Thursday, November 30, 2006

Al Franken Taking A Flyer?

Are the long-standing rumors about Air America Radio host Al Franken leaving his noon-3 slot on the liberal talk network true?

That's what our first thought was, upon hearing the news that Jones Radio/P1 afternoon drive talk host Ed Schultz will move his syndicated program.

Effective December 11th, a week from next Monday, "Big Eddie" will air live in that very same noon-3 (Eastern) slot. The show will still be refed in its current live time slot, 3-6 PM.

P1 president Stu Krane positions the move to the folks at Radio & Records as putting Ed in "prime real estate", radio-wise. It'll also pit Schultz head-to-head with Premiere conservative talk titan Rush Limbaugh, of course.

But AllAccess notes that the move was announced one day before a hearing on Air America Radio's bankruptcy, tomorrow. Would Jones/P1 move Schultz to noon-3 if Al Franken were still in the way?

Either if the former "Saturday Night Live" star is leaving AAR to mount that expected run for the U.S. Senate from Minnesota, or if AAR itself falls apart at the seams after Friday's hearing, it would seem that Jones/P1 has enough commitments from progressive talk outlets to make the move.

We haven't heard yet what local liberal talk outlet WARF/1350 "Radio Free Ohio" plans to do.

The decision could be made academic for them, and for other liberal talk outlets, if Franken is leaving or AAR is folding...take Ed Schultz live at noon, then Randi Rhodes live from 3-6 PM. Randi would finally get her cherished live afternoon drive clearance on many stations which delay her into early evenings in the Eastern United States.

Of course, if AAR is shutting down, that means Randi's affected as well.

If Randi lost her radio syndication home, we're wondering if Jones Radio would pick her show up as part of this move. That would certainly give them a very solid liberal talk block from 6 AM until 6 PM weekdays. As it turns out, Jones would then become the, well, defacto "liberal talk network" that AAR has tried to be all along!

We're just speculating about that last part, here, because we haven't heard any updated word about AAR's financial status. We do know that Franken is about to head out for a U.S.O. tour soon, we believe starting at around the same time - after his December 8th show.

But either way, it appears Ed Schultz - and Jones Radio - is looking to fill a void, and quickly...


Anonymous said...

No great loss! As a person whose politics leans more towards the left of center, I thought that a funny, creative guy like Franken could add some interesting counterpoint to the sea of Rush wannabees. Instead, we got a show that is boring, slow-paced, never funny or witty. Franken comes off mean and it sounds like his tirades are scripted by DNC speechwriters and don't contain an iota of what appears to be independent tought. I do find Schultz a much better radio guy. If he succeeds in his new timeslot it will be because he's entertaining... not because of his politics. (The people at Air America never grasped that concept.)

BizDecision said...

I agree 100% with the post above. Franken's show is slightly more listenable than the former Joe Finan Show.

Ed Schultz is very entertaining.

Pho said...

Question: I know afternoon drivetime is a more desirable slot in radio. Is it different for talk? After all, Rush could have his pick but toils on in 12-3.

Anyway, if drivetime is a better slot, something else may be in the works, like Franken jumping to Jones.

It's probably all just wishful thinking. I'll miss Franken when he goes. His show is far from perfect, but if you get his vibe, its good listening. I frankly didn't get him much on SNL, but I do now.

newsnomore said...

If you think Franken was mean, wait till you hear this Randi Rhodes.

She is just unlistenable.

Ed said...

Al Franken to me is the most creative and insightful of them all. He is not perfect but consistently provides a great show. And he would make an outstanding US Senator.