Air America files for bankruptcy
Apparently a combination of bad management and less-than-stellar ratings has brought down the liberal version of rightie talk radio, which is known by the flag-waving name Air America. I hadn't heard about the poor management of the company, but as to the talent: I've tuned in before, and I can't say I was ever too impressed. I guess the idea is in some ways good, but the idea of a carbon-copy liberal counterpart to the right-wing partisan blather of Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, Liddy, et al strikes me as, well, illiberal.
The right-wing noise radio is predicated on the notion that there are a lot of angry people out there that don't want thinking to clutter up their opinions. And while I've met some thickheaded, obstinate people who clew to the political left, I don't think there are as many of them out there to sufficiently savor this politics-cum-circus that right-wing radio breeds. I always had the suspicion that Air America wouldn't thrive, and even if the business side were well managed, I'd stand by my conviction.
A better angle would probably be to create a center- to left-of-center news station and shuffle in commentary shows, talk shows, rant shows, satire shows... put them out there and see what happens. Some would likely succeed and some would likely fail, just like on regular TV stations. Where Air America is concerned, it had big names and probably the big egos that come with them, which would make innovation difficult. Couple that with the big ambition that it had, spreading all over the place instead of concentrating on succeeding in one or two markets first, it seems they tried to accomplish too much with too much. While you might think that's possible, apparently it isn't.
Bottom line: you can't take the conservative formula and make it work for liberal content. Conservatives and liberals approach this kind of thing in fundamentally different ways, and their numbers tend to be more concentrated in fundamentally different demographics. Liberals need a new formula. I hope they find it.
Oh, and by the way: if anyone out there needs a writer for some sort of liberal comedy show, I've got a portfolio to show you! ;-) Seriously, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm getting sick of nine-to-fiving it!