Air America Radio shut off its microphones today and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It will continue to provide affiliates with “encore” programming through 9PM Monday, January 25, at which time its programming will end for good.
I suppose you could call Air America a failure, and from a business perspective it certainly was. It never operated in the black, and seemed to be in the midst of financial and management turmoil since before it launched in April of 2004.
But it helped catapult Al Franken into the U.S. Senate, and launched a then unknown Rachel Maddow on the path toward her own show on MSNBC, and will leave behind dozens of thriving progressive talk stations nationwide. And without the ecosystem that Air America spawned, Ed Schultz and other successful progressive talkers might never have had the opportunity to reach a national audience.
That’s a pretty impressive legacy, and one for which I at least am grateful.