Air America capitalism

Air America capitalism
: Man, there are a helluva lot of unpaid public-service spots on Air America. And there are no ads on the AirAmerica web site. Is that because:

(a) Liberals are bad at business and haven’t sold the ads,

(b) Liberal businesses are cheap and don’t buy ads,

(c) The liberal demographic isn’t appealing,

(d) It’s secretly a not-for-profit socialistic enterprise.

If I were an investor in Air America, I’d be screaming like a stuck pig. The network got so much attention, I can’t believe it didn’t get more advertising (even at friendly introductory rates). Hell, you’d think the folks advertising on BlogAds would be advertising on Air America!

  • michael

    (e) Liberals don’t want the network/site to become captured by capitalist interests.

  • The real question is who would advertise into that demographic? Toyota Prius? High Times? Joe’s hemp clothing?
    I don’t think that advertisers know how to sell into a market that hates the market.
    from my treo,

  • I just ranted about Air America this morning here:
    I think one of the problems is that advertisers probably agree with me and know that a lot of people who would be listening aren’t because it’s so boring.

  • george

    Oh, yes, all liberals “hate the market.” Get real.

  • I heard major commercials on AA, like Claritin, Cingular, etc. The SoCal stations has one now from a local insurance company, so apparently they’re able to sell locally. The worse commercial is the one with the screeching about the Beholder movie.

  • all_business

    The answer is simple. Buying advertising minutes on a radio station no one listens to, with totally boring content, no market coverage, and nearly certain to fail within a year is not something smart business people do or they are no longer in business.
    AA is not PBS and that will kill them. PBS doesn’t have to earn its way AA does.

  • Most stations just launching don’t have a boatload of ads. Even Howard Stern’s show on E! gets more support from direct advertisers vs. branded ads. I heard a McDonald’s ad on AA. It’s week 2 for chrissake.

  • superfly

    I suspect that most of the investors knew exactly what they were getting into. If they actually make money sure that is great, but if that was all they were intersested in there were a lot less risky media groups they could invest in.

  • Angelos

    I would side with the “give them time” argument for now.
    On the other hand, there was so much hype, I figured more people would jump in at the start, especially if there were first mover rates.
    And yes, boooring…

  • Well, Randi Rhodes came out of the gate saying, “check out the advertisers” so this is fair, although I will also give them time before I declare them a failure on that point.

  • O’McSomething

    I posted this comment under INFLUENCE post below.
    BTW–Air America is giving a lot of props to blogging. Why don’t you show them some love for bringing blogging to the mainstream? The bugs are not out yet, but both Franken’s show and Garafalo’s show have blogs and they refer to them throughout the broadcast. Show a little blog-love whydoncha?
    But, NOOOOOOOOOOOO! The self-styled liberal just has to put up a snarky post about liberals. Fercrissakes, Jeff, you should be happy for liberals andbloggers.
    FYI–AirAmerica has been running for just over a week and the good-for-blogging blogs that are connected to the shows I mentioned above just really got going in the past few days. I’m quite sure the BlogAds will come. And I’ve heard lots of advertisers. On-Star, Marriott, even Hummer money seems to be good w/ AirAm. Just where did you find the stats that no one is advertising with them? I don’t find that true at all.

  • Me

    Y’ever run a business, pal?
    It’s damn hard to sell ads, even harder when you’re trying to fight the so-called conventional wisdom that conservative loudmouth no-brain radio is the big radio deal.
    It takes five to ten years to make a media outlet profitable.
    So shaddap and give ’em some time.

  • Me…
    Well, actually, I created what is now a $350-million-a-year business called Entertainment Weekly. Yes, it took years to break even. But the magazine STARTED with lots of advertising sold aggressively and priced aggressively just so it wouldn’t look empty like Air America does. Your turn to “shaddup.”
    O: Just because I’m a liberal doesn’t mean I can’t wonder about or criticize liberals. It’s not a cult, you know.

  • You might also consider the fact that a radio network has national ads, sold by AA, and then has slots for local ads, sold by each station on the network.
    If you’re listening to AA over the web, i.e., the “network feed,” those local commercial slots have to be filled with something, or else there’s 30 seconds of dead air.
    Like, maybe public service ads.
    If you’re one of the three people listening to AA over an actual radio station, and you hear PSA’s, that may mean that the local station has sales troubles.
    These are all potentially the factual reason you heard some PSA’s. But it sure is more fun to assume that liberals don’t have a clue about business.

  • Reid: I’m listening to the New York air feed.

  • Donut:
    well, a colleague tells me that there’s a year-and-a-half waiting list for the Prius. An underappreciated demographic, I’d say.

  • Anonymous

    Jef f– Where do you get the impression they are not getting ads? Because their website is new? I’m off, but I’ll check back later.
    By the way — please don’t forget my apostrophy. I’m thinking of suing O’Franken for the O’. If he’s going to copy me, the least he could do is call himself O’McFranken.

  • I think the short answer is “yes”.

  • superfly

    Jeff I think that was the best smackdown I have ever seen a blogger give to a commentator.
    From my brief few months experience in college radio I am pretty sure the FCC indirectly makes radio stations run some PSAs. The stations have to show they are serving the public interest. That is why they also have those boring public service programs on weekend mornings when their ratings will be down anyway.
    Also I am a fiarly staunch conservative and I would not mind owning an electric hybrid after they have been on the market a year or two more and are easier to get. So far all the car reviews I have read said that the prius was a pretty cool car.

  • Billy West

    Jeff, it’s probably a tad easier to sell ads in a magazine that features puff pieces on the 50 Greatest Seinfeld Episodes than on a brand new radio network attempting to counter the dominant format of talk radio with a few AM stations.

  • Insufficiently Sensitive

    AA will be grabbing most listeners from NPR.
    Those are the listeners that despise the ads on AM radio in the loudest possible tones, and were infuriated when NPR began to carry the oh-so-sensitive ‘endorsements’ that now appear there. Were AA to run any sort of aggressive advertising, those listeners would bolt in horror back to NPR.
    I think AA is a vanity press backed by trust fund babies.

  • Jeff,
    My bad. Being in Texas, I see them on the lots when my mother in law drools on them. Maybe I should start a Prius import business to northeast.
    ps. Why would anyone want the Prius? At least the hybrid Coralla can carry your groceries AND kids…

  • I was curious about advertising The Revealer on Air America (I’d advertise it on conservative radio if I could, but there I KNOW the rates are outta site) because I figured they might have cheap intro rates. I couldn’t find info on their site. I wrote them midweek. Haven’t heard back. Bad business, indeed.

  • XM Radio’s commercial hole is mostly promos.

  • felixrayman

    No ads on your blog either, wonder boy. What should I conclude from that fact about the content and amusement value of your little rag?
    And I don’t mean to be snarky. For the record, I find your site to be extremely amusing.

  • Jeff-
    I gave Al Franken two weeks. Long enough to know that he has nothing original to add to the public debate. The fact that he calls his show the “O’Frankenfactor” should have been clue enough, but I listened via webcast anyway. I think that “lame” is an appropriate adjective.
    BTW, I am a ‘week 1’ listener of the Rush Limbaugh program. I don’t listen much these days for a variety of reasons, but when Rush started out, his show really was different and he really did strive to grab your attention. Lots of very smart humor.
    Franken’s attempts at humor seem to be focused solely on Rush’s drug addition problem and bits involving the ghost of Richard Nixon. Poor transitions to the Nixon bits don’t help.
    KPOJ out of Portland, OR has Ed Schulz in between Franken and Randi Rhodes. Now Ed has a show I could listen to. I wouldn’t agree with him very often, but he does have a smooth, professional presentation.
    A big part of listening to a radio station is smooth transitions, professional presentation, personal/one-to-one tone, and unique entertainment. Rush has it. Ed Schulz has it. Neal Boortz (WSB-Atlanta libertarian leaning show) has it. Garrison Keillor has it (much to my family’s chagrin).
    Al Franken is lost without it. Screaming “Liiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeessssssss!” periodically and generally fading in and out and around conversations as if the last vestiges of some inebriating substance are leeching out of his bloodstream are not funny.