Friday, January 22, 2010

Progressive Talk Radio Outgrows Air America

You might be surprised to learn that progressive talk radio is still doing well even as the Air America Network succumbs to the recession. Let's look at actual cases:
  • Ed Schultz Show - still on radio, and now on TV. Schultz was never on Air America. Air America is a network that has never carried Ed Schultz. Schultz was the preferred programming in his time slot for some stations that also carried Air America.
  • Randi Rhodes - still on radio.
  • Stephanie Miller - like Schultz, never on Air America, and still on radio.
  • Thom Hartmann - still on radio; new books coming out all the time. 
Of actual Air America Radio on-air talent:
New progressive talkers are cropping up, e.g. Norman Goldman., Nicole Sandler at Radio or Not.
Progressive talk radio stations continue, e.g. AM1090 Seattle KPTK.

Air America had a bad business model. Radio insiders tell me they were staffheavy, focussing on writing rather than entertaining, lively "talent". IMO this might work for the corporately funded NPR or Saturday Night Live, but radio is all about the on-air talent most of which (you'll note from the list above) ran their own operations or graduated to the Senate. It's worth noting that, unlike Fox, AAR didn't have a wealthy backer willing to loses millions of dollars for nearly a decade before turning a profit. AAR brought some nice publicity to progressive radio and its alumni include 1 more successful senator than Fox, but its departure just makes it another American in economic trouble.

It was a good experiment but nothing lasts forever. Enjoy Thom, Stephanie, Ed and all!

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