There is a lot of buzz in the industry about Air America shutting down, and how this is the death knell for progressive issues and voices on radio. While there is no doubt that right-wing talk still dominates the radio airwaves, progressive voices have been finding their home on radio since Air America’s inception in 2004 and through relatively traditional means. There is no doubt that Air America was a novel concept in radio at a time that the country and radio industry needed some fresh thinking, but Air America’s demise is much more about financial struggles than it is about political ones.
In reality, Air America has been less and less important over the last two years. Following their last bout of financial woes in 2006, progressive hosts like Randi Rhodes, Bill Press, Ed Schultz, and Stephanie Miller have been successfully seeking out their own syndication deals outside of Air America that will ensure their continued presence on radio. Satellite radio also provides a certain amount of security for progressive voices, as entire channels devoted to current issues demand timely, topical and engaging hosts to address a wide range of political opinion.
While we’re always sad to see radio outlets succumb to the current economy, remember that your engagement with your local and satellite stations will ensure that the programming remains reflective of what you want to hear. So stay tuned!