Why did Air America fail?

posted at 10:55 am on January 22, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

When the news came of Air America’s demise yesterday afternoon, it took me back to its very beginnings, in March 2004.  Both Air America and I started in radio at about the same time, AA with its network of purchased air time, and me with the Northern Alliance Radio Network show in the Twin Cities on the local Salem affiliate.  At the time, we wondered how the business model would work for Air America, and as the Washington Post reports, we had good reason for skepticism:

The company, founded in 2004 and based in New York, strove to provide left-leaning commentary and call-in programs as an alternative to such popular conservative radio talkers as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage.

It was troubled almost from the start. The company had difficulty lining up affiliates and attracting a sizable audience. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy-court protection just 30 months after its inception and was resold to an investor group in early 2007 for $4.25 million.

Charlie Kireker, one of Air America’s principal owners and its chairman, said in a memo to employees Thursday that the company was done in by “a perfect storm” of plunging ad revenues, intense competition, high debt and poor prospects for new financing. A search for new investors, he said, has been fruitless. The company declined further comment.

The fruitlessness of the search for new investors isn’t surprising.  Radio is a tough business, and in a deep recession, ad dollars dry up.  Margins are never very robust even in boom times, especially when one has to pay for high-priced talent.  Of course, as the boss and Brian Maloney discovered in their ground-breaking blogospheric investigation of AA’s finances, the company got financing from at least a couple of shady deals at its inception.  But putting that aside, Air America has been on its last legs for most of its short life.

Not having done any extensive surveys nationwide, I can only relate to you my perspective from the local market.  The Twin Cities AA affiliate appeared to do better at attracting an audience than in the nation’s capital, where one might expect liberal talk radio to flourish:

Since last summer, Air America has been heard in the Washington area on WZAA (1050 AM). Its audience has been so small that Arbitron, which compiles radio ratings, was unable to detect any listeners for WZAA during several weeks in December.

Let’s not forget that Obama Radio crashed and burned last February, just a few clicks up the dial from AA’s DC affiliate, too.  The difference seems to have been that the Minneapolis affiliate worked harder to produce local programming and build a brand for the AA syndicated content.   That doesn’t mean it was wildly successful, but it did meet some kind of demand for liberal talk radio.

Ironically, that’s what NARN does for our station in town, too.  And when we first went on the air, we used to spend quite a bit of time poking Air America, even though we were both the new kids on the block.  We gradually realized that it was completely “inside baseball” to our listeners; no one really cared about Air America in town, not even when we had great fun at their expense.

Listening to Air America was a tedious chore without much payoff, either, except to note one interesting point about its business model.  While our station has dozens of local and regional businesses sponsoring content, Air America’s advertising mostly came from unions, non-profits, and PSAs.  From the start, it seemed obvious that the entire network was nothing but a vanity project for people with more money than sense.  Liberals wanted a talk-radio network not because of any overarching demand for the content, but merely to say they had one.

As long as the money came from legitimate sources (as noted above, not always the case), there was nothing wrong with that.  People have the right to spend their money foolishly.  However, anyone who listened carefully to the network and knew about its staffing and airtime issues could not have escaped the conclusion that Air America was a failure looking for a spot on the calendar on which to land.  It didn’t have a demand to meet, it was top-heavy, and its on-air talent was mostly second-rate or worse.

Liberal talk radio will survive, but only in boutique markets where either a standing demand generates product to meet it or stations wisely build listener loyalty with effective promotion and content selection.  Why?  The national media more than fills the national demand for liberal-oriented commentary, in both news, punditry, and entertainment.  Conservative radio thrived nationwide because (a) it had competent business leaders, (b) it filled an underserved niche with tens of millions of consumers, and (c) that demand created competition to produce better and better content, allowing first-rate performers such as Rush Limbaugh (who arguably created the market), Sean Hannity, Hugh Hewitt, and others to provide, well, excellence in broadcasting, to borrow Rush’s tagline.

Air America failed because the business model it used doesn’t work and it didn’t meet or create any demand for its product.   When the charity stopped getting donations in sufficient quantity to pay its bills, it folded.  It’s a fairly simple situation at its core.

Addendum: On Twitter, a few people warned about celebrating Air America’s demise as the collapse threw a lot of people out of work.  I agree with that — most of the people who made a living at AA worked behind the scenes and had nothing to do with the content or the business case.  However, Allahpundit noted on Twitter last night that those who pledge boycotts against Fox News and launch attacks on advertisers on conservative shows have no grounds to complain.  Those boycotts are explicitly intended to take broadcasters off the air and create unemployment as a secondary result.  Boycotts are legitimate free-market forms of protest (and are almost entirely unsuccessful on the national scale), but those who backed such boycotts then and wail about unemployed broadcast employees now have little ground on which to stand.


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Since last summer, Air America has been heard in the Washington area on WZAA (1050 AM). Its audience has been so small that Arbitron, which compiles radio ratings, was unable to detect any listeners for WZAA during several weeks in December.

Simple. After getalife, simplesimon and BleedsBlue cratered their mom’s HA access they all lost their radio privileges for two months as punishment. AA lost it’s three listeners.

Yoop on January 22, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Who wants to listen to people whine on air all day?

The problem with this is, it might cause democrats to pursue the un-”Fairness Doctrine” broadcasting legislation again. In a way, it was better to have a liberal network that nobody listened to, than not having one at all.

ChristianRock on January 22, 2010 at 11:08 AM

The statists don’t need a reason to re-enact the “Fairness Doctrine.” Regardless of whether or not AA failed, they want to bring the “Fairness Doctrine” back.

TQM38a on January 22, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Those who are complaining about the effects no workers sound to me, aside from just trying to generate sympathy, are the same people who look at private businesses as nothing more than jobs programs. Capitalist businesses are not in business to create jobs. They are in business to make profits by producing and selling goods and services, with job creation being one of their many salutary side-effects.

It is the “businesses exist to serve the public good and create jobs” mentality that leads to the mindset that government is just as good an employer of people as private industry. A mindset that I’m sure those in the AA listening audience would continue to hear ad nauseum if there still were an AA listening audience.

MJBrutus on January 22, 2010 at 11:44 AM

It sucked.

spmat on January 22, 2010 at 11:45 AM

MSNBC and NYSlimes will go down too. It has nothing to do with talent. Most people don’t want a steady diet of rabid ideology.

There are very few who will tune in to hate and lie soup every day, which is why Olby, Matthews and the Slimes will all go away in time, probably after an extended period of zombie status.

dogsoldier on January 22, 2010 at 11:46 AM

I think the real question is … How did it last as long as it did? But then we already know the answer to that, don’t we?

Tony737 on January 22, 2010 at 11:46 AM

As was the case with the lessons demonstrated this week in Massachusetts, “main stream” media (AKA: the liberal mouthpiece) should take the hint here.

Roy Rogers on January 22, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Air America failed because the business model it used doesn’t work and it didn’t meet or create any demand for its product. When the charity stopped getting donations in sufficient quantity to pay its bills, it folded. It’s a fairly simple situation at its core.

Gee Ed, did you want to say that only an handful of loons listened to them and no company in their right mind would advertise on the hate America/whitey network?

orlandocajun on January 22, 2010 at 11:49 AM

One more example of why public funding never works. Unions and PSAs. Laugh. A bunch of incompetents!

JeffB. on January 22, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Air America failed because it had far too much competition for the same liberal audience: See-BS, NBC, Matthews-Simpering-NBC, CNN, and taxpayer-supported PBS and NPR (Among the alphabet networks, ABC was slightly less left). For people who really want liberal drivel, it looks better on TV, and for those with a radio, there’s always NPR with their culturally elite music as well as liberal talk.

Conservative talk radio thrived because, until Fox News came along, the 40% of Americans who are conservative couldn’t find conservatives on TV, and flocked to the radio to find people who dared to say publicly what they thought. Fox News thrived because it was the only news network who catered to the 40% of conservatives, while all the other networks were fighting over 20% of liberals. Companies advertise where there are the most listeners, so Rush and the other conservative talkers will thrive as long as Congress doesn’t force them off the air.

As for Air America, good riddance. Their employees will probably find jobs with Chrissy and Olby.

Steve Z on January 22, 2010 at 11:52 AM

What, George Soros couldn’t be counted on for a couple million? That’s chump change for George. You gotta be a LOSER when even George won’t back you.

GarandFan on January 22, 2010 at 11:52 AM

Liberals wanted a talk-radio network black president not because of any overarching demand for the content, but merely to say they had one.

And look where THAT got us!

Tony737 on January 22, 2010 at 11:52 AM

Why did Air America fail?

Because it sucked.

Dopenstrange on January 22, 2010 at 11:52 AM

But wait. What about those mystical green jobs of the future for the former employees? They can build windmills or glue expensive solar panels together. They can make those newfangled light bulbs. They can winterize houses. But they won’t. They’ll all go on the dole and blame Rush Limbaugh and George Bush for their situations. Maybe they can get a loan from Senator Al Franken?

kens on January 22, 2010 at 11:52 AM

There are very few who will tune in to hate and lie soup every day, which is why Olby, Matthews and the Slimes will all go away in time, probably after an extended period of zombie status.

dogsoldier on January 22, 2010 at 11:46 AM

I would not have agreed prior to yesterday’s SCOTUS ruling. You see, it was worth GE’s money to keep them around to agitate for all things Greenie Electric, but now that corporations are no longer required to maintain their own “news” division in order to be heard, they’re expendable.

MJBrutus on January 22, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Air America only talked about what was wrong with America.
Conservatives talk about what is right with America.

Gripe Session vs. Brain Storming

Dependency vs. Empowerment

Lies vs. Truth

Liberal ideas cannot stand up to scrutiny.

The Rock on January 22, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Steve Z on January 22, 2010 at 11:52 AM

Nice try no cigar. They did not fail because of like-minded competition, they failed because not enough like-minded nutz for listeners.

Wade on January 22, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Talk Radio succeeds when it educates, informs, inspires and is truthful. Continuous bitch session just doesn’t cut it.

T J Green on January 22, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Delish! Rush is asking why 0 couldn’t save those Air America jobs.

OmahaConservative on January 22, 2010 at 12:07 PM

LOL! Rush is moving AA listeners to top priority callers today.
(if there are any)

OmahaConservative on January 22, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Its as simple as this:

AA was founded on one principal and one only, and it was reflected in every single minute of every single hour of every single show.

BUSH IS A RETARD!

I am surprised it lasted this long after its raison d etre ceased to exist.

Teacher in Tejas on January 22, 2010 at 12:11 PM

There are very few who will tune in to hate and lie soup every day, which is why Olby, Matthews and the Slimes will all go away in time, probably after an extended period of zombie status.

dogsoldier on January 22, 2010 at 11:46 AM

I’ve got a feeling those institutions will be receiving a bailout. I can’t see this administration letting them go, away.

4shoes on January 22, 2010 at 12:12 PM

If newly unemployed AA workers think they’ll be able to pull an Al Franken and “steal” an election somewhere, they’d better take a look at what’s happened post-Hopey/Changey in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusettes

Sweet_Thang on January 22, 2010 at 12:12 PM

It sucked.

spmat on January 22, 2010 at 11:45 AM

solid B+

Sweet_Thang on January 22, 2010 at 12:14 PM

Sean Hannity’s a first-rate performer? Come again?

YYZ on January 22, 2010 at 12:14 PM

Sean Hannity is a “first-rate performer”?

Come again?

YYZ on January 22, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Sean Hannity’s a first-rate performer? Come again?

YYZ AXLEROD on January 22, 2010 at 12:14 PM

weaksauce…

daesleeper on January 22, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Me repeat myself?

Come again?

YYZ on January 22, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Obama promised to save their jobs.

Social justice department.

seven on January 22, 2010 at 12:17 PM

They failed because they had the Sucks turned all the way up to 11.

RobertInLexington on January 22, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Me repeat myself?

Come again?

YYZ on January 22, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Is that you, Barack?

Sweet_Thang on January 22, 2010 at 12:19 PM

During the times Franken and Garafalo worked there, they were stealing money from poor black kids’ charities.

http://www.aim.org/media-monitor/will-the-air-america-scandal-take-off

Gloria Wise $875,000 dollars.

seven on January 22, 2010 at 12:22 PM

Democratic Underground doesn’t seem to be covering this story…

Hmmmmmm…. funny that….

mankai on January 22, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Can we just say AA failed because it sucked and no one wanted to listen to them?

catmman on January 22, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Air America had little to no substance. Evidently, they managed to hire personalities not talented enough to gain and hold a sizable audience. Bye-bye. Capitalism at work.

Speaking or capitalism, the DKos kooks are verging on mass suicide. My masochistic curiosity took me over to that sewage pipe. Those ninnies seem to feel that they are under attack by corporations. Yes, they’re blaming Scott Brown’s election, the SCOTUS ruling yesterday, and the untimely death of Air America on those evil-y evil corporations.

RepubChica on January 22, 2010 at 12:27 PM

Air America had little to no substance. Evidently, they managed to hire personalities not talented enough to gain and hold a sizable audience. Bye-bye. Capitalism at work.

Speaking or capitalism, the DKos kooks are verging on mass suicide. My masochistic curiosity took me over to that sewage pipe. Those ninnies seem to feel that they are under attack by corporations. Yes, they’re blaming Scott Brown’s election, the SCOTUS ruling yesterday, and the untimely death of Air America on those evil-y evil corporations.

RepubChica on January 22, 2010 at 12:27 PM

You should get hazard pay for going there. But while you are there – ask them 2 questions “Does Soros own any corporations” and “Are your advertisers corporations”

That should keep the hamster wheels busy over there.

Odie1941 on January 22, 2010 at 12:37 PM

Our local AM talk radio station is mainly right-leaning. They air Rush, Hannity, Laura Ingraham, etc. plus local right-leaning talk shows.

They run one lib-leaning local guy in the evening as a form of balance, I guess.

Guess which show pulls in their lowest ratings (by far) every week.

BlueStateBilly on January 22, 2010 at 12:43 PM

As an artist, one question that always needs to be considered PRIOR to investing time and resources in a project is; “Is there a ready market for what I’m about to produce?”. What the AA backers could not understand was that their efforts simply duplicated what the major media in this country had been doing for decades, shilling for every liberal in the world. They believed, and continue to believe, that Liberalism and its accompanying slavery is the hearts desire and goal for people. They cannot grasp that the natural desire of every human heart is freedom, not slavery.

oldleprechaun on January 22, 2010 at 12:49 PM

The other problem with liberal talk radio is its viewpoint in general towards America.

Look at how Barack Obama started his presidential term, going around the world pretty much apologizing to everyone, and agreeing for the most part with the criticism of American actions over the past half-century and denying any belief in American exceptionalism.

Now translate that into a talk show that’s on the air five days a week, three hours a day. That’s 15 hours a week of “America sucks” story lines — or at the very least “America sucked until Obama came along and at least half the country and most of our past actions still suck”. Who the hell wants to be bombarded with that every day? Who wants to listen to a host who keeps saying virtually all of our past foreign policy actions were not just wrong, but evil, and the economic system the country’s been using is also evil, compared to those enlightened places in Europe, where the people are so much smarter and more cultured than we are. No network with that attitude is going to last very long except as a vanity project of someone like George Soros.

jon1979 on January 22, 2010 at 12:52 PM

Air America also failed because they attempted to copy a caricature that they themselves created (and then apparently believed) of right wing radio.

It happens so often on the left, that they actually believe their own caricatures of the right, and respond to the caricature (the “explosive” photos of the Brown family, or the scandalous out-of-wedlock pregnancy in the Palin family), and wonder that their strategies seem to be backfiring.

notropis on January 22, 2010 at 12:54 PM

It’s funny how much people are really pondering this.

Why did Air America fail? The same reason why other media providers fail. In a word:

Content.

If you don’t have content (bashing Bush 24/7 isn’t a substitute) means you don’t have readers/viewers/subscribers. In the case of the radio industry, it means you don’t have listeners, which means you don’t have advertisers, which means you don’t have $$, and, soon, you won’t have a business either.

Liberals want to say (as I glanced on Kos yesterday) that they don’t like being “parroted to”. B/S–then why do you watch or listen to any of the mainstream media? You want to be accepted.

Why do conservatives listen? In large part, the same reason–we want our own views to be accepted and to acknowledge that others share our views. But I’ll take it one step further: most conservatives I know–and this is including myself–will listen to other conservatives on the air, not because we want the same mindless b/s shovelled our way; rather, we also want our views to be challenged. Why do radio hosts like Rush, Levin, and Hannity offer liberals to the top of the line? Just to berate them (well, in Levin’s case, yes….)?

No. These are opposing viewpoints, and we like to know why we have the opinions that we do. I’ll listen to Michael Savage (or used to, when he was on KNEW) because, much of the time, I disagreed with him (or at least, to start). I really enjoy Levin, but as I commented yesterday, I find him a hypocrite from time to time. I even disagree with some of Rush’s views when it comes to the environment.

But, when given a choice, I’ll listen to all of them. I’m humble enough to look at my views, and if I’m wrong, I’m wrong. But if I’m wrong, I want a good, solid reason why I’m wrong. That’s what conservative talk radio offers, that’s why so many tune into it, and that’s the content that Air America was missing.

And if you’re think that the content that conservative radio provides is nothing but being “parroted to”, then you have a mind as locked shut as the doors to Fort Knox. I’ve listened to Air America. Rarely, but I have. I’ve also tuned into local broadcasting that offered liberal radio shows. When the “content” is nothing more than “Bush sucks, this is all his fault, let’s just see how horrible the country is under Bush”…and the very few callers that are heard on the air those that agree with the host, lock and step….seriously, gets old fast. Even a “I agree with you 99% of the time, but I disagree on this point…” would be nice. Sadly, whenever I’d listen to such radio, even that would be missing. That’s not content. That’s the inane ramblings of a spoiled 14-year-old trying to get sympathy.

No content, no ratings, no money. Just as simple as that.

CatsGodot on January 22, 2010 at 12:54 PM

After getalife, simplesimon and BleedsBlue cratered their mom’s HA access they all lost their radio privileges for two months as punishment. AA lost it’s three listeners.

Yoop on January 22, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Wow, the adults in charge took away their radios? Comedy Gold.

Del Dolemonte on January 22, 2010 at 12:57 PM

As was the case with the lessons demonstrated this week in Massachusetts, “main stream” media (AKA: the liberal mouthpiece) should take the hint here.

Roy Rogers on January 22, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Wishful thinking, as the MSM literally sold their souls to the devil to get O’bama elected. If he fails, so do they.

Del Dolemonte on January 22, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Oh, there was one other point I missed:

In general talk radio is:

Conservative: “This is bad. But you can make a change. Call your Congressman, call your Senators… We *can* do this. There’s a brighter future ahead of us all.”

Liberal: “This is gloomy. Maybe in 4 years, it’ll all change. Maybe if is elected or bill is passed, it might be better. Life sucks. Conservatives suck.”

Between these two, if you’re listening to the radio, which would you rather listen to? Once again: content.

CatsGodot on January 22, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Like I posted earlier. Air america stole $875,000 from Gloria wise Club. That in their past even with some change in ownership, makes it hard to raise funding. It also tells us a lot of liberal junk is racist and not liberal in secret.

http://www.aim.org/media-monitor/will-the-air-america-scandal-take-off

seven on January 22, 2010 at 1:03 PM

Like Rush says…content, content, content. Does this mean that Combes is out of a job now? Best week this year!

Kissmygrits on January 22, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Democratic Underground doesn’t seem to be covering this story…

Hmmmmmm…. funny that….

mankai on January 22, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Check out PJ Gladnick’s great blog Dummie Funnies. Nothing yet on this story, but his most recent entry is a hilarious expose of Will Pitt blowing yet another prediction-in this case he confidently predicted Marcia Coakley would win Tuesday.

http://dummiefunnies.blogspot.com/2010/01/pretend-pundit-pied-piper-pitt-martha.html

Del Dolemonte on January 22, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Liberal talk radio fails because liberals dont work during the day which is when most people listen to the radio.

While Rush is on and normal men are out working, listening to the radio, liberal men are just rolling out of bead in their underwear going immediately to the computer to see if their 9 gigs of porn finally downloaded overnight. And the liberal women are all listening to whatever shitty music they have on etheir ipod or in their Prius on the way to yoga class or whole foods.

dip it in cider on January 22, 2010 at 1:07 PM

My Aunt Patty, a moonbat clinging to a scrap of reality in Western PA, recently began forwarding me anti-conservative emails from some Air America host named Andy Borowitz. I politely emailed her to please stop with the emails since I was sure she didn’t want me head to explode. She quietly agreed to tone it down.

I’m sure Aunt Patty is forelorn today..her Andy B and his AA buddies are pushing up daisies. I guess she’ll just have to get along with MSNBC for her dose of “bat-sh*t crazy” every day.

DrW on January 22, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Liberal talk radio fails because liberals dont work during the day which is when most people listen to the radio.

I don’t know about that. Unless you’re driving a truck, it’s not easy to listen to talk radio in a workplace.

YYZ on January 22, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Liberal talk radio fails because liberals dont work during the day which is when most people listen to the radio.

While Rush is on and normal men are out working, listening to the radio, liberal men are just rolling out of bead in their underwear going immediately to the computer to see if their 9 gigs of porn finally downloaded overnight. And the liberal women are all listening to whatever shitty music they have on etheir ipod or in their Prius on the way to yoga class or whole foods.

dip it in cider on January 22, 2010 at 1:07 PM

+100

the truth is always funny, and this is funny dipper

DrW on January 22, 2010 at 1:17 PM

DrW on January 22, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Poor Aunt Patty, one of the dozen listeners.

OmahaConservative on January 22, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Because I am always curious about the other side, I listened to AA once or twice in 2005. It was painful. The unceasing hate filled rants and baseless accusations were like enduring fingernails on a chalkboard. Olberman took this crass model and perfected it to the screaming nonsensical tirades you can see most any night on his MSNBC show.

That AA managed to limp along until 2010 is a testimony to that old addage about fools and their money getting parted. Someone had a LOT of money going down the hole…or maybe the investors got a tax deduction of some sort.

marybel on January 22, 2010 at 1:28 PM

I have to disagree with this article. Air America did not fail because there was no demand. Sure, it’s nowhere near as high as conservative talk radio. But there IS a demand.

As I’ve said before, I used to be hard core liberal. I’m from Canada, so I didn’t switch completely around. Our healthcare system is one of the best in the world lightyears ahead of the US system. And unions can be effective. But what woke me up was Air America and the final nail was Obama.

Air America was the network of hate. All they ever do is spew elitist hatred. I don’t think I have to prove this point on HA. We’ve all seen it.

After a while, hatred isn’t enough. On the conservative side, at least they give their reasons. I might not always agree with it, but at least there’s an argument. The liberals never have arguments for or against anything. It’s just pure hate all the time.

So viewers tuned out. I tuned out. So much so that I believe I now lean more to the right than the left which is amazing. A few years ago, this would have been unthinkable.

And the Democrats will lose popularity for the same reason that Air America did. It’s the party of hate.

MrX on January 22, 2010 at 1:36 PM

I tuned into AA only once. For the two minutes I listened, all I heard was Al Franken screaming about the importance of getting in the face of some Republican and shoving something down their throat. Not exactly an award winning intellectual discussion.

Compare that to Bill Bennett.

hoakie on January 22, 2010 at 1:37 PM

Can’t understand why they would fail, they all sound so rational and intelligent. We must be too stupid to take in all the wisdom that spews forth from the host of AA.(sarc)

la.rt.wngr on January 22, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Listening to Air America was a tedious chore without much payoff…

… except, for example, that it led you to understand why an animal would gnaw its paw off in order to escape from a trap.

ya2daup on January 22, 2010 at 1:41 PM

I did not see AA’s issue as a lack of demand but rather an over abundance of supply. MSNBC, NYT, CNN, the list goes on and on and on. Just as the success of conservative radio and Fox News, is lack of supply by the MSM.

And the product sucked… but me saying that is just a case of rooting for my team just like a lefty would say the same thing about Hannity and Medved and such.

AndrewsDad on January 22, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Simpler explanation: It sucked.

(Seems a few folks got to it before me.)

Pablo Snooze on January 22, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Our healthcare system is one of the best in the world lightyears ahead of the US system

Really? Care to point me to those lines of US citizens, or citizens of any other country going to Canada for health care? And what world class medical companies are based in Canada? And where are the best med schools?

Seriously, last I checked about 1/3rd of Canadian taxes go to pay for your “free” healthcare. For the average citizen, it is more expensive, the quality is not as good and you get to wait substantially longer to receive care.

Good, fast cheap… Canadian health care has none.

AndrewsDad on January 22, 2010 at 2:02 PM

I’m from Canada, so I didn’t switch completely around. Our healthcare system is one of the best in the world lightyears ahead of the US system. And unions can be effective.
MrX on January 22, 2010 at 1:36 PM

LOL…Seriously?

As for healthcare, tell that to Brock Lesnar and Liam Neeson.

As for the unions, yes, they can be effective, at rewarding sloth and inefficiency, extorting irrational concessions from taxpayers/their employers in general, and enriching their leadership…at the expense of the employees and industries they represent.

But at least you aren’t a hardcore liberal.

I’m sure that shedding the Canadian socialist mentality is a tough slog. ;)

Tak_Bulgogi on January 22, 2010 at 2:06 PM

First simple answer. There’s a small audience for blatant fascism, marxism, or all the other evil-isms that exist within the far left. Self loathing and guilt can only carry them so far within the broader left.
 
Secondary answer. Demonizing, name-calling, making up facts… might be funny for a time, but they too won’t carry a broad audience for an extended period of time. It eventually starts feeling mean spirited. Satire does seem to work a bit better (SNL, Stewart…), but it better not be one sided or that too will fail long term.
 
Tertiary answer. The left is a coalition of single interest groups (i.e. environmentalists, homosexual groups, race oriented coalitions, downright marxists, animal rights groups, feminists, peacenicks…). How do you create programming for a crowd that diverse? The right, though there are many issues, can generally be united by a pretty simple theme, more freedom and less government. Less freedom and more government doesn’t sell very well when it comes down to the reality of what it means to individuals, excluding marxists.
 
In the end, the “they sucked” argument sounds pretty compelling.

ClanDerson on January 22, 2010 at 2:10 PM

Why pay out of pocket when you can get your needs met with other people’s money?

AA failed because all the Libs listen to NPR.

Ed’s right, AA was a vanity project from the get-go.

Bruno Strozek on January 22, 2010 at 2:21 PM

Unlike the parasitic NPR and PBS the similarly bereft Air America had not the means to stick it to the taxpayers for a perpetual handout.

Furthermore, who would want to advertise with a show where Free Enterprise is routinely attacked by a set of hippie-retread malcontents wearing the phony mantle of Marxism whilst attacking those who support limited government, self-reliance, and political accountability?

viking01 on January 22, 2010 at 2:26 PM

I listened to it out of NYC a couple of times on the way to work when they first got started.

They were not honest with their listeners. When a conservative would messed up on (something usually safely non-political), the right-will talk shows would savage him. When a liberal moonbat messed up likewise, Air America would be in his pocket making excuses. It was like that all the few days I listened.

When listening moonbats complained, they were savaged.

trainer on January 22, 2010 at 2:30 PM

Other than the fact that AA had no real talent to attract listeners, we’re already super-saturated with the left-of-center viewpoint everywhere. It’s like water to a fish. The reason Limbaugh became such a huge hit is because you just didn’t hear viewpoints like that in the media. At all.

ddrintn on January 22, 2010 at 4:32 PM

To paraphrase the old saw about Brazil: Air America is the business model of liberal talk radio’s future…and always will be.

Barnestormer on January 22, 2010 at 5:08 PM

content, content, content….

paragon27x on January 22, 2010 at 5:30 PM

Air America Radio failed because the hosts were nasty, hateful, conspiracy theorists. I listened to Air America Radio, and nearly everybody on there was a nut. For example, they had this guy Lionel who claims that a plane never hit the Pentagon on 9/11. Then there was Randi Rhodes who said that President Bush’s mom was an alcoholic when she was pregnant with him. Then there was Janeane Garofalo who said the f word constantly when talking about Republicans. Then there was Ed Shultz who accused Republicans of the worst things possible. And then of course there was Mike Malloy who is the nastiest person on all of radio.

SoulGlo on January 22, 2010 at 6:18 PM

Ahhh, IT BLEW!!!!

The “interrogating terrorists” answer: Force them to listen to tapes of Airhead America and they will spill EVERYTHING THEY KNOW.

dthorny on January 22, 2010 at 11:58 PM

DID ANYONE HEAR OBAMBI SPEAK IN OHIO??? HE WAS HUSTLING THE H1N1 VACCINE, HE REALLY DID SOUND LIKE THE VOODOO SNAKE OIL SALESMAN HE IS!!!

AMERICAN VETERAN on January 23, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Who wants to listen to people whine on air all day?

People who watch The View.

manwithblackhat on January 23, 2010 at 5:23 PM

For people who really want liberal drivel, it looks better on TV

Why just listen to it when you can read/watch/hear it all on any network news channel,
…or CNN
….MSLSD
….or NYT
….or Newsweak
…or….

cableguy615 on January 23, 2010 at 6:55 PM

Air America should have been called Hate America.

It failed because the left-wing Libtard Democrat “Progressives” already had a left-wing radio source – National Public Radio. The Libtards love NPR because it is publicly funded with our hard-earned tax dollars. Ten bucks says if NPR’s funding from the Gummint was cut off it would go tits-up within months too.

I mean really, what business would advertise on NPR? All they would get are propaganda ads from ACORN, SEIU, NOW and NAMBLA and maybe a few ads from stoners selling grow-lights and hydroponics systems.

CatchAll on January 23, 2010 at 10:57 PM

Air America also failed because they attempted to copy a caricature that they themselves created (and then apparently believed) of right wing radio.

It happens so often on the left, that they actually believe their own caricatures of the right, and respond to the caricature…

notropis on January 22, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Amen. Cargo Cult Journalism!

This, in a way, is also an aspect of their vanity, in that their ignorance, delusionary reality and quarantine from real life are all self-imposed.

RD on January 24, 2010 at 2:06 PM

Why did AA Fail?

Liberal Talk Radio Business Plan: Cater to audience demographic which depend on an allowance from Daddy or Nanny State for income.

Conservative Talk Radio Business Plan: Cater to audience demographic that works and earns a disposable income.

Okey-dokey. I’m a business and I need to advertise on radio. Hmmmmm. It ain’t rocket surgery.

BigAlSouth on January 24, 2010 at 4:25 PM

I guess George Soros can’t fund everything eh?

Bleed_thelizard on January 24, 2010 at 4:47 PM

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