UPDATE: According to Al Franken, Air America did not file for bankruptcy Friday. We regret the error. See our correction here.
Air America Radio will announce a major restructuring on Friday, which is expected to include a bankruptcy filing, three independent sources have told ThinkProgress.
Air America could remain on the air under the deal, but significant personnel changes are already in the works. Sources say five Air America employees were laid off yesterday and were told there would be no severance without capital infusion or bankruptcy. Also, Air America has ended its relationship with host Jerry Springer.
The right wing is sure to seize on Air America’s financial woes as a sign that progressive talk radio is unpopular. In fact, Air America succeeded at creating something that didn’t exist: the progressive talk radio format. That format is now established and strong and will continue with or without Air America. Indeed, many of the country’s most successful and widely-syndicated progressive talk hosts — Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller, for instance — aren’t even associated with Air America.
Radio giant Clear Channel is so committed to progressive talk radio that, this week, it will announce a partnership with the Center for American Progress and MSS Inc. to conduct a nationwide search for the next Progressive Talk Radio Star.
UPDATE: Air America responds.
If Air America had filed for bankruptcy every time someone rumored it to be doing so, we would have ceased to exist long ago; it may be frustrating to some that this hasn’t happened. No decision has been taken to make any filing of any kind, we are not sure of the source of these rumors and frankly can not respond to every rumor in the marketplace.
UPDATE II: Comments have been temporarily closed to decrease stress on our server, which is under load. We’ll open them back up when traffic returns to normal levels.
UPDATE III: Comments have been reopened.