Talk radio liberal allo sbando nell’America di Obama

(Radio Passioni) – E’ forte in queste ore la tentazione di spargere sulle macerie del Partito Democratico veltroniano le ulteriori lacrime del confronto, elettoralmente impietoso per la sinistra italiana, con l’America del presidente Obama. Ma se andiamo oltre le cifre altisonanti del successo elettorale, solleviamo il velo televisivo delle folle che acclamano una svolta attesa dopo i deludenti anni di Bush (mentre qui i delusi semmai rafforzano il deludente), scopriamo che il dibattito politico negli Stati Uniti mostra parecchie aree oscure e contraddittorie. Una di queste è il perenne guado di difficoltà economiche attraversato dai programmi radiofonici di ispirazione democratica e liberal. A fronte di una destra radiofonica sempre più pimpante, ascoltata e danarosa, gli animatori dei talk show progressisti, inclusa la popolare Randi Rhodes, oggi addirittura impossibilitata a mettere in onda il suo programma, sono assolutamente minoritari e non riescono a trovare pace e ascoltatori. Dopo le difficoltà di Air America, network liberal per eccellenza, ceduto, ricomprato e sempre in bilico, ora è la volta di Nova M, finora ultimo rifugio della Rhodes. In questo articolo del Wall Street Journal si racconta che anche Nova M ha dovuto chiedere la procedura fallimentare. Andando sul sito Web dell’organizzazione, si legge della creazione di un nuovo network, On Second Thought ("ripensandoci"), che con tutte le probabilità non porterà ad alcun ripensamento da parte del pubblico. Il cuore della talk radio americana batte a destra, non a sinistra. In ogni caso questa è la pagina degli stream di Nova.
 

Strano destino, quella del giornalismo radiofonico di sinistra, che affonda proprio mentre le ragioni del progressismo trovano a Washington la loro massima affermazione. Intanto, proprio da Washington arriva una parola forse definitiva sul problema della possibile reistituzione della Fairness Doctrine, la par condicio: una legge che imponeva alle stazioni radio l’equal time sui dibattiti politici e che era stata mandata in pensione dall’amministrazione Reagan. Oggi che alcuni parlamentari parlano di ripristinarla, la talk radio conservatrice sta erigendo le sue barricate. Ma ieri, un portavoce presidenziale, Ben LaBolt, ha reso noto a FoxNews (altro baluardo del giornalismo schierato a destra), che il presidente Obama non pensa affatto che sia il caso di rispolverare la par condicio. Dopo tutto Obama è un giurista esperto, un teorico, e sa che una legge di questo tipo, oltre a incorrere in possibili conflitti costituzionali, peserebbe negativamente sulla percezione della sua politica.

Liberal Nova M Radio Files for Liquidation
By SARAH MCBRIDE

Nova M Radio Inc., a competitor to troubled radio network Air America, is filing for bankruptcy liquidation, according to the company’s co-founder, amid mounting disarray in the small world of liberal talk radio.
Anita and Sheldon Drobny, a married couple from Chicago, founded Nova M in 2006 and have been funding the business partly out of their own pockets. Compounding their troubles: Nova M’s highest-profile host, Randi Rhodes, vanished from the airwaves earlier this month. Mrs. Drobny also said that her husband is currently hospitalized for problems stemming from the stress of dealing with the network, which has 34 affiliates.
Nova M hired Ms. Rhodes last year after she fell out with Air America, which is now run by Pendulum Media LLC. A person familiar with the matter says that Nova M was supposed to have promised to cover certain legal costs for Ms. Rhodes, who some herald as the liberal answer to Rush Limbaugh. But she quit after discovering that her employment contract didn’t offer such indemnification.
A message on Ms. Rhodes’s Web site blames her disappearance on Nova M’s failure to correct an unspecified problem and says she is seeking a new home for her show. Ms. Rhodes’s lawyer, Robert Gaulin, blamed "technical problems." Anita Drobny says she can’t discuss the terms of Ms. Rhodes’s contract.
Stations that aired Ms. Rhodes are left scrambling. KKGN "Green 960" in San Francisco has found a replacement. But programming director John Scott fumed in a posting on the station’s Web site that while conservative radio is organized, liberal radio is plagued by "drama, inconsistency, miscommunication, ego and a trail of wreckage."
Ms. Rhodes has been replaced on station WJNO in West Palm Beach, Fla., by conservative talk host Sean Hannity.
Ms. Rhodes left Air America last year after she made inflammatory comments about Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton during a stand-up comedy performance. Although Air America has found new financial backers, it doesn’t have the high profile its founders had hoped for. The Drobnys, who helped get Air America off the ground, are no longer involved with that company.
Nova M’s other host, Mike Malloy, is switching to another would-be Air America competitor: Phoenix-based start-up On Second Thought Radio Network LLC. The backer of On Second Thought, Dr. Mike Newcomb, who was involved with Nova M until last year, describes his new network as "talk radio for independent minds." He plans to use former Nova M station KNUV in Phoenix as his company’s flagship.
Ms. Drobny says she and her husband had poured their own money into Nova M, but the business became unsustainable last fall. As advertising revenue plummeted, so did the Drobnys’ personal portfolio, making it impossible for them to keep supporting the company. Toward the end, Nova M lost $100,000 a month. The financial stresses eventually affected her husband’s health, she says, leading to the breakdown that landed him in the hospital.
"There were so many wealthy progressives out there that could have made [progressive radio] happen," she said, but they didn’t want to help. "It ended up being on Sheldon’s shoulders."

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Obama Nixes Fairness Doctine Revival
By Anne E. Kornblut

President Obama does not support reviving the so-called Fairness doctrine, an aide said on Wednesday, knocking down speculation that Obama was open to reinstating the rule requiring broadcasters to air alternate perspectives on controversial issues.
Some administration officials had made non-committal remarks about the policy. But Ben LaBolt, a White House spokesman, said Obama "does not support the Fairness Doctrine," and never had. He pointed to comments from a spokesman during the 2008 campaign to that effect, saying Obama was now "reaffirming" his opposition to the abandoned rule.
Conservatives fiercely oppose the doctrine, and have threatened to cut off funding to the Federal Communications Commission if it tries to impose editorial limits on broadcasters, as some Democrats have occasionally urged.

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