In my posts about the state of talk radio (here, here, and here), I’ve concentrated on audiences and trends at stations with noticeable audiences (and yes, at this point, they are predominantly center-right and conservative).
That has meant that I have rarely mentioned Air America, simply because (depending on who you talk to) it needs time to build its audiences and markets from scratch, or it doesn’t have a prayer of ever generating enough of an audience to matter. As a non-expert observer, I’ve chosen to stay in the wait-and-see camp.
But the legal repercussions implied in Brian Maloney’s national breakout blogpost (which Michelle Malkin, the bad guys’ worst nightmare, has also jumped on), about alleged misuse of government grants and alleged unpaid loans to Air America from a New York City Boys and Girls Club that have led to a narrowly-averted financial crisis at the esteemed not-for-profit, makes me wonder if the liberal network will even be around six months from now (note, I’m not predicting, I’m wondering).
Read Brian’s whole jaw-dropping piece and ask yourself:
- How has it stayed almost completely out of the New York papers and shielded from national visibility for the
3-plusfour weeks it has been known?
- How invisible would this have been if some conservative host or radio network had shady transactions like this (excuse me, allegedly shady transactions) that almost ended programs for kids and seniors (again, alleged)?
UPDATE 3, August 1: A blogswarm has ensued in the past four-plus days, with investigators and opinion-staters on the left and right going at it with gusto. In essence, it looks like Air American corporately “reorganized” in a way that gave it the ability, by forming a new company, to leave its obligation to the Gloria Wise Center behind if it wishes, AND if it doesn’t succumb to pressure to do the right thing and repay what it morally (but not necessarily legally) owes. Since my “wonder if it survives another six months” question is out there, let me make a couple of things clear:
- “Wonder” does not mean the same thing as “predict.”
- From experience with moribund enterprises, first as an auditor and then as a consultant (who fortunately never failed to get paid), I can tell you that these outfits, especially ones that pull reorganization and new-entity tricks as Air America appears to have, can survive for many years without giving up the ghost, even though they are for all practical purposes business zombies.
- How long corporate zombiehood can continue will heavily depend on two things:
- – How aggressive regulatory, law enforcement and/or creditors are in looking out for the interests of taxpayers, victims, and their own interests, respectively.
- – How much money any investor groups are willing to throw into the enterprise (or sinkhole, as the case may be), and for how long.
UPDATE 5: The Captain (and others) note that the amounts involved tote up to about $800,000 now, according to today’s New York Sun. Meanwhile, in “totally unrelated” news, a New York Times search (requires registration) on “Air America” (in quotes) as of 10PM on August 1 yields no article more recent than June 15, six weeks before the AAR scandal broke locally.