Air America radio goes bankrupt, off air

After nearly six years on the air, liberal radio network Air America has gone bankrupt and will cease live programming, the company told employees Thursday.

Founded in 2004 as a liberal response to conservative dominance of the radio airwaves, Air America served as a platform for a number of liberal talkers who went on to achieve prominence, including now-Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and MSNBC talk-show host Rachel Maddow.

"The very difficult economic environment has had a significant impact on Air America's business. This past year has seen a 'perfect storm' in the media industry generally," Charlie Kireker, chair of Air America Media, wrote in a letter to employees.

The network will air re-run programs until Jan. 25, at which time all programming will end. 

Kireker also touted the networks political impact.

"Through some 100 radio outlets nationwide, Air America helped build a new sense of purpose and determination among American progressives," Kireker wrote.

"With this revival, the progressive movement made major gains in the 2006 mid-term elections and, more recently, in the election of President Barack Obama and a strongly Democratic Congress."

Read the full memo to employees here.