Seder's been at the troubled Air America from the beginning. A close-in source says he'll probably take a Sunday afternoon show as a consolation prize.
"It's like a gold watch," she said. "Besides, they'd owe him a shit load of severance."
Who's next in the 9a-12p (East coast) time slot? Mark Green told the staff Thursday that the person hadn't been locked in, but should be by Monday or Tuesday.
"We think," he said brightly to the troubled assemblage, "you'll love the replacement."
It's been a death of a thousand cuts- not great for a slasher film plot, but serves a passive-aggressive (read chicken shit) executive AAR executive well.
In February, chief operating officer Scott Elberg, the network's corporate Jason Voorhees, and sixth CEO in three years, slashed Seder's budget and salary by 40%.
Elberg is a veteran radio guy, and was the last AAR man standing after the bankruptcy. Many however, say Elberg simply doesn't even believe in the liberal talk format.
"He voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004," staffers grumble.
Elberg never worked in a network or in syndication, they say, "He's a sales manager."
The whole deal is mysterious. It's not based on data because there isn't much- there's been no full book since Seder inherited in September from Jerry Springer, who'd bled ratings from that key anchoring position before he was finally fired.
It's not that Seder lost affiliates-of the twenty two stations Seder got from Springer, he lost nine when he took over- eight of which were lost because stations dumped the format, and the ninth, KTRC in Santa Fe actually flipped back after two months. He picked up a few more- his affiliates now number 16.
New owner, Mark Green reportedly told people he wanted "less substance" in the 9-ta-noon timeslot. Hence they offered it, to no avail to comedian Marc Maron, and tried unsuccessfully to get Jones Radio's Stephanie Miller with her comedic format.
Many think Elberg is enamored with Free FM "hot talk," the testosteronic, hyper-sexual audio foreplay like Anthony & Opie, or The Radio Chick except he'd have it with politics- a coupling of hot libs with hot libidos in sweaty, partisan, lizard-brain, 9-ta-noon, weekdaily orgies.
"I think he [Elberg] thought Maron could morph into that," says one staffer, "and when Maron balked, he'd gotten himself in a position he couldn't back off of- that there was something wrong with Sam's program."
Elberg really wanted Maron back on; and, says a staffer, he first tried to can Randi Rhodes, "but the minority partners refused to let him."
AAR may try to blame Sam Seder saying it's poor performance- not unlike the Bushies firing of the U.S. Attorneys for incompetence that turned out to be apocryphal.
But Air America's problems have never been with the product- Jerry Springer was the only real programming failure- the real fuck-up is that they never figured out how to monetize liberal talk.
It can be done because Jones Radio, (Stephanie Miller, Ed Shultz, Bill Press) is doing it.
Sam Seder, 40, is a talented guy- a comedian, writer, author, actor, film director, television producer-director and we're sure he'll never not make a good living. We sure hope he'll stay in radio- he's smart, glib, funny, and well-connected.
As listeners and progressives, Seder's firing portends worse for Air America than it does for him.