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May 24, 2004
Err America Ratings Explained

As you know, I've had a fair bit of fun poking the Air America bear from time to time, as the entire notion of launching a liberal radio network to combat the supposedly oppressive conservative media bias seems like such an idiotic notion that its cluelessness alone deserves a crushing defeat. At the outset, though, we all assumed that Err America (as I like to call it) would survive at least through the November election as it allowed people like George Soros to sink tons of money into broadcasting anti-Republican statements while avoiding the McCain-Feingold limitations on political advertising.

Sooner than anyone imagined, however, we have seen major players at the netlet bail out, including its major (public) investor and most of its executives. Leather Penguin added to the fun by giving us a peek at Err America's ratings in New York City -- where we discovered that they hadn't moved the needle a bit from WLIB's prior programming. Jon at QandO warns us to be careful in interpreting these numbers, throwing a bit of cold water on the schadenFranken that we'd all been feeling:

[A] few points:

1: Technically, these are not what is commonly called "Arbitrons". They are "Arbitrends" - i.e., monthly trend updates. Arbitron compiles the latest (unweighted) monthly diary results and shows each Arbitron subscriber the 3-month trend.

It's hard to judge the trend, though, based on the numbers LeatherPenguin presents. We really have no idea what the latest month looked like, or what the dropped month looked like. For example, they may be trending up sharply, but if they dropped a very good month, it would show little/no change. ...

3: Even so, this Arbitrend does not represent an Air America trend. Bear in mind, they didn't launch until March 31st. The Arbitrend in question is February/March/April - only the last month (which we cannot see) consists of Air America programming.

Jon has more analysis, which you should read in its entirety, even if it is a major buzz-kill, dude.

Addendum: Make sure you follow the link on Leather Penguin's post to the Al Franken forum -- Randi Rhodes, the only professional radio host they have, apparently announced her resignation on Friday. The debate starts off with speculation about it being a joke, but then rapidly segues into a discussion about behind-the-scenes bickering about the various personalities at Err America (like Franken) that you don't want to miss. Skip the second page of the forum, though, as it's consumed by trolls.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 24, 2004 7:48 AM

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