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Air America Media to Shut Down, Files Chapter 7


Liberal radio network Air America Media, which launched in April, 2004, is ceasing its live programming operations as of Thursday afternoon and will file Chapter 7 bankruptcy to carry out an orderly winding-down of the business. Chairman Charlie Kireker said in a memo that this past year has seen a "perfect storm" in the media industry generally.

"National and local advertising revenues have fallen drastically, causing many media companies nationwide to fold or seek bankruptcy protection. From large to small, recent bankruptcies like Citadel Broadcasting and closures like that of the industry's long-time trade publication Radio and Records have signaled that these are very difficult and rapidly changing times," said Kireker.

He continued, "Those companies that remain are facing audience fragmentation as a result of new media technologies, are often saddled with crushing debt, and have generally found it difficult to obtain operating or investment capital from traditional sources of funding. In this climate, our painstaking search for new investors has come close several times right up into this week, but ultimately fell short of success.

Air America, which currently has some 100 radio outlets nationwide, will begin a "rapid, orderly closure over the next few days." All current employees will be paid through January 21. A severance package will be offered Friday to full-time current employees with more than six months of tenure.

Kireker also said that Air America "will strive to assist affiliates and partners in achieving a smooth transition." Starting at 6pm Thursday, the network will begin airing encore programming.

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