656 Hot Air America
The newly dead liberal talk radio network was on life support for all its life, about six years. It's not the death of all liberal talk radio, although what's left isn't voluminous. Hartmann, Schultz, Henican and a handful of others. But there's no longer a main player in the field, and what we have left is the extreme right, which is getting more extreme by the day, hence Hot Air America. No major counter voice. No major place where like minded companies, such as there are of them, can advertise.
Everyone has an opinion about why it failed, and they're all different and they're all right. Al Franken abandoned his pioneer program to run for Senate. They never recovered from that. His show wasn't much. But the name recognition was important.
They were over ambitious, under funded and managed like, well, a typical radio station, which is to say ineptly. That kind of management doesn't work on a national level. (It really doesn't work on a local level, either, but somehow the badly run locals soldier on.)
Without Franken, who was left? Rachel Madow emerged from the herd and became a TV superstar. The rest were phoning it in.
Hot Air America is entertaining. Air America wasn't. Rush can be funny in an evil way. Savage: people listen to him for the same reason they watched Dan Rather -- hoping to be on hand when the guy implodes. Mark Steyn is an amusing player of word games. Air America's Lionel, for example, never was.
Money was always a problem for AA. Getting and keeping affiliates was another problem. A liberal talk operation needs a New York outlet. AA's was WWRL, which at 1600 on the dial can't be heard 20 miles from its transmitter, let alone across the whole metro area.
They lost their Los Angeles outlet early on. Ditto Washington, DC. They were weak in Detroit and Chicago and so-so in San Francsico.
Their programming model was wrong. Instead of trying to be a full service network, they should have just syndicated their programs like Premier or even the sorry, bankrupt Citadel.
And many say liberals don't need talk radio in the same way conservatives do. Liberals can't be herded, and think independently.
Air America was the Terri Schiavo of broadcasting. And no members of congress or the judiciary made any kind of fuss about saving it.
--The President is about to deliver the State of the Union Address. Reporting to Congress annually is his constitutional duty. It is not a constitutional duty to have to hear an opposition party reply immediately thereafter, but we're going to get one.
--The dual speech arrangement turns the President's reporting to Congress into a political campaign event. That's not what the founders had in mind, most likely. And if the counter-speech were a point by point refutation of the address, we might actually learn something, but it won't be and we won't.
--That's the bad news. The good news is most people will tune out the second speech. And those that don't, should.
I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®