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When does Air Europe start ?

by oldfrog Wed Mar 7th, 2007 at 07:54:18 PM EST


Mark Green

  Today my family formally purchased and took over Air America Radio. Why? Because if progressive values were a stock, now is the time to buy.

  This hasn't always been true, as the cycle of politics demonstrates. In recent decades, politics seems to have been governed by physics for every action, there's an opposite and equal reaction. William F. Buckley Jr. started The National Review in the 1950s to rebut what he saw as the dominance of liberalism in the academy and opinion journals like The Nation and The New Republic. From 1970-72, Public Citizen, Common Cause and the NRDC were all created in reaction to Nixon's depredations. Similarly, People For the American Way grew out of the rise of the Religious Right under Reagan in the mid-80s.

  New progressive think tanks over the past 10 years, most recently and prominently the Center for American Progress, were created to counter AEI and Heritage. And of course, the Huffington Post and Air America were born in reaction to the electronic propaganda of Drudge and Limbaugh et. al.

  Air America was a large, smart idea to counter the near-monopoly on talk radio by the far (f)right. But like most start-ups, the business plan collided with reality. Six CEOs over its first three years and various missteps and misspending sent it into Chapter 11.

  It's now ready to go from The Perils of Pauline to The Little Engine that Could. How? First, by focusing on the radio fundamentals of making a strong line-up even stronger; second, by connecting to other major progressive organizations to be mutually fortifying; and third, by being a multi-media content company involving other information platforms mobile, video, broadband, blogs, websites. It's time to think outside the (radio) box.

  The twin goals are to make it profitable and influential. One without the other won't work. If it's not a business, it'll go out of business.

  But it'll be a business with a sharp point of view. The era of on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand liberalism is over -- or as Robert Frost once wrote, "a liberal man is too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel." For all those who worry about messianic misleaders governing on a right wing and a prayer, Air America 2.0 will be an answer. For all those fearful of plutocracy and theocracy, the pro-democracy hosts of AAR's programs are the answer. If the conservative media continue to spout propaganda and call it news, we are the alternative of truth, justice and the Air American way.

  It's no longer enough just to hope that The New York Times will cover a rally or press release. The relatively new combination of The Huffington Post, Alternet, MoveOn, Center for American Progress and Campaign for America's Future, The Nation and The American Prospect, DailyKos and Talking Points Memo and so many labor unions means that Air America will be part of a larger progressive infrastructure heard by a widening audience. For if we can't now grow and prosper as Democrats -- given the 110th Congress, given the unmitigated disaster that's Iraq, given a slew of top-quality presidential aspirants -- when will we?

  So Air America will aggressively cover national politics and policies in ways that will be informative, opinionated and entertaining. All three. We'll be full of news and views. Two views especially. First, America should stop attacking Muslim countries in ways that multiply terrorism. Second, instead of only talking about exporting democracy, Washington should begin practicing it here at home, for example by making sure elections aren't auctions, which means the public funding of public elections.

  Speaking personally, my brother and I are excited by this important challenge and look forward to working with the Air America professionals in front of the mic and behind it who have held this dream together. Steve Green has been a very successful businessman accustomed to making money -- and he doesn't intend for AAR to be an exception. I've been an author, public interest lawyer and the NYC Public Advocate; for me this feels like a continuation of so much I've done for the progressive movement over three decades. Air America is like a public advocate for the country, exposing problems and offering solutions.

So we're both optimists in the spirit of Walt Whitman, who wrote that "America is always becoming." Well, Air America too is always becoming.

  But that requires a conversation called democracy. In the spirit that dialogue beats monologue, I am today contacting the New Hampshire Republican Party and the New York Post editorial page. Since the Democratic Party of Nevada actually invited Fox News to host that state's Democratic debate, I asked if Air America could host the first Republican debate in New Hampshire, assuring them that we too can be fair and balanced.

  And to Bob McManus, editorial page editor of The New York Post, I proposed that he come on Air America to discuss his views and that Air America commentators would in turn once-a-month write an op-ed on his pages, because it's better to exchange ideas than insults. His 720,000 readers should hear from us and our 2 million+ audience should hear from him.

  We have many fresh ideas for programming, for technology, for partnerships with sister organizations. But it's this conversation called democracy that's the cornerstone of Air America 2.0. We intend to listen to our listeners; to increase our listeners ; and hope they will join our journey to a better network, better programming, and a better country. To tell them that it's your America, and your Air America.

Originally Released on The Huffington Post (March 6, 2007)

OK. Next question: when does Air Europe start ? As an internet streaming radio first... Radio is an underestimated media. It has plenty of advantages, can be heard anywhere with very simple devices, is easily interactive. And EuroTrib would be one the perfect blogs for such a radio.

If I win the Euro Loto, I start it tomorrow... Imagine the impact of such and independent media. And of course it hasn't to be formally located in France. Isn't Luxembourg a good place ?

2 languages should be sufficient for a start : English and French, then adding Spanish and German as soon as possible...

any takers ?

I'd tune in to a political talk radio station with a pro-European perspective. How would you get it profitable, though?
Sure, just about anyone could start their own online streaming radio from their kitchen at almost no cost at all, but if you want to reach a wider audience you'll need to have infrastructure and resources. Internet ad revenue might not be enough to cover the bandwidth costs etc.

(On a related note: how popular is talk radio in Europe anyway? Anyone have any stats on that? It seems to me most radio stations follow the same basic pattern: three minute song - mindless chatter - three minute song - mindless chatter - three minute song - mindless chatter...lather, rinse, repeat. Then again, if talk radio isn't particularly prevalent, it might a good potential market to tap into)

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 05:04:46 AM EST
Oh, man, toxic talk radio (and TV) is extremely popular in Spain.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 05:06:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's interesting. Are we talking toxic of the Rush Limbaugh/Michael Savage variety here?

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 05:23:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, yes. See here, here, here, here, here.

It was said recently that the Northern Ireland peace process wouldn't have lasted one day in the climate created by Spanish talk shows (radio and TV, left, right and centre).

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 06:00:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nuf said.

a pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 02:02:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the problems is that toxic is popular. Everywhere.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 07:39:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That´s why "reasoned", or untoxic is a wide open market.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 03:28:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and out of a reasonably left-wing perspective. I'm not interested in hearing that it's in my rational self-interest to work 70 hours a week till I'm 85 at considerably lower pay and without any employment protection whatsoever and a health care plan that only covers embalming fluid.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 09:53:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would tune in and support it.  Could you write some more about infrastructure, resources and bandwidth costs?  Just to get an idea of what it would take to be heard in the European airwaves and/or on the net.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 03:25:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wha, me? I have no expertise in the online streaming radio, but I guess I could ballpark it (someone with more experience in the field please tell me whether my numbers check out):

  • An online radio stream for primarily talk should be, let's say 32kbps. If you want be able to allow for, say, 20.000 simultaneous listeners, you'd need to be able to send 640 Mbps, that is 80 MiB/s, for the streaming alone.
  • If you wish to keep an archive of previously aired programming for, let's say a year, and assuming you're producing programming for 12h/day, you're going to need server space for 32/8*12*60*60*365 = 60 GiB. No biggie.
  • Assuming you're sending 80Mib/s 24/7 (the worst-case scenario), you'd be looking at sending 80*60*60*24*31 = 209 250 GiB/month = 204 TiB/month. Okay, that sounds high. Someone check me on that.

How much all that would cost I don't know. A lot.

So, what you'd need to pay for (at least):

  • Dedicated servers and bandwidth for streaming, and for the rest of the station's website
  • On-air talent and off-air tech people and other personnel. Let's say 10 persons, but then they'd better be dedicated as hell. And at least two of them will have heart attacks within a year from the work load.
  • Studio and equipment and office locales
  • Marketing?

To get onto the European airwaves I don't know, going for satellite / digital cable networks would probably be the best way to reach a wider audience fast and (comparatively) cheap, rather than FM radio.

But again, I'm probably pulling stuff out of my keister in this comment, and I've only had one cup of coffee so far today, so I'm practically sleep-writing here. This is just my best guess. Take it for what it's worth.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Fri Mar 9th, 2007 at 04:58:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Little Engine that Could

That's us! (see here)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 07:47:24 AM EST
I love Arianna as much as the next liberal Democrat, -- her site is fantastic -- but I hardly think the Huffington Post deserves to be mentioned so prominently above the online juggernauts like Daily Kos, Atrios and MyDD.  Sure, it's got more insider journalists, but it doesn't appear to me to have anything resembling the same level of power.

The strength of radio -- and, to a lesser extent, television like Faux News -- lies in coordination with regard to the message.  So, in that way, it could certainly do the Democratic leadership a lot of good, as they are (with the one exception being the "Culture of Corruption" talking point) wholly incompetent when it comes to getting their message out.  But that's about it, and I think we're fighting the GOP on a medium that is relatively unimportant when compared with the internet and television.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 10:51:36 AM EST
I fail to see what blogging adds to insider journalists or what insider journalists add to blogging, to be honest.

Ariana was entertaining to listen to during the California Gubernatorial Recall election, but that's about it. I don't know why all the fuss about the Puffington Host.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 11:18:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're a furrener.  You wouldn't understand.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 01:37:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i never heard AA, but i'd tune in to an AE.

perhaps surprisingly, a lot of italian radio is remarkably good, and quite lefty sometimes.

not shrill at all; good, deep interviews, with a musical 5 min pause every 10 mins or so.

which tends to cool rhetoric...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Mar 8th, 2007 at 05:44:38 PM EST

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