A new radio network with a liberal slant called Air America hit the airwaves today. It’s getting a lot of press — as it should. I wish them all the best. Their marquee host thus far is Al Franken. Not exactly my cup of tea politically, but Al’s certainly funny guy. He’s good enough, he’s smart enough, and I guess we’ll see if people really like him.
The most puzzling aspect of this network is the name. Air America was a covert “airline” owned and operated by the CIA in Vietnam. It supported most of their operations there and was so secret that even some of the employees didn’t know who they were working for. John Deakin, a former Air America pilot, has written a bit about flying for “The Company”.
I’m not sure why a liberal talk radio network would settle on this name, but I’d bet it’s intentional. Even the Air America Radio logo looks like something the CIA would have come up with.
Hey, I KNEW it had a familiar ring! Of course that was Air America. Someone needs to ask them about that. Meanwhile, last week they were off the air in LA and Sean Hannity (that paragon of honesty) was going on and on about how they had “bounced” a check. In fact, they stopped payment, or so Air America says. I tend to believe it, as they are working with a guy who ownes a number of what are termed “teakettle” AM radio stations in a bunch of markets. This broadcaters sells off blocks of time to anybody but has tried to focus on Asian and Spanish language listeners in NY, Chicago, LA and around.
Its a great idea for a radio network but this owner does not seem to have much of a reputation for fairneses. I also know that he won’t spring for lunch after you spend an afternoon telling him the latest greatest reasons why Arbitron ratings whon’t help him and how he might do some research on his radio market that could make a difference. I’m not too suprised that Air America (what an awful name) is having trouble with this station group.