Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The O'Quality Factor

I don't often mention radio, a seemingly dead and unoriginal medium in the era of podcasts and JackFM, respectively, but Air America Radio is about the only interestingly new thing to come out of the medium since it left the atmosphere. With Al Franken, Mike Malloy and Co. spewing the leftist vile across the nation (well, sort of), the goal is to even out the playing field with the plethora of successful conservative shows currently on the waves.

Well, they got the liberal part right. Interesting? Successful? Not so much.

Rumor has it that Air America will be jumping frequencies in New York City – moving from 1190 WLIB to 1600 WWRL on September 1, 2006, leaving local and network AAR programmers scrambling. This is the latest step in a rough existence for the network, whose reliance on celebrities and conservative criticism left out the entertainment and spontaneity of no-name radio hosts fighting for their audiences and their careers. Now with a hole in its New York City coverage (where it's based, naturally), Air America looks to be heading for the cutting block.

I'm all for supporting liberal radio - after all, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly really have taken over - but Air America's star-studded, NYC-based enterprise seems incredibly out-of-touch with America - even liberal America. By expanding its reach and getting in touch with its almost-as-liberal-but-not-so-pissed-off listeners outside the Big Apple, not to mention plugging the stream of D-list celebrities that show up to host (have celebrities ever worked? David Roth, anyone?), the network could find its footing again.

The medium is already on the decline in many ways, so Air America has to play it even smarter than it thinks. Because between Wonkette and AmericaBlog, I've got plenty of politically-charged, leftist ranting - without the XM subscription.

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