New York, New York, New Year (2010)

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

I know. I KNOW. And I’m sorry.

It’s been a number of weeks since I’ve posted anything here. Perhaps the longest time I’ve been away since I started this blog. The truth is I’ve taken on a project or two that’s been taking up more of my free time over the couple months and I haven’t been able to dedicate myself to the Radio Kitchen as much as I would like. And I really am sorry.

I’m not giving up this blog. At least not yet. But I’m not a good blogger in the traditional sense. I’m not so good at firing off quick and succinct entries, and my posts generally take some time. And there’s usually audio involved and research and rumination and it’s rarely a quick process for me. However, if there was actually some money in it, you can be sure I’d be packin’ this thing with content almost every week.

But I was inspired the other night. New Year’s Eve. And I didn’t have a gig. I didn’t have a party to go to either, and the girls here at the house were fast asleep. So instead of ducking into some local dive bar for some holiday misbehavior, I stayed home– like Jack Horner. In the corner. Just me and my radio. (And a recorder.)

And the result is this bandscan– an hour and twenty-minute crawl up the AM band recorded in my Brooklyn apartment as the year 2010 was sweeping over America. Right before midnight, I turned on my G5 and started crawling down from the top of the AM dial. A powerful Radio Disney outlet at 1560kHz is very close to my house, and that nearby fifty-thousand watt signal wrecks havoc at this end of the dial. So I opted to start this bandscan where their signal pollution yields to clarity– with a holiday greeting from the lovely and talented Alan Colmes on progressive talker WWRL.

The AM Dial in New York, NY – New Years Eve 2010 pt 1
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And then, Radio Disney itself. Their transmitter (broadcasting at 1560kHz) is so close to me that I’ve heard their signal in on every possible band at some point, as well is in my home stereo and even on a pay phone down the street. On some of my radios, every frequency from 1530 to 1600kHz suffers from some form of Radio Disney intrusion.

Next up 1520, WWKB in Buffalo blasting in strong with a sleazy “get out of debt” commercial. Then a little “Auld Lang Syne” and a promo from “Federal News Radio” (WTOP 1500kHz in Washington D.C.). However, the magical odometer click itself is served Cantonese style at 1480kHz, WZRC. It’s quite exciting. Probably more so if you happen to be Chinese.

While I don’t know for sure, I suspect that this was probably a simulcast of the New Years festivities on the American Chinese-language TV network– SINO Television. While simulcasting obviously saves a lot of money, if you’re a serious radio listener you can usually tell the difference. There’s a lack of microphone intimacy, and the assumptions of visual cues make audio-only TV less interesting than real radio.

And then there’s a couple more ethnic notches on the NY AM dial– some pumping macho reverb from WNSW at 1430kHz and some kooky jubilance care of WKDM at 1380kHz. Whooooh!

And so ends all the “live” sounds of celebration captured in this bandscan.

The AM Dial in New York, NY – New Years Eve 2010 pt 2
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“Thank you for inviting me into your prison cells.”

At first, I thought there was going to be a punch line. Or that there was something metaphoric going on I might have missed. But no, it was all real, just like prison. It’s some regularly scheduled religious inspiration for the incarcerated (with your host– a real "retired correction captain”). Although I typically I hear religious stuff at 1330kHz (WWRV) all the time, it’s usually a Spanish language scenario.

We pass by 1300kHz for a quick ID. I think it’s the ESPN Radio station in New Haven. And how about this Spanish language drama at 1280kHz? Wow. Give that guy a hankie. Man. Then a brief interlude with Smokey Robinson & The Miracles on WMTR, at 1250kHz in Morristown, New Jersey.

From 1250 we slide down to 1210– the Big Talker WPHT in Philadelphia, where they were replaying a Michael Smerconish program. He’s an odd bird, and the only right wing talk show host to support Obama in the last election. At least that’s what I’ve read on the internets. I don’t watch much of the talking head pundit shows on TV, but I gather he makes his appearances on a few of them too. And he has a shiny head.

Then on to some urban contemporary gospel from WLIB at 1190kHz. When Air America left the station to settle over at WWRL at 1600 they gave up a great signal for a pretty crappy one. That’s followed by some messy and overlapping signals. And then this clown…

The AM Dial in New York, NY – New Years Eve 2010 pt 3
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As if there wasn’t already enough meanspirited blather emanating from this Clear Channel owned Fox News affiliate (WWVA at 1170 kHz in West Virginia), they also see fit to let this hateful son of a bitch run at the mouth on a transmitter that might reach a third of the U.S.

It seems that all the major religions (especially the powerful monotheistic ones that dominate our world) have a dark beating heart of intolerance and malevolence somewhere at their core that leads some twisted "believers" to spew forth the kind of filth that tumbles out of the mouth of this old geezer, rambling incoherently about “judgment” and “vengeance” and “punishments.”

The particular brand of stupidity at play here is uniquely American and Protestant flavored, which seems to the most popular type of religious mental illness you hear on the radio. If you’re interested in getting some good hate on for Obama (and all the Catholics and Muslims and almost everybody else), then you’ll probably find something to celebrate in this fulmination. Happy new year!

I let that guy carry on way too long before shuffling down dial to Bloomberg’s “business” station at 1130kHz. It’s a panel of experts on the human brain. Wow. The trouble is (again) that we’re obviously hearing some TV simulcast. And we’re supposed to be looking at some incredible computer generated images of the computing machinery of the brain. You see anything?

The AM Dial in New York, NY – New Years Eve 2010 pt 4
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Then, the bewitching baritone of Art Bell from WTAM, 1100kHz in Cleveland. Since he’s retired (four times!) you don’t hear him host his old “Coast to Coast” show much these days. But he does often show up a few times a year– especially for his annual “Ghost to Ghost” program (with call-in ghost stories) around Halloween and then for his annual prediction (for the next year) show. And being a bit of a legend these days and rarely on the air, you can hear some real affection and fan awe from the callers who are able to get through to talk to Bell.

I used to be entertained by Bell’s late night sideshow many years ago. His love of everything radio has always been kind of inspiring to me. But I gotta say, he does sound uncharacteristically low-key in the samples in this bandscan. I guess he’s been though plenty of changes over this last decade. But you do hear a lot of people calling in predictions that are pretty dire and cataclysmic. And that, is typical.

Then we slide down into the lap of snarling neocon Laura Ingraham, care of WBAL (at 1090 AM in Baltimore). Then it’s 1050kHz here in the city, a frequency with a colorful history that’s been the home for a number of call letters over the years. These days it’s just WEPN– another syndicated ESPN yawner on the AM dial. Sad. And then 1010 WINS, one of the oldest all-news stations in the country (and they continue the teletype sound effects in the background to drive the point home). And here you get one of the joys of MW DXing for some, the local traffic and weather forecast. The crowds are dissipating in Times Square. And in the sky, a wintry mix. Meanwhile there’s been a few fire fatalities over the holidays. And through some unexplained turn of events New York City “apparently” has found some extra money laying around. A surplus.

And in a broader sense, I suppose that’s one of the things that make New York so appealing. Somehow, somewhere, there’s some extra money laying round. In a place like Detroit, not so much.

The AM Dial in New York, NY – New Years Eve 2010 pt 5
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Mike Gallagher (AKAThe Smellster”) is one of the least evolved human beings I’ve come across in the national media. A man who does not seem to actually think, but just react to things (in a predictable and ham-handed partisan manner). And when he’s not scripted well, his program can really go off the rails. Yet he kind of sounds like Rush (which may account for his radio career), and his show is powered by the same kind of boomy and barely educated bluster Rush practically invented. Also like Limbaugh, Gallagher seems to get his greatest insights and inspiration from watching professional football on television. I suppose it’s almost like going to college. The fact that this guy’s show has risen into the low end of the talk radio top ten (at #8!) says a lot about the audience for this format today.

And while I’m all in favor of heartfelt apologies, this tear-soaked confessional from some a highly-paid prima-donna athlete is just so much difficult listening. However, to Gallagher all these sniffy regrets amount to a “life changing moment.” Usually all I get from the Smellster are “station changing moments.”

Then I move up to a man speaking in a language I don’t understand on another local “ethnic” (and brokered) radio station– WPAT at 930kHz. And then at 900kHz it’s the “old time radio” programming I’ve been hearing late at night on CHML for years (They’re in Hamilton, Ontario). It sounds like we missed the setup for the joke here.

Then into the nasty IBOC sound (in-band-on-channel) sound that surrounds WCBS at 880kHz. It’s an envelope of nasty digital noise that bookends the analog signal of AM stations carrying “HD” programming. And it’s also why you don’t hear WLS in Chigago at 890kHz anywhere near the city. And not a chance of getting WWL at 870kHz in New Orleans (which reaches well into Canada for some). 1010 WINS and WOR do the same thing. DXers hate it. And in many major cities you hear it across the dial.

On WCBS you hear about the eminent retirement of Robert Morgenthau. At 90 years old, Morgenthau had been the District Attorney of Manhattan since 1975. Amazing.

The AM Dial in New York, NY – New Years Eve 2010 pt 6
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I really don’t know a lot about the CJBC, except that it’s a CBC powerhouse that broadcasts in French at 860kHz. And it’s the only significant CBC station broadcasting to the U.S. It wasn’t always that way. Years ago, their English service reached a large swath of North America from 740kHz. But there was a move to consolidate all thier broadcasting to FM, and the far reaching AM frequency was abandoned by the CBC. CHWO (better known as "AM740") is a unique musical presence on the AM dial in these parts, but the loss of a major CBC on the AM band is still a damn shame. That said, I think I’ve been hearing interesting music late at night at 860 AM since I was a kid. And the music varies so much that I couldn’t even qualify what kind of music I’ve heard the most on that station. I don’t know what kind of pop music is at play in this sample. It’s old. A show tune?

Art Bell again. From WHAS Louisville this time (at 840kHz). Another kooky caller. I wonder if Bell ever succeeded in giving up the smokes. His voice has that same nicotine gravitas as Larry King (and a bunch of guys who ain’t around any more). At 820kHz we find the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC. I’m not a fan, although he occasionally has good guests. It’s local. It’s NPR. Then the inevitable Art Bell once again, on 810kHz, WGY upstate in Schenectady.

CKLW (800kHz in Windsor) is a funny kind of talk station that you don’t hear really hear in the states. Or certainly not on a big transmitter like this. I’ve never heard a "political" show on CKLW (but lots of centigrade weather!) And listen to the promo for the nightly astrology show. “Life might feel like a struggle…” Lots of self-help and health shows in general on this station. In America, AM talk radio is about personalities agitating listeners with propaganda all day long. And while there is certainly political talk on Canadian radio, they seem to still be able to have radio stations and call-in shows that aren’t agenda driven or enslaved by the news cycle.

That said, I really can’t listen to “call the doctor” talk radio for very long. All those symptoms make my stomach hurt.

Nothing really comes in until I hit WABC here in the city at 770kHz. John Bachelor, who recently moved into a nightly slot on WABC since crazy blabbermouth Curtis Sliwa took his little red beret down to WABC’s relatively new competitor, 970 “The Apple,” where he’s their new morning-drive entertainer.

The AM Dial in New York, NY – New Years Eve 2010 pt 7
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Now we’re at 760kHz. Detroit. (No IBOC from WABC, so the signal is still audible here.) There’s still a little crosstalk from WABC next door. It’s an ad for a drug rehab joint in the Detroit suburbs. The announcer says they can help “teens, college students, business people, CEOs, lawyers and health professionals” with their addictions.

I guess if you want to get a handle on the marketing of drug treatment services you could probably learn a little by decoding this list of less than socioeconomically diverse list of prospective "clients. Seems like they left the majority of common folk off this at list. Every style of addict mentioned here probably can afford their services, and some might have a willing (or desperate) parent who can come up with the dough.

Then it’s the ABC News. The world’s biggest pseudo-event of the season totally obscured any other feasible healdine that night. news focus for a few hours. Their reporter spends so much time “poetically” describing the panorama of litter and debris in the street in Times Square that it’s just a little weird. And sad for a major news outlet to lend so much weight and instant nostalgia to a run-of-the-mill clean-up scene at the end of a big party.

Then there’s three more quick headlines in ABC’s top of the hour news. And they’re all sports related. The last one is regarding the contract stalemate between Times-Warner and Fox, which was resolved a few days later. And the ABC take on this little media turf war was that if the se companies wouldn’t come to a peaceful resolution agreement don’t come to some agreement that a number of “Fox” football games might not air on Times-Warner cable the next weekend. Right before WJR cuts to local weather the football story is capped off with a sound bite from some media analyst. Although it wasn’t the intention, I think his words may capture some of the spirit and passion of our great nation as we enter 2010:

“There is no hue and cry louder and angrier than if you deprive the American viewer of football.”

I’ll bet that’s true. And ABC only has two minutes to encapsulate current affairs at the top of the hour, and this is what you get. No international issues. No war updates. And certainly no investigative reporting. There is no breaking news. Perhaps because the news is already broken. Tiger Woods? Still in trouble as far as I know.

At 750kHz you can hear WSB in Atlanta. But it’s not pleasant. Some nights this station comes in pretty clearly up here. But then again, often I come across a Neil Boortz rebroadcast on this station. This noise is more pleasant.

AM740 is a big bunch of noise as well, which is unusual. In 2008 this station changed hands, and changed call letters. No longer CHWO, it’s now CFZM. I don’t hear much beyond the overnight programming, and at that timeit’s still a MOR/nostalgia mix, only with more classic rock. But it’s still the only full-time music format blasting out a full (“clear channel”) fifty-thousand watt signal in this part of North America (WSB at 650 in Nashville is the only other one you’re likely to hear in this area). AM740 has actually been coming better than I’ve ever heard it this month. Like a local. But on New Year’s Eve the reception wasn’t so hot…

The AM Dial in New York, NY – New Years Eve 2010 pt 8
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Let’s listen to the radio horrors of wading through that IBOC racket once again as I approach the “analog” version of New York’s WOR at 710. (Which denies us the chance to hear both CKAC in Montreal at 730kHz and WGN at 720 in Chicago.)

The local news is still underway on WOR with Pat Wallace. The news is a little more substantial than the trivial world synopsis offered by ABC. The Joey Reynolds show reconvenes after the news. As an intro (instead of playing one of his many “theme songs”) Joey plays some old comedy bit he recorded during his top-40 heyday in the 1960′s. Let’s just say some types of humor have a longer shelf life than others.

As I’ve written before, the Joey Reynolds show is kind of an anarchic affair. While there are some focused interviews, more often than not Joey gets a few folks behind the microphone and lets it rip without much of a game plan. When it’s not good it’s pretty bad. And in this particular clip it’s not so good for Joey as an unidentified guest (a local restaurateur who apparently knows Reynolds and his thrifty nature rather well) gets the better of the old "shock-talker."

However, the real roasting occurs when Reynolds makes a few cracks about Dick Clark’s brief appearances during his “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” spectacular. As you probably know, Clark suffered a massive stroke a few years back and the once glib "eternal teenager" now speaks in a somewhat slurring and halting fashion these days. While trying to avoid sounding cruel, Reynolds makes a few lame jokes about Clark’s performance that night and then wishes that he just wouldn’t appear on TV at all. As you can hear, the guest (sporting a hardcore NYC accent) directly takes old Joey to task and doesn’t let up. You don’t often hear a radio host let a guest chew him up like this on the air. Instead of standing his ground, or taking on the animosity directly, Reynolds keeps running away, trying to change the subject. Odd.

If it wasn’t for the IBOC digital garbage on each side of WOR’s signal, powerhouse WLW in Cincinatti would almost certainly have been audible here. But not anymore. The first credible AM signal I came across is a messy read of a Bob Seger song at 690kHz. I don’t know what station this might be. Typically I get French talk radio from Montreal here. There’s an oldies station in West Virginia at this frequency, but I see they’re running at all of fourteen watts at night, And then at 620kHz– WSNR, kind of a sad brokered station hanging out there in the breeze. Here they’re broadcasting something in a language I do not know. Hebrew perhaps?

Nearing the very top we find the once mighty WMCA at 570kHz. Once a top 40 giant, then a pioneering talk radio station in New York, WMCA is now it’s a lowly Christian outlet with a lot of brokered hours up for grabs. This is some kind of religious self-help talk show, featuring a woman complaining about her sister making the rest of her family miserable in the name of Jesus.

    “There’s something wrong, isn’t there?”

The answer of course is “yes.” Her sister reminds me a little of a certain scary relative my family tries to avoid. And it seems like a good place to close as well– because more significantly, there was something wrong with 2009 too, wasn’t there?. After that one night a year ago, when it was new, it wasn’t much of a "happy year.” And it seems stupid has become the new smart. At least we have football. And Jesus.

But I think things are going to get better. I really do. But I’m not counting on 2010. At least not yet. It certainly didn’t start out so well.  Maybe by 2012 will bring some good luck for us. And from what I understand, a lot of people are looking forward to that year anyway.

Meanwhile, I hope to get back to you soon. And to get another post up where before so much time goes by next time.

I suspect if you’ve gotten this far, that you might just have more than a passing interest in radio. (And if you got this far by skimming over this post, maybe might wanna read this. Or at least look it over…) And in closing, there’s two things I’d like to mention. For one, the Winter SWL Fest is coming up soon in Kulpsville, PA (March 5 & 6), which is a completely unique and entertaining way to spend a weekend. I certainly recommend it. I had a lotta fun there last year.

Also, if your DXing habit fell by the wayside during the interminable solar minimum over the last couple years you might wanna dust off your old receiver and try scanning around again some time. The sunspots are back! And although I haven’t been able to do much serious monitoring lately, I have noticed my portables seem rather lively lately when I’ve taken the time to sample HF the bands, with improved reception across the board.

Meanwhile, thanks a bunch for listening. And good DX to you!

Air America vs. Reality – Part 1

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006

Neil_2 A little over two years ago, talk radio legend Neil Rogers offered his appraisal of the impending launch of Air America, a new liberal talk radio network.  "I wish them luck,” he said, “But I don’t see it succeeding… Hard-core conservatives gather around the radio to listen to Rush. Liberals are too busy having a life for that."

Was Neil right?

Maybe. Maybe not. While it seems that liberal or “progressive” talk radio has a discernable future in AM talk radio, whether the network that brought the idea into the mainstream can survive is whole ‘nother question.

Air America was founded in a flurry of idealism born out of frustration. In fact, it’s safe to say that without the mass proliferation of right wing radio that burgeoned during the 1990′s there never would have been an Air America at all. Air America was a reaction. A thoughtful one. However, much of the idealism has given way to damage control, inaction and a general spirit of compromise. Especially here in New York.

Wlib_1 Air America is losing their grasp on WLIB here in New York City. This story was reported as gossip in early April, and then denied by the involved parties until the other day. Now it’s true, and this is a HUGE disaster for the Network. They had a long-term lease with WLIB’s owners (Inner City Broadcasting Corporation), but apparently Air America screwed up somehow and Inner City took advantage of some clause in their contract and opted out of the whole deal. Oops. Wonder how that happened?

Dvd Money. It’s gotta be money. As documented in HBO’s “Left of the Dial” (Available on DVD and worth watching, by the way), Air America jumped out of the box with a rat CEO who quickly disappeared and left the network in woeful financial straits. It’s a good guess that despite minor victories and plenty of accolades over the last couple of years, Air America has yet to prove itself as a profitable venture. The radio grapevine here in New York has been ripe with tales of financial hardship at the network for a long time.

When Air America launched, it was far from perfect as a product. But for talk radio listeners who were angered and sickened by profusion of right wing blabbermouths the event was exhilarating. And with the infusion of TV comedy types (especially Comedy Central vets) into the mix, Air America was immediately different and even entertaining at times. But that was 2004.

The creative team who lined up the initial talent roster (Shelley Lewis and Lizz Winstead) are long gone now. The first six hours of the initial Air America line-up were experimental in that they each featured three hosts who had never worked together, and only one of each trio had actually done radio before. The first few months were rough as both tri-ego programs attempted to find a balance and chemistry between the hosts themselves, and for each show to establish a rhythm and sense of itself.

Bottom line, one show gelled the other never did. “Unfiltered,” wasn’t a horrible program, but it was never a great one. Hosted by Winstead herself with Chuck D. of Public Enemy and Rachel Maddow, the only one left on the air at the network is Maddow who now hosts her own show from 7 to 9 in the morning. The dissolution of Unfiltered occurred at the beginning of former music exec Danny Goldberg’s tenure as CEO of Air America, and as his first major programming decision plugged the hole in the lineup with something truly awful– “Springer On The Radio.”

Goldberg However, as I discussed in the pages of this blog months ago, the other half of the grand morning experiment at Air America did gel. After a few months, the radio/TV comedy alchemy produced a totally unique and often hilarious left-wing talk show– Morning Sedition. Comic Marc Maron teamed with local NYC radio voice Mark Riley was a rollicking idiosyncratic chunk of fun every morning. Riley provided the grounding for irreverent and manic Maron, who grew into a powerful radio talent in the daily grind of putting out the show. Apparently, Mr. Goldberg wasn’t amused. His next big programming decision at the network was to dump Morning Sedition as well.

In it’s place, you get an extended Rachel Maddow show (which was doubled from it’s previous one hour configuration) and a trimmed down version of Morning Sedition WITHOUT Marc Maron. And just like Al Franken without his former co-host Katherine Lanpher, Riley is left to banter with his production staff. And that’s how Air America sounds in general– less inspired and a feeling that decisions are being made with financial desperation trumping the willingness to take risks or invoke any real creative changes in the programming or in the business model of the network itself.

Randy_michaels And while Air America seems to be constantly robbing Peter to pay Paul to keep its fledgling left of center radio network together financially, former Clear Channel CEO Randy Michaels has been working behind the scenes slowly laying the groundwork (and gathering capital) for his own “progressive” talk empire– “Product First.” And in one bold stealth move, Michaels has suddenly gotten the upper hand and dealt a crippling blow to his competition by snatching away Air America’s flagship station, WLIB. Come September, WLIB will be under his control. What does this mean for Air America programming in New York? Good question.

Almost all the scenarios for Air America having a respectable presence in New York (the biggest radio market in the U.S.) after August are lousy. Even grim. There don’t seem to be any AM stations in New York with signals as good or better than WLIB that Air America are likely to be able to afford or convince to carry their programming. Not that WLIB is blowtorch, but they do cover the city and immediate area pretty well. And FM seems out of the question.

Then again, there is one obvious choice. They could STAY at WLIB, under the thumb of Randy Michaels.

Jacor The sneaky deal with Inner City is classic Randy Michaels. While he may have fallen from the highest position in all of radio, Michaels is still a force to be reckoned with. He’s high rolling wheeler-dealer motherfucker, and takes no prisoners. Before he was the head of Clear Channel, he ran a much smaller radio entity, Jacor Communications. At their peak, Jacor ruthlessly dominated four medium radio markets in the U.S. and were buying up more stations at a rapid pace. They also owned The Rush Limbaugh Show and Dr. Laura as well. And then when the company was absorbed by Clear Channel, Michaels and his Jacor gang actually TOOK OVER operation of Clear Channel.

Product First, or “P1" is the creation of Michaels and Stu Krane, who (get this) was involved in the national launch of the Rush Limbaugh program in the late 80′s. And last year they put their progressive talk radio network on the map by purchasing the most popular left-wing show NOT on Air America– The Ed Schultz Show. A bulky and boomy fellow who broadcasts out of North Dakota, Schultz is now on over 100 stations. A former right-winger who somehow went through some mystifying born again political experience, Schultz fashions himself as a manly progressive. He makes a point of bragging about his affection for guns and meat.

Wlib2 What’s Randy Michaels up to? The best guess is he’s up to his same old tricks– media domination. In the interim after he lost his gig as the king of Clear Channel and before he started a new company, Michaels was asked what he was going to next. “I was the architect of the largest radio group in the world, and I’m ready to move on to the next,” he boasted. And he borrowed a quote from the new CEO of Proctor and Gamble– “Change is inevitable…lead it.”

This is the irony of Air America. Left-wing talk, and maybe more importantly, talk radio that doesn’t follow the Republican talking points, is obviously a ripe for development and investment these days, but Air America’s leadership in the field hasn’t yielded a viable business model for the network itself. And Randy Michaels isn’t an idealist. He’s a businessman. And now Air America is getting the business, from Michaels.

Now over a barrel, Air America has to be in the middle of all sorts of discussions and/or negotiations right now to maintain some radio presence in New York City. The left-wing talk network is at a crossroads. Outside of some trimming and cutbacks, there’s been no rethinking of Air America’s programming or vision. Now, at least here in New York, there’s some hard choices to make and it will be interesting to see what Air America does next.

While I have no facts (or even unsubstantiated rumors) to back this up, I have a theory. Randy Michaels is a brilliant business strategist, and maybe this savvy chess move has given him the perfect opportunity to become the emperor of progressive talk radio in a hurry. What if Air America somehow merged with “Product First” and Michaels was put in charge? That would put the network in the hands of a proven predatory radio legend and would spell huge changes in Air America. And it might work.

Aar_2 Don’t get me wrong. I’m not really in favor of this idea (or fantasy), but Air America is certainly at a weak point and there doesn’t seem to be any good news on the horizon. They need leadership, and Michaels is a proven leader. Is he actually liberal? A very good question indeed. One thing’s for sure– he doesn’t fool around.

Whatever happens, I do predict some big changes at Air America in the next year. And in that time there will be some drastic changes in their programming, or they won’t be on the air at all. That’s a guess I stand by, for now.

(This post originally appeared in Beware of the Blog.)