Air America Radio
Air America Radio was founded in 2004 by Sheldon and Anita Drobny as a far-left radio network. It was a commercial failure, losing money from its inception and failing to attract listener numbers comparable to popular conservative or moderate liberal talk show hosts. Air America began bouncing its employees' payroll checks shortly after taking to the airwaves. Bankruptcy was necessary due to the inability to attract advertisers, ratings below what was expected, declining interest in program content, and poor management. The misuse of investors' funds, and the ill-treatment of workers remains controversial. Nearly one million dollars of Air America's funds were improperly obtained from a federally-funded charity for children. Two executives at that charity were indicted over the matter.
Air America operated at a loss, smearing President George W. Bush and conservatives in general.
Some of the more familiar hosts included old leftist stand-bys such as Al Franken, Janeane Garofalo, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., rapper Chuck D, conspiracy theorist Rachel Maddow and the sexist and bigotted commentary of MSNBC host Ed Schultz.
In 2005, the secret service investigated Air America after host Randi Rhodes broadcast a warning message to President Bush followed by gunshots. Rhodes was suspended or fired in 2008 for insulting Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro.