Hey, remember hearing about “Air America” when it went live? Back then, former comedian (and now Senator) Al Franken had a show, along with “comedienne” Janeane Garofalo. The anti-conservative station has succumbed to the dark days of the economy and released a statement concerning the closing of its doors today, and we’ve got the details below. You know, if you’re champing at the bit to read ’em, my gentle Examiner readers…
Surely this will be of interest to a few Air America fans out there, but then, they’re probably already aware: Air America’s gone under. The liberal talk station started back in March of 2004 (and declared bankruptcy back in ’06), and– according to the press release today– it’s become another victim of the economy. Here’s the statement Air America released:
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.
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. 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.
Those companies that remain are facing audience fragmentation as a result of new media technologies, are often saddled with crushing debt, and have generally found it difficult to obtain operating or investment capital from traditional sources of funding. In this climate, our painstaking search for new investors has come close several times right up into this week, but ultimately fell short of success.
With radio industry ad revenues down for 10 consecutive quarters, and reportedly off 21% in 2009, signs of improvement have consisted of hoping things will be less bad. And though Internet/new media revenues are projected to grow, our expanding online efforts face the same monetization and profitability challenges in the short term confronting the Web operations of most media companies
When Air America Radio launched in April, 2004 with already-known personalities like Al Franken and then-unknown future stars like Rachel Maddow, it was the only full-time progressive voice in the mainstream broadcast media world. At a critical time in our nation’s history — when dissent on issues such as the Iraq war were often denounced as “un-American” — Air America and its talented team helped millions of Americans remember the importance of compelling discussion about the most pivotal events and decisions of our generation.
Through some 100 radio outlets nationwide, Air America helped build a new sense of purpose and determination among American progressives. With this revival, the progressive movement made major gains in the 2006 mid-term elections and, more recently, in the election of President Barack Obama and a strongly Democratic Congress.
Laws have changed for the better thanks to this revival…..but all the same our company cannot escape the laws of economics. So we intend a rapid, orderly closure over the next few days. All current employees will be paid through today, January 21. A severance package will be offered tomorrow to full-time current employees with more than six months of tenure.
We will strive to assist affiliates and partners in achieving a smooth transition. Starting at 6 pm EST today, we will provide our affiliates, listeners and users a selection of encore programming until 9 pm EST on Monday, January 25, at which time Air America programming will end.
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.
Now, normally, I wouldn’t run a block quote that long, but you try editing that monster. To begin with, you’d actually have to read the whole thing, and this blogger’s willing to bet there are roughly 40 people nationwide who bothered. Look, it’s not that I have anything against Air America (Janeane Garofalo, however, does suck), it’s just that I kinda fell asleep just glancing at the text above. But again, surely there’s someone out there reading this that’s interested.
For the record, Air America featured many people besides anti-conservative comedians, such as Steve Earle, Randi Rhodes, Ron Reagan, and Jerry Springer. If you feel moved enough to do so, feel free to leave a comment concerning your feelings about Air America’s going off the air below, my precious snowflakes. Or, feel free to head on over to one of these other recent Comedy Examiner articles:
FUNNY VIDEO: WEATHERMAN IS JUST BEGGING TO BE FIRED (WITH VIDEO)– in which we check out the “Funny Video of The Day”, featuring a weatherman who doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut.
LETTERMAN BLACKMAILER ATTEMPTS THE NOTORIOUS “BUT IT WAS OK WHEN TIGER WOODS’ MISTRESSES DID IT!” DEFENSE, FAILS– in which we check in with the ongoing blackmail scandal over at Letterman’s “Late Show”.
FUNNY VIDEO: NORM MACDONALD STOPS BY “THE TONIGHT SHOW” TO CONGRATULATE CONAN ON GETTING THE HOSTING GIG ON “THE TONIGHT SHOW” (WITH VIDEO)– in which Norm MacDonald’s waaay too late to the party.
FUNNY VIDEO: CONAN O’BRIEN AND JAY LENO GET INTO A FISTFIGHT (WITH VIDEO)– Sure, it ain’t really Conan and Leno, but dammit if it’s not still funny.