Air America net files for Chapter 11

Radio net dogged by exec turnover, poor ratings

Air America, the left-wing radio network founded to challenge right-wing dominance of talkradio, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday.

Network will continue to operate while it negotiates with its creditors, who include comedian Al Franken, who is owed $260,749.98, and Chuck D, who is owed $10,749.99, according to a filing posted on the Web by the Smoking Gun.

Net’s largest creditor is RealNetworks founder Rob Glaser, owed $10.4 million.

Air America listed liabilities of more than $20 million and assets of $4 million. Parent company Piquant filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

“This regrettable action became necessary only recently when good-faith efforts to resolve outstanding debt with a creditor from the company’s earliest days broke down,” the New York-based company said in the statement.

Piquant promoted Scott Elberg, general manager of the network’s New York affiliate WLIB, to chief exec, replacing acting CEO Jim Wiggett, who stepped in after record industry exec Danny Goldberg ankled in April.

Air America also said Democracy Allies will provide a credit facility “to ensure the company’s continued operation without interruption.”

On Thursday the network announced it had signed the Young Turks as morning-drive hosts. The Turks, who include Cenk Uygur, Ben Mankiewicz and Jill Pike, are owed $6,923.10, according to the filing.

Founded three years ago, net has been dogged by executive turnover and poor ratings. Rumors of a bankruptcy filing had been swirling for weeks.

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