Airless America

Airless America

: It’s too damned bad that Air America came out in the hands of such incompetents. We do need a liberal voice on radio, for the only way to have a conversation is to hear both sides of it.

But from a programming perspective, the network set off to do nothing but recreate the shrill voice of conservative talk radio from the other side — and be just as one-sided about it. I had hoped that Air America would be an intelligent network: NPR with opinions, NPR with personality, NPR without fear. But instead, we get the bizarro Rush, Randi Rhodes, shrieking at me every afternoon.

From a business perspective, they screwed it up royally, not getting enough funding and not lining up enough advertisers before doing on the air, so this smelled like a business failure from the start (which I said from the start).

The network gets pulled off the air in a major market. Executives keep leaving. And bad news keeps piling up.

The latest: Rhodes made a “joke” about assassinating George Bush but especially these days, when madmen plot to fly jets into our White House, that’s just not funny. But that’s Rhodes. Even on her own forum, some fans are critical.

Here’s what Michael Goodwin, NY Daily News columnist, said yesterday:

Color me confused. If Franken & Co. hate the pill-popping Limbaugh so much, why imitate his tarpit tone? Sounds like Limbaugh has simply driven them nuts.

Missing was the tension that comes from honest debate. Only Franken had guests voicing even slight distance from the party line, which is that John Kerry is perfect except he should attack Bush more.

The queen of venom, Randi Rhodes, followed Franken in the host slot. Her imitation of a cracker military type telling a soldier to “insert this fluorescent light bulb into that man’s buttocks” was revolting. She compared U.S. prisons in Iraq to the “Nazi gulag” and said, “The day I say thank you to Rumsfeld is the same day I’ll say thank you to the 12 people who raped me.”

Rock bottom came when she compared Bush and his family to the Corleones in the “Godfather” saga. “Like Fredo, somebody ought to take him out fishing and phuw,” she said, imitating the sound of gunfire.

During a day of torture by radio, I heard ads for Hewlett-Packard, Greyhound and, especially, General Motors. I asked GM why it appeared in such shows.

Ryndee Carney, GM’s manager of marketing communications, said the ads were wrongly picked up from an earlier deal with WLIB. She said the station was ordered to “cease and desist” yesterday, and added: “GM will not advertise on any Air America affiliates.”

Now I don’t like turning advertisers into programmers (any more than I like turning FCC commissioners, congressmen, or lawyers into programmers) but I have to think that GM was looking for an easy way out of a bad network.

I doubt that Air America will last to the election.

  • I disagree with your ‘both sides are needed’ statement. This automatically places all discussion into a binary format where people generally take sides.
    I don’t think that being a conservative or liberal means you need the opposite to balance you out. If one side is correct, the other side adds nothing to the connversation.
    Air America is failing because of its premise – Attack Conservatism. As a conservative leaning person myself, I don’t listen to Rush or Hannity because of this. GWB could personally torch a schoolyard full of children and those two wouldn’t waste a second pointing out how Democrat X said something stupid.
    Personally, what I’d like to see are hosts who aren’t afraid to challenge their own party. Those who don’t care what letter is next to a name, but want to get thre truth. I’m tired of the “My Side Is Right” crap, and it would be refreshing to hear thoughtful discussion on an issue’s points rather than the issue’s view as seen by any particular party.

  • Royce

    Mr. Jarvis,
    We do have a liberal voice on the radio. It’s called NPR.

  • I haven’t listened in today–has NPR suddenly gone off the air? The problem with NPR is that it’s elitist and nobody listens to it? How is this different from Air America?

  • megapotamus

    Air America’s founding premise was faulty in that it presumed mainstream liberalism was a silenced voice. What a joke. We have seen that these folks who think they are center-left (Didn’t they originally call it “Central Air”?) are actually leftwing extremists. Since “extremist” has been morphed into a deadly political charge (by the leftist major media) they are in mortal dread of the title sticking to themselves. The only defense to such a calamity was to keep quiet. Too late for that now. On balance, this is a Good Thing.

  • What you fail to recognize is that Rhodes was always more popular than Rush in her market in Florida. That is why she was brought on board. Hard to argue with success. I like that AAR has different voices and styles of progressives. After Rhodes, there is the much quieter Marty Kaplan. There is also Laura Flanders, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. I think the mix is spot on.

  • bigbooner

    Yeah, why do we “need” a liberal voice on radio, we get it in heavy doses everyday via network news and newspapers. Isn’t that exactly why talk radio has become so popular? Because it has filled the void and given us conservatives a chance to hear the other side that we had not been hearing. This Abu Ghraib thing is a classic example. Why don’t we just have a 24 hour around the clock “Abu Ghraib News Channel”. I mean after almost two weeks of this stuff enough is enough. When this pitiful story knocks the Nick Berg story off the frong page, something is wrong.

  • Ann

    The problem with Air America goes deeper than their programming: all political humor must in the end be libertarian. You can not make fun of the government at the same time you’re urging to have more of it. You can not make fun of politicians at the same time you want them to have more power. The only type of humor left to the left is personal attacks on their opponents, which seems to be what Air America is going for.
    Rush and other conservative (on some issues at least) radio shows work well because they can attack the government and politicians and be intellectually consistent in calling for a reduction in their power.

  • Jos Bleau

    I’m not a Rush fan & almost never listen to his show but his success is do to factors that the Air America people just don’t understand.
    First, he has a genuine talent for the medium.
    Second, he thinks independently and is just as willing to ask tough questions of the people nominally on his side as he is of his opponents.
    And finally, once you get past the bluster & bombast (the fat kid’s version of the Napoleon syndrome?) he really is a good natured fellow.
    The Air Americans have none of these qualities.
    It’s as if they sat down and asked each other “why do we hate him?” as if that was what made Rush popular, and then just endevoured to do exactly the same thing but from the left.
    And then there’s the issue of tone. Rush is about being for his conservative views, but Air America about being aginst conservatives.
    Positive usually trumps negative.

  • Sinton said the company had moved away from its original business model, which was to lease and totally control the radio stations in which its programing ran.
    Rather, Sinton said Air America has found success with traditional affiliate relationships, under which it provides about 20 hours of programing per day in many cases in exchange for the ability to sell a certain number of minutes per hour of advertising.
    “The business model has changed with our on-air success. The fact that we are moving the needle so quickly with affiliates has surprised us and negated the need for us to control our own stations,” Sinton said.
    Doesn’t sound like ‘bad news’ exactly…

  • “And then there’s the issue of tone. Rush is about being for his conservative views, but Air America about being aginst conservatives.”
    That is a joke. Rush is an integral part of the Republican attack machine. Positive? No, I don’t think so.

  • eric

    N.p.r. with opinions?That’s redundant

  • Yeah, JasonK, that’s why their top executives have gone over the side in about a month’s time. Boy, with that model of success, I’m sure that bridge purchasing in Brooklyn is your idea of a good investment strategy.
    Stop drinking the FlavorAid (TM) and face the music, your brand of idiotic partisanship is the reason why Airheads of America is tanking. If they are just now glomming onto the idea of selling their show to affiliates, they really are clueless morons, no matter how much of George Soros’s money they have.

  • AK

    “NPR with opinions”?
    As opposed to what we have now, which is, um, NPR with opinions.

  • I don’t listen to Rush or Hannity because of this. GWB could personally torch a schoolyard full of children and those two wouldn’t waste a second pointing out how Democrat X said something stupid.
    Funny, but I distinctly remember both being rather vocal in their opposition to the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan that GWB trumpetted and signed. Yes, sometimes partisanship drives their programming, but overall they broadcast based upon principle rather than opposition. Granted, I haven’t listened to Air America (largely because I never expected rational discussion of issues and found no entertainment value in “the shrill voice of liberal talk radio”), but haven’t heard anyone mention vocal opposition to JK’s gay marriage position.

  • jack

    Don’t waste you breath, submandave, ‘Marble’ doesn’t actually ‘lean’ conservative. Only a leftist could fail to notice right-wing commentators frustration with a lot of what Bush and the Republicans do.
    Medicare, Immigration–all the spending issues. Even annoyance with his handling of the WoT.
    Their fingers are firmly in their ears, eyes tightly shut, against any snippet of fact getting anywhere near their delusions….just look at how JasonK defines ‘success’.
    Lalalalala…they can’t hear us.

  • Mark

    IMHO the reason Air America is failing is that it is nothing but an imitation of conservative radio. It’s all reaction, and nothing original. Conservatives are proud to be patriotic, so this bunch calls the network “Air America” to try to sound patriotic. There’s a successful conservative show called “The O’Reilly Factor”, so they call their mid-day program “The O’Franken Factor.” Limbaugh is over the top in his partisanship, so they go over the top with their partisanship.
    What it says more than anything else is how very successfully Limbaugh and other conservatives talk show hosts have gotten under the liberals’ skin. It’s said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In this case I think it’s solid evidence that the conservative talk show format must really be working, because it’s driving people like Franken crazy.
    The problem for left-liberals like Franken is that they can’t fill a program with positive discussion of their plans for solving the nation’s programs, because honestly they’ve been tried since FDR was in office and they don’t work. People don’t want bigger government, higher taxes, more socialism, more regulation, more appeasement of European opinion. All that leaves them for topic matter is to react to conservative proposals. The fact that Franken is so mired in his own bitterness that he couldn’t see that the “joke” of naming his show “The O’Franken Factor” would be tired five minutes after the program first went on the air says something about the peevishness of this group. Franken used to actually be funny. Now he’s just sad.

  • I think the question is whether Air America – if indeed this Rhodes person is representative of AA – really reflects the liberal view, or is an extreme outlier, like Michael Savage is on the right.
    There are plenty of reasonable liberal voices, like Christopher Hitchens and Michael J. Totten (to name just 2).
    On the other hand, the wild-eyed fanatics that AA seems to want to target would rather hear Rhodes go “phuw” than actually follow a detailed and reasoned argument.
    Another question somebody ought to answer is, if Howard Stern and others can get booted out of the sound booth for saying one of the dreaded “7 naughty words”, why is Rhodes not booted out for suggesting the assassination of the President?

  • Jimbo

    In the only market where they go head to head – south Florida – Randi kicks Rush’s ass ratings-wise.

  • Shotgun

    “In the only market where they go head to head – south Florida – Randi kicks Rush’s ass ratings-wise.”
    I keep hearing that but I never see any numbers on it.
    Anybody know where to find them?

  • JorgXMcKie

    I listened to Air America twice: the first and the last time, and both were the same time.
    The problem I see is that Limbaugh (I can’t stand to listen to him) and the others seem to me to be talking “with all of us.” That is, they assume that they, themselves, are not really all that different from the rest of “us” except they get air time. “Us” is all Americans (at a minimum) of good will. They talk “with” their audience.
    Air America seemed to me to be talking down to “you” not with “us”. That is “you” lazy bastards out there who can’t be bothered to take the time to realize Bush is Satan (not, of course, that AA believes in Satan.) I never once got the feeling that AA was talking “with” anyone but the anointed. The rest of “us” were just sheep to be properly herded into Rightthink. Doubleplus good. It was like falling inot the memory hole.

  • shark

    We do need a liberal voice on radio, for the only way to have a conversation is to hear both sides of it.

    Jeff, just curious….is that “we” meaning us as a nation, or “we” meaning “us liberals”?

  • Ken Hahn

    The reason conservative talk radio was and is wildly sucessful is that it is alone. On the other side you have all the other media. Here in the L.A. area we have CBS, ABC, NBC which span the spectrum from Kerry to Dean. We have PBS and NPR which reflect everyone from Boxer to Feinstein. We have two news radio stations ( KFWB and KNX ) that give us the news according to everyone from Teddy Kennedy to Maxine Waters. We have the L.A. Times which thinks the problems with the Democrats is that they tolerate conservatives. We have local news that reflects the big boys. Even highly conservative Republican Orange County’s major newspaper, the Orange County Register is somewhere between libertarian and anarchist. There is no conservative voice in the media besides talk radio.
    Conservative talk radio suceeds because its listeners are tired of being insulted by the so called “news” media. Liberal talk radio has not got this advantage. There is no liberal voice unrepresented. Franken is just Brokaw at a bit more decibels. Garafalo is Rather a bit shriller. Rhodes is NPR on crack. Same song, different voice.
    Air America doesn’t have the slightest idea how to run a business. Leftest like being given money, not earning it. It’s an entitlement. Soros could give them a billion dollars and they’d spend it without establishing a market.
    None of that is why Air America is failing and will fail completely. The reason is simple. It’s boring.

  • ed

    If Rhodes actually did “kick” Rush’s butt in ratings in South Florida, so what? South Florida is overwhelmingly Democrat and Liberal. Frankly I’d be surprised if she didn’t get better ratings.

  • jeff kline

    Will you leftist quit calling ideas you hate as ‘hateful’. The only hate on the airwaves comes from the comunzazifascist leftists on air america.
    Your Rhodes/Limbaugh comparison is like comparing Goebbles and Will Rodgers. Limbaugh is a populist, and Rhodes a brownshirt for the left.

  • O’McSomething

    It’s too damned bad that Air America came out in the hands of such incompetents. We do need a liberal voice on radio, for the only way to have a conversation is to hear both sides of it.
    Could you be a bit more disengenuous? You’ve been sounding AirAmerica’s demise since the day they started (April 1–a whole 6 weeks ago). Air America is not failing. The facts are that after some early bumps in the road, the station is setting records for streaming online and getting new stations and advertising everyday. Even if you and your fellow vichy-liberals don’t like it, lots of folks do. Both the O’Franken Factor and the Majority Report have successful blogs that average hundreds of comments on every post. I would think that a blog-cheerleader like yourself would a the very least be happy that they are bringing so much attention to blogging.
    But don’t worry. After only 6 weeks on the air, Air America is already an important voice in the election. Air America is here to stay.

  • shark

    Streaming online? Blogs?
    Big fricking deal.
    This is supposed to be about radio. Which is a cash-making proposition.
    So instead of talking about blogs and streaming audio (while nice for them that it’s doing good) you need to focus on RATINGS and AD REVENUE.
    WHich aren’t there

  • HH

    Yesterday Michael Savage said that Rhodes went too far. That should say something.

  • Just Another Smart Alec

    The business model was flawed, to say the very least. The company entered a market for which they could not hope to gain significant market share in a short enough time to turn around the initial investment. Among existing broadcast news, cable news, public and private radio, there are already plenty of competitors serving the “liberal news and analysis” market. The only hope Air America had to differentiate itself and gain market share was to try to cater to the extreme left. The good news is, there simply aren’t enough ears in that demographic to make this “business plan” viable.
    On top of that, their plan for growth was just plain stupid. Air America’s management booked it into the radio equivalent of UPN and the Public Access channel and expected big things. They’re quoted in the media rejecting programming requests on stations that carried conservative programming… apparently because they didn’t want to soil their image by associating with successful stations!
    Keep an eye out for amazingly acrimonious lawsuits starting up very soon between any salesmen who pitched this idiotic business plan and the investors who bought their pie in the sky.

  • HH

    Ah Air America is a successful blog with a shitty radio network. Nice accomplishment.

  • In the only market where they go head to head – south Florida – Randi kicks Rush’s ass ratings-wise.
    They do not compete head to head. Limbaugh is on for three hours beginning at noon. Rhodes is on for four hours beginning at 3:00.

  • Borny

    GM ads are still running.

  • Jo Bleau

    Sort of along JASA’s lines, I’ve been wondering just how AA could have spent so much money on this project. Radio is notoriuos for its low salaries and lean management structure.
    Their network is so tiny, sation numbr wise, too.
    I’d guess that they have a high-paid top-heavy management structure that’s very costly.

  • Jos Bleau

    Just a little off topic, but how do the new campaign finance reforms handle ghost payrolling?
    AS in, the 527’s (or AA) hire lots of people for no-show jobs and then send those people to ‘volunteer’ for political campaigns?
    That would also explain a very-high payroll Air America too, if the laws allow it.

  • The reason Air Idiot will fail is their arrogance. They demand affiliates turn over their airtime to the entire lineup. Limbaugh, Hannity and the others all began as individual shows which had to draw an audience to succeed. That they end up on the same stations in a number of markets is just economics and programming decisions. Air Idiot thought they could just swallow a bloc of airtime and compete without proving that any of their shows could draw an audience. They had Franken’s name, but absolutely no evidence that he or any of the rest could pull in a listening audience. Rhodes was a two-bit, second tier loudmouth in a backwater radio market and reinforces that description daily. Of the top three radio markets they’re only on the air in one. Their NYC ratings will be released on May 21. I’d be amazed if they last more than a month beyond.

  • JeremyR

    The audience for talk radio is those that find the mainstream news media to be biased. For instance, my father cannot get throw watching the local news without yelling at the TV, calling it “biased” or “lyings s.o.b.s”.
    While there are people on the left you think the news media is biased towards the right, generally those are on the far, far, far left, ones that either are full fledged socialists or Gnome Chompsky disciples. OTOH, on the right, pretty much everyone thinks the media is biased. Because you know, it is (given that 90% of reporters are Democrats)

  • shark

    Can we please dispel something about “bias” while we’re here?
    When someone on the RIGHT complains of bias, they complain because all they want is an objective, balanced report so both sides are exposed.
    When the LEFT complains of bias, it’s generally whining that the media didn’t go far enough to attack the other side. Anything short of Dan Rather calling Bush a donkey-raping sh*t eating Nazi on the news is their evidence of “bias”

  • HH

    Here is the hate-filled Rhodes in all her sickening glory, courtesy
    Randi: “We have the Fredo of the family is the president of the United States, so why doesn’t his father or his brother, one of ’em, take him out for a little, uh, fishing?”
    Caller: “In the rowboat.”
    Randi: “And let him say some ‘Hail Marys.’ He loves God so much.”
    Caller: (unintelligible)
    Randi: “Yeah, take him out and you know, ‘Hail Mary, full of grace, God is with thee…’ *imitating gunshot* Works for me.”
    Caller: “Absolutely.”
    The New York Times, early on referenced her repeated assertions of Bush as Fredo and she has followed that to its logical conclusion, that Bush should be killed. And she’s made that argument (though less explicitly) before:
    “Today, after playing a Bush sound bite in which he referenced wetlands and the way God intended them to be, RR made some sort of reference to Bush being crazy, or gone or something like that. She then gave a little talk about “the football” which is the briefcase containing nuclear launch plans and codes always carried by a military aide accompanying the president.
    “She stated that if she was that person, she would run away from Bush with the briefcase. In the next sentence or so she said (paraphrase) I don’t know how it works in other branches of the military, but on the flight deck, if the person in command goes crazy, you are supposed to take your sidearm and kill him. (end of paraphrase) This occurred beginning about 4:15pm on the over-the-air broadcast in Chicago. It all took perhaps 5 minutes or less.”
    You can find the audio on both sites.
    Part of the reason Randi got the AA syndication gig is the support of lefty sites and blogs like Take Back the Media. Many of them have given her high praise as the “answer” to Rush… Time for some accountability. AA should fire this woman before they go under and the bloggers who helped put her there should condemn her hate.

  • Woo hoo! I got called a leftie! That’s a first. I’m normally called a rabid right winger, a ‘fundie Christian idiot’, a cold hearted conservative, etc. But thanks for pointing that out.
    Rush is entertaining. I will always give him that. His point of view is very similar to mine. However, I get so tired of people telling me that I get my talking points from the man when I don’t even listen to him.
    Hannity on the other hand is a shill. I used to listen to him every day on my ride home, but I got tired of his constant Bush Ass Kissing. Liberals are not the embodiment of evil like he wants you to believe.
    So, as funny as it may sound Jack, I am on ‘the right’. I just don’t like Hannity or Rush. If I have to listen to radio on my ride home, it’s the Schnitt Show.

  • Er, Jeff, NPR is liberal talk radio. Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity is balance.

  • Bruce Hayden

    Other posters have pointed out the absurdity of attempting to be an NPR with opinions and their business plan. I agree with both. When I am on the road, I will listen to NPR a little, as it is even more pervasive than Rush, and then they will spin something so hard I switch to Rock. At least Science Friday isn’t heavily spun. Usually.
    First, conservative talk radio is truly survival of the fittest. Shows are constantly starting, getting a couple of stations, then folding. Really, only the best survive, esp. nationally.
    Secondly, as is constantly pointed out, there aren’t that many conservative media outlets. Fox News constantly amazes me. Wherever I go, it seems that Fox is missing, but they have CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, etc., yet Fox prevails. But who in their right mind watches CNN, even with Paula Zahn, after their Iraq War coverage. Part of the alure too is that you get the news that is suppressed by the mainstream media.
    It should be noted that there are probably more conservatives in this country today than liberals. But with the mainstream media so liberal, where do the conservatives go for their information? The answer of course is, more and more, Fox News, talk radio, and the Internet.
    Third, the most successful conservative talk radio typically is well argued. Sure, whenever Teddy Kennedy makes an ass out of himself, as he is doing these days, comments are made about Mary Jo, water, etc. And what is great is when his comments are contrasted with those of his brother. But overall, arguments are made with logic and facts, the very things missing in Air America. On Rush, for example, there are constant sound bites where some liberal is counterdicting himself or the like.
    Part of the problem of course is that current liberal thought is pretty much bankrupt of ideas these days. Their only orthodoxy is that conservatives are mean and bad. Never mind that they are supporting 30+ year old failed ideas. What do they offer in replacement? More money from the “rich”, who don’t own G5s, as Kerry’s wife does. But in most of these cases, just throwing money at the problem only makes it worse. How can you argue policy when you don’t have any?
    It is also funny. On Rush, some of the humor is not much better than that found on Air America, except that it is more based on fact. On the other hand, I do love those old songs sung with anti-liberal words.
    How much Bush is bad, Bush is evil, Bush is stupid, Bush should be killed can anyone listen to? Even for the rabid left, it must pale.

  • Zip

    America is the only country where there are a group of people (Neocons) who wish the Media was state run and only reported what would make the government look good.
    Fox news is the obvious in this as their coverage over the past 2 years has been almost asskissing to the administration out of any news source. Cnn is better but not by much, they touted the party line and pretty much broadcasted the Iraq war the way the Bush admin wanted it to be broadcasted. I have yet to see any reports of the 10 Thousand plus civilians that have been killed or the truth about how the iraqis really feel about us being there.
    Conservativs feel threatened by Air America. The Bias and halftruths reported by Rush and the other right on radio now has something to counter it. I think you’ll all be very surprised at Air Americas ratings.

  • HH

    “Fox news is the obvious in this as their coverage over the past 2 years has been almost asskissing to the administration out of any news source.”
    Tonight on Fox, an interview with John Kerry… by Alan Colmes.
    Oh yeah they’re right wing propagandists 24/7 alright…

  • HH

    “America is the only country where there are a group of people (Neocons) who wish the Media was state run and only reported what would make the government look good.”
    Utter bulls*** by the way… the left are the ones clamoring for more NPRs and more PBS’es.

  • Zip: does your nickname indicate what you have for brains?
    As for Randi Rhodes and South Florida being “overwhelmingly liberal and Democrat” — well I had never heard of the bitch while I lived there; Rush was the big fave in Miami among the Anglos. I can’t remember the names of all the Cuban-American deejays on the Spanish stations, but if they showed the eensiest bit of lacking the necessary Castro-hatred they were ridden out of town on a rail, which of course was as it should be. Not all of the Jews were Democrats either, especially during the first Iraq war. I am guessing that Randi and her spew were beloved of the brainless rich in Palm Beach and the moronic Baby Boomer crowd in Ft. Lauderdale.

  • Buckland

    I disagree that these guys won’t last until the election. I think they’ll not only last until the election but well beyond.
    The people they have running the operation (management, not on air personalities) are in way over their head. Most have either never worked in the industry or are from small markets and are in positions well beyond where their talent would have otherwise taken them. The initial pains were predictable, and even worse will continue to come out. Radio is too competitive to learn in a few months. The management talent is not sufficient to staff anything like they

  • Ken Hahn

    I really hope Air America lasts until the election and longer. I’ll never listen to it and I have severe issues with its personalities and philosophy. I’m not especially tolerant. I want it to survive because it’s a waste of money. Soros, et al, can keep pouring money into this turkey and I’ll celebrate. Like Brock’s conservative media bias web site, this is a money pit for rich lefties. Pour in the cash guys. PLEASE! If Air America and these other wierdo schemes fail, you might something effective to do with all that cash.

  • “…recreate the shrill voice of conservative talk radio” Why would anybody listen to shrill voices?
    The shrillest voice I ever heard on the radio was Jim Hightower.

  • Insufficiently Sensitive

    “I had hoped that Air America would be an intelligent network: NPR with opinions, NPR with personality, NPR without fear.”
    NPR has no fear. It has the unctuous certitude of the pastor in the rectory, and its collection plate is filled by red-state heathens whether they agree with it or not.
    NPR has personality. Oh, the lower orders are forced into conformity with their manual of on-air delivery – does anyone remember Paul Brown before they divested him of his North Carolina speech? But the real elites, the stars like Sylvia Poggioli, are allowed to keep their ‘charming’ furrin inflections as a sort of brand name.
    NPR has opinions in spades, else why would their in-house editorialist be the fading left-wing hack Daniel Schorr? He has personality too, just listen to him sneer.
    What NPR lacks is diversity. I don’t mean Tavis Smiley, I mean that a PUBLIC broadcaster should include editors and particularly producers whose viewpoints coincide with those disenfranchised red-state citizens whose only role on NPR at present is passive listeners and taxpayers. The stories they would select and research and present are precisely the ones suppressed and excluded by the present NPR hierarchy.
    And the reason Air America is failing is the breathtaking narrowness of its vision. Offended by talk radio covering the subjects and opinions so well excluded by CBS, CNN et al, AA’s grand vision is simply reactionary: to play ‘Oh yeah?’ and try to offend the conservatives in turn. That’s equivalent to kindergartners having a potty-talk festival – there’s no particular high-order thinking, no inquiry, no philosophy behind it. So long live George Soros, and may he pour bazillions into this ‘noble’ enterprise.