Air America Finds White Knight

But Loses Talk-Show Host Al Franken

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Air America is close to finalizing a sale with a New York real-estate company that would put an end to its months of bankruptcy endangerment. But the deal comes as its most notable personality, Al Franken, bows out.
Al Franken
Al Franken

The liberal-talk-radio company, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last October, today signed a letter of intent to sell itself to SLG Radio LLC, owned by SL Green Realty Corp. founder Stephen L. Green.

"We are extremely pleased to have reached this agreement with Mr. Green, which will solidify Air America's future," Air America CEO Scott Elberg said in a statement. "When you combine Steve Green's business skills and successes -- with his brother Mark Green's history as a respected progressive policy voice, including as a frequent guest and host on our network -- Air America will be in the best hands to sustain our powerful radio voice, expand our reach and broaden the audience."

'Beyond radio'
In a separate statement, Mr. Green said his intentions for Air America are threefold: to restore its finances, secure top-shelf talent and quality content, and "extend this special brand by partnering with other platforms beyond radio to make sure that Air America's content reaches the wide audience it deserves."

While the struggling radio network gains much-needed funding, it will lose its biggest anchor, Al Franken, on Feb. 14. The Portland, Ore.-based personality Thom Hartmann and his "Thom Hartmann Program" will take over Mr. Franken's 12 p.m.-3 p.m. timeslot on Feb. 15.

"I'll miss coming in and working with the best staff in radio; talking with my amazing coterie of guests; and, of course, my national audience," Mr. Franken said. "But they'll be in good hands with Thom Hartmann, a great progressive and a terrific host. And the network will be in good hands with the Green brothers: Mark, my friend for years and a committed liberal who understands the mission of Air America as well as anyone, and his brother Steve, who is very wealthy."
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