Wednesday, March 31, 2004

"Pot? Kettle Here. You're Black"
Here's a piece by a right-wing talk show host Lowell Ponte that's funny, but not for the reasons Ponte intended--classic double-standard, straw-man nonsense about why Air America won't work, and why it's intellectually, politically, and financially dishonest. So Air America is bad because it won't offer principled criticism of John Kerry, and because it might try to advance the prospects of the Democratic Party? Why, no broadcast outlet has ever done that kind of thing in the history of the Republic. Surely not Rush, or Fox News. They must not be doing what it looks like while they're down on their knees in front of George W. Bush.

Ponte's column does reveal the identity of the Madisonian helping to bankroll the network--Terry Kelly, who founded the Weather Central network, which provides forecasts to radio and TV stations and newspapers. Another Madison native, David Goodfriend, helped pull the investor group together. So you gotta think the network will get on up here at some point. Right now, stations have to take the entire network feed, and not just individual programs, which is going to limit the network's growth at first. Still, the investors are ready to lose money for at least two years, which is about the depth-of-pockets required to make it with a new broadcast venture.

I've had no luck finding Air America live on the Internet this morning. WLIB in New York is reportedly going to carry the network, but as of 7:30 it was still streaming its Caribbean hits (!) format on its website. Only one of the other stations carrying the network even has a website. (And Air America's own website, once you get past the slick front page, is disturbingly clunky.) The small number of small stations carrying the network's debut is cause for great amusement among conservatives--as if Limbaugh started on 500 stations when he first went on the air.

Recommended reading: I was on the road yesterday, teaching a class at a high school. I noticed the big car parked in the district superintendent's space--and the Bush/Cheney 04 sticker on the bumper. I should find the supe's e-mail address and send him yesterday's Progress Report squib on the latest retooling of No Child Left Behind. It's hard for me to imagine anybody running a school system, particularly a small, rural one, who could look at the wreck that is NCLB and think, "Yep, four more years of that is just what my district needs."

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