Air America declared bankruptcy today and will immediately cease its broadcasts of progressive talk radio. That necessitates schedule-shuffling at Clear Channel Madison's The Mic 92.1 FM, which broadcast several programs syndicated through Air America. But according to operations director Mike Ferris, the station will continue its progressive-talk format without dramatic changes.
"Most of our syndicated programming doesn't come from Air America, but from Dial Global," Ferris says. "That includes shows by Bill Press, Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Randi Rhodes and Thom Hartmann."
Ferris says The Mic will have to replace the Rachel Maddow and Ron Reagan shows, though Reagan could possibly put together a deal with another syndicator.
The locally based talk shows by Stuart Levitan, Matt Rothschild and others will continue.
The Mic was one of the country's first progressive radio stations, beginning the same year as Air America in 2004. The station was affiliated with Air America from the start, but always ran programming from other sources as well.
Ferris attributes Air America's problems to the tough economy, as well as a rotating cast of hosts, some of whom parted on hostile terms.
The Mic is doing well from a ratings perspective, Ferris says; less so from a revenue perspective. In that respect, the station faces the same challenging environment as other media. Ferris gets complaints from listeners about running sports on weekends, but he says it brings in money that helps keep the progressive talk shows on the air.
"I still believe progressive talk is relatively healthy," he says. "There's just a little bit less of it today, and that's sad."