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March 3, 2006
If They Can't Make It There ...

Air America Radio has struggled since its inception on almost all fronts -- financial, creative, and access. In its early days, AAR found itself shut out of the lucrative Los Angeles and Chicago markets for a period of time due to financial shenanigans that resulted in a $1.5 million lawsuit for unpaid leased air time. Now it looks like AAR has failed to maintain itself in the #1 radio market, New York City, where its political orientation should have created its best success. Brian Maloney has the details:

While Air America Radio's loss of two affiliates in Phoenix and Missoula, Montana is generating news this week, the company itself probably hasn't been able to give either city a second thought.

Why? In a development sure to rip the heart right out of the liberal radio network's already ailing body, it appears extremely likely their leased New York City flagship station WLIB-AM will soon abandon Air America programming.

Even worse, litigation looks probable over the station's lease.

While the network's last day on WLIB isn't known for certain, an internal source providing backing documentation points to the end of March. At this time, Air America parent Piquant LLC has no firm back-up plan for where in the nation's largest radio market its programming will now air.

Some inside the firm are already referring to WLIB in the past tense.

Without WLIB, Air America faces an immediate, crushing blow. Worth perhaps 100 small markets combined, an on-air presence in New York City is absolutely vital to the company's survival. If an immediate and suitable replacement isn't found, the consequences would be dire.

Maloney quotes an inside source that has provided him with accurate information in the past, and says that the AAR partner in New York has suddenly decided to part ways with Piquant Media. Maloney speculates that AAR may have returned to its track record of missing payments for leased air time. Read all of his post for the details.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 3, 2006 4:24 PM

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