Progressive talker Ed Schultz will go head to head with Rush Limbaugh…and with Air America‘s Al Franken.
Schultz makes the announcement here.
This is a business move…This is about us…We’re in business. We sell commercials. And there’s no question the noon to 3 pm eastern time slot is the prime real estate…It’s about the format. ..This program is not a part of Air America . We’re not in debt…We don’t have any judgments against us….And I’m damned proud of that…We’re moving foward. And progressive talk will be better because of this move.
Schultz noted that Air America has in some ways hurt progressive talk because of the way it has been run: “It’s not the way to run a railroad, in my opinion.”
And, indeed: Schultz will offer a strong professive alternative (if radio stations opt for his proposed shift) to Limbaugh and will probably not help Air America but in the long run will likely strengthen the progressive format.
The Raw Story scooped Schultz’s announcement. It noted something we have noted here before in our many posts on Schultz:
The Ed Schultz show is owned by Product First, a company held by former Clear Channel executive Randy Michaels. Product First president Stuart Krane, erstwhile vice president of ABC, was among those who helped pivot Limbaugh onto the national stage.
Schultzâ€™s chief competitor, Air America, has threaded rocky waters since its launch in 2004. Since its inception, the privately owned company has lost more than $40 million, including $13 million this year alone, according to the networkâ€™s bankruptcy filing. Schultzâ€™s show, also privately held, has not disclosed profit figures.
Schultz’s program differs a great deal from Air America programs. He tends to have callers with a wider range of viewpoints. The pace is much faster. And he’ll veer off politics completely to talk about sports and will take issue with the Democrats on some key issues, taking more centrist positions on some issues.
UPDATE: Mediaweek puts Schultz’s position in the radio market and his potential in perspective:
Although Schultz airs on 100 stations to Limbaughâ€™s 600, Schultz has quickly made a name for himself as the leading ratings-getter among the left-leaning Talk personalities.
â€œWith the recent change in the nationâ€™s political climate, Ed Schultz is quickly proving to be the new mainstream,â€? said Amy Bolton, vp and general manager of News/Talk for Jones Radio Networks, which handles distribution and national sales for Schultzâ€™s shows.