NEW YORK: In a move that has arched a number of media eyebrows, the owner of Manhattan real estate investment trust SL Green Realty Corporation is to buy Air America Radio, a liberal-leaning talk radio network in which former US vice-president Al Gore was an initial investor.
Currently languishing under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, AAR has lacked the advertising support and political subsidy enjoyed by its nationally syndicated rightist rivals - where such fevered conservative voices as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity hold court.
SLG founder-chairman Stephen Green stresses that the investment is personal, not corporate: "Because I'm a businessman who enjoys creating and growing companies, I'm purchasing a majority ownership in Air America with the intention of making it a successful business that returns a profit."
Green and AAR ceo Scott Elberg insist that the network's "progressive policy voice" will remain intact under the new ownership. However, its best-known host Al Franken will leave next month, his valedictory broadcast scheduled for February 14.
Says Franken: "I'll miss coming in and working with the best staff in radio, talking with my amazing coterie of guests and, of course, my national audience."
He gave no reason for his departure - although it could be related to the fact that in October when AAR filed for bankruptcy, it owed Franken $360,750 in salary and other benefits.
Which is about as liberal as it gets!
Data sourced from latimes.com; additional content by WARC staff