Air America Media, the left-leaning radio network with a political mission, told its employees Thursday (Jan. 21) that it had filed for bankruptcy and will shut down operations by Monday Jan. 25 at 9 p.m. In a letter to employees, Charlie Kireker, chair of AAM, blamed the economy.
"With radio industry ad revenues down for 10 consecutive quarters, and reportedly off 21 percent in 2009, signs of improvement have consisted of hoping things will be less bad. And though Internet/new media revenues are projected to grow, our expanding online efforts face the same monetization and profitability challenges in the short term confronting the Web operations of most media companies," Kireker wrote.
Launched in 2004 as Air America Radio with personalities such as Al Franken and Rachel Maddow, AAM's business always seemed marked by turmoil. The company went through a number of ownership and management changes as it struggled to compete in the radio syndication and network radio businesses. At first, the company expected affiliates to clear the entire lineup, a practice that didn't taken on with radio stations.
AAM had 100 affiliates and was distributed on satellite radio.