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 V.13 No.39 | September 23 - 29, 2004 

Thin Line

Air America Radio in Albuquerque. I'm not sure what this means, or if it's even true, but I'm going to say it, and you can digest it in whatever forlorn capacity you wish. Albuquerque is a talk radio kind of town. Aaagghhh! There, I said it.

From the local half-wit variety of Larry Ahrens to America's favorite drug addict Rush Limbaugh, right-wingers have pulled respectable ratings and handsome ad revenues in the Duke City for years, and for that these guys deserve a long overdue lifetime Viagra prescription.

But what about the liberals? Well, today is finally your day, you feckless whiners. Because Air America Radio ( is now on in Albuquerque 24-7. Turn the dial to 1350 AM, if you don't believe me. And to really make you feel good about yourselves, the station is owned by your very dear friends at Clear Channel. And if you don't tune in, well, there's no doubt, you really are the unAmerican wussies the erectile dysfunction crowd says you are. (“Thin Line”'s looking at you, Bob Dole.)

To add some sugar to the pie, the funny guy during morning drive-time hours is Albuquerque's very own Marc Maron. That's right, Maron, the comedian-pundit on Air America's "Morning Sedition" (6-9 am, weekdays) grew up in the North Valley, got kicked out of Sandia Prep "for being a smart ass," then graduated from Highland High School, before moving to the East Coast, where he's now a regular on “Conan O'Brien” and Comedy Central.

The political talk comes from the likes of Steve Earle, Public Enemy's Chuck D (don't get him started on the dumbassification of America) and Al Franken ("The only thing Bush wants to clear the skies of is birds") and a daily list of formidable guests.

It's the ad revenues, stupid. Chuck Hammond, Clear Channel's Vice President in charge of the Albuquerque market said the company considered a number of factors before launching Air America, including a market with successful public radio and TV stations, a university presence and studies that showed local liberals were listening to right-wing talk radio. Hammond said Air America stations were doing well in ratings and advertising revenue for Clear Channel in Portland and San Diego, so the company launched two more Air America affiliates in Madison, Wis. and Denver last month, as well. Clear Channel also plans to launch Air America in three more cities in the near future, Hammond said.

But wait. Isn't Clear Channel supposed to be a Bush administration boot-licker? Didn't a company executive help Dubya get rich on that Texas Rangers deal and didn't they get all weird when the Dixie Chicks called Bush an embarrassment? Well, when it comes to money and politics, in the corporate media biosphere, it's clear which one wins out.

"I got calls from the press and listeners saying how did Clear Channel approve that," said Hammond. "They don't approve format, they approve cash flow."

So tune in and see what you think. Meantime, thank your friends at Clear Channel for the opportunity.

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