather not tell you...Air America only lasted as long as it did because it was supported by right wing radio!

For instance, in Los Angeles, if you bought advertising on the local Clear Channel right wing talk station at KFI, you also automatically got spots on the local Air America outlet, KTLK,which Clear Channel also owned. So if you were paying to advertise on Rush Limbaugh's show, the same spots would automatically appear on Ed Schultz or Randi Rhodes.

The same pattern existed in most of the rest of Air America's markets, with a conservative talk radio networkpaying the freight for Lefty radio.

And that's what actually brought Air America down. With diminished advertising revenues because of the economic climate, companies like Clear Channel simply decided that carrying Air America stations with hardly any audience simply no longer made economic sense.

Good riddance. And contrary to what Corliss has to say,they won't be missed at all.

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