User:TUFKAAP/Air America goes silent, files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

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{{tasks|mos|re-review}} Sunday, January 24, 2010

The logo for Air America.

Air America, the progressive talk radio network founded in 2004 that focused on and syndicated progressive and liberal commentators and issues and was intended to be an opposite to conservative talk radio has ceased broadcasting and intends to file for Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy.

A statement has been posted on Air America's website, by the chairman of Air America Media, Charlie Kireker. The statement read, "It is with the greatest regret, on behalf of our Board, that we must announce that Air America Media is ceasing its live programming operations as of this afternoon, and that the Company will file soon under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code to carry out an orderly winding-down of the business."

Cquote1.svg It is with the greatest regret, on behalf of our Board, that we must announce that Air America Media is ceasing its live programming operations as of this afternoon, and that the Company will file soon under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code to carry out an orderly winding-down of the business. Cquote2.svg

—Statement on Air America's website

The statement pointed out the current economic situation saying, The very difficult economic environment has had a significant impact on Air America's business. This past year has seen a "perfect storm" in the media industry generally. National and local advertising revenues have fallen drastically, causing many media companies nationwide to fold or seek bankruptcy protection."

Adding, "From large to small, recent bankruptcies like Citadel Broadcasting and closures like that of the industry's long-time trade publication Radio and Records have signaled that these are very difficult and rapidly changing times."

However, Air America has had stability problems since it's founding 2004. This is not the first time the company behind the network has filed for bankruptcy. The company filed for Chapter 11 reorganizational bankruptcy in March 2006. The network has also suffered from turnover with executives and owners.

The radio network, which had over 100 affiliated stations, hosted well-known personalities such as comedian Al Franken, who hosted The Al Franken Show, which was billed as the network's flagship program, from 2004 to 2007 when he left his show and the network to run for the United States Senate. The radio network has also brought other liberal commentators much exposure such as Rachel Maddow, who hosted The Rachel Maddow Show on the network.

Maddow gained prominence when she started appearing on the cable news network MSNBC which eventually culminated in her receiving her own television show, aptly-named, The Rachel Maddow Show. Her radio show on Air America now most consists of audio from television show broadcast the night before. Other commentators on the network with their own shows consisted of Randi Rhodes, Thom Hartmann, Mike Malloy, Sam Seeder and most recently Montel Willams.

Sam Seeder's response to the network's shutdown was, "The fact of the matter was, it was always a very challenging business proposition, and it never had the right management." He added, “Radio is a dying industry.” Seeder hosted programs on Air America up until last year.

According to The New York Times, Maddow declined to comment and Senator Franken's office could not be reached. Other progressive talk hosts such as Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller are unaffected by the shutdown because their shows and content are syndicated by other distributors and were never affiliated with Air America. Miller's executive producer, Chris Lavoie wrote on his Twitter page, "We’re NOT affected by the shutdown of Air America!"

Many of the radio hosts featured on Air America will be unaffected because they have either left the network, or switched to a different company to syndicate their shows.

Alan Colmes, a liberal commentator for the Fox News Channel wrote on his blog, "Its demise is, sadly, not a shock, but will certainly be misinterpreted and overstated by conservatives who love to pontificate about how liberals can’t make it in broadcasting and who will dance on Air America’s grave."

Colmes continued saying, "I look at radio as a broadcaster, not as a liberal." He noted, "Their business model in larger markets was pay-for-play, an expensive proposition often without financial return. Because conservatives were so entrenched on heritage stations, the progressives on Air America were relegated to smaller, less powerful, under-performing signals that could not compete with their more established counterparts; certainly not without lots of promotion and time to develop, both of which were denied in most cases."

Air America's statement closed by saying, "We are proud that Air America's mission lives on through the words and actions of so many former radio hosts who are active today in progressive causes and media nationwide. In the years ahead, as we look back, we should all be proud of our passionate determination to assure that our nation's progressive voice would be heard loud and clear. Through the hard work and dedication of current staff, and those who preceded you, a lasting legacy was forged which will now continue through other voices and venues."


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