Air America $20 million in debt
Mon Oct 16 10:26:46 EDT 2006

As a small market program director for ten years, I saw first hand how our 
already limited budgets were cut even further when we were assimilated by 
large corporations.  This made it even more difficult to hire local, weekend 
talk talent (or even news talent, for that matter).  The same is true with 
music format stations.  Where is the farm team?  We have been eating our 
seed corn for almost twenty years now.  As we have seen, relying on talent 
from outside the business is problematic, at best.  Unfortunately, with my 
understanding of the economics of the business of small market radio, I am 
not optimistic that this trend will turn around anytime soon.

Dan Pierce
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Donna Halper" <>
To: <>; "Bob Nelson" <>; 
"" <>; 
Sent: Saturday, October 14, 2006 1:29 PM
Subject: Re: Air America $20 million in debt

> At 11:10 AM 10/14/2006, Dan P. wrote:
>>The first job of a radio talk show host is to entertain.  The second job 
>>is to entertain.  The third job is to entertain.  Therefore, the first job 
>>of the people who are putting a talk radio network together is to HIRE 
>>ENTERTAINING PEOPLE.  Ed Schulz is a case in point.  He is entertaining to 
>>listen to, therefore, he gathers an audience, therefore, his show makes 
>>money.  Ted O'Brien was entertaining when paired with Janet Jeghelian, as 
>>a solo act, not so much.  The list goes on.  As Donna has said, Air 
>>America made numerous poor business decisions, but the first, in my 
>>estimation, was hiring a set of hosts primarily for their Progressive 
>>credentials, rather than their ability to put on an entertaining talk 
>>radio show.
> Oh Dan, you have said it even better than I did, and I commend you.  This 
> ain't about ideology.  It's about entertainment. I know Al Franken.  He 
> and I are not close pals, but I do know the guy.  He is passionate about 
> politics-- that's not an act.  He cares deeply about America.  That too is 
> for real.  And he disagrees with the Bush Administration on many issues. 
> That's his right as a human being and as an American.  BUT none of that 
> makes his show interesting, even though he has some outstanding guests. 
> Many times, networks make the mistake of choosing somebody famous and 
> figuring their fame will make them sound good on radio-- Jerry Springer is 
> a case in point.  Clear Channel thought Jerry's fame as a crazed talk show 
> host would translate to numbers doing a political talk show.  Alas, those 
> who wanted to hear Jerry on the radio wanted to hear about men who are 
> saving up for a sex change or women who secretly love sheep or whatever 
> else is on Jerry's TV show.  They don't wanna hear his political views.  I 
> can think of a number of TV talk shows that came and went because the 
> "famous" host turned out to be dull and incapable of keeping the 
> audience's interest.
> But this all speaks to a bigger issue, one I have howled about for years. 
> Whether you are a rightie, a leftie or a moderate, we all agree there are 
> only a handful of REALLY ENTERTAINING talk hosts.  If they died tomorrow, 
> who would fill their shoes?  Since consolidation, with voice tracking and 
> syndication an easier and cheaper option, many smaller stations, where 
> such talent used to be developed, no longer train the next generation of 
> hosts.  As a result, people are put on the air before they are ready, and 
> boy it sounds awful.

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