Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Spare America Radio

Yesterday morning, I turned on the XM satellite radio and tuned to Air America. (FWIW, my local Air America affiliate cannot be heard at my house, otherwise I'd support them). What I heard was music to my ears. Gone was the awful Springer on the Radio program which was, and this is difficult to believe, more painful than watching him on Dancing With The Stars. Instead, Air America had put Sam Seder on in that slot in his new program, The Sam Seder Show. It was as if Christmas had come early in the form of a big radio present.

Naturally, I went to Air America's website to check and see if other schedule changes were coming. I knew that the management at the network was too impotent to force any changes to the Al Franken Show, but what other possibilities might lay in waiting for the day? Sadly, I wasn't to be informed as the Air America website, as of yesterday around 8 AM - Pacific time - had not been updated even though the new schedule was in place. Indeed, there was no acknowledgment of schedule changes on the site at all. They even still had links to shows that have been canceled weeks or months ago.

Ugh. Apparently they did get around to updating their site. The schedule page has been updated and corrected to include the new time slots and new shows. However, it's a day late! Do these folks know anything about promotion?!!? How do they seriously expect to sell "premium content" (basically, podcasts of former shows) to the public if they cannot sell their current shows on their website properly? Jesus, my old college station was run better...

To add insult to injury, WFMU's Beware of the Blog reports today that, even though Air America fired Mike Malloy 3 weeks ago, they haven't deleted his password. Malloy posted this blog entry on Air America's website yesterday - read it and giggle:

Hi. Malloy here. It’s Monday, September 18, 2006. Well, it’s been almost three weeks since we were fired by the really, really strange pod-people who have temporarily taken over Air America. Tonight’s program will be hosted by my good friend Peter Werbe. Not sure what he’s talking about tonight, but do tune in. If you’re wondering how we’re writing and posting this mini-blog it’s simply because the airheads in Air America’s executive suites – the pod-people mentioned above – are too, um, stupid to figure out how to handle their own website access. The door’s wide open. So we dashed in just for the hell of it to post this “howdy, how is everyone?”

Frankly, we think the suits are too stupid to stop us so we’ll probably do this every day and also post a longer blog inside the site where we used to. Until they figure out what we’re doing and stop our fun. Bastards. Just mean ol’ right-wing bastard pod-people running our Air America. Well, eventually their bodies will start to react to Earth atmosphere and they’ll have to leave. Meantime, Mike and Kathy here saying, stay tuned!

To rub it in further, Kathy, Malloy's partner in crime, added her own blog posting this morning:
BOO! Just making sure you're awake.
Succinct and not as stinging, but still getting the point across. On his own website, Malloy continues:
Strange things can happen when certain corporate entities fire much of their website editing department without first making sure at least one remaining employee knew how to operate the darned thing. I'm just sayin' . . . . .
Further, Malloy promises to reveal the truth behind Air America and his firing once the financial and legal arrangements have been concluded. Good. I look forward to the report and to hearing what the idiots who run that corporation are doing. They've really screwed their schedule, been clueless about talk radio much of the time, messed with their audience, cannot properly promote themselves, screwed their hosts over, and just generally seem nearly as incompetent as George W. Bush. I know, I know, but they're our incompetent idiots. How tired is that refrain? Progressives deserve better.

When I was attended college, I remember when it came to light that our school's faculty parking lot was accessible to people who knew the codes used on the keypad entry that opened the gates. I was a moderately intelligent student and I assumed that the codes to get in would be at least 5 digits and of random numbers. However, friends pointed out that I had overestimated the security arrangements. The security department would have implemented such a plan as I mentioned, but it was balked at by professors who claimed that to memorize more than 4 digits would be an onerous exercise that their feeble or distracted minds could not possibly entertain. Hence, 4 digit codes were released. Some examples: "1234", "1379", ""2468", and many more. All sorts of obvious keypad patterns were used to make it easier for professors to get into their parking lot. The system worked for the most part because most people did not think to try to get into the lot. However, I ran with a different crowd and we thwarted and thumbed our noses at the "security". Eventually, professors complained at seeing long haired, pot smoking students parking in their lot and then they had to deal with longer, more difficult to remember codes, which they also hated.

Readers might be amused of this tale of college students plotting in a childish way to break into a school lot, just to have a shorter trek to their classrooms. To my mind, it is mildly amusing and a fond memory. But that was college and security in those days was generally a lot dumber than it is today. Website security, though often ignored, is highlighted constantly in the news and should be a top priority for any organization (along with data security, which corporations are just now learning). Such a simple thing as changing the passwords for fired employees is in the website security for dummies manual. It's college stuff which, if ignored, leads to sophomoric pranks (as it should).

Air America, by ignoring these simple things, by it's failure to understand promotion on the web, by demonstrating it's lack of understanding of good talk radio shows, demonstrates how they are more collegiate than professional. I do not blame the hosts of the shows. There are many good shows on the network that are worthy of giving a listen. But those shows are peppered with other less worthy shows which reveals a lack of understanding and vision within Air America's management. That's where problems in radio lie - in their management. The network would do well to throw out the current freshman class and bring in some seasoned professionals at the top positions. Progressives need to let them know that they demand better and not let the network get away with the "but they're our idiots" attitude.

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