"The O'Franken Factor" is off the ground and -- well, what? Gasping for Air, America?
Air America, the new radio network that requires listeners to demonstrate ACLU and Democratic Party membership before they are allowed to tune in, started 31 Mar 04 as an early April Fool's "gotcha," with five local stations -- it now is up to nine -- plus satellite radio.
The network lists 12 senior corporate executives to go along with its 16 on-air personalities and eight shows. Arguably the best-known host is comedian Al Franken, whose feud with cable TV ratings leader Bill O'Reilly prompted a joke that seems funny exactly once: He named his show "The O'Franken Factor" and claims it has a "Zero Spin Zone."
Assailing Mount Rush-more
In a similar slam against radio ratings juggernaut Rush Limbaugh, O'Franken -- er, Franken -- promises "drug-free radio." He assails Mount Rush-more by broadcasting during the same time slot.
Although Franken may be running out of original material, the sophomore class appears to be having a field day.
Conservatives claim that newspapers, television news shows, and magazines already display a liberal bias. "The idea [was] to create a 'liberal' radio network -– as if National Public Radio, ABC, NBC, CBS, and the other left-leaning networks were insufficient," says radio host Lowell Ponte, in a commentary on FrontPageMag.com.
One thing is certain: Rush and Hannity and Liddy and Ollie North and Ann Coulter and O'Reilly didn't get this much national media attention combined when they started broadcasting.
Growing to 'small'
In comparison with Limbaugh's audience of 20 million on 600+ radio stations, Air America -- presently using media coverage to try to turn a microscopic radio audience into a tiny one, from which they hope to grow to small -- is a Listener-Free Zone.
It embarrasses us to be contributing to this massive media coverage and commentary, but, just in case the CIA ever files a case for trademark infringement, we wanted it to be on record here first.