Friday, February 20, 2009

Thom Hartman Up, Randi Rhodes and NovaM Down (Updated w/Info From Talkers Mag)

Via The POJ:

Nova M Radio Inc., a competitor to troubled radio network Air America, is filing for bankruptcy liquidation, according to the company's co-founder, amid mounting disarray in the small world of liberal talk radio.

Anita and Sheldon Drobny, a married couple from Chicago, founded Nova M in 2006 and have been funding the business partly out of their own pockets. Compounding their troubles: Nova M's highest-profile host, Randi Rhodes, vanished from the airwaves earlier this month. Mrs. Drobny also said that her husband is currently hospitalized for problems stemming from the stress of dealing with the network, which has 34 affiliates.

The above, from the WSJ via The POJ, has schadenfreude all over it, no?

Air America has been "troubled" and "beleagured" for over 5 years now.

But it's true; stick a fork in NovaM; it's done, although I thought that Mike Malloy has always been a more valuable talent (and I'm a Randi fan, too). Perforce, the "On Second Thought" radio net.

But, on the upside, it appears to be the year of Thom: On the just-released Talkers Magazine's Heavy Hundred, Portland's own Thom Hartmann is #10!

This Just In To The Newsroom: Talkers magazine throws a little more light on the subject:

Randi Rhodes Is On Her Own and Nova M Files for Bankruptcy. It comes to light now that the sticking point between Randi Rhodes and Nova M was her belief that her contract included helping her with legal costs which it did not. She is now rumored to be seeking a local radio gig and many believe she’s trying to get back to her old station – WJNO, West Palm Beach. As for Nova M, it was losing a lot of moolah — $100,000 per month. The founders and corporate officers — Sheldon and Anita Drobny — are filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation for the company. Some of Nova M’s other talent — Mike Malloy, Nancy Skinner — continue in syndication as another person involved with Nova M from the beginning, Dr. Mike Newcomb, is reorganizing the network as On Second Thought Radio Network.

This confirms a few of the rumors we've heard and explains why Mike Newcomb, who was with NovaM at the beginning, has suddenly reappeared on the scene.

The part of "legal costs" is somewhat telling. Randi, while still an AAR talent, was sued by a defense contractor over something she said on air, a fight she won, which made us think at the time that she was the victim of a SLAPP. Sadly, her forthrightness tends to get her in trouble this way in this litigious society of ours. We wonder if she's made someone similarly angry now.


  1. Thanks for this comment. Much conjecture has been aroused as a result of the ongoing drama Randi finds herself at the center of and it's good to see someone taking a reasoned and intelligent look at it. I'm a regular visitor at the RRMB which has been brought down for now and replaced by the message board member founded

    Among other elements in this situation to consider is the suit filed by John Manzo, former CEO of Nova M who Randi credits for bringing her to AAR and later to Nova M. The full 16 page complaint is found at The timing of this suit with Randi's sudden departure from the airwaves is notable. It was filed the day before she disappeared, in fact. One might wonder whether this was the catalyst that caused her to look to her Exclusions and Ommissions policy and find that it had not been provided by the network as per her contract.

    In any case, hoping to hear her back soon. And kudos to Thom for doing so well in the Talkers survey, however that came to be compiled.

  2. Thanks for the kudo. I'm a Randi fan but I don't consider myself crazy for her; I'm at once offended by her rudeness and electrified by her frankness.

    Why I like her is because she goes in and tears it up with the big boys, and even kicked Teh Lars's wide white ass in his home market (Portland, of course).

    There's a place for her in the current overheated atmosphere of national talk radio, if only because she's a necessary counterbalance to Rush and Slanty Claus, only with her you get actual info with your meat.

    I read that complaint you URL'd there in the comment. Nasty. I feel sorry for the Drobnys, even more so that their personal travails apparently caused so much distress at NovaM toward the end.