Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Command and control economic model fails again

Some think that businesses can be created as easily as a government bureaucracy: give it a name and a purpose and adequate funding and after that all is easy. That was the approach used for Air America which is expected to file for bankruptcy on Friday. While it had lots of high level supporters, endless free publicity, and spent lots of cash, it lacks one key element: on-air talent.

The command-and-control theorists figured that all they had to do was put liberals on the air and they would have an audience. But the talk show host's politics are nearly irrelevant: the key issue is whether the host is engaging, entertaining, or informing in a way that the audience likes. By contrast, in the creative chaos of free enterprise, personalities like Rush or Sean Hannity usually start on a single radio station and, only after they prove successful in attracting an audience do other stations join to broadcast them. Regardless of high level political support or big cash infusions, big liberal talk radio networks will succeed only after they first cultivate and develop on-air talent.

UPDATE: As usual RadioEqualizer has more on Air America's status.

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