OH NO: Air America Files Bankruptcy: Ceases Programming Today

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Below, see a letter distributed to Staff… We are sorry to see them go….Kev

From: Charlie Kireker
Date: January 21, 2010 4:36:59 PM EST
To: All
Subject: Air America Operations

It is with the greatest regret, on behalf of our Board,  that we must  announce that Air America  Media  is ceasing its  live programming  operations as of this afternoon,
and that  the Company will file soon  under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code to carry out an orderly winding-down of the business.

The  very  difficult economic environment  has had a  significant impact on Air America’s business. This past year has seen a “perfect  storm” in the media industry generally. National and local advertising  revenues have fallen drastically, causing many media companies  nationwide to fold or seek bankruptcy protection.  From large to small, recent bankruptcies like Citadel Broadcasting and closures like that of the industry’s long-time trade publication Radio and Records have signaled that these are very difficult and rapidly changing times.

Those companies  that remain  are facing audience fragmentation as a result of new media  technologies, are often  saddled  with crushing debt,  and have generally  found it difficult to obtain operating or investment capital from  traditional sources of funding.   In this climate, our painstaking search for new investors has come close several times right  up into this week,  but ultimately  fell short of success.

With radio industry ad revenues  down for 10 consecutive quarters, and  reportedly off 21% 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  expand ing online efforts face the same monetization and profitability challenges in the short term confronting the Web operations of most media companies.

When Air America Radio  launched in April, 2004 with already-known  personalities like Al Franken and then-unknown future stars like Rachel  Maddow, it was the only full-time  progressive voice in the mainstream  broadcast media world. At a critical time in our nation’s history —  when dissent on issues such as the Iraq war were often denounced as  “un-American””” Air America and its talented team helped millions of  Americans remember the importance of compelling  discussion about the  most pivotal events and decisions of our generation.

Through some 100  radio outlets nationwide, Air America helped build a  new sense of purpose and determination among American progressives.  With this revival, the progressive movement  made major gains  in the 2006 mid-term elections and , more  recently, in the election of President Barack Obama and a strongly  Democratic Congress.

Laws have changed for the better  thanks to this revival…..but all the same  our company  cannot escape the laws of  economics. So we intend a rapid, orderly closure over the next few  days.  All current  employees  will be  paid through today,  January 21. A severance package will be offered  tomorrow  to  full-time current employees with more than six months of tenure.

We will strive to assist affiliates and partners in  achieving a  smooth  transition.  Starting at 6  pm EST  today,  we will  provide our  affiliates, listeners and users a selection  of  encore programming  until  9 pm EST on  Monday, January  25, at which time Air America  programming will end.

We are proud that Air America’s mission lives on through the words and  actions of so many former radio hosts who are active today in  progressive causes and media nationwide. In the years ahead, as we  look back, we should all be proud of our passionate determination to  assure that our nation’s progressive voice would be heard loud and  clear. Through the hard work and dedication of current staff, and  those who preceded you, a lasting legacy was forged which will now  continue through other voices and venues.

Thank you.

Charlie Kireker

Chair, Air America Media