Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Air America growing...why am I glad?


Air America, the upstart liberal radio network, is finally gaining some traction in the industry after a rocky, uncertain beginning.

Despite being placed on life support shortly after its much-hyped March 2004 launch, The Wall Street Journal reports Air America has spread to 45 markets, including New York City, Boston, Miami, San Francisco, and Portland, Ore.


But the network has a long way to go to counter its more successful conservative competitors.

Michael Harrison, editor of the industry's Talker magazine, told the Journal that 75 to 80 percent of total talk programming is conservative.

And, the Journal reported, "a June 1 study from Washington, D.C-based Democracy Radio reported that national and local conservative programming totaled over 40,000 hours every week, while progressive, or liberal, programming totaled just over 3,000 hours."

Profitability also continues to elude the network. It's president, John Sinton, told the Journal Air America is still in the red, though he expects to turn a profit soon.

Adds Harrison, "When they start earning money as opposed to raising money, then we'll know they've made it."
Why am I hoping that Air America catches on? Mainly, for one reason and one reason alone: the so-called "Fairness Doctrine."

In 1987 that the FCC rescinded the so-called "Fairness Doctrine." Under this doctrine broadcast stations had to make time available to all parties to present opposing views on various issues. Seems harmless, right? Wrong.

The plan made no sense. In a community with 25 radio stations and only one newspaper it was the radio stations that were forced to present all sides of an issue, while the newspaper went on it's merry way. Political activists soon found out how to use the "Fairness Doctrine" to harass any broadcast outlet that had the nerve to allow an opinion to be expressed with which they disagreed. Richard Nixon was heard to brag about how he used this tool to hammer those who criticized him on radio and television.

With the end of the "Fairness Doctrine" talk radio broke through and the AM band was salvaged. Today radio stations, like newspapers, are free to broadcast without suffering harassment at the hands of those who can't stand the free expression of opinions with which they do not agree.

If market forces allow Air America to survive, then life is good. If market forces cause Air America to crash and burn, then look for the left to try to ram the "Fairness Doctrine" down our throats and put an end to talk radio...all in the name of "fairness", of course! After all, owning the MSM is not enough for liberals, since we red-staters are bypassing their leftist drivel by getting information from other sources, i.e. talk radio and the Internet. If they try to shut down talk radio today, they'll aim for regulating Internet speech after that.

So let's hope that Air America survives...just don't listen to it! Let liberals listen to other liberals, and continue to lose elections.