Rachel Maddow

Radio audiences give loud ‘no’ to progressive politics.

Air America, the long-floundering avowedly left-wing alternative to talk radio dominated by the political right, abruptly halted live programming yesterday, and its chairman announced that the company would file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The network unexpectedly began playing reruns of old shows last evening and will shut down altogether on Sunday.

Air America, which featured inflammatory personalities such as Rachel Maddow and Al Franken in an attempt to emulate what its backers thought to be the secret behind the success of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and other conservative talk show hosts, never achieved anything approaching an audience big enough to sustain the operation.

“It would be a shame if the world sees the failure of Air America as representing the failure of progressive talk radio,” said Michael Harrison, the editor of Talkers Magazine, a talk radio publication, according to the NY Times story on the network’s abrupt shutdown.

“The failure of progressive talk radio” is exactly what this is, however, as Air America was indeed progressive talk radio and it failed spectacularly after trying numerous different commercial approaches while sustaining the politically progressive content.

This failure should be a lesson to politicians who think dressing up progressivism in cute slogans and clever advertising will disguise its fundamental unattractiveness to the great majority of the U.S. voting population. The hoi polloi have voted with their radio dials, and the outcome is a landslide: a big ‘no’ to progressivism.