Former Saturday Night Live comedian and bestselling political author Al Franken announced on his radio show this morning that struggling Air America has been saved by the New York real estate developer brother of Manhattan politician Mark Green. At the same time, Franken announced that he will be leaving his radio show on February 14th to consider a run for the U.S. Senate seat from Minnesota. In Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings since October, the progressive radio network will be bankrolled by Stephen Green, who is chairman of SL Green Realty Corp, a real estate investment trust specializing in office buildings with a market cap of $12 billion. Franken described him as a multibillionaire. Later, Air America CEO Scott Elberg confirmed the sale, which will be finalized in a week. "This is a great thing, for our affiliates, the company, the audience and every employee in our organization," Elberg told The Huffington Post.
Personally, I'm very disappointed that none of Hollywood's many rich liberals stepped up to the plate individually or collectively to rescue Air America and put it on firm financial footing. This piece I wrote about Air America in 2005 outlines some of its problems back then. But recently, the radio network has had trouble hanging on to its stations in major markets.
Franken's leaving is a big blow to the network since he is its most famous host. But he recently moved his show from New York to Minnesota where the U.S. Senate seat occupied by Republican Norm Coleman has always interested him. he will decide in the next weeks whether to set up an exploratory committee to weigh a run for office. Franken's replacement on Air America will be his friend Thom Hartmann.