First, the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts severely damaged the prospects for the vital Obama health care measure. Then the same old men who gave us George W. Bush in a radical, precedentless decision made another one Thursday which will open elections to floods of corporate money, a boon for the right (they’re crowing).
Then Air America suddenly turned off the lights.
The downfall is more symbolic than anything- but AAR was nonetheless a potent symbol of liberalism, and easy whipping boy of the right.
Born (like this blog) in the dark days after the excruciating re-election of George W. Bush, the always struggling little media company long had huge problems which included a bankruptcy, a crooked CEO, and problems we have chronicled since 2005. Major supplier of talk product, locus of liberal power- the little company never was.Under capitalized, Air America's was a slagging revenues problem (not a political one) in an economy where giant media corps are cutting way back and disappearing.
Always a problem for liberal radio is that more on the right- mainly because they're older, white men- listen to ayem radio. Always have. Conservatives have always been dominant on ayem radio, starting way-back-when with Walter Winchell, Father Coughlin, Morton Downey Sr., and the evangelical preachers. In the modern age they, (and ayem radio) got a jump-start with Rush who brilliantly converted his skills as a Top-40 AM jock to sell political talk to the large, boomer male demographic.
Liberals, women, the young and people of color use other media. Problem for radio, but great for politics. Conservatives' domination is of a smaller and smaller radio pie.
An example is our local progressive station, KPTK, which is, this month, typically 25th in this market which votes overwhelmingly progressive. Conservatives like hypermanic mono-programming they always agree with wedged in between ad spots for cheap products.
Even as poorly rated as it is, the majority of KPTK’s programming- its most popular shows- were not from AAR, such as Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, Ed Schultz, Norman Goldman, Bill Press, and Mike Malloy. Air America's demise won't much effect the station.
Ron Reagan is the most significant host to be displaced. He's a hometown guy, so we'll be listening for news of his inevitable return to the air.That liberal talk won’t sell because it’s liberal, is a right-wing talking point that suits their politics but doesn’t hold up.
Good broadcasting, left or right is successful. Poor talent, bad broadcasting isn't. Hasn't much to do with their politics.
We can thank AAR for Senator Al Franken; and brilliant and lovable teevee MSNBC commentator, Rachel Maddow.
Guess we'll have to settle for that.