Air America hopeful of finding buyer within weeks

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NEW YORK -- Air America Radio is talking to several parties about a possible sale and is hopeful of reaching a deal before Thanksgiving, a lawyer for the liberal talk radio network told a bankruptcy hearing Tuesday.

Tracy Klestadt told the court that the privately-held company was in discussions with seven different parties about a sale and was "very hopeful" of reaching a deal by Nov. 22, saying there was a "significant amount of interest."

The network, which went on the air with much fanfare two years ago, filed for bankruptcy protection on Oct. 13 after discussions with one of its creditors reached an impasse.

The network carries programming from the comedian and author Al Franken and liberal talk show host Randi Rhodes. It also syndicates shows from Jerry Springer and Portland, Ore.-based talk show host Thom Hartmann.

Klestadt declined to say who the potential suitors for the company were, and a spokeswoman for Air America also declined to comment.

Klestadt was speaking at a hearing at U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, during which the court approved an agreement for financing for the company through the end of the year.

Air America is continuing to operate with financing from an investor group led by RealNetworks Inc. CEO Robert Glaser, who owns 36.7% of the company, and two other former board members.

Under the agreement finalized Tuesday, the company needs to have a deal in place with a buyer and have filed a motion with the court by Nov. 22 seeking approval of the sale to guarantee that financing continue that date.
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