Notwithstanding that optimistic view of the news… I have to say that when the leading organization for a particular format files for bankruptcy, it’s hard for a fair-minded reviwer to conclude it’s good news for the format.
I disagree with the spin thinkprogress seeks to put on this news. It’s a blow to the hopes of creating a strong, progressive talk radio format network. It’s NOT good news. For whatever reason, the liberal viewpoint doesn’t seem to translate well to the talk radio format, at least not in the same way that the conservative view has. Conservative talk radio has flourished; liberal talk radio has generally tanked.
Now, of course this says little or nothing about the validity of the ideas expressed on either side.
I tend to see this as Right wing talk radio has flourished while Left wing talk radio has tanked.
Right wing radio has very few intelligent proponents of Conservative ideals, serving more as a Right wing cheering section, not a voice of Conservatism. To the extent that Left wing radio tried to remain intelligent and promote intelligent Liberal ideas, it was doomed to fail in a mass market. To the extent that it wanted to appeal to a mass audience, it has not (yet) found the voice that will do that.
I don’t wish to overgeneralize your position, so let me just ask – and this is merely a question, not a Socratic method of advancing my position – what does this mean in a country where we choose our leaders by popular vote?
I’m not sure what the debate is, but I think it is fair to say that declaring bankruptcy isn’t a good thing for Air America. That being said, I think your misstating the position of the author of the piece. He wasn’t saying the bankruptcy was a good thing for progressive talk radio (if there is such a thing), but rather that progressive talk radio is “established and strong”. I don’t know enough to quibble one way or the other on that conclusion, but I think you just built a strawman.
Assuming the story is true, I don’t think it provides sufficient evidence to conclude that progressive talk radio is dead, or will flourish regardless.
There was a story recently about Los Angeles losing its only country music radio station, which felt it couldn’t appeal to attractive enough demographics to stay in business with a country format. Yet country itself reportely remains popular in the region (retch).
Has progressive talk established a firm foothold? I’d have to see the ratings and ad revenue figures.
Right-wing talk has appeared to flourish in an atmosphere of resentment, partially nourished by perceptions of exclusion of its viewpoints from the mainstream media. With an extended period in power and the upsurge in alternate media, that foundation doesn’t seem as solid. Will all the leftist angst over Bush et al translate into consistent support for its own talk radio, or will blogging carry the day? It remains to be seen.
By the way, I suspect this item from the linked story may be a joke:
“Radio giant Clear Channel is so committed to progressive talk radio that, this week, it will announce a partnership with the Center for American Progress and MSS Inc. to conduct a nationwide search for the next Progressive Talk Radio Star.” :dubious:
I doubt it’s a joke. These guys are about making money more than about making political hay. Contrary to the impression you might have gotten from some of the lefty blogs, not everything is about politics.
Now, that article dates back to the earlier days of Air America, but it’s point is still valid-- money trumps politics. There are a lot of left leaning dollars to be had out there, and that money is just as green as the kind from the right leaning folks.
The Google ads are great! Is Al Franken Fair? Watch out Lying Liberals?
The difficulty I have seen with Liberal radio is that it is basically Bush-bashing. Once you get past the whole “Iraq was a mistake, Cheney is a creep making millions from Halliburton, Rumsfeld is the anti-Christ” routine, what do you have left to say? What platform besides “anyone but a Republican” can liberals get behind? Gay rights? Abortion? Global warming? Is Rosie better than Meredith on The View?
I’m not saying that conservatives all march in lockstep (or goosestep as some libs call it) but that their platforms and beliefs are pretty straightforward with minor variations. That’s why it’s a lot of “Mega-dittos, Rush. I couldn’t agree more with you that (latest left wing statement) is stupid.”
It’s certainly not positive news, but I’m not sure it says that much for the format, one way or the other. It’s one thing to operate a syndicated radio show, and it’s another thing to operate a chain of radio stations. But when you’re operating a chain of radio stations in order to create a place to broadcast a particular kind of radio show that existing radio stations weren’t ready to take a chance on, that’s complicated. You’ve got to be firing on all cylinders to make that work. Whoever runs the business side of Rush Limbaugh’s radio empire doesn’t have to worry about what to broadcast at 4am.
According to ThinkProgress:
This would seem to support their point. If Other stations unaffiliated with Air America have been picking up progressive radio talkies when they weren’t before, then they’ve established the beachhead for the format, and it can sink or swim on its own. A few years ago, “everybody knew” that lefty talk radio wasn’t worth wasting time on, so nobody was going to give it a chance.
I agree that the blogoverse is a much better fit with liberals than talk radio is, and that it’s clearly the other way around for conservatives. Active lefties prefer a conversational medium, and the interactive element of the blogsphere is perfect. It’s more than just being able to agree or disagree; it’s that we can even choose what the conversation should be about, and try doing that on talk radio. We just plain aren’t keen on the top-downness of the medium, where a few voices talk, and everyone else listens. (We’ve got the same problem with the editorial and op-ed pages of newspapers, for that matter.) Nobody’s waiting around for Nancy Pelosi, or even Markos Moulitsas, to tell us what to think. Everybody’s got an opinion, and wants to put in their two cents.
It’s very much the reverse on the right-wing side of things: there seems to be a strong preference for one-way, top-down communication, even in Right Blogistan. Of the well-known righty blogs, how many have comments? Not InstaPundit, not Powerline, not The Corner, not Michelle Malkin. Hugh Hewitt didn’t until just a couple months back. Redstate and Little Green Footballs are the only ones that I can think of that have taken comments all along. Redstate will tolerate a little bit of disagreement, but not much (I was banned from Redstate without a word of explanation, and still don’t know why; my discussions there were tame by GD standards); LGF’s comment cesspool isn’t quite like st 0 rmfr on t, but it’s on the way there.
But for the most part, the righty blogsphere seems to function in the same way as talk radio: as a megaphone to lead the cheers for Bush, the party, and the movement. (Yeah, I know about ports, immigration, and Harriet Miers, but you can still count such issues on the fingers of one hand.) And conversation really isn’t necessary for that.
But still, I think there’s a place for lefty talk radio, and I think it’s finding a niche. We aren’t always at our keyboards, after all. It’s too bad Air America’s DC station had a pathetically weak signal; I never got a chance to listen to it while driving. But I would’ve if I could have.
Trust me, the details are quite voluminous. Running out of things to say won’t be a problem.
Equal rights for gays, the right to make one’s own decision about abortion, global warming, universal health care, a higher minimum wage, more teeth in the enforcement of workers’ right to organize, a neutral Net, a world where political power isn’t so strongly connected to economic power as it is in America today, and a world where a society’s gains in wealth are widely rather than narrowly shared.
I’m not exactly sure it has much of anything to do with it. I simply note that there are genuine Conservatives and Liberals in this country, but that the Right and Left are poorly characterized by those labels anymore. I see few positions advanced by Limbaugh, Hannity, and their cohorts that I would consider traditionally Conservative in the mold of Barry Goldwater. Similarly, the few Left wing talk show hosts I have heard, while clearly identified with the “Left” do not seem to advance the actual thoughts of Liberal ideology.
“Those people are icky; let’s laugh at them” does not appear in any of the Conservative or Liberal essays I have read in the past 40 years.
“Declaring bankruptcy” != “going out of business.” Many corporations have survived a bankruptcy reorganization.
The story linked in the OP (now?) includes a denial from AA:
UPDATE: Air America responds.
If Air America had filed for bankruptcy every time someone rumored it to be doing so, we would have ceased to exist long ago; it may be frustrating to some that this hasn’t happened. No decision has been taken to make any filing of any kind, we are not sure of the source of these rumors and frankly can not respond to every rumor in the marketplace.
Googling on “air america bankruptcy” turns up no relevant articles.
Depends on how you define “conservative.” You could make a case for Goldwater as a proto-Libertarian, and Libertarian != conservative – for most values of the latter.
Or perhaps you’re thinking of the Old World usage of the word? Modern American “conservatism” – as it has been understood from Goldwater’s 1964 presidential bid to the present day – is something radically different from “conservatism” as it was understood pre-1964 in America, and as it is still understood in Europe. From The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America, by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge (New York: The Penguin Press, 2004):
Does the above description apply to what you consider “conservative,” or to what you consider “right-wing”?
What I find hard to understand is the number of tighty righty talking heads who manage to find enough forage. I can name about 10 off the top of my head. Got your top tier of crap merchants…Rush, the Orca of the Airwaves, Wild Bill, couple others. Then a second tier of guys who dont have much of an audience but are constantly showing up…Michelle Malkin and others who seem to blink in the sunlight before they empty their venom sacs…
Seeing as how they all say pretty much the same things (I know, because sometimes I listen) one has to wonder how they can all have sufficient audience to sustain a diet of whooping crane hearts? All politics aside, it kind of challenges what little I understand about basic economics, the market is glutted, and every few months another bot hits the airwaves. Where does all the money come from? How many high tech mattresses and gold investing schemes can sell?