Air America Radio’s Squandered Chance

If you haven’t heard already, Air America Radio has fired Mike Malloy for what is being called “financial reasons.” Usually in radio, that means the ratings don’t justify the salary. In Air America’s case, however, it is obvious the network is losing money so you’d expect them to cut loose their weakest link.

Look, I don’t like to see anyone lose their job and I sympathize with the Malloy family. I’ve beem there. But Malloy is a prime example of what is wrong with Air America Radio.

I listen to Air America Radio. I have friends who are involved with Air America Radio. I realize that they have beaten incredible odds to achieve the success they have. But Air America Radio has thus far missed a golden opportunity to become what they originally set out to be – a Democratic answer to conservative talk radio.

Let me explain.

Air America Radio was created to be the counterpart to the Rush Limbaughs of the world. What they did instead was, with a few exceptions, hire a host of inexperienced leftwingers who often joined Limbaugh, Hannity, and their ilk in attacking the Democratic party.

The one thing that REALLY turned me off to the now-cancelled Unfiltered with Rachel Maddow, as well as several other Air American Radio Shows (like the Mike Malloy show) is how quick they were to criticize Democrats. Now, I don’t feel any Democrat is above criticism – but doing so with literally millions listening won’t do anything to build support for the party and get rid of the GOP. Do you ever hear Limbaugh, Hannity, or Savage trashing the Republican party? Plus, it provided fodder for the rightwingers. Maddow really crossed the line on her last day on Unfiltered when she launched into an anti-Bill Clinton diatribe. With millions listening, she explained why the man who saved the Democratic party was really a bad president.

Way to go, Rachel! That’s how you convince the fence sitters to vote for Democrats! Unfiltered was cancelled because of low ratings. Now you know why the ratings were low.

But Maddow wasn’t alone in her disdain for anything that isn’t far left simon-pure. Mike Malloy, the Left’s answer to rightwing wacko Mike Savage, believes he is a “traditional Democrat” (no, seriously, he believes that) but, as Wikipedia explains, he has basically withdrawn from the Democratic party and is now making overtures to the Green Party – those swell guys who cost Al Gore the election in 2000.

The ax fell again at Air America last year. Morning Sedition, their unpopular morning show which, coincidently, also has a knack for trashing the Democratic party, was cancelled. It was replaced by (drum roll please…) a toned down Rachel Maddow!

And now another head has rolled and it is interesting to see how both the right and the left are spinning the news. The rightwing site NewsBusters says:

In yet another sign of its rapid decline, Air America Radio has just FIRED talk show host Mike Malloy. Although Malloy frequently spouted wild tinfoil hat theories based on no facts, he did have a devout fan club among the extreme left. As a result, Air America radio is about to lose even more listeners as is evidenced by the outrage over this firing in the leftist blogosphere.

And speaking the the “leftist blogosphere,” DailyKOS chimes in with “The asshats at Air America Radio have shown their stupidity again by firing one of their most popular and progressive hosts, Mike Malloy.” And the thread at Democratic Underground is one for the ages!

At least one person at DailyKOS had the balls to break ideological ranks. Asdf says: AAR wants to win friends and influence folk … Mike Malloy really is a fire & brimstone type that only serves the already righteous well … as such, he was a perfect depiction of the “angry left” charicature that’s been an anchor chained to our waists. If AAR can manage to find talent who can “close the deal” with the not-yet convinced, then the move is for the best.

Some will tell me that you can’t argue with success. Afterall, Air America Radio is now on over 80 stations nationwide, and a few are in major markets. But other than liberal strongholds like Seattle, the Air America affiliate stations haven’t been a blazing success ratings-wise. They’re essentially preaching to the choir. To be the success they need to be, they need to hire more centrist Democratic voices instead of the Maddow/Malloys types who further propagate the myth that there is little difference between the Republican and Democratic parties.

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3 Responses to Air America Radio’s Squandered Chance

  1. Gary Sartori says:

    I agree that they have to hire more centrists, and moderates, but they simply won’t. Both parties don’t want to know that we exist. There are no differences between the screamers on the left, or right. The right has the upper hand simply because they have had a longer time to build up a fan base. But even they are dropping in listenership. Rush is down, the radio factor is down, and Foxnews TV is down significantly.

    I used to listen to AAR, but ever since they started attacking Joe Lieberman, I’ve turned them off. I still listen once in a while, but not like I used to. People are just tired of the screaming coming from both parties. Unfortuneatly, screaming gets you noticed these days.

  2. Bob Steele says:

    I’m glad they fired malloy, I’m also glad they will be going to a new station here in nyc.

    air america fails because they have no voice of the people that reflect the democratic voting base IE black, latino. And they also take off black radio formats so they can install their own programming, let’s get this straight, until air america finds itself open, then It will fail! I am waiting for how long It will take wwrl here in nyc. It’s funny I don’t see any complaints about Mark Riley loosing his show hmmmmm things that make you go hmmmm.

  3. Susan Nuness says:

    Actually, there needs to be more conversation and far less monologues in “talk radio.” Malloy got on my nerves when he would go on two-and-a-half hour rants and take no calls. Furthermore, his trashing of the Democratic Party turned me off.

    I strongly suspect that because his schtick is being the “left’s” Rush Limbaugh, he is more than a tad insincere in his beliefs. Furthermore, his child bride/producer was not an asset to the show at all. She was an embarrassment.

    KGO is the standard AAR and every other syndicated talk radio network ought to emulate. Better still, the Fairness Doctrine needs to return to the airwaves so that all points of view are represented. The answer is NOT a mirror image of right-wing radio.

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