Air America, RIP

Donna Halper
Fri Jan 22 13:38:09 EST 2010

At 11:30 AM 1/22/2010, wrote:

>And the failure of Air America/prog talk in Boston of course makes 
>conservatives smile; "if it can't succeed there..." Despite the 
>image of Boston as being liberal, some of the more successful talk 
>shows are right-leaning (Carr, Rea, Severin) and they capture the 
>white, mostly male, middle aged, suburban audience...but one would 
>think the left-to-center audience is pretty sizable, too. As I've 
>said before, do they prefer music, or NPR, or...

I have never bought the argument that liberal talk "failed" here.  I 
say this as a consultant, not as a proponent of progressive 
talk.  (And I've been very outspoken on both the ineffective way the 
Air America folks ran their network and the pitiful amount of support 
Clear Channel provided when they ran their incarnation of progressive 
talk here.)  It took Rush Limbaugh FIVE YEARS to become successful, 
yet progressive talk was expected to succeed in a year.  It took a 
massive amount of cash and big promotion (and pandering to a large 
and angry and "aggrieved" group of people) to get conservative talk 
off the ground.  And yes, it took the elimination of the Fairness 
Doctrine so that one viewpoint was allowed to predominate without any 
need to offer time to the other side.  I still say that the best 
progressive talkers will continue to make money and get ratings in a 
number of cities.  The soap opera story of Air America did 
progressive talk no favors, but the format had a lot of other 
circumstances going against it.  

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