I found out yesterday that Air America Radio will be losing its Atlanta outlet soon. Someone recently bought the station - 1690AM - and will be converting it to some sort of music format, keeping only the Al Franken show for the afternoon drive time.
I'm only a little bit conflicted about this. As I've written before (here), listening to Air America Radio is at best a mild guilty pleasure. Most of the time, it's just annoying.
The other day, I paid a visit to a much-talked-about new-urbanist development in Atlanta, called Atlantic Station; it's on the site of an old Atlantic Steel plant in midtown, just north of Georgia Tech. I got on the shuttle bus for a ride back to the train station, and found that the driver was listening to the Randi Rhodes show - and making everyone else on the bus listen to it as well.
I found that I was embarassed - for the driver, for Randi Rhodes, for myself, and for anyone who claims to be liberal or progressive. It's not that she's wrong, exactly; it's just that she's obnoxious and - to put it mildly - lacking in good critical thinking skills. I could only comfort myself that at least it wasn't Jerry Springer or, heaven forbid, Mike Malloy who was ranting away, at high volume, all the way to Arts Center station.
Liberals and progressives should not think of the (probably temporary) end of Air America Radio in Atlanta as a defeat for our side, but as the removal of one obstacle to reasoned and constructive public discourse in this country.
Of course, the job is much less than half done. The political pornographers of the left have suffered a setback, but the political pornographers of the right are still deeply entrenched in the American media. It's hard to imagine Rush Limbaugh or Fox News losing their outlets in any American city, least of all Atlanta.
But at least we'll be spared the spectacle of left-wing hacks trying to battle right-wing hacks on the same terms, using the same methods.