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Airwaves: April 18, 2008

Rhodes; AA Radio Part Ways

Air America's Randi Rhodes was suspended from her position at the liberal talk radio network two weeks ago due to comments she made regarding Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro at an event sponsored by Air America affiliate KKGN/San Francisco back on March 22.

The comments were not made on the air, but instead were said to an audience as part of a speaking appearance. In her speech to an enthusiastic crowd -- more of a politically-oriented standup comedy routine than serious dialog -- Rhodes called Ferraro and Clinton "whores."

In suspending Rhodes, Air America chairman Charlie Kireker issued a statement that said in part, "Air America encourages strong public opinions about public figures but does not condone such abusive language by our hosts."

But Rhodes had a trick up her sleeve. Rather than just take the suspension and get on with it, she resigned from Air America and signed up with Nova M Radio Network for a new syndication deal. Some Air America affiliates have already expressed interest in carrying the new program outside of Air America. Others have already signed her up, including local affiliate KTLK (1150 AM), which airs her show weekdays from noon to 3 PM.

Is Air America crying? Doubtful. For while she was a big name on the network, her influence in the industry is considered by many to be waning. Indeed, Talkers Magazine ranked her a mere 40th on its list of "The 2008 Heavy Hundred," a listing of the 100 most influential talk hosts. Her ranking last year? Thirteenth.

It may just be this fading influence, along with a relatively large salary, that doomed Rhodes more than her comments. It certainly isn't the first time Rhodes has made such comments, though this is the first against her own side. Why did it take two weeks for Air America to suspend her if AA management really did feel that strongly? Or was it just an excuse to get her off the roster? Rhodes, for her part, claims the suspension was a breach of contract.

On the Move

With Bonneville back in Los Angeles with the purchase of KRBV (100.3 FM The Sound), rumor has it that they are in talks with Emmis to possibly purchase Emmis' KMVN (Movin' 93.9 FM) or even the entire chain.

"Categorically untrue," Emmis President Rick Cummings told industry website regarding the former. As to the latter, he said that rumor was "completely baseless."

Which probably means there is some hint of truth ...

Suits Gets Partner

Bryan Suits has picked up a new partner for his evening (7 to 10 PM) show on KFI (640 AM). Former MTV personality Kennedy.

Lisa Kennedy Montgomery -- Kennedy is her stage name -- is a good friend of Suits and has been hosting a weekend show Sunday afternoons from 3 to 5 PM, which will continue to air in its current time slot. She has a bachelor's degree in Philosophy from UCLA (2005), and can be seen regularly on cable television's Fox News Channel where she debates pop culture and political issues on Fox & Friends.


Copyright © 2008 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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