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More about Nova M Radio...and Drobnys and Malloy.

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 08:53 PM
Original message
More about Nova M Radio...and Drobnys and Malloy.

"Last Updated: 24-October-2006 00:24:04

"Nova M Radio, a Phoenix-based network formed by Air America co-founders Anita and Sheldon Drobny, will make its first broadcast on Oct. 30, said Mike Newcomb, chief executive and chairman of the network.

Shortly before Air America filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, Newcomb said he and the Drobnys made a proposal to take a controlling interest in Air America, but the offer was declined two weeks before the company's reorganization petition was filed.

Newcomb said the new network is a competitor to Air America and that the Drobnys invested in Nova M Radio because they believed in the business model of liberal talk radio and wanted it to continue to grow."

"Joe Trippi, who helped run Howard Dean's Internet-fueled presidential campaign in 2004, also will serve as a media and communications consultant for the network Nova M Radio is leasing and running KPHX-AM in Phoenix and KDXE-AM in Little Rock, Ark., and has commitments from other stations to run its programming. The network also intends to lease or buy other stations, Newcomb said."

I did not realize they were competing with AAR...actually competition might be good for both of them.

I did not realize the Drobnys offered to bail out AAR.


Also Mike Malloy's interview with Creative Loafing.

"Air America was born to give progressive talk a home. Earlier attempts, including one by a union-owned network where Malloy worked, had failed to gain traction. Air America immediately ran into big trouble. Investors and management were replaced and replaced again. Ex-CEO Evan Cohen, a Republican activist, created a scandal by diverting money from a youth club to Air America. The network's star, Al Franken, called Cohen a "crook."

Last spring, Air America lost its full-time Atlanta affiliate (full disclosure: CL hosted a show on that station). Then, in August, the network went from its New York flagship, WLIB, to a lower-power station. Air America is now under the control of Rob Glaser, who founded the RealPlayer software company. Glaser has brought in an odd duo of bosses: CEO Jim Wiggett, who has no broadcasting experience, and CFO Bob Ennis, who previously worked for Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp.

Wiggett concedes severe financial problems, but says, "We're still broadcasting." Ennis says Malloy's suggestion that he's Murdoch's stealth saboteur is a "clever conspiracy story. It shows the depth of Mike's delusion."

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gumby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 09:25 PM
Response to Original message
1. Does anyone know what happened to An-Shell Media?
All I know is that the Drobnys started the network. Then it became Air America Radio and they were not involved. Did they sell? Was it a hostile takeover?

Since AAR started, it seems they've had constant management failure. With so many right-wingers at the top, it's no wonder.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 09:40 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. A little bit about Anshell becoming Progress Media...Cohen..
was the one who sort of sabotaged them, if you saw Left of the Dial.

This is from about the Drobnys and Anshell

"The couple announced their intentions in February 2003 when they formed AnShell Media, and announced their plans for a syndicated radio network. The following December, the Drobnys sold AnShell Media To Evan Cohen and Mark Walsh, and the company was renamed Progress Media, with the network to be called "Central Air" Radio Network, Cohen named as Chairman, and Walsh was named CEO.

In January 2004, Progress Media signed Al Franken and Robert F. Kennedy to host shows, additional signings follow including Janeane Garafolo, Chuck D., and Randi Rhodes. Lizz Winstead joins on the production side.

Finally, on March 31, 2004, the new Air America Radio launched with stations in New York (WLIB), Chicago (WNTD), Los Angeles (KBLA), San Bernadino (KCAA), and Portland (KPOJ), with a staff of about 100 employees. WJNO in West Palm Beach, Florida, the station where Rhodes worked, was listed as an affiliate, as was WMNN in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where a local group leased time to air Franken's show (in addition to The Ed Schultz Show).

Air America was started by a group called Progress Media, which said it had amassed $30 million in venture capital prior to its debut, a claim which later turned out to be untrue (only $6 million was initially collected). Two individuals from Guam, Rex Sorensen and Evan Montvel Cohen, were involved in raising the capital but denied any wrongdoing.<2> Cohen had an unusual background for someone in his position within a progressive radio network since he was a Republican political operative in Guam and former chief of staff for Republican Governor Tommy Tanaka. <1> Cohen dismissed concerns by saying he was a committed "progressive" and that Republicans in Guam "are left of Paul Wellstone."

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LTR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 09:31 PM
Response to Original message
2. More
...Earlier this week, Malloy said, "We're starting out on two stations, but we're already getting requests from affilliates over a wide spectrum, such as Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Madison, Ann Arbor...This is for real," Malloy said. "We're in it for the long haul. We just sat down together and said 'Okay, dammit -- We've had enough of this. We're gonna fight back!'"
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tech3149 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 10:20 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. From my POV both Nova M and AAR need to invest in ownership
AAR got knocked off the air in Atlanta and Phoenix when the stations were bought up. The buyers weren't at all interested in continuing the format, no matter how popular. Other affiliates were lost because station ownership and sales staff did everything in their power to make them losers.

Nova M may stand a better chance because the people on top are truly committed. If they reinvest into station ownership, they can cut the chances of being driven off the air by having the station bought out from under them.
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GregD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 10:01 PM
Response to Original message
4. CEO Jim Wiggett
Interesting... I heard that name the past few weeks and suddenly it rang a bell. Did a search on his name and up comes his photo, and yup, the same guy I worked for 7 years ago when I was at DFS in San Francisco.

I don't have any particular impressions of him that I recall (hell, I have a hard time remembering last week these days), but I still have friends there and have solicited their impressions. I'll share if anything amusing turns up.
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tech3149 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 10:33 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. JEEZUSSS Brian Baloney doesn't sound too biased!
I've gotta send a link to this crap to Randi. I'd love to think she's getting an exorbitant salary but I doubt it. I don't doubt that Franken and Springer get more than they're worth, but when word was spread that Franken didn't get paid, he didn't raise a fuss and stayed on the air.
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gumby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 10:09 PM
Response to Original message
5. Thanks for all the info.
It still seems strange that the Drobnys would start up a radio project, sell it before it was even on the air (i think) and then now start up another one. I have no idea how these things work; it just seems odd.
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Stardust Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 11:24 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. According to Sheldon Drobny:
"I am a minority owner of AAR and I am not on the board of directors. I do run 2 AAR affiliates in Phoenix and Little Rock. However, the AAR board does not seem to want my advice. It is a shame because I could really help. I have lots of experience in business and I understand good talk radio." Sheldon Drobny on Huffington Post, 8/31/06

According to his book, "Road to Air America," (2004) he and his wife, Anita were not invited to the launch gala but as of that writing, she was still on the board.
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