Air America $20 million in debt

Donna Halper
Fri Oct 13 14:23:49 EDT 2006

At 12:27 PM 10/13/2006, Bob Nelson wrote:
>The network declared Ch. 11 bankruptcy today (ability to stay on air
>while they reorganize and pay off debt). The Smoking Gun has details;
>they owe $20 million (assets of $4 million)
>including almost $10 million to Rob Glaser of Real Networks and $360,000 to
>Al Franken.

My well-informed sources (people inside Air America Radio) say that a 
large chunk of the money Al is owed is money HE lent Air America 
during some times of financial crisis, just to keep it on the 
air.  And one other well-informed source who is with a competitor 
tells me Al is quietly shopping his show around to see if he can 
place it elsewhere, in the event AAR doesn't get back on firm 
financial ground.  There was a myth from Bill O'Lie-ly that Al was 
being paid 500,000 a year or something-- I've seen some of the 
financials, and no he wasn't paid anything close to that.  Like him 
or not, Al really believes in progressive radio, and while AAR has 
been run by some pretty inept people (including the dishonest 
original founder, Evan Cohen, who incidentally was a long-time 
Republican and supporter of Bush the Daddy... I only mention that 
because some of those who are gloating on the right are ignoring that 
a rightie is one of those who started this entire set of problems, 
which AAR then compounded with some incredibly bad management decisions.)

Interestingly, if it's "liberal talk" that is a failure, why are the 
Ed Schultz Show and the Stephanie Miller Show, both syndicated by the 
Jones Radio Network, either breaking even (Stephanie) or making a 
profit (Ed)...  AAR's problems are more complicated than "oh 
progressive talk can't work."  We've discussed this before, and I 
don't wanna beat a dead horese, so I'll just remind everyone from the 
right that it took Limbaugh SEVEN YEARS to become a successful 
talker, and sponsors were hesitant about being on his show then, just 
like many are hesitant to start off with progressive talk now.  But 
when talk shows are interesting and are on stations where you can 
actually hear their signal, and when there is a promotion budget to 
support some outside events to bring in new cume, there are a number 
of markets where progressive hosts are getting very good 
numbers.  The format is just 2 years old-- let's not write it off 
because AAR has never figured out how to run their business cost-effectively... 

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