Friday, January 22, 2010

Did NPR Kill Air America?

So Air America, home of the frothing liberal crazies, has gone under, and the bubbles have ceased rising to the surface:

The company, which was founded in 2004, never found a substantial audience or sound financial footing. It filed for bankruptcy protection in 2006, but managed to stay on the air at that time. The network churned through several owners and several attempted reinventions, with little to show for it.

“The fact of the matter was, it was always a very challenging business proposition, and it never had the right management,” said Sam Seder, who hosted programs on Air America until last year.

The headwinds were enormous, he said, adding, “Radio is a dying industry.”

Maybe. Although I don't know if Rush Limbaugh or Mark Levin would share that sentiment...

But why, in a nation that has more registered Democrats than Republicans, was a network that catered to their ideological sympathies unable to find its "footing ? Three thoughts:

-liberals make terrible businessmen. Espousing a worldview that states corporations are evil and that profits are shameful makes it hard a successful corporation or turn a profit, two minor keys to actually, you know - staying in business

-Air America was angry liberalism. I tuned into it on occasion, and heard angry, vicious rants that would have forced right-wing commentators off the air. And while angry liberals do seem to get a lot of the air/press/blog exposure, they do not make up the majority of the left; instead, many of these Democratic loyalists see themselves as higher-class intellectual elites who have no professed interest in a spitting contest. So where would an liberal elitist turn to hear their own sympathies reflected back upon them...?

-...why, NPR, of course! That home for soft-spoken liberal chat, where everyone is on the same page, where Terry Gross can host a show with the same stale upper-crust liberals repeating the same mantras over and over and entitle it "Fresh Air"! All supplied with interludes of classical music, authentic scratchy blues, and pro-forma Israel-bashing.

So we have the liberal audience split between two radio outlets, Air America and NPR. And yet, NPR remains on the air while Air America has withered and died. What's the key difference in their business models? Why, NPR is supported by taxpayer dollars, while Air America had to scrap for private-sector funding!

Realistically, could NPR survive with its current format without a government subsidy? Unlikely, based on their overall miserable ratings nationwide (not dissimilar to Air America's). And yet, one may say that they knocked a competitor off the air by dint of the fact they received government funds to continue while the alternative liberal voice did not.

In theory, Air America fans (and ownership) should be screaming bloody murder at this point about a government-subsidized radio station running them out of business. But they can't; it would involve them opening their eyes and realizing that everything they support - taxpayer bailouts, stimulus packages, government-run healthcare - will have the same chilling effect on these industries as NPR had on theirs.

This should be a rallying point for liberals and conservatives to join forces and stop spending taxpayer monies on public radio. But the left's hatred of the right is a more powerful force than the reality of their policies, and so they will continue to indulge their cognitive dissonance, and continue to support an agenda that has already destroyed their only independent voice...

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