Air America’s Al Franken
The left-leaning talk network Air America Radio will announce a major restructuring Friday that is expected to include a bankruptcy filing, according to the website ThinkProgress.org.
The struggling network could remain on the air under the deal, but significant personnel changes already are under way, the website reported, citing three independent sources.
“We do know that there have been cash-flow problems,” Air America host Al Franken told the online publication Radar. “I haven’t been paid in a while. Like, there’s no cash flowing to me.”
Air America dismissed five employees yesterday, explaining they would be given no severance without a capital infusion or bankruptcy, ThinkProgess said.
The network also has severed ties with host Jerry Springer.
ThinkProgress commented that “the right wing is sure to seize on Air America’s financial woes as a sign that progressive talk radio is unpopular. In fact, Air America succeeded at creating something that didn’t exist: the progressive talk radio format.”
“That format is now established and strong and will continue with or without Air America,” the website said. “Indeed, many of the country’s most successful and widely-syndicated progressive talk hosts – Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller, for instance – aren’t even associated with Air America.”
But a contributor to a discussion board on RawStory.com called the bankruptcy announcement a “sad day for America.”
“We are losing one of the few liberal voices and the neocon fascists are taking over the mainstream media. Soon there will only be one voice in America … Big Brother.”
After WWRC-AM in Washington, D.C., recorded a mere fraction of a rating point in the spring with syndicated shows from the likes of lefty talkers Franken, Janeane Garofalo and Stephanie Miller, Arbitron couldn’t detect a measurable listenership for the station in the summer quarter, the Washington Post said.
The news came on the heels of the network asking its listeners to send in money, a financial scandal involving money siphoned from a Boys & Girls Club in New York City, a California radio station pleading for advertisers to sponsor the programming claiming it could not get a single ad, and a host apologizing for what some thought were threats against President Bush’s life.