Radio Waves: Air America Ceases Operations

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Air America Media is ending its live programming operations as of today. The company, which blamed a bad economic environment, intends to file a Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code to close the business.

In a memo from Charlie Kireker, chair, Air America Media, he said the past year has seen a "perfect storm" in the media industry.

Air America Radio, which ultimately ran on 100 radio outlets, launched in April 2004 with both known personalities such as comic turned Sen. Al Franken, and then-unknown future stars like Rachel Maddow. It was credited as a rare progressive voice in mainstream radio broadcasting, a medium dominated by conservative talk-show hosts.

Air America is not alone in its financial woes; major radio players like Clear Channel, Citadel and Emmis have reported revenue shortfalls. The industry's veteran trade magazine Radio & Records closed last year.

Kireker cited the difficulty in obtaining "operating or investment capital from traditional sources of funding. In this climate, our painstaking search for new investors has come close several times right up into this week, but ultimately fell short of success."

He added that radio industry ad revenues are down for 10 consecutive quarters and reportedly off 21% in 2009. Online efforts to monetize face the same "profitability challenges."

A severance package will be offered to full-time employees with more than six months' service.

"We should all be proud of our passionate determination to assure that our nation's progressive voice would be heard loud and clear," he wrote, adding that "a lasting legacy was forged which will now continue through other voices and venues."

2 comments about "Radio Waves: Air America Ceases Operations".
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  1. Jeffrey Hedgemon, January 22, 2010 at 9:21 a.m.

    My heart goes out to all of the people involved with Air America. Access to operating and investment capital, especially for minority operators and startups, is the single biggest challenge we are facing today.

  2. Jonathan Mirow from BroadbandVideo, Inc., January 22, 2010 at 11:38 a.m.

    The biggest challenge for "minority operators and startups" today is not to do something stupid - like start a radio network. They need go go into media with a brighter future - why don't they start a newspaper?

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