KEEPING TALK RADIO PRO-ISRAEL
Three years after Air America first came on the air, intended to be a leftist voice in the mostly conservative world of talk radio only to go bankrupt as ratings sank, it has been newly “relaunched” under former Democratic politician Mark Green on 64 stations (1600 AM, WWRL in New York).
Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers magazine, the leading industry publication for talk radio, told the Cybercast News Service that Air America Radio is “heading in the right direction … You have to look at Air America in context. Too many people have said, ‘Look, it’s liberal. It failed,’ as if that’s why. The fact that they’re liberal or progressive is irrelevant to me. It has to do with talent and a good business plan.”
But whether talk radio, be it left or right, is fair to Israel, is, in fact, very important to Harrison. For the past five years, Harrison and his publication have been shepherding more than 50 talk show hosts to Israel in conjunction with America’s Voices for Israel (AVI), a group founded and presided over by Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Harrison, a member of AVI’s board of directors, recently devoted an entire glossy front page of Talkers to these Israel trips. And on one trip, several weeks ago, conducted in conjunction with United Jewish Communities, among the radio personalities traveling with Harrison was Lionel, the uni-monikered host newly hired as Air America’s 9 a.m. mid-morning slot.