Monday, January 25, 2010

Air America RIP-- A Guest Post From Former Air America CEO Danny Goldberg

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The Real Story Behind The Demise Of Air America-- And Why Progressives Need To Pay Better Attention

-by Danny Goldberg


I think that the New York Times got it exactly wrong this morning in declaring that “the enduring legacy of Air America’s failure is that political media from either side of the aisle is more successful when run as a business instead of a crusade.”
 
That very attitude is what has hobbled the growth of liberal talk radio but conservatives have never thought about media that way and they still don’t. The week before Air America shut its doors the Rev. James Dobson announced that he was starting a new radio show with his son Ryan, a thirty-nine year tattooed surfer who shares his father’s ultra-conservative views. On Dobson’s Facebook page he asked his supporters to fund the new show. “Your participation will be greatly appreciated, especially during this time when startup costs will be very expensive. The budget for the first year, including the costs of radio airtime, will be about two million dollars."
 
Conservatives believe in doing whatever it takes to promote their ideas. Richard Viguerie, viewed as one of the architects of the modern conservative movement, wrote a book in 2004 called America’s Right Turn: How Conservatives Used New and Alternative Media To Take Power, in which he explains how the right wing used talk radio among other tools. Viguerie stresses that conservatives understand that ideological change does not usually occur over night, that it takes patience and long term thinking to build a movement. 

In the early nineteen seventies the Washington Post and New York Times were instrumental in helping expose the Watergate scandal and publishing the Pentagon papers. Conservatives felt that liberals had an advantage in setting the agenda because of the influence of New York and D.C. newspapers on the national media. In 1976 Rupert Murdoch bought the New York Post and it has lost money every year since, the total loss estimated to be more than half a billion dollars. In 1983, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon created the Washington Times, which has also lost money every year. Widely published reports place Moon’s losses at over $1 billion on the Times and other political media including a purchase the venerable wire service UPI. These money losing properties have put dozens of conservatively slanted stories onto the national radar screen, altered the framing of every important political issues, and nurtured virtually every right wing pundit who now thrive as TV talking heads.
 
More recently, Phillip Anschutz bought the money losing Weekly Standard from Murdoch and announced plans to invest in more conservative media and his fellow billionaire and former Republican Treasury Secretary Pete Petersen started a digital news service called The Fiscal Times.
 
The fatal flaw in Air America’s genetic code was the pretense that liberal talk radio was a great business opportunity, that progressives could have their cake and eat it too, do well by doing good, make big salaries and get a great return on investment while also pursuing an ideological agenda. Sure, every once in awhile political media like Michael Moore’s movies or Rush Limbaugh’s radio show will make money, but for those interested in influencing public opinion, media in all venues is vital whether they make money or not.
 
Air America’s lesser-known competitor, Democracy Radio had a more coherent rationale. It was set up as a non-profit and it spawned the Ed Schultz Show and the Stephanie Miller show both of which survive but which may never have been launched were it not for Democracy Radio’s initial funding. (Democracy Radio folded in 2006 as a result of a lack of financial support from progressive donors.)
 
Some progressives blame bad management for the failure of both Air America and Democracy Radio and since I spent one unhappy year midway through Air America’s life as its CEO I suppose I am one of a dozen or so who are in that category. But if progressives really wanted to address talk radio they could have started competing companies with different management. Instead, most of the monied progressive community did the opposite of their conservative counterparts and bought into the notion that media should stand or fall based on media market forces.
    
It’s not that the left doesn’t have money to spend on communication. Labor unions, public interest groups, and Internet activists have raised and spent tens of millions of dollars on TV spots and digital marketing.  

138 million people commute to and from work in automobiles in which they can look neither at computer or TV screens. For around one-third of them, or 48 million, AM talk radio is their entertainment of choice. Of the top 10 AM talk radio shows, 9 are hosted by extreme conservatives giving the right wing a captive audience of around 40 million listeners a week, at least 7 times greater than the combined audience for Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. Talk radio’s audience dwarfs that of every other category in the news political arena including the network news and Sunday shows, NPR’s public affairs shows, and political websites.
 
It was not pre-ordained that all of the millions of people who identify with the “tea-party” movement would believe the conservative narrative that the economic ills afflicting the middle class are the result of liberalism. But given that tens of millions of them had no alternative explanations or solutions, it is not surprising that conservative ideas and candidates are ascendant.
 
Many progressives blame the current political climate on the Obama administration, and I disagree with a number of Obama’s decisions including his Afghanistan policy. But why should progressives expect any President to lead the way on our issues given the nature of our political system? At the outset of the Obama administration there were dozens of columns reminding progressives that Franklin Delano Roosevelt had told the liberal activists of his day to “make” him initiative progressive programs by mobilizing public opinion. Instead, most of the modern left spent the last year talking to itself while conservatives convinced millions of people that global warming is a hoax, that torture in required to keep America safe, that non-millionaires in Canada and Europe have worse health care than their American counterparts. The right wing could never have convinced 45% of Americans that the Democrats wanted death panels if their outreach was limited to Sarah Palin’s Facebook page and the three million people a night who watch Fox’s highest rated shows.
    
Perhaps the major liberal money people have become confused because focus groups and polling are very useful tools in predicting short-term public reaction to political messages. They can tell you if a particular TV spot will turn off swing voters two weeks before an election. But long-term political ideas have a more complex creative path. Conservatives understand the need to focus on both long and short-term political communication. Or maybe media advisors and consultants who advise labor unions and an assortment of progressive groups on media strategy are culturally uncomfortable with the crude language of AM talk radio and other mass culture, and who are often so nervous about losing control of "their message.” Whatever the reasons, the theory of leaving political media to the marketplace has enabled a status quo in which one third of the American public are never exposed to progressive ideas or even to facts that are incompatible with the right-wing narrative.
 
To be fair-- the radio business has an idiosyncratic culture that is hard for outsiders to grasp. In 1987 when the Reagan administration ended the Fairness Doctrine, the cultural landscape was such that many conservatives felt under-served by the mainstream media of the time and Rush Limbaugh was able to use his considerable broadcasting skills to attract millions of them as an audience and revive the economic fortunes of AM radio stations around the country. At the same time, as described in Viguerie’s book, conservatives focused on small market stations for religious and political purposes and helped create an infrastructure that continues to serve them well. Traditional radio stations attract audiences based on “formats” that grouped together demographic cohorts. Thus music radio is either R&B, pop, rock, country or various versions or hybrids of those genres. A listener to a country station would not want to hear a Metallica song programmed sandwiched in between Toby Keith and Sugarland. While liberals ignored AM radio, viewing it as a passé medium for troglodytes, conservatives honed their skill at talk radio and by the nineties, most liberal and moderate talk hosts had been taken off the air because they did not fit into what was now the “conservative talk” format.
 
Many of the radio executives who programmed the right wing radio stations that produced the shows did not agree with their politics but, like most business people, they gravitated to the easiest path to make the most money the quickest. These “radio people,” understandably, were not going to be motivated by an ideological agenda, even one that they agreed with. But activists and public interest groups are supposed to be motivated by ideology

When Air America and Democracy Radio launched in 2003 they faced, not only a lack of liberal talent with the broadcasting chops to entertain radio listeners, but also a lack of stations on which to place programs even by someone with the celebrity of Al Franken. One of the main reasons a sizable investment was needed (though nothing like the scale of the investment made by Murdoch and Moon in money losing right wing newspapers) was the need to create enough programming to fill up the time of stations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so as to justify a “progressive talk” formatted station.

Conservative talk had a 17 year head start and so there just weren’t enough experienced broadcasters with progressive politics to create a format, hence the need for experimentation. Identifying, developing and marketing talent takes a lot of experimentation with a predictable amount of failures in order to establish successes. This is part of the reason it took even an ultimately successful company like Fox News years to turn a profit.

Another need for investment was to market a brand new format with lots of personalities new to radio and to give incentives for radio station owners in smaller markets to give the new format a chance.
   
There are some who claim that liberals are not good at talk radio. Right-wingers considered the liberal talkers elitists who didn’t understand radio entertainment. Some on the left felt that the talk radio audience demanded simplistic angry polarizing tone that is incompatible with progressive values. I don’t believe that is true. I am an unabashed Al Franken fan, but even if one disliked his style or politics, the fact is that his show attracted several million listeners a week on AM talk radio stations and because of the under-development of the liberal talk format, it could only be heard, at its peak, by around half of the country's radio listeners. Ed Schultz has reached a comparable number and he too has not been able to get broadcast in markets where “conservative talk” is the only game in town. The apex of Air America’s penetration was in 2005-2006 and it not only helped broaden the audience for progressive bloggers who were regular guests, but it gave activists like Cindy Sheehan access to Americans who do not listen to the Amy Goodman Show or read The Nation. Just as conservative investment in the intellectual worked eventually produced legitimate conservative academics and writers, so would liberal investment in the populist media result in more Rachel Maddows.
 
In Viguerie’s final chapter he wrote that Air America “was the most ambitious effort by liberals so far to compete with conservatives in the alternative media marketplace." He nervously acknowledged Air America for “turning to articulate entertainers with liberal political convictions.” But he was confident that it would not succeed because of what he called liberals “fear of long-term commitment,” adding “Conservatives didn’t build their alternate media empire overnight. It was the result of decades of hard work.” Viguerie observed that Air America had “inadequate capitalization. Starting a network with clout will cost a lot more than the $20-30 million they claim to have raised. And to start to expect to make a profit in just four years in unrealistic. Ask Rupert Murdoch.” 
 
Although the earliest and wackiest group of Air America owners overspent on a few items like studios and initial salaries, within months the primary characteristic of Air America was a lack of cash for marketing, for affiliate growth and for talent development. The pressure from wealthy liberals was not to create a long-term strategy as conservatives had done but to show a business model that would turn a profit in a year or two.
 
Thus, several ill-fated iterations of Air America were driven by delusional projections of traditional business viability and consequently misled themselves and staff regarding what resources would be available and then inflicted onerous cuts on a business that was already underfunded. (During my brief tenure I got thousands of hate mails form fans of comedian Marc Maron whose morning drive time show (the time when most commuters listen) was canceled to move Rachel Maddow from the obscure 5 AM time slot into the morning drive. Given her talent and discipline it is likely that Rachel Maddow’s success was pre-ordained, but there is no question that the audience she developed in drive time was one of the assets she brought to MSNBC. But if there hadn’t been such a cash crunch, there would have been a way of developing Maddow and keeping Maron and also giving more talent a real chance. 
 
By 2004, the radio business, after years of robust growth that made it a darling of investment bankers, was beginning to feel the erosion of its business model experienced by all “old media.” The idea that conventional investors would find a liberal talk syndication company a sexy investment was laughable. Contrary to published reports, there were and are numerous “radio people” involved in running various versions of progressive radio but they all found that it was not a particular good business based on pure economics. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t and isn’t a good political investment for progressives whose agenda is to battle conservative ideology.

Thom Hartmann, Bill Press, Randy Rhodes, Stephanie Miller, Ron Reagan, and many other liberal radio survivors deserve all the credit in the world for their resourcefulness and their commitment. But the broader progressive community should not be leaving them to a Darwinian world while the likes of James Dobson continue to raise ideological money to further broaden the hold of right wing mythology on the minds of 48 million commuters who happen to like talk radio’s rhythms.

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147 Comments:

At 1:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

jesus christ it's not that complicated. the fact is you (or someone) took great original talent, albeit from non-radio backgrounds but it was good and raw, and got rid of them while keeping the most inane and laughably inept marquee names (springer, franken) that did nothing to further the discourse.

seder, maron, garafalo and RANDI (with an I thank you) were sent packing because...? well, we know why randi was fired-- for calling hrc a whore (if it walks like a duck).

you can make excuses all you want-- air america lost its bite.

 
At 1:37 PM, Anonymous Brad Parker said...

I worked with Danny in both music and politics for many years. He is correct. With the financial commitment, Progressive media will thrive. It is a matter of long term planning and organizing. I have been on KPFK as a commentator and guest host for several years now, bringing my music performing skills with me and being trained by people like Lila Garrett. I and others are ready for a shot at our own radio program. However, even at Pacifica radio, all the slots are taken. There is no place to go. So, in the interim I have collected my blogs, speeches, radio addresses in a "book." It is old school but still media. Prog Radio should get a shot from Liberal big pockets.

Brad Paker
Left Turn Only
http://bit.ly/1vOyjG

 
At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Michael Sigman said...

Yes, we need more sharp, dedicated minds like Danny's. Too many people are giving up!

 
At 3:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't doubt he's as sharp as they come-- no one really gets to his level of success by being an idiot. and i don't doubt his commitment, that wasn't an attack on him. but please tell me how does one get financial commitment without showing that there's a profitable business and by that i mean randi going head to head with rush in almost every market only to be tossed aside because she...gasp...said something offensive about a corporate dem. most of the programming in the early days, if i remember, featured talent who were agressive and combative, oftentimes with humor. but lineup changes and timeslot changes made for really amateur radio -- and this comng from the top down decision making team-- it was chaotic. and what about all those infomercials on the weekend? and the goddamn satelitte sisters?
and how many times can you move on the dial.
jeesus.
they somehow thought the conversations were too coarse and opted for a tempered 'adult' vibe-- rising above the fray, it seems (look how well that model is working for obama-- snooze. there is a time and place for that type of programming, but come on-- they needed to go for blood. franken couldn't do that (i'm sure he was paid generously, thereby adding to the financial burden. shoulda got his fat ass out of there ages ago-- and what happened to his co-host. she was much better-- yes i saw the doc, i could see how much the franken production cost) lionel didn't cut it. springer?
it really reminds me of what the dems are doing now-- 'we must move center, we overreached to the left' . bullshit. bullshit. there is an anger. i could have been fulfilled.
again, i'm confidant danny is great at what he does, but do we make this analogous to what;s happening with the dems right now-- political geniuses who can't feel the popular climate?

 
At 4:40 PM, Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

Danny is right about one thing. Where are the Murdoch's of the right? Meaning people willing to lose money at the beginning knowing they'll make money down the road. And Air America sucked. Why? Because they couldn't even get on a half-assed station in a city like Philadelphia. We get BillO and OxyCotin Man, but no Progressive radio? In a very Democratic city?

 
At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for removing my first comment. It wasn't inflammatory, just the way I saw it. Goldberg began the dismantling of great core of a network and got paid very well to do it.

I hope he did not get too hard by the earlier bankruptcy.

 
At 6:29 PM, Blogger Timcanhear said...

Plain and simple, liberals and progressives don't do hate radio and hate radio SELLS!
Last weeks supreme court decision to allow corportations to spend at will on elections is just the beginning of what's coming to America. Corporatism, oligarchy, or fascism, call it what you will but until the REAL media challenges the lies from the right wing hate machine, we're doomed as a nation.
Air America died because it was never marketed. In Cincinnati, where Jerry Springer hosted his show on a 50,000 watt am signal, there were ZERO dollars for marketing the station. Springer paid for his own billboards and bus advertisements.
They should have insisted that the radio owners devote dollars to marketing OR, market it themselves. I know, I was there.
Clear Channel owned the signal and never wanted liberal talk radio anyway. They hoped it would fail so they could do what they eventually did with the signal, sports radio.
Air America failed because they didn't fund it right. Period.

 
At 7:51 PM, Anonymous Art Kelly said...

Anonymous, please do not use the Lord's name as an exclamation. To do so is a violation of one of the Ten Commandments.

 
At 9:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm sorry but that's your law, not mine. don't expect me to abide by it and don't push your agenda.

 
At 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't care what anyone says, including a former CO, Mark Maron was original brilliant inventive cool and derserved better treatment. I still miss him. He was the reason I started listening to AAR in the first place.

 
At 11:01 PM, Blogger WHT said...

Maron and Winstead were the Pied Pipers of radio, similar to what Conan and Stewart do on TV. They each attracted a band of mischief makers and created lots of absurd bits. Somehow they snuck in the politics too.

 
At 11:09 PM, Anonymous andrew josephs (formally Anonymous 1) said...

actually, now that i'm reading the history of aa, i take it back-- goldberg didn't know what he was doing: he was responsible for firing maron!

and how could i forget malloy?!

i stopped listening when randi was fired as she was one of the last of the original talents since 2004 (rm the other)-- i had no idea hartmann was gone. he was good as well. but montel?! when did that happen? and rebroadcast throughout the day. just checked the recent lineup and no wonder they failed. gotta have the talent if you want financial backing and the lineup of late was pisspoor and boring. so, in all , it was really run into the ground by corporate heads. so, dg, save your excuses of socioeconomic forces leading to the demise of air america.

oh, and brad, good looking book. now what about a podcast from you?

 
At 2:36 AM, Anonymous jacqrat said...

Karel was recently given drive time at SF's Green960, and I've been enjoying the heck out of him.

But I know in the end, Clear Channel will do SOMETHING to screw it up; they can't have a successful Liberal on air now, can they?

May Tom Hicks, his brother (and that other partner that helped get them started) rot in hell forever; preferably a hell where they are flat broke, can't get jobs, and someone takes their home away in the name of "Eminent Domain".

 
At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is from Danny Goldberg--first of all I did not get "paid very well"--I took a salary less than half I had made previously---and deferred any salary at all for my first year-only got anything at all when I was let go--i did it for the politics--secondly the reason people were fired--the reason there were dreadful shows like the Satellite Sisters---the reason it was "amateur hour" was because there was almost no money. All the the owners of the company approved cancelling Maron's show--to save money. If they didnt like the fact that he was "fired"--they could have over-ruled me--they didnt.

You cant start a 24/7 network on the cheap which is what they tried to do. That is why everything happened--Springer cost virtually nothing---the original morning shows cost more than a million a year each and there was no money to pay for them,no money to market them,no money to develop them. The original guy who put those shows on the air was a scammer as seen in the HBO special "Left Of The Dial" . It lost its bite. because there was no money to bite, to find out what worked--to stick with shows etc. Its easy to understand why conventional bankers didnt think it was a good business--but incomprehensible to me why the progressive com,unity (I mean the people with money who spend enormous sums on TV spots seen on cable etc) didnt understand the value of radio. And if they didnt like Air America--why didnt they start something else to reach that audience?

Randi Rhodes is a unique situation---I love her show--its still on in some markets---but same ting with her. With marketing money--more affiliates she could thrive.And she can talk to teabaggers and explain why they have the wrong enemy. The right wing subsidizes media that supports their politics even when it doesnt make money. The left wing does not.

 
At 7:51 PM, Blogger ohnooooo! said...

I'm an old time radio pro friend of DWT. And I remember talk radio from long time ago. There were many more moderates (remember Michael Krasny?) on during that time, but yes, when programmers put on a 'shocker' they began to draw ratings, until now that seems to be all we have.
My proposal is that we bring back the Fairness Doctrine and bring the balance of opinion back to the airwaves.

 
At 9:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Danny Goldberg -

after you fired Marc Maron and killed Morning Sedition, you sealed the fate of Air America... it just took a while for the rot to completely take hold.

Fuck you!

 
At 11:30 PM, Anonymous Brenda Helverson said...

When Katherine Landfer (sp?) left the Franken Show, Al was forced to explaining his jokes to himself. Katherine was an asset and I trace the start of the downturn of AA to her demise.

And I agree that AA's treatment of Mike Malloy was terrible. I don't know if that happened on Mr. Goldberg's watch, but Shame on them.

 
At 4:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People---all of the shows you liked that were cancelled were cancelled because there was no money to give them time to develop and become self sustaining to get them on more sations, to market them etc. That is what happened with Maron,Malloy etc. Telling me "fuck you" may feel good---but I was there for a very short time.There were many other people who succeeded me who could have put these guys back on the air if there were money. I never controlled the company--it was controlled by investors and owners who decided to stop putting money into it because they had expected,naively, that the monied progressive community would support them. Instead--tens of millions go into 30 second spots on cable TV shows that dont reach one tenth as many people as the number who listen to talk radio .Millons are raised form websites form union members etc and the consultant culture directs it to the same narrow places. Half of Americans believe Obama wants death panels. As long as so many people dont even have the facts--all the progressive blogs in the world wont change the political playing field.

 
At 5:57 AM, Anonymous DLR said...

Let's look at Air America as an experiment. Much that it did worked. There may be ways to try again.

Here's my perspective: I'm scratching my head as to why it cost so much. Marquee talent costs, true; but wouldn't a sounder model be to utilize inexpensive, even "amateur" talent and develop them and use the money saved to market their shows? There are zillions of people across the country making podcasts in their bedrooms on their day off from Dairy Queen. Some of the ones I've heard are very good (Skeptiko is excellent, though not politcal). Give these people a budget and see what they can do.

There's no talent out there? B.S.! I made a feature film for $200 and while it's not Avatar (it's better) I managed to get genuine pro- and near-pro caliber work from people willing to work for free at all levels of what was a quite complex production.

What I'm saying, once more, is Try Again!. Right now I'm trying to develop a similar concept in other media, utilizing alternate business models, based on what I learned making The Miskatonic Acid Test. I have no objection to applying some of these ideas to radio. Anyone interested in brainstorming on a new progressive radio model can contact me.

Dark Lord Rob
AmericanEntropy.com

 
At 6:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Danny Goldberg -

(just in case you check back, I wanted to apologize for last night's 9:25 "fuck you." That was completely uncalled for and a little beer driven. Sorry.)

The way Maron was treated by yourself and AAR was very very shabby; Morning Sedition was one of the best shows, if not the best show, on Air America. It had a strong and passionate fan base (people like myself who would wake up at 3:00 am on the west coast to catch it live), fans who pleaded with you in so many ways to reverse your decision (which many feel was not simply a business driven but also personal). It's true that you were there just there a short time, but you seemed to have done quite a bit of damage during your brief tenure.

 
At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

www.wtfpod.com

 
At 1:37 PM, Blogger indianabob said...

Mr Goldberg,

While I agree with many of the points you make, I have to say I am just not buying your defense of getting rid of Mike Malloy and Marc Maron, and relegating Sam Seder to an obscure weekend slot. I try to do my little part in funding liberal talk, I subscribe to Malloy's podcast, I give to Democracy Now, I give to our local independent radio station, WFHB here in Bloomington, IN. If you would have kept Malloy, I would have done my part. Somehow I don't remember you doing a Dobson-style "help us out" campaign.

You keep defending the firings by saying that you "did not have the money". But you must have had some moeny, because you continued to pay the awful Lionel and others milk toast "liberals". I'm not buying it. You didn't like what Malloy and Marin were doing. Man up and admit it.

 
At 1:39 PM, Blogger Bill said...

The other thing progressives have to do is take advantage of the positions that a lot of small radio stations are in.

Want to know why Limbaugh is on so many stations? They give the show away for free.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-mann/limbaughs-dirty-little-se_b_185965.html

 
At 5:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Danny Goldberg again--first of all--I was gone before Lionel ever got to AAR and I had nothing to do with Seder moving--that happened after I left.
There were owners who supplied the cpmpany with money in small increments--often two weeks at a time. They insisted that losses be reduced and that costs be cut. They werent pleasent to work for and im not on speaking terms with any of them--but they werent evil . They were well intentioned--put up a lot of money for a good idea--and got very limited support from the big money people on the left. I had very little to do with programming--my main job was to try to raise money and in that I certainly failed. I did one appeal to listeners which successfully raised $200,000 but for reasons which still baffle me, one of the main shareholders thought it was a mistake or undignified or something and it became a source of tension. Malloy and several others shows were cancelled because there was a direction to cut costs. Period.Morning Sedition was greatly loved by its fans but it lost hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and the people funding the company did not want to keep losing money without other progressive support. I plead guilty to believing that Rachel Maddow should be moved from 5 AM to morning drive time. She is who replaced Maro ad her show cost much less than his. But I was stressed out and probably acted like an asshole on more than one occasion--so what? Im not asking for anything. Im not trying to get into the radio business. Im back in the music business where I belong. I am just trying to send a message to wealthy progressives that they have made an insane mis-allocatio of resources by spending enormous sums on focus groups, TV spots etc--and ignoring the 40050 millon poeple who listen to talk radio and who have been the driving force,in my view, of teabagger conciousness.

 
At 9:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"... there was no money to give them time to develop and become self sustaining to get them on more sations, to market them etc. That is what happened with Maron, Malloy etc. Telling me "fuck you" may feel good---but I was there for a very short time.There were many other people who succeeded me who could have put these guys back on the air if there were money."


I can see it now: "Oh Marc? Janeane? Sam? Mike? Randi? Listen, I know we've signed these fat contracts with the 'marquis talent' like Springer and Franken, but we now see the error of our ways, and we'd like to break those contracts and cause ourselves a world of pain; furthermore, we'd like you to forget that we dissed you in the national spotlight. Won't you please uproot your current lives and come back to Air America?"

Danny, you never knew a thing about radio programming; or, as someone earlier pointed out wisely, riding the zeitgeist of the seed which had been sown there, and which made for a unique "tone of voice". Which you (and your successors, in fairtness) blew up in the name of "marketability".

Committment to the real muscle you had there would have resulted in "marketability", for it would have meant you actually knew what the hell you had going for you, and what was just burning cash. If there was "no money" (your all-purpose excuse for everything), the "marquis talent" of Franken and Springer could easily have been sacrificed, at zero expense to the aforementioned zeitgeist. You would have known this, if you had had a feel for that zeitgeist... or for "Radio".

About Rachel: if she ever went to morning drive, it was in the ten minutes that I wasn't listening. Her best audience was when (at least in the NYC area) she was carried around 6 p.m. EDT... competitive, useful information, presented by a Rachel-level "teacher", on the tip of afternoon drive. AAR was so committed to the Rachel strategy you're claiming now, that she was reverted TWICE to the 5 a.m. shift.

You simply don't have the cojones to admit that as a rich showbiz dilletante, you were just throwing shit against the wall, at Air America; instead, adopting this "We meant to do that!" posture... when you know damned well that Rachel was, pre-MSNBC, one of the cheapest talents on your payroll. And you really committed to her as a morning show talent, didn't ya? Like I said, ten minutes.

"No money": you could have cut over a mil or more from your budget and AAR could have been an iconic leader in Left Talk syndication, had you taken three meetings, tops, with Randi, Marc, Mike, Rachel, Janeane and Sam. That's all you ever needed to make a successful network or syndicator, and they knew the beast they were creating, more than you ever could. The proof of that is: AAR dumped almost all of these guys, and went the "measured, adult" direction. Well, it's dead. Happy now?

Here is the deal I will personally make with you, Danny: I will never try to run a record label, as I am not an expert in the music business.

YOU, stay the fuck away from Radio. And thanks again for giving Rush something to dance in the end zone about.

 
At 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Danny-
You make some good points above.

However, you know, I know and many, if not all the people, like me, who were at Air America during your tenure, know that you are lying about Maron. You fired him because you didn't like him. Period.

You fucked up, you know it, live with it.

Don't embarrass yourself pursuing this lie or you'll start to see stories about season tickets to the Nets and a daily car service.

 
At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Brendan McDonald said...

I bumped into several geniuses during my time at Air America. Danny Goldberg was not one of them.

The above dissertation is either a highly revisionist attempt to clear his conscience or the delusions of a mad man.

If only Danny's claim that he "had very little to do with programming" were true. After all, that's why radio companies usually hire something known as a "programming director" to deal with "programming." But from early on in his tenure as CEO of Air America, Danny made it clear that he did not like the Morning Sedition program. Following particularly comedy-heavy shows, we were often greeted by Air America executives saying, "Danny's not going to like that one." He was not a fan of Marc Maron, he was not a fan of the show's humor, and he was not a fan of the show's cost.

However, Danny's personal taste notwithstanding, Morning Sedition doubled its ratings on WLIB in New York from the Winter Arbitron book in 2005 to the Summer Arbitron book. Air America's affiliate relations department was busy sending out sales flyers touting Morning Sedition as the show with the greatest growth on the network. This also coincided with a time period in which the ratings of other Air America dayparts were stabilizing (after falling dramatically following the 2004 election). Anyone in commercial radio can tell you that ratings stability in your morning and afternoon drive-time dayparts will power your entire schedule. In September of 2005, Air America was achieving that stability, and the rising ratings of Morning Sedition were a viable key.

Then came October. As the producer of Morning Sedition, I was called into Danny's office with greater frequency and was instructed to make very specific content changes to the show. Less comedy, more guests. And wouldn't you know, the guests requested by Danny all happened to be close associates of his: Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villarigosa, and, most frustratingly, failed New York mayoral candiate Mark Green.

Despite having no organic connection to the show, we were instructed by Danny to feature Mark Green as a weekly guest. After one appearance by Green, any radio programmer worth his salt would have immediately pulled the plug. It was death radio. There was a negative chemistry between Green and hosts Mark Riley and Marc Maron (Riley and Green actually had bad blood between them stemming from past New York City political minutiae). And Green's presentation style was at a complete right angle to the existing program. The only thing he shared in common with the hosts was his first name.

But Danny insisted that we "make it work." Green was to return every week, end of discussion. Other guests continued to be foisted on us as did requests to eliminate comedy segments from the show. Danny's constant meddling was in service of a larger goal. He was winding down the Morning Sedition program, even as it continued to show ratings growth, and force-fitting it into the shape of the show that would ultimately replace it.

In the third week of October, Marc Maron's contract was not renewed. Danny would like you to believe that this was a cost-cutting measure, but several facts undermine his desire to make that the truth:

(continued in next post)

 
At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Brendan McDonald said...

(continued...)

1 - Marc Maron was not fired, but was actually given a half a million dollar budget to produce a show that would air on Air America's Los Angeles affiliate. The decision was made in December of 2005 after, as Danny alluded to, hate mail flooded the Air America offices over the decision to cancel Morning Sedition. Marc Maron's show was never integrated into Air America's syndicated lineup. It was available as streaming audio from the Air America website at 1am or later on the East Coast. Test patterns were heard by a larger audience. So Danny agreed to spend a half-mil in "Get Out of My Hair" money to quiet the whole Marc Maron situation. Doesn't sound like that helped in cutting costs, does it? But wait, money must have been saved in other areas of the program. Right?

2 - Not a single member of the Morning Sedition staff stopped collecting a paycheck from Air America following the cancelation of the show. Everyone was reassigned to other programming. There had been members cut from our staff in the late summer/early fall (well in advance of our cancelation) but, as any show does, we adjusted to the reality of our resources and continued to produce the best show possible. Considering that our ratings were the highest they had ever been in the last three months of the show's existence, I would that we made that adjustment as well as we could have. So, again, where are the savings?

3 - The show's co-host, Mark Riley, was not fired, but instead remained a solo host in morning drive. Yes, contrary to Danny's revisionist belief that Maron was jettisoned to make way for future superstar Rachel Maddow, Danny in fact created two separate two-hour morning shows, hoping to sell them to affiliates that are accustomed to three-hour programming blocks. Neither show ever approached the ratings of Morning Sedition and, in less than a year, Rachel's show was moved to the 6pm evening slot, where it remained until she left for MSNBC. If Danny (he of the "little to do with programming" fame) wants to take credit for programming Rachel as the morning drive host, he can also take credit for a failed programming decision in that time slot.

4 - One of the most dishonest claims Danny makes is that ownership forced the cancelation of Morning Sedition and he was only carrying out their bidding. You can extrapolate from all the anti-cost-cutting measures outlined above that this excuse doesn't hold up (after all, why would owners order programming change if no money is actually being saved and ratings growth is being destroyed), but I'll help take the guesswork out of it. One of the Air America owners, Doug Kreeger, gave the show his unmitigated support and worked to keep it on the air. A plea was made to majority owner Rob Glaser who, ultimately responded that the decision is Danny's, the company put the ball in his hands and this is the shot he wants to take. So you can see why, five years later, this "my hands were tied" nonsense turns my stomach.

(continued in next post)

 
At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Brendan McDonald said...

(continued...)

5 - This one isn't so much a falsehood as it is patently ridiculous:

Danny says, "I was there for a very short time. There were many other people who succeeded me who could have put these guys back on the air if there were money."

Translation: "Hey, there were lots of people who could have un-did what I fucked up, so don't blame me for fucking it up in the first place."

Morning Sedition's last broadcast was on December 16, 2005. This was, in a twist not lost on us, Howard Stern's last day on terrestrial radio. With a legion of young fans looking for something else on the radio dial, a subversive comedy show with a growing audience and rising ratings that catered to a youthful demographic was removed from the airwaves by the author of "How the Left Lost Teen Spirit."

Everything I've written above I would gladly reiterate under penalty of perjury. As I would this final anecdote: a co-worker at Air America was friends with Danny many years before their paths crossed again in radio. When he took the job as Air America CEO, this friend and now employee congratulated Danny. Danny responded, "I just hope I don't fuck it up."

You can't always get what you want.

 
At 4:10 PM, Blogger Jill said...

Thanks for giving us the straight poop, Brendan. We know that you were there and what you speak is true.

 
At 4:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Danny that liberalism has a lot of radio talent. Marc Maron was good radio talent. Danny fired him.

I'd also agree that radio is a good investment for liberal activists. Just don't let Danny Goldberg run the business.

Oh. And watch out for the next generation of Evan Cohens. If someone takes charge of a company, check his account books. Twice.

 
At 5:53 PM, Blogger Melina said...

Brendan, thanks for that. I wasn't going to comment because I was thinking that this was the Danny Goldberg delusion show...and I wasnt sure if participation would do much good.
I wrote a post here during the last week and finally published it when Goldberg came out with his lies: http://brilliantatbreakfast.blogspot.com/2010/01/so-long-air-america-radio.html
Not so oddly, it states much of what you say here, but from the outside and adding what I know of radio and show biz.
Goldberg may want to argue specific points of this but anyone who was around and listened to the show knows that much of what he says is patently false.
That is because Maron broke the 4th wall and told his listeners what was going on. Many of us corresponded with Kreeger and others and ...hell, we were there! I don't know where the old radio tradition of host disappearances came from, but I was very happy to know what was going on from Marc, and if Danny thought that Maron was one to go quietly into that dark night, he had the wrong guy on his hands...Thanks to Marc Maron for the honesty in this matter.
Goldberg treated the talent there like crap, which I find unforgivable, and he treated the listeners like crap too. Talent may be replaceable in Goldberg's world, but listeners aren't.
If anyone wants to know what started the slide of AAR, it was Goldberg's bad decisions that made it impossible for the station to even begin to attract sponsors. Starting from zero again and trying to sell with no numbers to show.
What is incredible is that he has rewritten his own reality enough to think that he could post this crap and that no one would call him on it! We call that cognitive dissonance in some circles.
Brendan, you rock! and its not just because youre a great producer (check out www.wtfpod.com )but because you stepped up and told the truth; and you are one of the few who can speak from first hand knowledge.

Danny Goldberg, you may or may not belong in music or any other business, but you definitely have no place in any sort of programming position that requires any sort of sensitivity to the market, culture, numbers, and whats being said directly to you...

My mother said at the time that it was like you were a mole sent there to destroy the station (and she wasnt even much of a listener)

Everyone in NYC hates Mark Green BTW. He has made so many enemies in politics and no amount of his brother's money is gonna buy him an office. The Mark Green thing has been embarrassing.

As we say "Danny Goldberg stole my shoe!"...maybe not in such kind terms.

And, I think that the fuck you above was totally called for.

Firetruck! you fucker!

 
At 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aside from applauding everything Brendan's already written, I'd like to add these choice bits:
I wrote for Air America from the beginning, but ended up mostly performing and writing for Maron's show -this, despite his atavistic predilection for pouring warm spittoon tailings into the break room coffee-maker every morning.
Aside from that, the most peculiar thing I ever witnessed at Air America, including the time Riley secretly married a breakfast roll in the basement, was how a liberal network whose concept was rooted in the goal that it not become a humorless copy of NPR, had now become a humorless copy of NPR. And that was Danny's genius. No one could suck the happy out of a building faster than you could. And that's what killed the best, most exciting shows at Air America: some guy who didn't like or didn't get jokes. You know -satire, parody, sarcasm. Things that can actually catch people's attention in politics. Instead you opted to bore the crap out of radio audiences -much like you did to me half way through your blog. Radio audiences don't like being bored, Danny. And if you hadn't spent most of your job time recuperating at your Malibu beach house or bunkered in the corner office atop a pyramid of TaB, perhaps you would have discovered that.
Jim Earl

 
At 6:54 PM, Blogger Jill said...

I think the last few comments speak for themselves about what a special, wonderful thing Morning Sedition was, and the kind of ferocious loyalty that it, and the Marc Maron Show, and all the endeavors that this difficult, infuriating and yet brilliant man has been involved with, commands from its audience.

Morning Sedition wasn't just a radio show, it was a community -- a community of the on-air talent like Marc, and Jim, and Kent Jones, the alas-nearly-forgotten Tom Johnson, and Marc Maron, and yes, even Mark Riley, who has never been as good since as he was when he was Maron's resident straight man. How many radio shows still command audience loyalty four years after they've left the air?

There is a whole community out here that Danny Goldberg never recognized. We have been with Marc and Jim and Sam Seder all the way along, for lo these four long years in the wilderness. You can't buy that kind of "stickiness" with advertising, Mr. Goldberg. You buy it with the material. We will never see the likes of Morning Sedition again, because you can't catch lightning in a bottle twice.

You could have presided over something great. Instead you wrecked it, and broke the hearts of what could have been millions of listeners.

Read the comments here. Read what we are saying. You may have burned the AAR house to the ground in your brief tenure, but we're not going to let you delude yourself that you had nothing to do with it. And now go off and recognize that you could have gone down in radio history as a visionary, and instead you'll go down in radio history as a schmuck.

 
At 7:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the morning comedy systematically disappeared from the network under Danny Goldberg. Yanked out like pesky dandelions in a royal lawn maze. And the ratings plunged as soon as he did it. Every fucking rating.

People like comedy, Danny -- especially in the morning. That's why they tune into Howard Stern and Opie and Anthony and about a million local Morning Zoos from Bangor to San Diego. What, you thought you knew better than every radio station in America?

Tell you something else. Even Evan Cohen, creep that he was, at least talked to other people in the company. Danny would float across the carpet in a fantasy-land of no eye contact. Read "How The Left Lost Teen Spirit," and you'll notice he only mentions executives, politicians, rock stars and his family. His world doesn't contain secretaries, line producers, writers, engineers -- the people who actually make stuff work.

It's probably unfair to turn this page into a massive attack on Goldberg, but future companies must be warned before he starts running them. When he got to Air America, we had a strong audience. By the time he left, we didn't.

 
At 8:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Danny Goldberg said, "But if there hadn’t been such a cash crunch, there would have been a way of developing Maddow and keeping Maron and also giving more talent a real chance."

The cash crunch didn't seem to be a concern for him when he frequently took car service all of 4 blocks to the Union Square Cafe and had the car wait for him while he ate his lunch. Or when he used AAR's FedEx account to ship his family's belongings out to said Malibu beach house for the summer.And back again at the end of the summer. As miserable as he says his year at AAR was, all who worked there under him (and weren't we all?)were even more miserable. Thing is,he was miserable before he even got there.

 
At 10:33 PM, Blogger Hyperman said...

When I discovered that the rule at Air America was to fire a host everytime I started liking them, I stopped listening. Took me a while, but after you fired Maron (morning sedition was PURE genius) and Malloy, I knew the company was managed by idiots and I lost interest.

Good luck with all these nice excuses, but we all know you screwed up.

 
At 10:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was such a frustrating post to read. Being generous, it made some okay points here and there, but it's the source that's the real problem.

Liberals succeed the most when they do comedy and satire. You don't have to look far (the Daily Show, the Colbert Report, Al Franken, most standup comics) to see this is true. Yet as AAR's CEO, Danny Goldberg's guiding principle seemed to be that 'comedy is bad, boredom is good,' and he clung stubbornly to that line through his unmercifully long stint at AAR, mowing down everything interesting and engaging that didn't fit his whitebread tastes.

i would posit that more than Mr. Cohen, the right wing, or imaginary problems with the spending habits of liberals, it was Mr. Goldberg that destroyed Air America. He smooth-jazzed it, ripping out the comedy, personality and wit and paved everything with beige and bland. This is the man responsible for loudly and publically detonating the rabidly-adored 'Morning Sedition' program, replacing 'Unfiltered' (with Chuck D, Rachel Maddow and Lizz Winstead) with an awful show led by Jerry Springer, banishing Marc Maron's syndicated show to a single station in LA (frequently preempted by Clippers games), losing the Majority Report and relegating Sam Seder to a weekend show... it goes on and on. By the time Danny left, there wasn't much left worth listening to. (In fact, by all accounts, Danny didn't even listen to Air America himself.)

This post is delusional to the point of being offensive. Mr. Goldberg seems set on shoveling blame onto the listeners, the system, the hosts, the money... everyone but himself. i'd argue the opposite is true. It's sad that he's so laughably un-self-aware, still pretending he knows what Teen Spirit is as he gleefully hacks it to pieces.

 
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At 3:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Danny Goldberg stole my shoe.

Firetruck!

 
At 3:02 AM, Blogger Ragby said...

I agree with one of the previous 'Anonymous' posters. Marc Maron was/is a brilliant radio talk show guy and for me was the gateway to the rest of the Air America line-up. Morning Sedition was possibly the best radio show I've ever heard. Insightful political analysis, zany comedy with some really outstanding, memorable bits, great guests...seems like it could have been promoted differently and given the big audience it deserved. I really miss it.

 
At 4:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see how anti-capitalist, irreverent, hilarious, and ground-breaking programming could survive at all, regardless. It's contrary to the air that sponsors breathe. Besides, Air America had a hidden dark side and a malevolent thread woven through it that was destined to implode. Not all bad vibes belong to the Reich Wing. Someone wrote "They knew the beast they were creating." Like releasing the Heene balloon, or placing Lite Brites in major cities, some "programming" couched as humor was possibly criminal and lethal. "It's a joke!! Lighten up!!" Militant left-wing not a vaild option to corporatocracy.

 
At 6:16 AM, Blogger res ipsa loquitur said...

Marc Maron was/is a brilliant radio talk show guy and for me was the gateway to the rest of the Air America line-up.

Amen. "Sedition" was the only radio show for which I've ever set an alarm -- and which caused me to be late to work on numerous occasions because I didn't want to miss a minute. Once it was gone, there was no reason to turn on the radio at that hour -- and hence no reason to keep it on the rest of the day.

You killed your most valuable show -- the lead-in to all your other shows.

Maybe Jeff Zucker has a job for you.

 
At 6:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regardless of how else you want to spin it, Goldberg is lying about "moving Rachel to drive time," which I remembered as a listener at the time. She was one of three shows in that day part. 2 out of 5 hours.

According to the above, he's lying about the cost savings, too.

I was driven away from AAR by Goldberg's line-up changes. Not just Maron, though that was his worst mistake.

 
At 6:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goldberg is the Jeff Zucker of radio. He wrecked the creative end of an entire network. Impressive for one year on the job.

 
At 6:35 AM, Blogger Marti said...

It seems that Goldberg is implying that the demise of AAR is on the back of progressives. I don't miss AAR and haven't listened for a long time. Ring of Fire was the only show I even DL in itunes that was from AAR. I wake up every morning still able to listen to Marc Maron (wtfpod.com) in podcast (and financially support his show because he's still fucking amazing), and can still listen to Democracy Now, Stephanie Miller, Ed Shultz, Thomm Hartman, Karel, Alan Colmes, Rachael Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Laura Flanders (GritTV), Bill Maher, Bernie Sanders, The Young Turks, and so many more liberal talkers.

The fact that these shows live on and thrive PROVE you wrong. Your excuse making here is embarrassing. The treatise written by Brendan really cripples your entire argument and reveals the true goal of this post: an effort to pass the buck on your own personal failures.

 
At 6:37 AM, Blogger Norn Cutson said...

Danny Goldberg is a total douche.
He stated that "comedy has no place in political talkradio".

that is so OBVIOUSLY WRONG, its no wonder he leaves a path of FAILURE wherever he goes.

 
At 6:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those of you who missed it, there are factual ground-zero accounts in the comments from an actual producer at Air America, Brendan McDonald, as well as one of the shows' writers, Jim Earl. If you read no other comments, please read those.

Also, if this article is to be believed, his argument about not being paid well doesn't hold much water (unless receiving $1,000,000 to leave the company he all but sunk isn't considered being paid well): http://radioequalizer.blogspot.com/2006/04/air-america-ceo-danny-goldberg-party.html

 
At 6:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former Air America employee during Danny Goldberg's reign, I can tell you that his total incompetence as a CEO is a big reason for the company's demise. Amazing he could write this piece and take no responsibility for his own failure. He sat in his office playing solitaire with the door open, looked at the floor when he passed other employees in the hall, and was prone to temper tantrums when things didn't go his way. When he took over, there was still hope that AAR could succeed. By the time he was FIRED, the company was beyond repair. When he took over, I thought he was a great choice. By the time he was fired, I had learned that he is an impotent headcase who should never be trusted with any real responsibility.

 
At 7:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Morning Sedition was inspired and intelligent. There were moments that reached the Pythonesque, but with an American accent.

Love them or hate them, Malloy and Randi, have political passion and at their best deliver real insight. Like all of us, they also have their off-peak periods.

That liberals are piss-poor at supporting radio for the point of just having out there--even at a loss--as a counterwieght, is perhaps the greatest shooting in the foot of all. It's going to take years to build rapport with the generally listening public and if we are not there slogging away with talent, then the potentially reachable listener in Conservative-only markets will be steadily brainwashed forever.

It takes time, years, to de-program the brainwashed, and yes it's going to cost, and be done at a loss. It's war, of course, ideologocial war. We should strive to make money, but that should not be our top goal. Instead, a good, informative message delivered well just may save the US. The liberal blogs only cover the choir. We need to reach the car-bound trapped audience stuck with Conservatives.

Anyone wanting to help in this fight ought buy malloy's and Ranidi's podacst, and consider the HORN.com as well. The HORN, out of the coal fields of West Virgina, has been fighting well on the barest of shoestrings and deserve all the help we can give them.

 
At 7:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tuned in to AAR on Day 1 and listened faithfully, promoted the podcasts, bought a membership and wore the merchandise (at my own risk here in red red KY).

The management decisions at AAR often befuddled me, and when you dismantled "Morning Sedition" you lost me. Maron, Riley and Earl were radio magic.

You guys blew it! WTF?

 
At 7:30 AM, Blogger Newsboy said...

For me, the best six hours of radio ever were Morning Sedition and Unfiltered. When I had to travel, I used to download the shows from airamericaplace.com, burn them onto CD's (remember those?), and take them with me to play in my rental car.

Goldberg may have a point about liberals not wanting to support a "business" like radio, but his programming choices didn't help keep AAR afloat. At some point, Danny, you have to own up to what you did.

BTW: If you're not listening to the WTF Podcast, you should. It's Maron at his best. Hilarious, insightful, compassionate, frustrating, annoying, irritating, side splittingly funny, and ultimately, addicting. Check it out.

 
At 7:33 AM, Anonymous Charles Gillan said...

It's much simpler...you canceled AAR's best show Morning Sedition. This time you can find failure and fault my simply gazing into a mirror.

 
At 7:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This blog is silly. Danny Goldberg makes Air America unlistenable, then turns around and chews out the listeners for not listening?! Absurd.

This post sounds like it could have come from one of our big Wall Streeters. Blame the market, blame the listeners, blame the bloody weather, but never ever admit that anything's your fault. Sounds like he even got a bailout.

I also enjoy how he tries to imply that Rachel's success is because of him. For those with memories, you'll recall that he cancelled Rachel's first show (Unfiltered, another of those oh-no-it's-comedy-must-destroy shows) and banished her to an early early morning spot next to the nice-but-boring Mark Riley.

 
At 7:43 AM, Anonymous jenn said...

Okay, I guess it's my turn. I remember the day AAR first went on the air. I needed it so badly. All of us on the left did. Our country was sinking fast and my whole generation was sinking with it. We needed a voice of sanity. We also needed the funny. It took some time but AAR started to give us those things with Morning Sedition leading the pack right up to Randi Rhodes giving us the balls to fight, fight, fight!

I thought it was a joke when they said that Morning Sedition was coming off the air. It had to be, I thought. Who would be so stupid as to remove THAT show? It's the best one they've got. It had a huge and growing loyal audience. It must be a joke they are playing. Right?

What this comes down to is the elitism on the left. Not the everyday-guys-who-are-trying-to-make-it progressives, but the wealthy, so-called progressives. The ones who believe they "know better." These are the people Goldberg is speaking of in this blog post. You see, in his mind THEY should have been supporting the station. Not us little smucks who actually listen and buy things. Why, we're nobodies. Only the somebodies are important. And in Goldberg's mind, who determines who those somebodies are, is Goldberg and his ilk.

I was crushed when MS went off the air. Not surprised by Mark Green's eventual appearance. And done when Randi was treat like dirt. Treat the on-air talent like dirt, the ones with an actual following, then you are treating US like dirt.

BTW, Brendan McDonald's and Jim Earl's comments were completely on point with EVERYTHING they said. Well, done guys.

 
At 7:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bad management killed Air America. Lame decisions, overspending and ridiculous salaries for management and poorly chosen on-air talent.

 
At 7:57 AM, Blogger Blake Mitchell said...

The irony of this blog's title being, "Down With Tyranny!" was not lost on me.

Goldberg fucked-up royally by killing Sedition. End of.

 
At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Jonathan said...

I'd like to contribute my voice so that impartial readers will get a sense of how overwhelming is the unanimity among insiders that Goldberg screwed up. He's also a liar.

Years before Goldberg's new attempt at self-absolving revisionist history above, I gave my account of what happened here: http://petty-larseny.blogspot.com/2005/11/morning-sedition.html. You'll notice it doesn't include him making financial claims back then. I also don't see anything in there counter to Brendan's or Jim's accounts, either.

To add just a couple notes--as Sedition's first producer, who was still running the show when Goldberg came aboard--I find it hilarious and telling that Goldberg uses the classic passive "was canceled." The phrase you're looking for, Danny, is "I canceled." And the reason I can call him a liar is not that I know he's lying about the financial motives--but that I know that's not what he told us at the time. So either he was lying to us then or everyone else now--or himself consistently, so he can believe whatever puts him in the best light. I hope he'll rethink his position given the weight of contradictory evidence here.

Goldberg made it clear as soon as he got to AAR that he didn't like Sedition specifically or comedy in general. And his claims about not having money are laughable. Why? Because he did have money--personally, as CEO and as a supervisor. He hired lots of folks who then said they didn't have the money to do what they were hired to do. So maybe you should've hired fewer people, Danny? Or got off your solitaire-playing ass and helped them. Maybe you shouldn't have told Sedition to hold off on its own entrepreneurial efforts at promotion so that you could design a crappy new station logo first (which, ta da, also cost money). We were not even allowed to take advantage of offers of FREE help made to us by progressive fans. Guy offered to do free bumper stickers for us. Is that okay, Danny's ARR Management? No. And when your management team did shell out (yes, they had some money!) for a bus-station posters ad campaign, the vital information (time and where to find us on the dial) was either utterly buried or omitted altogether. Bumping into genius? More like stepping on their toes and then blaming them for it.

(Cont'd.)

 
At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ouch. Reading this blog was painful. I'm grateful to those insiders who posted responses. Danny Goldberg - I'm afraid you've been pwned - as we say in the vernacular.

That said, I listened to AAR on-and-off since its inception. I was a faithful listener of Franken, Seder/Garafalo, Malloy among others.

For me, the impression I got as an outsider, was that AAR was being actively subverted from within. I have never listened to a radio station that had as many technical glitches as AAR, which naturally made me think that management was to blame.

After reading this my suspicions appear to be confirmed.

 
At 9:05 AM, Blogger brian minerly said...

The fact that DWT gave Danny its platform to publish his revisionist history has diminished DWT in my estimation. I don't know if you're friends, but standing up for the fuckup CEO isn't exactly "down with tyranny" in my book.

 
At 9:06 AM, Anonymous Jonathan said...

(Cont'd from previous post)

Goldberg's statement that he was one of a dozen CEOs suggests he bears only 1/12th of the blame. Of course, that's not true. Weirdly enough, AAR not only survived its financially tainted beginnings, it had begun to thrive. When Goldberg came aboard, AAR was on an upswing, routinely adding affiliates to its roster. When Goldberg left (and why was that, anyway, hm?) guess what? Not so much. Goldberg failed to capitalize on AAR's momentum, stalled that momentum, and sent AAR into a tailspin. Other CEOs failed to undo Goldberg's damage. That does not make everyone equally responsible.

Not sure who to believe? Then where are Goldberg's defenders from his tenure at AAR? He couldn't even post this blog without fucking it up and boring people to death. His big exculpatory argument is to blame progressives for not giving him more money and time--when those were exactly the resources he denied to Sedition--and despite the fact he was given more resources than the network had at times before him when it was improving. And his brilliant plan for drive time was to split it in two??? Can anyone provide an example of that succeeding ever? If Goldberg saved money by killing Sedition as he claims, to what end? What did the network gain from it? Let's hear it, Danny. Any time.

As others have documented, Goldberg didn't save any money by killing Sedition. No one got laid off for it. I got laid off, yes, but that was before Sedition was killed. So how did killing Sedition save money? (For what it's worth, when I signed on, I had an understanding with the network that I wouldn't have to stay on the morning shift forever. Goldberg honored that commitment by letting me go rather than having me do something else at the network. It's possible I just wasn't up to Goldberg's already-documented standards, but he did see fit to have me oversee the launch of Rachel's show before I left, so he couldn't have thought me too awful. In any case, I suppose I can take solace in the fact that while I may not have been good enough for Danny ("Mark Green? Ratings gold!") Goldberg, I did manage to find work with someone who apparently differs with Goldberg on his claim that progressives can not succeed quickly in media.)

Anyway, time to get to work on tonight's "Countdown."

 
At 9:20 AM, Blogger Helena Faith said...

I totally agree with anonymous said --

You took off Maron and I don't know your input with other talent -- but Air America's first year was just amazing -- it was raw and hitting and if allowed to grow -- it would have been a movement -- Air America totally lost it's bite -- trying like our screwed up politicians to go to the middle -- there is no middle...
here is the 'ditto' to anonymous: jesus christ it's not that complicated. the fact is you (or someone) took great original talent, albeit from non-radio backgrounds but it was good and raw, and got rid of them while keeping the most inane and laughably inept marquee names (springer, franken) that did nothing to further the discourse.

seder, maron, garafalo and RANDI (with an I thank you) were sent packing because...? well, we know why randi was fired-- for calling hrc a whore (if it walks like a duck).

you can make excuses all you want-- air america lost its bite.

 
At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Veritas78 said...

Man, did I love that show. I rearranged my work schedule to hear Maron & his gang -- they kept my spirits up during the bleakest period of BushCo. I persuaded half-a-dozen friends to start listening. Most of us ended up listening to the rest of the Air America day, too.

After Franken & Maddow went their ways, I stopped listening to radio entirely except for the BBC late at night.

 
At 9:47 AM, Blogger Opinionated Gifts said...

It's true, the left needs that kind of fearless and continual funding that the right enjoys but.....

OK, dude, you suck.

You deserved the hate mail. Your brief tenure wasn't brief enough. You drove away great talent (not just Maron) and now you're trying to justify yourself by taking even a small amount of credit for Maddow?

You are a pathetic little man. It is public knowledge that you had personal issues with Marc Maron. And you didn't replace Morning Sedition with Rachel at first, you simply gave the show a new title and handed it to Riley. You moved Maddow up because Riley was boring and you were hemorrhaging audience.

Seriously dude, we progressives need you like we need Ben Nelson.

We need better funding AND better management. Now go away.

 
At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Greg Arnold said...

They let all the REAL liberals go:

#1 liberal - Malloy
#2 liberal - Randi
#3 liberal - Seder

and had people like Ron Reagan and Ed Schultz as their flagship.

The ONLY bright spot the last 2 years was Rachel Maddow. Hartmann was already great before AAR but Rachel was perhaps the only 1 to really get their break thanks to AAR.

They weren't real liberal talk so they deserved to go under.

 
At 10:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I provided reports for Air America from W. Europe, where I continue to reside.

I knew many of the producers and some of the NY-based on-air talent at Air America.

I can tell you that it was the management who screwed the pooch.

The only shining star there was Doug Kreeger. He was fantastic.

 
At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm somewhat saddened, but not surprised that Air America folded. I used to listen to it daily when Marc Maron and Jenene and Mike Malloy were on in the morning and evening. I even podcasted Maron when he was aired only in LA. Maron was the best thing they had going and they kept treating him like crap and pushing him out. Then AA started putting all those quack nutrition and medicine infomercials on! What did they think was going to happen? Also that 1600am signal in New York was so weak that I had to find another channel if I got a mile into Westchester---oh, and my radio couldn't even register a signal from my home on a hill in Riverdale---walls and windows were too much for it apparently. I hope they can rebuild AA or another network with real hosts like Maron and RFK Jr. and yes they need super rich supporters to keep progressive talk on the air. One thing republicans understand that democrats don't is that you get what you are willing to pay for---dems want it all for free. Mr. Goldberg is right, the lesson is that liberal radio will have to be supported by its owners, major gifts as well as advertisers.

 
At 10:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, catch Marc Maron at www.wtfpod.com

 
At 10:29 AM, Blogger Bily said...

Your the dumb ass that couldn't focus on the business. If Air America had actually focused on building the business of radio, ya know selling ad time, working with the affiliates and letting the hosts control the shows then you would have been fine. You took a brand that was developed by the hosts then got rid of the hosts and tried to keep selling a brand as a website. I know from first hand fact and experience that a 3 tier strategy of National Radio Sales, Local Radio Sales and Podcasting would have stopped the bleed and kept the company going. But you had to let ego get in the way of doing business and didn't focus on the job at hand.

 
At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Jonathan said...

Sorry, I over-indulged in my personal shit. After several years of having this stuff off my personal radar, the post pissed me off anew. Sorry.

Anyway, one last point...if AAR had the money to pay NOT to have Goldberg as CEO any more, they certainly had the money to keep Maron.

 
At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the on-air talent wishing, hoping and begging for promotion. But none was forthcoming. When I found Morning Sedition, I thought I'd found the best thing ever, set my alarm for the crack of dawn (even while being sleep-deprived from single-parenting a small child), told all my friends and dreamed of the day when one of those Friday morning on-location shows would be broadcast from my midwestern city (and I would have been there, come hell or high water). Those on-location shows sure sounded like a very large, very energetic party.

Thanks to Jonathan, Brandon and Jim for giving us some more details on what went on at AAR. We were absolutely bewildered by the programming decisions.

What I recall is that the shows were not promoted even adequately except by growing word of mouth (I only have so many friends) and that management was not responsive or even courteous to fans.

MS was the best thing since the Jack Benny Show on radio and would have garnered the same enthusiastic following. A whole new generation would have been introduced to the delights of a radio show that engaged listeners imaginations in active participation. And they would have absorbed liberal viewpoints and information at the same time.

If you want to know why there is no Daily Show on radio, it's because Danny Goldberg killed Morning Sedition

 
At 10:53 AM, Blogger Bob Fingerman said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10:53 AM, Anonymous burningbush said...

Goldberg:

Remember the movie "Midnight Express?" Remember the courtroom scene in which Billy Hayes tells the judge what he thinks of him and his country...

"For a nation of pigs, it sure is funny you don't eat 'em! Jesus Christ forgave the bastards, but I can't! I hate! I hate you! I hate your nation! And I hate your people! And I fuck your sons and daughters because they're pigs! You're a pig! You're all pigs."

That blind, seething rage is exactly how I have felt and do feel about you since you cancelled Morning Sedition. I continue to hope for your demise and for grief, horror, and sorrow to haunt you until you are no longer a living anal cyst on the body of humanity.

If you were to ever man-up and admit the horrible error you made in actively destroying the family whose name was Morning Sedition (that family: talent, staff, and loyal fans), and grovel and ask for our forgiveness, I would forgive you. After reading your egomaniacal revisionist screed, I have little hope that you will ever have big enough balls to admit how wrong you were and what terrible mistakes you made.

I'm surprised the universe is big enough to contain an infantile ego as large as yours.

FIRETRUCK!

 
At 10:55 AM, Blogger Bob Fingerman said...

Financial woes aside, Air America became virtually unlistenable several years ago, when it lost pretty much all of its real on-air talent. Franken was gone; Rhodes, Maron, Garofalo, Hartmann (in NYC he was off the air), Sam Seder. Maddow was just the audio portion of her MSNBC show. It was all terrible programming and I tuned out. Getting rid of Rhodes was the worst decision the station could have made and it set its downfall in motion.

 
At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Ocean in Oregon said...

I cried when Sedition was canceled, and the comments above made me cry again - remembering how AAR and Sedition saved my life - my hope, my spirit - after the first term of Dubya Commander-in-Thief. Marc Maron, Riley, Earl were pure genius, Python-esque, sure off color at times, raunchy humor (first time I had ever heard the phrase "Tea-Baggers") but it was the heart and soul of AAR, the launch as mentioned before. It was the reason to leave the radio on for mostly boring Franken and blistering RANDI. Also the reason I got up at 3AM, to hear Marc & Riley try to rescue our country from the grip of the fascists, all the while keeping us rolling in laughter! Thanks God Maron's still around - www.WTFpod.com

 
At 11:31 AM, Blogger res ipsa loquitur said...

Last point ... "Sedition" was barely advertised (bus shelter ads in NYC) and poorly marketed. That show would have been a prime candidate for some nice "guerilla" marketing (in face, friends and I used to dream up ways to do that and occasionally emailed them to AAR).

 
At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Joe Hill said...

I'll echo what burningbush said: Goldberg, you suck worse than the suckiest suck that ever sucked.

There isn't a shit-filled pit deep or filthy enough to contain human excrement like you. You single-handedly destroyed the best hope of breaking the Reich-wing corporate monopoly on the radio dial with your incompetence, pettiness and self-serving behavior.

Fuck you and everyone who looks like you.

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger clincher said...

"Stay out of my beachfront community, Lebowski!"

 
At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too got up at 3AM to listen to Morning Sedition (San Francisco). And continued listening on the drive home from work. Mr. Goldberg is being disingenuous at best.

It seems this is a never ending story for the progressive community. Anyone remember when Michael Moore had his television program, TV Nation on NBC. NBC couldn't kill / cancel it fast enough after one year. And then FOX canceled after one year despite awards and letters from viewers.

Same thing happened in the 60's when a program from England that dealt with politics and hypocrisy in a humorous but pointed way was reconfigured for an American audience titled "That Was the Week That Was". NBC also canceled this program to soothe the egos of of various people lampooned.

You can purchase a CD of some of the songs written for the show by Tom Lehrer titled "That Was The Year That Was" (1965)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tv_nation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/That_Was_The_Week_That_Was

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/That_Was_The_Year_That_Was

 
At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Ocean in Oregon said...

For the uninitiated who missed Morning Sedition and wonder WTF we are raving about, there's a permanent stream of the best comedy bits at http://seditionradio.com/

 
At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Jonathan for that link to your blog - i remember reading that post way way back in the day as this was happening. It certainly contradicts Danny's version of things (it sounds like the way i remember things actually going). It's also incredibly prescient about the future of AAR and its hosts.

Someone should write a book about the rise and fall of AAR. If self-serving egomaniacs like Goldberg and uninformed or biased news sources are the only ones telling the story, we'll end up with crap like this. It's a compelling story (intrigue! backstabbing! morons!), and would be a good lesson for future attempts by progressives. i'd do it myself if i were a writer with time on my hands...

 
At 12:07 PM, Anonymous Ocean in Oregon said...

I remember listening to a local NPR announcer who made this gaff - "Next up, on Morning Sedition - no, I mean Morning EDITION"! It was great to realize that staff at the local boring Neutered Pablum Radio station was obviously listening to Sedition.

Oh, and kudos to burningbush for your eloquent and rage-filled flame!

FIRETRUCK!

 
At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many of the "dramas" and firings were staged. Some of the "talent" and management are intel people. Quite a bit of programming and material was fueled as sheer antagonism, opposition, and outright denial and deception regarding its true subject. There are no wings, left or right here. Don't follow these show business people like they're the Messiah. I should know. There was provocation and alteration, seduction, harassment and retaliation. You can get the complete history of the show on http://www.thesnotgreensea.com. So it's in the can. Like the Beatles catalog, that's for everyone, regardless of the fatalities.

 
At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Air America began, I got XM radio so I could listen to it in the car; I listened to the audio stream at work all day every day; I purchased a membership so I could download shows that I missed. Then Goldberg came in and destroyed everything piece by piece. I had never been a loyal listener to ANY radio show before Morning Sedition, Randi Rhodes, Al Franken, The Majority Report and Unfiltered. I still mourn for Morning Sedition after all these years - it was the most brilliant radio I had ever heard. I stuck with AAR as long as I could stand it; Marc's late night LA show, Seder's weekend only gig, etc. We NEED comedy to balance the politics (see THE DAILY SHOW), and Goldberg managed to suck every breath of life out of the network and walk away with a million bucks. And he doesn't have enough balls to even take responsibility for some of the worst mismanagement in radio history. I quit listening to AAR at all when Randi was fired, but I had given up on it long before that. Maron is still brilliant (yes I pay for his podcast - it's SO worth it), and I hope Seder gets a regular gig somewhere soon. Thanks Brendan, Jonathan and Jim for your honest comments and your contributions to what was once great radio.

 
At 12:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One aspect of the show that I haven't seen commented on yet:

It had the best NAME ever! Who thought up that one? (See Danny, it's funny because there's an NPR show called Morning Edition, which rhymes...)

 
At 12:23 PM, Anonymous burningbush said...

Hey, Ocean in Oregon...
Good on ya for mentioning Sedition Radio.

For those who prefer downloading over dipping into a continuous stream, check out these great archives.

Once a year, over the December holidays, I listen to the entire Morning Sedition Radio Theatre series titled "The Shadow Government."

 
At 12:26 PM, Blogger Andy said...

Wow, Danny has gone pretty quiet all of a sudden.

For the record, I'm another former AAR listener, who loved the cohesive feel of upstart adventure that the station had about it once it found its feet, and the systematic dismantling of that sense got underway under Danny's tenure. He can't wriggle out of that. Sure, investors wanted a return on their investment, but you don't achieve that by alienating the existing (and growing) audience you do have chasing after a different audience with different tastes, just because those tastes would be closer to your own.

For all the attempts to take credit for Rachel Maddow, I'm not even sure that putting her in the morning was such a good idea, regardless of the absolutely criminal decision to can MS. Rachel's informed, grounded style is great, no question, but not something I really want to wake up to.

Danny, face the truth, you played a big part in sending AAR into a downward spiral. If anything, I'm amazed it managed to stagger on as long as it did.

 
At 1:10 PM, Blogger progutopian said...

Dannyboy, you destroyed the greatest show on not only Air America but on radio ever, so you have ZERO crebility. Anyone who would cancel AAR's best show should be ashamed of themselves. It was a show that even non-progressives listened to. It was a show that young people could dig. Don't you have the decency to just stay in your hole and keep your mouth shut. Myself and so many others loved that show and will never get over how you treated Marc Maron, Jim Earl and the crew. I'm a peace-loving hippie but I have to tell you Dannyboy, you really make me sick, you dirty bastard. You should never work again in any media related field. And that is me being kind.

 
At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The disclosure of Maron's financial dealings is rather revealing. That is a total sell-out, taking money to go away. I've got no money myself, I'm lighter than air. Taking money which was basically borrowed from Satan's credit card to buy his dominator to teabag you. "The hip, edgy left." Mockery going in the wrong direction. You people are the same as Gitmo Guards. Thanks for closing Gitmo and bringing it to our living rooms. None of this blog is accurate in any fashion. You want to take Danny Goldberg to Gitmo becuase he's an anti-Semite? Or you are? Or is it all in a book, a movie, literature, some other fictional script? So you want to take Danny Goldberg to Gitmo because he fired Marc Maron who was helping us to beat the Fascists (torturers)? A skeleton key? In this day and age? You've been PUNKED!!!!

 
At 1:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goldberg's post also implies that Morning Sedition employed a large staff of writers. Listening to the show, I was under the impression that Air America originally employed a large staff of writers and MS made extensive use of those writers as well as any other staff they could rope into the show. That's how newsman Wayne Gilman became "Newsdaddy" on MS and why "Unfiltered's" Kent Jones often showed up on MS. The only reason MS had a large staff was because Maron went on a scavenger hunt to get everyone who was able and willing to contribute in some way. And, none of the staff was fired as the result of MS ending.

 
At 2:00 PM, Blogger Eric Soderstrom said...

I still have the last Morning Sedition on my iPod. That was the last I listened. After getting rid of Maron and let's not forget the other Mark - Riley, I was pretty much done. Together they were much more than the sum of their parts, and Morning Sedition was great radio.

Also, I live in a rural area sandwiched between the Bay Area and Sacramento markets- the only radio stations we get are Christian, Spanish, and Christian-Spanish. So I listened over the internet. I think a lot more progressives listen to internet radio than conservatives do. And the annoying Binder and Binder ads are still in my head.

I also think liberals tend to sleep later and have non-traditional jobs and do not actually drive during traditional "drive time." My listening was always on, I believe, East Coast time over the internet.

With iPods and Sirius I think any new liberal radio project needs to include other forms of programming delivery. I'm curious how wtfpod is doing in terms of audience and sponsors.

 
At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Ocean in Oregon said...

Thanks burningbush for the links, I'll be checking them out. And I revel in the memory of the most irreverant of all the skits - Cardinal Milf Mort Milfington, Pendajo the Revolutionary, and Marc the Shark's "Right-and-Early"... the genius of sticking it to the Man, right where he lives!

And Marc, I know you're reading all this, in blistering retaliatory bliss, so I've attached an email I just sent you: (CAPS are there because I've emailed you quite a few times, but as far as I can tell you never read my emails - WTF?!?!)

Peace,
Ocean in Oregon

_______

OK, Maron, WHEN THE FUCK (another kind of "WTF"?) are you going to book a good old fashioned road-trip comedy TOUR of the Northwest?

You need to get the hell out of LA for a bit, come up here to the LEFT COAST and do some stand-up nights! I know you were in Seattle recently. But what about Portland, Eugene, and ... yeah, Corvallis.

We are a college town, and ya got a fervent fan here with a growing venue - http://fireworksvenue.com I know I could fill the house for you... We got the best food in MILES and I know you are a big FOODIE - wood fired oven, cooks at 900°F. Great coffee too - Pacifica Organic - POW! You'll shit your pants, guaranteed.

Yeah, reading that blog & commentary really brought back "old" memories of your AAR daze - truly your funny bits were gems, brilliant, balms against the evil right-wing poison which still blankets the culture.

The United States of America might not make it - with the recent Supreme Court folly allowing corporate ca$h to buy any election they want. But if democracy does go down, I am counting on Marc Maron to take us down in a blaze of hysterical, poignant and piercing humor. Let's laugh our way into oblivion, my friend.

Peace,
Ocean in Oregon

 
At 3:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ocean, did you catch Marc in Portland last year?

 
At 3:49 PM, Anonymous Ocean in Oregon said...

Marc in Portland?!?! WTF?!?!?! How did I miss that?!?!?!

Too busy running a family-owned restaurant in the middle of Dubya's Great Recession... But NEXT TIME, I won't miss Maron in Oregon, cause we'll book him in Corvallis!!!!

www.FireWorksVenue.com

 
At 4:20 PM, Blogger TLF said...

Danny Goldberg...you are a Stunning Ass. We were there and we remember. You think you belong in music? WTF You think it's not fucked up enough? Go to the Bush Library people for work and use your powers of fuck-up for good rather than evil.

 
At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have anything original to add that hasn't been said already.

I loved Morning Sedition and the entire crew and I also still have episodes on my Zune (yes, I have a Zune and it kicks ass) that I listen to from time-to-time because it was so good, it's still worth listening to a show that is 5 5 years old.

I remained an AAR subscriber and hope they don't keep taking my money. I basically quit listening after Break Room Live was cancelled.

The broadcasting decisions made at AAR were truly mind-boggling. re-broadcasting the audio from a teevee show (a crappy one, at that) was retarded and not worthy of Rachel's talent, either.

Morning Sedition was brilliant radio. My favorite program ever and my pleas to AAR to not cancel it were ignored completely.

Thanks to Oceans in ORegon for the link!

 
At 4:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can Down With Tyranny offer Mark Green an opportunity to tell of his time as CEO at Air America? I'd love to see what lies he tells and how hard people shit on him

 
At 5:07 PM, Anonymous Evan said...

I still mourn Marc and Mark's departure.

Malloy was a paranoid crackpot, though I adored him personally (and that hot Southern number he married) and think he'd be a blast to hand out with and shoot the crap. Randi was a screech-owl who made up for her ignorance with sheer violence of expression. She was fun for a while, but I soon got fed up with her. The two of them were treated like crap by the suits, but I didn't miss them that much and, frankly, cannot understand the hosannas they're receiving in these comments.

I think Franken and his side-kick were just wonderful. The chemistry--as Phillip Roth would say, the Jewish neurotic energy and the goyisher cool--was simply delish. Well, not Danny's fault that Franken had to go get himself elected to public office in the Senate or something. (eye-roll)

Sam Seder was smart, energetic, feisty, but hopelessly rude to listeners he disagreed with.

Garafollo was a poster child for everything Marin loved to satirize--a gargoyle of a knee-jerk liberal leftist, as ignorant as she was opinionated. I was so glad to see her go.

I agree with everything said about the yawn-fest which the current lineup has become. But I had stopped listening to the airheads long ago. I used to podcast Thom's program and still do Ring of Fire.

 
At 6:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another from the choir: Danny, your revisionist version would make a Stalinist laugh at your continued ineptness. Watching your feeble try to re-write history is beyond laughable, and only exhibits your narcissistic drive. It's not all about you, Danny, it never was. You had a job to support and empower. That is what a good boss does. You failed. Return to the dustbin.

So others could have re-hired the lost talent? Sure, you can glue together a smashed light bulb but it will never glow. Only a fool would ever consider it, and even a fool would think twice before saying it outloud. It is rare that an ensemble of talent coalesces -- and you smashed it.

They synergy between Riley and Maron took time to develop. And there were missteps along the way. But those problems were largely fixed before you crashed the party. Talent development was not your charge but the show runners. You dropped the ball while meddling with things outside your expertise.

There were many talented people at Air America Radio, on-air and everywhere else. Doug Kreeger was seldom heard, but was a real mensch who gave and gave and gave even after you, Danny Goldberg, pissed in the punchbowl.

Every generation seems to have a shining spot where the magic works. The USA version of TW3 was on. NBC News Overnight was another example of excellence in communication. Morning Sedition was another.

If you were slightly honest or remorseful about your actions I might be inclined to have let this pass. But, just as Jeff Zucker on Charlie Rose the other night, you seem incapable of saying, "I made a mistake." Rose tried several times but the NBC version of your could not utter those words. And like you, he has done some successful things. But your inability to admit you failed (the same way Dubya could not admit making any mistakes at his press conference) consigns to to the rubbish heap.

Look again at what you destroyed, for the simple reason that they neither feared nor respected you:

http://home.att.net/~oz/thecrew2a.jpg

Now multiply the drive, the skill, the hope, and the aspirations of that group that image by a coupla' million for all the listeners they entertained and educated.

I offer my thanks to all the Air America Staff on all the programs, the staff who tried to unscramble the billing for my "memberships", the families and friends of all the people who worked so hard. And for Doug who understood a lesson I was taught many decades ago that the simple gesture of bringing someone on a late shift a cup of coffee and a doughnut can mean more than all the Hosannas from all the Suits.

(s.) Old Zeb
AKA Charles Osborne, Portland, Oregon

 
At 6:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shut your trap, Evan.

 
At 6:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look what Danny Goldberg destroyed....CENTRALIZED GLOBAL TECHNOLOGICAL DOMINATION AND ENSLAVEMENT. I didn't get the link right for the Bilderberg family photograph but I'm sure they're sad that their ritual sex orgies in the Temple must be forsaken for the needs of the poor and hungry. What a fine group of shiny happy people, who will TEACH YOU TO LOVE. "Don't fear the vagina" Randi Rhodes always told me. "We started to torture" she said. She told us to tell the government, "Hey, give us jobs. Hey, give us health care. Hey, come do me. Don't be a stranger."

 
At 6:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Zeb. Don't you think it's about time that the old Portland Seditionists have another saturday night meet up? What was the name of that place in NW, in the valley below the coast range foothills?

 
At 6:55 PM, Anonymous Jim Earl said...

Okay, alright alright alright! If you all must know,
you can find out the latest on what I, Jim Earl, am doing at his, I mean "my" web sites:
www.jimearl.com
www.myspace.com/theclutterfamily
and on Facebook. I'll even friend Danny. Everyone deserves a second chance.
Clean your rig with bleach.

 
At 7:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AA was evil. Randi was pure light and honesty, goodness and decency. THAT's is why she got fired for doin STAND UP IN A NIGHT CLUB IN SAN FRANCISCO ON A SATURDAY NIGHT.

Mark Green thought himself a contender for the Hillary "cabinet" and Randi paid the price.

If not for her, we'd never know the truth about our government and how fucked it is.

Randi Rhodes is a hero.

 
At 7:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim Earl,

What does this mean? "Riley secretly married a breakfast roll in the basement".

 
At 7:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I know is that there are a lot of sick twisted perverts on the radio and I am only biologically capable of getting off on them on certain days in my biorhythms. Also, I confuse the voice of Jim Earl with the face of Kent Jones. I see Kent Jones on Rachel and I hear Jim Earl. It's like "A Beautiful Mind." In the evening with wine the colors get more vivid.

 
At 8:20 PM, Anonymous Jim Earl said...

In answer to:
--
What does this mean? "Riley secretly married a breakfast roll in the basement"
--
All I can say is, if you don't know what that means, then you'll never be able to grasp, "Early one morning I chanced upon Marc Maron screaming at a chicken."

 
At 8:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To know the cinnamon is to accept the messenger.

OldZeb ca. 1975

 
At 8:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MMMmmmm.......cinnamon.......I want a lifetime supply.

 
At 8:52 PM, Anonymous Adrienne in CA said...

As an early subscriber, I can tell you that lots of ardent progressive fans quit listening in disgust when Air America decided to trash the Clinton legacy and became Air Obama. (The very first comment on this thread makes my point.) Plenty of progressive women and men who supported Hillary Clinton saw our dreams shattered in a rigged primary, topped off with the RBC meeting delegate theft of 5/31/08, all of which was cheerleaded and legitimized by every single Air America host. Considering that the country was evenly divided throughout the contest (except for Hillary getting the *most votes*), that can't possibly be a coincidence.

Clearly Air America had no trouble striking a "simplistic angry polarizing tone that is incompatible with progressive values" when it fanned the flames of Clinton Derangement Syndrome against the only two-term Democratic President since FDR.

Tell me, which side does that benefit in the long run?

I'm not surprised Air America would fold now that Barack OReagan is safely in office. Perhaps that was the mission from day one.

*****A

 
At 11:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Randi Rhodes left because she'd wanted out for a long time. New York made her miserable, and she saw what a mess the network was. The Hillary thing was as good an excuse as any to go out mid-brawl.

 
At 12:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the posters said it made no sense to claim Marc's departure cut down on staff, because "Air America originally employed a large staff of writers and MS made extensive use of those writers ... And, none of the staff was fired as the result of MS ending." Yup. Bruce Cherry, Mike Ferucci and Barry Lank were on Randi Rhodes' staff, and Kent Jones worked for Rachel, but all of them wrote for Marc and Mark anyway. Jim Earl was the only writer who left with Maron, and even he stayed on some kind of salary.

Look at the photo of the staff someone posted here of the Morning Sedition "staff" on the show's last day. Everyone in that picture except Maron and Earl were back in that office the following week.

 
At 12:07 AM, Blogger barrylank said...

Thanks for posting the link to "The Shadow Government." Mike (a.k.a., Johnny K Street) and I wrote it, and I never did get a copy.

 
At 2:42 AM, Blogger West said...

It's years later, and still I pine for Sammy The Stem Cell. Who will pine for you, Danny?

 
At 4:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld. The army man.

 
At 5:19 AM, Anonymous Fishguy (Ret.) said...

Mr Goldberg makes several theoretically cogent points throughout his piece on the mechanics of why Right-wingnut radio works and how the left did not take the time to learn it's lessons.

He does not count himself however as one of several MIS-managers to slowly make the station less and less enjoyable to listen to.

When AAR first hit the airwaves, I was an exited booster. I told EVERYONE I knew about it, and tried to get many to listen.

By the time people like Lionel, Jerry Springer and Montel Williams were being carried on the AAR airwaves, it was already all over as far as I was concerned.

Mr. Goldberg needs to fess up to his part in the slow dismantling of a vibrant entity for his post to ring completely true. His cancellation of Morning Sedition, the ONLY show on AAR to USE radio as a MEDIUM was for me, a fatal blow. If nothing else, doing this in the wake of Howard Stern's departure from "terrestrial radio" was a critical miscalculation. No offense to Rachael Maddow, but It would have been MUCH more likely that Stern's listeners would have turned to Mr. Maron & Morning Sedition than Ms. Maddow giving her rather insightful take on the news.

Prior to it's death by economic decline, and loss of advertisers, Air America Radio suffered all the symptoms of death by a thousand cuts. Some of these were administered by Mr. Goldberg.

Period.

 
At 5:52 AM, Anonymous Fishguy (Ret.) said...

Oh Yeah -

FIRETRUCK!

 
At 6:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's Ron Kuby now that we need him?

 
At 7:06 AM, Anonymous jenn said...

Adrienne, now you're re-writing history. AAR did everything BUT support Obama. AAR's remaining staff practically crowned Hillary queen during the campaign. Even as it was abundantly clear that she had lost the primary (Everyone, that is, but Randi Rhodes). This helped foster the near split in the democratic party.

You so clearly demonstrate with your revisionist history, the real problem with progressives -- we eat our own. Obama is not Bush or Reagon. Obama is, well, Obama. And it still remains to be seen what kind of president he will be.

 
At 7:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great read about the FALL OF AA.
YOU Danny, SCREWED THE POOCH. Admit it, you piece of crap.

 
At 9:21 AM, Blogger Pumphouse said...

I can't express this better than the other posters so I'll keep it short.

Air America jumped the shark when it canceled Morning Sedition.

 
At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hot stuff, Melina.

 
At 3:01 PM, Blogger キムチ悪い99.9 said...

AAR died thanks in large part to Danny himself axing the great raw talents. I can't forgive him for killing Morning Sedition. That show was the highlight of my every morning for as long as it lasted.

It was just a start in the wrong direction, the years that followed saw everything go down the toilet, and more great talents were lost. He can only blame himself and his own ineptitude for AAR failing. What a pompous blowhard.

 
At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Okie said...

Goldberg, your decisions sucked, your writing sucks and you will forever suck in my book.

FIRETRUCK!

 
At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The left-wing reactionaries such as Maron, Seder, Garofalo, Malloy, and others simply don't have the MORAL AUTHORITY to challenge a corrupted corporate system. I know I don't. Judging from the posts and comments here my guess is that those who are cult members of Maron's can't pull their head out enough to see that his style is harmful and antagonistic to the best interests of all Americans. The moral bankruptcy and the corruption of right-wing corporatism has not been successfully challenged by the insulting name-calling of "TEABAGGER," getting your chuckles off the fact that, hey, they don't even know what that means!!! AS IF to know and understanding the nature of teabagging is SUPERIOR to those who are not participants in that behavior. THEREBY, the "new left" lacks the MORAL AUTHORITY and CREDIBILITY to have any positive effect on politics and culture. Danny Goldberg may as well be held accountable for the death of Kurt Cobain as well, a NON-HERO, NON-EXAMPLE, NON-GOOD PERSON. Still didn't deserve to die, but a symptom of a larger collective culture illness and confusion about right, wrong, law, crime, justice, and politics. Cult followings and hero-worship, whether of Maron, Randi, Kurt Cobain, Emmanuel Goldstein, Jesus (embellished), or Obama, or the secret people in your television are screwy and misguided.

The "Fall of AA" no matter how clever you are with the alphabet and acronyms is a blessed relief for decently behaved people everywhere.

 
At 4:31 PM, Blogger pjs said...

Back in December 2005, I wrote:

"December 16, 2005 will, I believe, mark the end of the dream that was Air America Radio. Danny Goldberg, whether he meant to or not, whether he's evil or just plain clueless, has done what the right-wing noise machine and Bush apologists couldn't.

"He's removed AAR's heart and soul, Marc Maron.

"Marc has never been anything but honest and genuine. Wear your heart on your sleeve? Maron rips it out of his chest and hands it to you (whether you want it or not). He opens his skull, and lets you muck about in his brain. Is he perfect? Of course not, but it's the flaws that make the diamond priceless. Marc's real, which is why so many of us have come to think of him as a friend - family, even - and probably why Goldberg doesn't "get" him. I don't suppose "real" counts for much in the circles within which Goldberg travels.

"Air America will thump along for a while, no doubt, but in the end it will either fail with a whimper, or it will have become something so unrecognizable - so far from what it was supposed to be, and from the promise it held - that it won't have been worth keeping alive. A network of Springers and Colmes, trying to imitate what's already been done somewhere else...."

Danny Goldberg ripped the heart and soul out of Air America, and left its twitching husk behind. The fact that he wasn't physically present at its official death doesn't absolve him of its murder. And his narcissistic attempts at revisionist history just make him all the more pathetic and abhorrent.

 
At 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HEY tech sedition guy!!!!!!! JEEEZUS it's just a stupid show!!! Cancelling a show is not MURDER!! That's the moral confusion I'm talking about!! Somehow you've made the accusation of murder at the absolving of an entertainment venture!! Get your reality in perspective and your priorities straight!!!! Put out that fire before you burn innocent bystanders!!! Crap!!!


Maron is not the Heart and Soul of anything but HIMSELF and his CULT MEMBERS. Do you like the crime talk? The drug talk? The porn talk? The cruelty? The general "badness"? The constant obscenity? The witchcraft, the possible illicit and perverted sexual impulses? Get a real hero!!!

 
At 5:26 PM, Blogger Ghostgrrrl said...

Okay, I guess I gotta put my 2 cents in now. But first, thank you, Brendan, Jim and Jonathan for reminding me of the details of that sad time. I had forgotten some of that.I had listened to MS every single day it was on since it started. Okay I may have missed the first day. But that day I switched the station from NPR to AAR this is what I heard, "And now back to Morning Edition....&%$#@*&...And this is Morning Sedition!" I tell you I laughed my ass off and didn't stop the whole time MS was on the air. I still miss that show a lot and catch it every now and then on seditionradio.com. It's still funny even though the content is dated.

Danny Goldburg isn't very imaginative or creative if he can't see the internet and podcasting as a solution to the money problem. The fans were more than willing to pay for podcasts and we told them so in letter and email campaigns to keep the show on the air. Here in Phoenix we lost the station that AAR was on to a Christian broadcasting network, the 9th or 10th one in this market with no stations playing liberal content. So, some of the staff got together and got the Drobneys behind them and started what Fat Head Schultz called "bake sale radio". That would be NOVA M. It worked. The fans did not want to lose their only liberal talk station and pitched in their $10 and $50 donations and they got back on the air. It's gone now, but, I think it shows how desperately people want liberal radio. What folks said before, maybe you should have gone to the audience who loved the shows instead of whining that rich dems won't support you. Just sayin.

And who let the troll in??

 
At 5:37 PM, Blogger pjs said...

Yo, brave anonymous person, I guess you've never heard of a metaphor, eh? Most TWAMFs haven't.

 
At 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to all for bringing the real and honest rebuttal to the horseshit that started all of this. It was easy enough to delete my early comment but the subsequent posts have totally fleshed out Master Danny's load of lies and revisionism.

Just a little more, DG began his AAR debacle after his "successful" previous career was in something of a decline. It is nice of another former record business executive to afford him the opportunity to try to justify the unjustifiable.

 
At 9:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TWAMF???

 
At 10:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goldberg was a mole. No question about it. The whole idea is to neutralize the opposition, send in guys who have deniability, who can make elaborate excuses, pay them $1 million, and get the job done. The absolutely most effective opposition to the criminal political element holding this country hostage is simply telling the truth, to do so with insightful humor, esp that of Marc Maron et al, cuts through the propaganda, and can't be defeated, except by taking it off the air.

B*stards.

 
At 2:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Danny Goldberg came from music. An industry known for its ethical business practices. That's all I have to say.

 
At 5:28 AM, Blogger MW Smith said...

I think there is a fundamental difference between radio listeners on the right and those on the left. Listeners on the right are simply interested in hearing their rightist views validated. They are ditto-heads who believe what they want to believe and want it validated by hearing other people parrot it back to them. They are no longer students. They don't want to face new knowledge. On the other hand, listeners on the left do want to learn new things. They are life long students who are interested in finding solutions and developing ideas. The talk radio format is much better suited for pandering to listeners on the right. Listeners on the left need a more analytical approach, like the programs provided by the BBC World Service.

 
At 10:11 AM, Blogger Melina said...

Dear Anonymous- Thanks babe!
and anonymous, anonymous and anonymous- fuck off!
oh and, anonymous, thanks for the memories again and again!

I was just reading the end of these comments,and they have really lifted spirits in a pretty dark time.
Does anyone else think that maybe some of the trolls here are actually Jim Earl? If not, Jim, you are definitely sleeping on the job!...tho maybe its too easy; fish in a barrel and all...

So, I went back and found my old post from when they canceled The Marc Maron Show (which I struggled to stay up late for in order to chat in the chat room, something I hadnt really done much until Goldberg started canceling stuff) and tho I usually don't reread these things...here is my requiem for a seditionist :
http://www.ripcoco.com/2006/07/requiem-for-seditionist.html

I dont know if its any good but people loved it at the time. I was so pathetically sad about losing those shows and the station...it was really all over right then, even tho I think that Goldberg had already been FIRED and paid off to go back to Malibu and ruin something else.

It was my mother who always said that Goldf**k was a republican mole sent to take down AAR...and I think she was sorta right. I have 2 words: Don Imus...best friends of his wife Rosemary (ex wife of Jim Carroll, RIP, and music attorney) and old Danny himself...go figure...

putting on my tin foil hat, here, once again...
just consider me a loyal member of the Cult of Maron ; sometimes they call us What the Fuckers.
To be assimilated got to www.wtfpod.com and give him your money!!

xoxo to all my friends who have written here.
Melina

 
At 10:17 AM, Blogger Avedon said...

Every cab driver in New York was listening to Morning Sedition, and Goldberg cancelled it.

Nuff said.

If I can't dance, I don't wanna be in your revolution, as Emma said.

 
At 10:52 AM, Anonymous burningbush said...

Hey, mister anonymous moralizer:

What people like you need is to be bound in a straight-jacket with clamps on your eyelids a la "A Clockwork Orange," have Zappa's "Apostrophe'/Overnight Sensation" CD blasting through headphones with the volume set at 11, and have "Pink Flamingos" filling your visual field. Four continuous hours per day for a week should be about right.

Take you moralizing pontifications and shove them, HARD!

 
At 9:16 AM, Blogger pbtrue1 said...

Some AAR Ancient history:
Talking Radio Blog, Nov '05

"... Sunday, November 20, 2005

How Clear Channel Saved Air America Radio

Air American Radio launched in April 2004 and immediately fell flat on its face. In less than two months the fledgling liberal network lost its affiliates in Los Angeles and Chicago, started bouncing checks for everything from payroll to studio rentals, and fired their CEO and several other members of top management.

Then something funny happened. While the media, especially the incumbent right wing talk radio pundits, were writing Air America Radio’s obituary, AAR researchers discovered some good news in a ratings report for the networks Portland, OR affiliate. It seems that Clear Channel Communications decided to give AAR a chance on a weak AM stations that it owned in Portland, OR. The station, KPOJ, 620 AM was struggling playing adult standards and generating an average share of less than a buck. Clear Channel decided to give AAR a chance. Afterall, Portland was considered a "liberal" market and there were already three talk radio stations there programming conservative talk radio. Well after one book, KPOJ, improved its average share by 1,000% and Clear Channel took notice.
......"

Talking Radio, Apr '07

(The comment section is most revealing.)

 
At 3:10 PM, Anonymous nate said...

I listened to Morning Sedition just about every day from the beginning to the end and the way that Goldberg treated Maron, Riley, PW McDonald, Dan Pashman (son of Linda and Louis Pashman of New Jersey), Jim Earl and everyone else was nothing short of shameful AND ignominious.

Taking one of NYC's (one of the nation's biggest radio markets) morning drive time shows off right when it was poised for a total breakout success has to go down in some sort of fat-headed, self centered inept business decision hall of fame.

To exile Maron to a late night show and not honor an agreement to syndicate the show nationally and to force a broadcasting talent like Mark Riley to an inane format which did him (or AAR for that matter) no favors is close to criminal and certainly suicidal in business terms.

The cancellation of Morning Sedition was the beginning of the end for Air America - there was little worth listening to by the end, with the only promising programs (Chuck D, Ana Marie Cox, Jack Rice and Ring of Fire) relegated to weekend or late night time slots which guaranteed little to no audience.

At least we still have Marc Maron and Brendan McDonald's brilliant WTF podcast. If there was only more Jim Earl.

Mark Riley is back on the radio on weekends on WWRL in NYC and sounds better than he has since the demise of MS (he's also been filling in on afternoon drive time along with Jack Rice since AAR folded). I for one would like to hear his take on all this as well.

Firetruck!!!!!!!!

 
At 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Turns out Mark Riley's on WWRL (on-air and streaming) right now!

 
At 8:00 PM, Blogger Steve C. said...

J'ACCUSE EL DOUCH-A-BAG!!! You will wake up covered with the ill will of thousands of 9-5 working lefties who are not morning people! Viva la Sediccion and Pendejo, the Revolutionary!

- Butch Ze Cat

 
At 4:42 PM, Anonymous d jane do said...

I am so sad to see Air America go. I listened from the beginning. That being said, when Air America came to the air ways, it was exciting,risky, and the controversy was delightful. We got serious political news that hadn't even hit the cable TV news ie The Downing papers, the plan to invade Iran, etc. When Morning Sedition, Marc & Mark et. al., was cancelled, I had a bad feeling. I listened to their last show. When Franken left the airways, I knew it was a matter of time. Air America became blase, lost its most talented, colorful personalities.I listened from Boston. I miss Miller when I moved back to California.I continued to listen AAR via streaming, but with less frequency. Goodbye AAR.

 
At 4:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Air America failed because they had
a product no one wanted! There are
good people in this country that do not buy into the twisted liberal thinking that Air America represented. Our country will survive the current administration, although it will be a long time before we can remove the stench!

 
At 6:24 PM, Blogger Greg said...

The ignorance of the above post (and the giggling little microcephalic twit who somehow managed to type it in) is self evident, and it's obviously not even worth the time to correct, but I'm not going to give the little turd the satisfaction of having the last word either.

AAR had huge potential when it started. I remember the first afternoon, when Randi had Pat Buchanan on, and they were able to have a calm, respectful discussion about all the points on which they agreed, and I remember thinking how new that was for talk radio. It was sad to see it devolve into a bland lineup of people like Lionel.
I miss Morning Sedition and Majority Report the most, but I'd much rather have Senator Franken where he is now -- he's doing an outstanding job (and I no longer have to hear him sing "M-m-m-my Sirota" or his other guest's theme songs!). Progressive talk is still growing, though. We still have Thom Hartmann, Randi, Malloy, Rachel, Ring of Fire, Ed Schultz, Norman goldman, Stephanie Miller, and others, along with Olbermann, Rachel, and Ed getting great numbers on MSNBC. (We have the WTF podcast for our Maron fix, but he doesn't talk about politics nearly as much as I'd like him to.) The fact there is still a growing market for all these shows is in large part because of Air America, and I'm grateful for that. It's just a shame to consider how much more we could have had, had the network been run better.

 
At 10:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Danny Goldberg may not have single-handedly killed AAR, but he dealt the strongest blows. And while the demise of Morning Sedition was the turning point, the firing / dismissal / whatever of Lizz Winstead, who served as senior vice-president of entertainment programming for its first year (and was largely responsible for the presence of the solid gold comedy writing team responsible for Unfiltered and Morning Sedition), was the first sign of big, big trouble.

I'm sick and tired of all these bullshit artists claiming the demise of AAR was due to their being no market for liberal talk in this country. Oh, there's a market -- a big one, too -- but that market needs to be serviced by a radio station that isn't run by con men, moles, has-been / never-were politicians, or former record company execs who make bad unilateral decision.

Vigilance!!! Firetruck!!!

 
At 7:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

true that starting up any media entity on a national scale will require several million and will lose money ... especially when dealing with politics-centric subject matter. which is why Time and Newsweek have many categories.

Americans have "rant fatigue". We are looking for solutions...not simply ranting.

also, there was no mention of any alleged embezzlement of funds or wasteful spending early on re: Air America. Utmost financial integrity from the get-go when launching any business is critical. No investor will throw good money after bad.

 

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