The liberal talk radio network Air America has officially ceased operations. An announcement posted Thursday on the Air America Web site says, 'êThe very difficult economic environment has had a significant impact on Air America's business,'ê and the past year 'êhas seen a 'êperfect storm'ê in the media industry.'ê
Since many of the personalities who began their national radio careers on Air America programs ultimately spun off their own independent shows, the effects of the network shutting down will have limited impact, including here in Seattle where AM1090 KPTK has been an Air America affiliate since 2005. A statement posted on the AM1090 home page says, 'êThere will be no changes or interruption in broadcast for the majority of AM1090 shows including Bill Press, Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, Ed Schultz, Norman Goldman, and Mike Malloy.'ê
The Ron Reagan Show, heard weeknights on KPTK from 6-9 pm, was the only Air America program still carried by the station during prime hours and was actually produced at KPTK'ês studios on Dexter Avenue. Carey Curelop, Operations Director for KPTK (and for two other CBS Radio-owned stations in Seattle, KZOK and Jack FM), said Friday (Jan. 22) that Reagan will likely be back on the air in his old time slot as early as Tuesday (Jan. 26). Discussions are underway between Reagan and a number of syndicators to launch a national show, but Curelop says that in the meantime, Reagan will likely be heard, at least locally, on KPTK from 6-9 pm.
Reagan, who has a home in Seattle (I saw him eating a burrito at Tacos Guaymas in Fremont not too long ago), had a short-lived midday program on KIRO AM a few years ago, and has occasionally filled in for Dave Ross on KIRO FM.
Other Air America programs were carried by AM1090 on weekend and overnights (including an hour with Rachel Maddow, who cut back at Air America to launch a TV career on MSNBC). Curelop isn'êt sure what will eventually take the place of these programs, but it could mean more hours of Democracy Now or other programs not currently carried by AM1090.
Air America was founded with much ballyhoo in 2004 — a contentious time early in the Iraq War and in the midst of the 2004 presidential campaign — with hopes of countering the influence of more established right-wing radio personalities including Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage. Among notable personalities employed in the past by Air America were Al Franken, Janeane Garofalo, and Randi Rhodes. Franken is now a senator from Minnesota; Garofalo is back to stand-up comedy; and Rhodes hosts a radio program distributed by a subsidiary of Clear Channel.