January 22, 2010 / 2:10 PM / 10 years ago

Air America to close, files for bankruptcy

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Air America, a politically liberal talk-radio network, said on Thursday it would cease operations and file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection to begin an orderly wind down of its business.

The radio network was launched in 2004 by comedian Al Franken, now a U.S. Senator and has helped launch other careers such as that of liberal television personality Rachel Maddow.

The network, which had about 100 radio outlets nationwide, has suffered a decline in advertising amid the U.S. recession and a search for new investors failed, Air America Media chairman Charlie Kireker said in a memo to staff on Thursday.

Air America, which has struggled under a succession of management changes since its inception, had previously been forced into bankruptcy in 2006 when efforts to resolve an outstanding debt with a creditor from the network’s earliest days broke down.

Franken stopped broadcasting for the network in 2007 after he announced he was seeking nomination for the Senate seat from his home state of Minnesota.

The company said a severance package will be offered to full-time employees with more than six months of tenure at the company and that it will play “encore programing” through January 25.

Reporting by Emily Chasan; editing by Andre Grenon

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