This morning I got into the April Fool spirit and finally listened to Air America. If I'd been on the ball I would have tuned in earlier for Marc Maron's show Morning Sedition: Maron has been known to be funny in the past, and it's possible that he'll be funny in his new gig. Instead I hear Lizz Winstead, Chuck D, and Rachel Maddow whining about the media—apparently a theme for the new network.
Folks: As of this week, you are the media. I know that the right-wing talk radio hosts like to go on about bias too, but guess what? True believers may love that stuff, but other people think it's boring.
Of course, it's possible that it's the true believers that Air America is aiming to reach. Rush Limbaugh and company helped mobilize a lot of people who already agreed with them, and the results included the Republican sweep of 1994. Air America might hope to do the same thing—though if so, it has the disadvantage of being a centralized national network instead of an eclectic mix of national and grassroots voices. (Indeed, the new network is actually trampling on local radio.) The modern Democratic counterpart to the conservative talk radio of 10 years ago isn't Air America; it's MeetUp, MoveOn, and blogs.
Interestingly, the reaction to Air America among my friends on the left has been at least as negative as the reaction among my friends on the right. One complained that the programs "seemed like a lot of shrill ranting—like liberals trying so hard to sound like right-wing talk show hosts that they adopted all their kneejerk mannerisms as well. It sounded closed-minded. And the same disjointed breaks for commercial fodder…the revolution will not be broadcast here, I'm afraid."
I'll have to listen a while longer before I can sign off on that sentiment, but so far it rings true.
In other liberal radio news, Clear Channel is about to give Jesse Jackson a weekly show. Make of that what you will.