Radio AM to FM: May 28, 2004
Problems continue to plague Air America, the upstart liberal talk network that has seen major growing pains since its launch in March. First, it lost its Los Angeles and Chicago affiliates, never found one for San Francisco, and has had a revolving management door which culminated in the exits of the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Head of Programming, and Chief Executive.
Then the company shuttered its L. A., Chicago and San Francisco sales offices, laying off about 20 people, and has had trouble meeting its payroll on at least one occasion.
Considering all that with the fact that network star Al Franken's show is more torture to the ears rather than entertainment -- no matter what your political persuasion -- perhaps the name of the network should be changed slightly to Err America.
In any event, the news isn't all bad. According to airamericaradio.com, the network will be available on 20 stations really soon, as well as XM and Sirius Satellite Radio. Of course that list of 20 includes KBAC/Boulder Colorado, a station that doesn't actually exist. Other stations, such as KCAA/Riverside run only selected shows, in this case Franken and Randi Rhodes on tape delay so that they don't have to move G. Gordon Liddy and Don Imus.
But investors Mike Papantonio, Sheldon Drobny and Rob Glaser have committed to investing more of their own money to keep the venture afloat, and the company has set a goal of raising $8 million to help pay off debts. Says Papantonio, in an interview with Reuters, "This venture is not dead and its not going to die."
If you want to be part of it, the group now sells official Air America thongs, among other products. Check them out at the Air America web site.
Where Is: Geoff Edwards?
He began his radio career at WOKO/Albany in the 1950s, where, according to Don Barrett's L. A. Radio People, the station manager suggested he consider another line of work since he did not have a radio voice.
Edwards ignored him, eventually moving to the West Coast. 1964 brought him to Los Angeles for a short stint at KHJ; short because KHJ was just about to drop "Middle of the Road" (MOR) programming in favor of top-40 "Boss Radio," and his position of Operations Director would soon be transferred to someone new.
In 1966 he moved to KFI; in 1968 it was up the dial to KMPC, where he spent eleven years playing MOR tunes -- and a bit of pop -- until the station tried talk in 1979.
Television had him exclusively for almost a decade before he returned to the local airwaves via KFI in 1987, where he stayed until 1989 when he was replaced by a little unknown syndicated talk host, Rush Limbaugh.
His television credits include numerous entertainment and game shows including The Bobby Darin Show, Jackpot!, Treasure Hunt, and the Big Spin show for the California Lottery.
Edwards currently lives in Los Angeles, loves to travel, broadcasts a weekly travel report on KION/Salinas-Monterey, and writes for several magazines.
Copyright © 2004 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.
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