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March 30, 2004
A Little More On Air America
From an Al Franken profile, NYT 3-21-04:
A main front in this newly aggressive campaign will commence on March 31, when Air America Radio -- the much-talked-about, 24-hour, left-leaning radio network -- goes live, with Franken as its big gun in the noon-to-3-p.m. slot going up against his old nemesis, Rush Limbaugh. The network has no official ties to the Democratic Party, but there are unofficial ties. Air America's C.E.O., Mark Walsh, is friends with the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Terry McAuliffe. John Podesta, a former chief of staff in the Clinton White House, will offer advice and, through his think tank, the Center for American Progress, an information pool. ''We'll be a resource for them, much the same way that the Heritage Foundation provides stuff that right-wing talkers use,'' Podesta said.
I'm interested in these details because I would like to see it done right, though I'm not 100 percent sure what "right" is at the moment.
But mostly "right" in talk radio is building an audience.
First there will be the anger and the outrage. This "liberal radio network" will invite all callers and allow them to troll on the phone, so to speak.
This builds the audience - especially if Franken et al fail a little and conservatives do manage a few credible digs. Then the hosts will get sharper. They will tire of answering idiots, though. At least the idots who want to interupt. A few conservatives committed to a discussion will stay.
But it's talk radio so I don't expect any great renaissance of thought or changing of the culture. Especially now that blogistan exists.
Perhaps that's how it will go.
Also, later from same article:
[Air America CEO Mark] Walsh, who is 49 with gray hair and chiseled features, was at HBO in the early 1980's, persuading people to do the unthinkable and pay for TV programming; next he was with AOL in its early days. Those two companies succeeded, he said, because they hit their respective media with a new idea at just the right time. ''And I think the timing today is just right for a progressive media business aimed at an audience that's underserved.''