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AIR AMERICA: OUT OF AIR IN NYC

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By Michelle Malkin  •  April 27, 2006 04:56 PM

My frequent investigative blog partner and Hot Air affiliate Brian Maloney of The Radio Equalizer reported the news several weeks ago. Now, MediaWeek is trailing with confirmation: liberal talk network Air America is losing its flagship station, WLIB, in New York City, on Aug. 31:

Air America Radio will lose its New York flagship station, WLIB-AM, on Aug. 31. While the left-leaning radio network’s original lease for the Inner City station ran out March 31, AAR managed to get an extension which only lasts until Aug. 31, according to an informed source.

Through an agreement with ICBC, WLIB will be operated as a joint venture and programmed by P1, a company run by former Clear Channel and Jacor Communications executive Randy Michaels. Michaels is expected to program a progressive-talk format, but replace AAR’s network programming with more local programming. A likely addition to the new lineup: Ed Schultz, the left-of-center talker syndicated by P1.

“To be clear, Air America will not go silent on the New York City airwaves. We do not, however, comment on hypothetical speculation,” said an AAR spokesperson.

Brian’s exclusive report on March 3:

In a development sure to rip the heart right out of the liberal radio network’s already ailing body, it appears extremely likely their leased New York City flagship station WLIB-AM will soon abandon Air America programming.

Even worse, litigation looks probable over the station’s lease.

While the network’s last day on WLIB isn’t known for certain, an internal source providing backing documentation points to the end of March. At this time, Air America parent Piquant LLC has no firm back-up plan for where in the nation’s largest radio market its programming will now air.

Some inside the firm are already referring to WLIB in the past tense.

Without WLIB, Air America faces an immediate, crushing blow. Worth perhaps 100 small markets combined, an on-air presence in New York City is absolutely vital to the company’s survival. If an immediate and suitable replacement isn’t found, the consequences would be dire.

Air America is desperately trying to spin the news and its acolytes have attacked Maloney relentlessly for his intrepid digging.

What say they now?

***

Previous Air America reports here.

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Categories: Air America, Al Franken

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