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Monday, October 2, 2006

Air America Radio Fills “Progressive” Talk Niche

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For years, those on the left of the political spectrum bemoaned the lack of representation on talk radio, with the conservative-leaning political pundits such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly dominating the talk airwaves across the country on both the AM and FM dial. But on March 31, 2004, Air America Radio (AAR) signed on the air with a simple mission: to give a progressive voice to talk radio.

AAR is broadcast in top U.S. markets on 89 stations nationwide, and since its launch, listeners have had access to Air America Radio’s programming via live Internet streaming on www.airamericaradio.com and via XM satellite radio. Today, the network’s on-air personalities include some of the top political and popular satirists, commentators and activists, including Al Franken, Randi Rhodes, Sam Seder, and Rachel Maddow.

Last August, the network announced that it increased its cumulative listening audience from 1.3 million of those ages 12 and older (Arbitron Nationwide, Fall 2004) to 3.1 million (Arbitron Nationwide, Spring 2005). And in October of 2005, “The Al Franken Show” beat “The Rush Limbaugh Show” for the first time in San Francisco, California and Portland, Oregon, two of the top-25 markets, in the target demographics of those ages 25 to 54 (Arbitron’s Summer 2005 Metro). The two shows air simultaneously from 9:00 a.m. to noon in both markets.

Despite rumors of financial troubles, the network continues to grow. In fact, progressive radio is so strong, radio giant Clear Channel is reportedly announcing this week that it will partner with the Center for American Progress and MSS Inc. for a nationwide search for the next Progressive Talk Radio Star.

In the meantime, Air America continues taking on new affiliates in key markets across the country, including a new flagship station in New York. The network began broadcasting on WWRL 1600 AM, on September 1, 2006 in New York. And on September 18, 2006, the network announced a new lineup for it’s morning show. “The Young Turks” is touted as a funny, smart, irreverent, and entertaining look at politics, sex, news, pop culture, current affairs, and personal stories.

Recent guests on the network’s lineup include former vice president Al Gore, Social Critic Noam Chomsky, Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas and Bernie Sanders, Independent Congressman from Vermont. If you have a political topic or commentator tuned into a hot button issue of the day, Air America may be just the outlet for your spokesperson.

Submitted by Lynn Harris Medcalf,
Executive Vice President, News Generation, Inc.

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