Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Commentary: Air America is jumping the shark

Let's face it, who does the management team at Air America listen to anyway? Aside from the voices in their own heads. Certainly not their listeners. And definitely not some pissant blogger like me. Air America all too often seems to be a network run solely on strong egos. And that's why they jumped the shark

Go to LTR original
Now that the smoke has cleared and the dust has settled somewhat, we can now take a step back and assess the whole Randi Rhodes/Air America/Nova M game of musical chairs that took place this past week, as Rhodes prepares to relaunch her show from West Palm Beach, FL today. We can take a look at the winners and losers in all of this, and perhaps speculate about the future of liberal talk radio.
Rhodes discussed her move in two interviews the night of her move. First, she appeared in a brief segment on "Larry King Live." Next, she was on the phone at her new employer, Nova M Radio. Another former Air America host, Marc Maron, was guest hosting for Mike Malloy, and was able to get Rhodes to come on and talk candidly about what happened. She also spoke with Nicole Sandler of her Miami affiliate, WINZ (mp3).

So far, the rollout of the show is going exceptionally well, says Nova M Radio CEO John Manzo, who told Radio & Records, "Many affiliates came in one big block, namely the Clear Channel stations," and "another slew committed after the deal was official." Manzo says the smaller independent stations are still being reached out to, but he "hasn't heard a firm 'no' yet from anyone," adding, "In fact, I can't recall getting so much industry support for a single move ever before." Some stations are holding out, however, with WWRL in New York and WROC in Rochester among those carrying Air America's fill-in programming. WWKB in Buffalo will supposedly bring back Rhodes, and WCPT in Chicago, WXXM in Madison and WVKO in Columbus are still thinking about it. A complete list of updated (shocking!) affiliates can now be found on Nova M's site.

Meanwhile, Air America, after throwing all their eggs in one basket and spending the past year positioning Rhodes as their marquee personality, was left with an embarrassingly large hole in the middle of their broadcast schedule. In addition, Rhodes' departure will possibly take away a huge chunk of Air America's listed affiliates, the ones that aired only Rhodes' offering from the network. Taking a cue from Arthur Fonzarelli, was the Rhodes ordeal the point where Air America, pardon the cliche, 'jumped the shark?'


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