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April 28, 2004
More Problems at Err America

The gang at Air America just can't catch a break. First they lose access to the radio signal in the #2 and #3 markets, having to ask a judge to force the radio station to air their program -- and that only lasts until Friday. Now comes word that one of their founders has packed it up, decided that he doesn't care for the daily grind, and another executive has been "replaced" ... at least according to the FrankenNet spinners:

In the latest development in what has become a chaotic inaugural month, Air America Radio is losing two of its top executives, including the network's co-founder.

Mark Walsh, the former AOL executive and Democratic National Committee operative who announced the network's launch to much fanfare five months ago, said Monday that he has stepped down as chief executive officer.

Separately, the network confirmed that Dave Logan, Air America's vice president for operations and programming, has been replaced.

Walsh may not be leaving permanently; he's agreed to stay on as a "senior advisor", which sounds a lot like they won't see too much of him but they'll still see his money. Walsh helped found the fledgeling radio network by infusing a lot of cash, both from himself and his donors, as Err America bought its way on the air. (Don't get me wrong -- if I could find a paranoid billionaire who thought the best way around campaign-finance laws was to buy me radio stations like they were toys, you'd bet I'd take him up on it.) Walsh seems to have tired of the venture rather quickly, as have media critics, even liberal ones such as David Shaw.

Logan, however, apparently got walked out of the office, at least according to a staffer. His duties, which included programming and operations, have been reassigned to on-air talent Lizz Winstead and chief counsel David Goodfriend. When you have to have your lawyer run operations and your on-air host run programming, that indicates that George Soros may not be cutting checks to the organization any more. Perhaps he finally listened to the shows, or maybe he's lost interest. We'll know for sure when Err America assigns Chuck D to Sales and has Al Franken running security.

Spinning, however, goes on as usual. Despite the apparent firing of Logan, Err America chairman Evan Cohen denied that anything at all was amiss in liberal paradise:

Chairman Evan Cohen characterized the management departures as the normal growing pains of a start-up. "Businesses have an evolutionary process," he said. "If you're looking for `Shake-up at Air America Radio,' that's a creation in your own mind."

One thing that I do have to admit is that the changes seem to have resulted in an immediate improvement in their programming:

In Chicago, the network pulled its morning shows off the air Monday, replacing them with music and a periodic promotional message telling listeners how to hear the network over satellite radio and the Internet. Cohen said he wanted to inform listeners where to find Air America in case a new station isn't lined up by Friday.

Unfortunately, the improvement was short-lived; they went back to regular programming in the afternoon. (via Leather Penguin)

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 28, 2004 5:41 AM

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