/* Am I A Pundit Now?: Air America Plunges From The Sky

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Air America Plunges From The Sky

First, the schadenfreude of Bush beating Kerry, and now the schadenfreude of would-be Limbaugh-killer Air America withering in the ratings. They are not just losing ratings, they are getting pummeled (via the lovely but email-challenged Michelle Malkin). I cannot tell you how much personal satisfaction this gives me. To me it is proof that conservative messages fall on the ears much better than liberal ones. It is also proof that you cannot just plant astroturf and expect it to grow. There are alot of excuses and rationalizations for liberal radio failures - my favorite was Mario Cuomo's statement that "republicans write with crayons, but democrats write with a fine quill pen." Oh yeah, that must be it. The masters of bumper-sticker politics are too 'nuanced' for radio, I suppose. The real reason Air America is failing is, I think, that they put the cart before the horse. Air America was set up as a way to counter the mighty force of conservative talk radio. Air America should have been set up as good radio first, liberal politics second. Radio is always entertainment-driven rather than message-driven. God knows I don't listen to Michael Savage for his intellect (I don't care how many degrees he has, the man is a crackpot), I listen to him because he delivers great radio. He gets pumped up, he gets his guests pumped up. He is funny. He has 'insights' that more often than not are wrong, but they do intrigue. Radio hosting is a high art, and a difficult one. You must manage time well, be glib, not get fired, find interesting guests, and you must be funny. Humorless radio is no fun, and this is where a lot of liberal hosts founder. Mike Malloy used to host an evening show on WLS-AM here in Chicagoland. His show was godawful. His show mostly consisted of insulting republicans in unfunny ways, and getting twisted in odd calls with irate conservative listeners. He never had any Limbaugh-esque zingers because, frankly, the man is not very clever. And Malloy is considered one of the liberal radio 'big guns'. My point is that the failure of Air America does not mean liberal radio cannot work. The libs will just have to keep looking for that person who is a great host first, who happens to believe in their message second. I think they need to stop trying to squeeze people who are famous for other things, like Cuomo and Franken, into the shoebox of 'great radio host'. Such people are born, not made.

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