Air America went under for a very simple reason: they got rid of all their best shows. Two words for ya: Morning Sedition. The best morning radio show ever, and I mean ever. It was wickedly funny, politically pointed without becoming overbearing or preachy, and willing to laugh at itself. Morning Sedition was the soul of Air America (even more than Randi Rhodes).
There was another morning show that immediately followed, featuring Lynn Wynsted (sp?), Rachael Maddow and Chuck D. Loved that show. A bit more political than MS, but they also had a lot of fun and keep things casual. That show got the axe first, before the others, and it was unfortunate, but at least Rachael Maddow got her own show during the after-work rush.
The Al Franken Show, of course, was marvelous, funny, whip-smart. His MPR co-host was a great teammate, and I missed her departure. Franken's run for the Senate sadly meant the end of his radio career, and his humor is now locked in an attic somewhere.
I think somewhere around the time Morning Sedition got cancelled, and Jerry Springer - are you FREAKIN kidding me?! - came on board, I stopped caring. Most of the early humor and satire had been weeded out. In its place was typical liberal activist preaching and droning. I don't mean to be harsh, because I consider myself part of that camp (I've marched in plenty of meaningless anti-war protests). But progressives can come off like Black Sabbath's Master of Reality, and it's a turn-off.
Anyway, that's my take on Air America. I think the network made a lot of poor business decisions, and they should have been more successful, but they came along at a crucial moment, and became a ray of hope during the dark days when Bush was seemingly beloved by all. Those first two years were a revelation and they kept me sane. Rest in Peace.