Friday, April 16, 2004

American Airheads
Air America was off the air in Chicago yesterday (but will be back on today) and remains off in Riverside, California (100 miles east of downtown Los Angeles), thanks to a dispute with the owner of its affiliates in both cities. The station owner claims Air America bounced checks for its affiliate payments, while Air America claims the stations were violating their agreements to air the network.

So the disappearances are due to a good old-fashioned business dispute. They are not the result of some kind of mass revulsion to liberal talk--although go to any right-leaning website and you'll see that claim. It occurs to me that Air America's biggest problem may be that it launched with everybody in the country watching, and half the country wanting it to fail. And it might. But two weeks into its existence is too soon to know for sure. Nothing so unpredictable as a live radio network can ever roll out without encountering problems at first. A safe prediction, however, is that one year from now, Air America will be a lot different than it is today--some hosts will fail and their replacements will succeed, the format (and perhaps the very concept) will be tweaked--and then we'll be better equipped to judge its prospects for long-term survival.

Some people in the radio biz are dreaming that Howard Stern, the newest crusader for free speech and against George W. Bush, might want to join the network. Doubtful. For all his talk about politics, Stern is ultimately a 14-year-old boy obsessed with the human body, not a pundit, and his schtick would alienate many, if not most, of the people Air America wants to attract. Although having him on the same network with Janeane Garofalo would make for an interesting sort of multiculturalism.

Quote of the Day (Dumbass Division): From James Taranto, who writes "Best of the Web" for the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal website, salivating about young Republican Shandi Finnessey of Missouri, the new Miss USA: "It turns out that the pageant's four runners-up were Misses South Carolina, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Tennessee, and the next five finishers, who made it to the swimsuit competition, were from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho and Oregon. That means nine out of 10 of the top beauties come from states George W. Bush carried in 2000; the only exception, Oregon, was very close (Gore by 0.44%). Gore carried four out of 10 states, so this year's Miss USA results suggest that the GOP is by far the more attractive of the two major parties."

Up next for Shandi is the Miss Universe Pageant. It would serve Taranto right if Miss France were to win it.

Fact is, nobody expects beauty pageant winners to be liberals. And physical beauty can only take you so far, anyhow--no matter how attractive your partner is, sooner or later, you're going to have to talk. And I'd rather talk to Janeane Garofalo.

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