Rumors are flying that Air America, the long-troubled left-wing talk radio network, has finally exhausted its benefactors’ patience and is about to file for bankruptcy. National Review’s Media Blog has a report, as do many other sources.
I don’t know whether Air America will file this week, but it seems pretty inevitable some time soon. I’d like to think this reflects Americans’ lack of interest in left-wing radio, and to some extent I think that’s true. But part of the problem was undoubtedly the sheer incompetence of the Air America radio personalities. Talk radio, contrary, apparently, to popular belief, isn’t easy, and Al Franken, Randi Rhodes et al. didn’t begin to measure up.
I can’t resist a trip down memory lane to January 2005, when I made my only appearance on Air America as a guest on Al Franken’s show. It was, I am sorry to say, the worst fifteen minutes of radio I’ve ever been involved in. Franken dismissed the subject his producer had told me we were going to discuss, and spent the entire time trying to argue with me about whether or not he–Franken–is funny. I informed him regretfully that I haven’t watched Saturday Night Live since the 1970s and have no idea whether he is funny or not. The conversation went downhill from there; you can read more here, and maybe even listen to the audio. I haven’t checked to see whether the link is still good. The pall that hung over the interview was the thought that I, and probably every listener to the show–all 20 or 30–were having at that time: Al, if you want to prove to your audience that you’re funny, why don’t you say something funny? That thought, alas, never occurred to Franken, and the interview passed into radio infamy.
Other than my own brief experience, I’ve never listened to Air America, but based on that close encounter with ineptitude, my only question is: what took so long?
UPDATE: Michellle Malkin, not surprisingly, has more. She and her colleague Brian Maloney documented the fact that Air America was not only inept, but corrupt:
You know, if Brian Maloney were a liberal blogger who had single-handedly blown the whistle on the financial shenanigans of a conservative radio conglomerate, he would be the toast of the media establishment. He’d be invited on all the prime-time talk shows. He’d be a “Person of the Week” on the nightly news. He’d get a profile in People magazine. But he won’t get any of that.
No, of course not. But he may get more traffic at his site, The Radio Equalizer. One can only imagine the media frenzy that would accompany the bankruptcy of, say, Rush Limbaugh’s show. But we’re not telling you anything new.