Air America to shut down

Ends live programming, eyes Chapter 7

NEW YORK -- Liberal talk radio network Air America Media seems it is shutting down for good. It is ending its live programming as of Thursday, and the company plans to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy shortly.

Charlie Kireker, chairman of Air America Media, made the announcement in a memo to staff on Thursday. The firm's Web site then also carried his statement.

Air America launched in April 2004 with such personalities as Al Franken.

It had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2006 amid an increasing debt load, but Green Family Media, a vehicle for New York real estate investor Stephen Green and his brother Mark, acquired the firm in 2007 for $4.25 million.

While companies can refinance or be sold in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, Chapter 7 amounts to a liquidation.

"The very difficult economic environment has had a significant impact on Air America's business," Kireker said. "This past year has seen a "perfect storm" in the media industry generally."

He highlighted that national and local advertising revenues have "fallen drastically, causing many media companies nationwide to fold or seek bankruptcy protection."

Kireker particularly highlighted the radio industry's struggle. "(With) 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," he said. "And though Internet/new media revenues are projected to grow, our expanding online efforts face the same monetization and profitability challenges in the short term confronting the Web operations of most media companies."

Air America repeatedly failed to draw new investors even though it came close several times until the end, according to the chair.

Starting at 6 p.m. ET Thursday, Air America is airing encore programming until 9 p.m. ET on Monday.
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