Three months after filing for bankruptcy, liberal talk-radio network Air America said yesterday that a New York real estate investor has offered to buy the company, but its best-known host, Al Franken, will deliver his last broadcast next month. The tentative deal, outlined in a letter of intent by Air America to sell its business to SL Green Realty Corp. founder and chairman Stephen Green, is the latest twist in the tortured history of the radio venture Franken helped launch in 2004 as a voice for the political left.
“Air America will soon be under new ownership. Thank God,” the comedian and best-selling author told listeners at the top of his show, adding that the last day of “The Al Franken Show” would be 14 February. No specific reason was given for Franken’s departure, but he is considering a run for the US Senate from his home state of Minnesota next year. Franken said the network and its audience would be in “great hands” under Green’s ownership.
In a statement, the real estate mogul said, “I’m purchasing a majority ownership in Air America with the intention of making it a successful business that returns a profit.” His brother, Mark Green, a former New York City public advocate who ran unsuccessfully for mayor against Michael Bloomberg, also will play a role in overseeing the radio venture, according to Air America’s statement.
Financial terms for the proposed acquisition were not disclosed. Any sale of Air America is subject to approval by the US Bankruptcy Court.