Saturday, October 23, 2004

Air America in Seattle

The Seattle Times reports that KPTK 1090AM in Seattle will be switching it's format Monday from classic country to "progressive talk". According to the article, KPTK is owned by Infinity, making this Air America's first deal with another one of radio's major broadcasters.

According to one message board poster, KPTK's schedule will include Air America’s entire weekday schedule, minus Mike Malloy and with the addition of Ed Schultz. Everything will air live, except for Randi Rhodes and the Majority Report.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Denver too...

Just as I thought this was getting easy, the news picks up...

The Denver Business Jounal has an article about KKZN-AM's first book (representing two months of Air America programing). At first, the numbers sound only semi-impressive -- the station went from a 0.5 to a 0.9 share. However, looking at Radio and Records, it turns out that the Journal is referring to 12+ numbers. Again, if the usual 25 - 54 trends hold, it's a decent start, though it's going to be hard for anything to look as good as KPOJ's success.

For those of you waiting to get an Los Angeles affiliate

This comment at the Daily Kos tells a story I've heard before.

Basically, Clear Channel wants to switch a sports station to cary Air America programming, but needs approval from the NBA to make the switch. Once the NBA gives its okay, the gears can start moving again.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

History repeated in San Diego

The summer Arbitron book for San Diego has been released. While you can't completely judge a station by its 12+ ratings, Air America affiliate KLSD has jumped a full ratings point in the 12+ number. If the usual pattern holds (Air America often does much better in 25 - 54 than 12+), this shows a huge potential for the station.

A poster on the Radio-Info message board, reports that Randi Rhodes announced her show as #1 in the key 25 - 54 "money demo". I'm not sure if that means Randi's #1 in her time slot or, even better, if her show has debuted as the top draw for the 25 - 54 year old audience. Either scenario is a big win.

The Public Nuisance blog looks at other summer books and reports that WLIB in New York is up a tick, suggesting that the 25 - 54 audience stays strong and WHAT-AM in Pittsburgh has doubled its 12+ audience from a 0.4 to 0.8

Update: The New York Post (hm?) reports that WLIB held its position as second among the three major New York talk stations in 25 - 54. In the daytime timeslot, Rush Limbaugh ranks 15th amongst 25 - 54 year olds while Al falls close behind at 18th. Conservative station WOR places far behind, at 27th.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Minnesota affiliate on the move...

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Air America has moved once more. Previously at 740 and 1530 AM, Straight Talk Radio is moving to it's permanent home at 950AM.

Al and Randi in Rhode Island?

According to The Providence Journal, Rhode Island will be getting Air America programming on WHJJ 920AM. The Clear Channel owned station will be airing Morning Sedition, Al Franken and Randi Rhodes.

"(Rival talk station WPRO) has the right wing locked up with Mr. Limbaugh. It will be interesting to see how long it takes Al Franken to beat him in the ratings," the article quotes Clear Channel Market Manager Jim Corwin, "I doubt it's going to take very long...I think there's a whole generation of talk show listeners who are looking for a little more complexity in what they listen to."

The station lineup will also include Imus in the morning and local hosts.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Okay, it's been a while...

I'm still trying to figure out how to continue this blog. Quite honestly, I've realized that when it comes to Air America news, Michael D has been doing a better job in his Daily Kos diary of late and he does understand the industry better, therefore bringing better coverage.

I also took a break from the news for a little while. For a while the actions of the noise machine were getting me so angry and frustrated that I realized it was affecting my sleep.

Catching up with all the recent events, congratulations to all the new markets with Air America affiliates including:

  • Boston, MA -- WKOX 1200AM and WXKS 1430AM
  • Oakland/San Francisco, CA WQKE 690AM
  • Phoenix, AZ -- KXXT 1010AM
  • Rochester, NY -- WROC 950AM (a former home of Hannity, O'Riley and Ingraham)
  • Atlanta, GA -- WWAA 1690AM
  • Albany, OR -- KRKT 990AM

Boston, San Francisco and Atlanta are major market pickups a strong sign for the network, one that hurts dismissals of Air America for being in a small number of major markets. (Arbitron ranks San Francisco as the #4 market in the country, Boston #9 and Atlanta #11.) Also, Entercom, a major broadcaster, owns WROC. If things go well at WROC, this opens the door for more opportunities between Air America and Entercom, similar to how the experiment at KPOJ.

(All new affiliate news per Michael D.)

Big congratulations should go to Air America listeners in Portland, Maine. The Portland Press Herald reports writes about the final decision by Nassau Broadcasting to keep Air America's programming on WLVP:

Patrick Collins, general manager of Nassau's Maine stations, said that before Thursday, Mercantanti did not know what he would do. But once Mercantanti saw how many people showed up, and how passionate they are about the network, he decided the Air America network should stay on WLVP..."It starts with passion. If listeners don't have passion for your programming, they won't have passion for your advertisers," said Collins. "The passion these people have for Air America, that's priceless."

One local listener at the Air America fanboard, Air America Place, claimed that Nassau's initial management of the station was pretty minimal, airing no local sponsors, promotion or listener support. Hopefully that will improve after this stunning show of support by Portalnd Air America listeners.

A new Arbitron book has come out for New York, but I haven't been able to find out much information other than Randi declaring the numbers "great" on her show and seeing that the 12+ numbers remain flat (which tells me nothing). Probably the most revealing bit of non-news for me is that I've heard nothing from the noise machine. If there were the slightest bit of bad news (even if it contradicted their previous bad news) in the latest book, we'd be hearing about it.

While I ponder the role I'd like to move forward with, here are some articles I've found amusing.

Reuters writes about Al's show on Sundance. The article follow's the noise machine's lead by asking if there's a link between Robert Redford's political leanings and the decision to give Al a larger, potential audience, never considering that Al's show makes a good fit for Sundance's audience.

In a Rocky Mountain News column dated October 1, Mike Rosen tries to spread the noise machines memes about Air America, except that he uses old, old information to back them up. Read and shake your head at the following (you could get angry, but it's better to find amusement than stress in Rosen's words):

Bankrolled by fat-cat liberals, like Chicago businessman Sheldon Drobny, a big time contributor to Democrat candidates and causes, Air America's short-term goal is to defeat George W. Bush. Air America's CEO is Mark Walsh, who was the chief Internet adviser to the John Kerry campaign. He describes himself as a lifelong "DNA-level Democrat" who loves the party. It's possible that Air America might attract a large enough audience to someday be commercially viable. Or it might fold up its tent after the November elections. Comedian Al Franken, its headliner, has signed only a one-year contract saying, "I'd be happy if the election of a Democrat ended the show. I'm doing this because I want to use my energies to get Bush unelected." In any event, since it's principal motivation is political, not commercial, the infant Air America is happy to be on the air anywhere and is virtually giving its programming away for barter.

It's been, what, nearly six months since Mark Walsh was CEO of Air America? And how many months has it been since Al Franken extended his contract? And I thought barter was the traditional MO for radio syndication (perhaps it doesn't make sense only if liberals are attempting it)?

Rosen deviates from the usual tune, by acknowledging that there are successful liberal talk radio hosts but tries to suggest that there's an exception to an overwhelming rule of radio.

While letftish talk-show hosts, locally and nationally, have been generally unable to attract viable audiences, a few, like Bernie Ward at KGO in San Francisco and Lionel on the WOR Radio Network, have had varying degrees of success.

The Independent in the UK looks at the poor performance of the US media during this Presidential campaign and fails to scratch any depth or find any insights. Their brief mention of Air America says:

In talk radio, conservatives hold an edge. Air America, the ballyhooed new liberal network, has vanished almost without trace (proof again that for entertainment value, salty prejudice beats worthy earnestness).

There are so many things I could say about Air America "vanish(ing) almost without trace" but they're all pretty obvious so I'll let you fill it in yourself.

Also, Minnesota Star-Tribune columnist CJ gives local Lizz Winstead a mention.

Oh, give yourself a true laugh and check out this KPOJ Randi Rhodes promo, guest-starring Lars Larson.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Sacramento corrections

I've been in contact with someone who is familiar with someone at KSQR and it seems my initial information was totally wrong. I'm still very confused, but it seems like there was never any question about the ownership of the AM station and a lot of the paperwork involved selling an FM station to raise the money for KSQR. I relied on someone else's interpretation of FCC filings, which I don't fully understand myself, which I've been assured was incorrect.

I have no idea why someone reported that the station was playing "Wild, Wild West" except that there may have been some programming problems. However, the person who reported the development has yet to put up a second post to the Air America fansite, so who knows, maybe I jumped on a bad source.

The important part to me is that Air America is still airing in Sacramento, which I'm glad to hear is definitely the case.

A (rather late) Bernie Ward correction

It was pointed out to me that, contrary to what I said, Mike Malloy's show runs to 1 AM EST, not Midnight. I suspected as much but, not being a listener myself, I referred to the Air America website which says the show runs to Midnight. (Perhaps they see it as two shows, one airing from 10 PM - Midnight and another airing from Midnight to 1 AM? I've seen some radio stations list their schedules that way. I suppose that explains why the website often says that The Mike Malloy Show follows The Mike Malloy Show.)

In that case, Bernie's show would fit easily into Air America's schedule if that's where his syndication deal is taking him. His current show on KGO-AM airs from 1 AM - 4 AM EST, right after Malloy's show, making the deal one with little risk for Ward.

I do find myself wondering, however, if Air America has any plans for 4 - 6 AM, if these rumors are true.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Air America in North Carolina

The Asheville Citizen Times reports that another Clear Channel "adult standards" station is making a flip to carry Air America programming. WPEK 880AM will carry Morning Sedition, Stephanie Miller (ah, this would be the NC affiliate Miller mentioned on her first show), Al Franken, Ed Schultz and Randi Rhodes.

The downside of the news is that WPEK is a weak station that only broadcasts from sunrise to sunset. However, the station had previously aired conservative talkers that moved to a stronger station after those shows had strong ratings, a fate that could definitely be waiting for the Air America/Jones lineup if they prove they can draw an audience.

Bernie Ward update

I've been running into a few mentions of Bernie Ward's syndication deal. I presumed Ward would be syndicated by the Jones Radio Network, but I keep seeing claims that his show will land on Air America, most notably in Michael D's Daily Kos diary.

The interesting part of this rumor (to me, at least) is that Ward is currently an odd time slot fit for Air America. His show airs from 10 PM - 1 AM Pacific time. Mike Malloy's show currently ends at, 9 PM Pacific, leaving a one-hour programming gap. Also, Morning Sedition starts at 3 AM, leaving another odd-sized gap in the programming.

I keep thinking there's more to this story that's waiting to spring at us. Perhaps Ward will be changing his time slot slightly, moving to a new Bay Area Air America affiliate? Perhaps there are schedule changes coming to Air America that will make Ward's current show a better fit? My imagination is having fun with this (and let me emphasize, so far it's all my imagination). Hopefully the final result won't be a disappointment.

However this turns out, based on what I'm hearing, Ward will make a fine addition to the national airwaves.

Everythings normal in Satco...

A poster on the Randi Rhodes board confirmed that the Sacramento affiliate had been down one morning to play "Wild, Wild West" but added that Air America programming returned the next day. It sounds like the situation there is interesting, to say the least. I'd be interested in learning more, but the important thing is that it looks like KSQR can continue to be solidly counted as an Air America affiliate.