Unexpectedly Intriguing!
December 27, 2005

Or rather, a better title might be:

Air America Radio's Board of Directors: Who Are These People?

While much of the focus of the investigations and lawsuits being aimed at the management of Air America Radio (AAR) has focused upon the scandals surrounding the network, there is been little information about the people who make up the AAR's parent company's Board of Directors who are directly responsible for how the company deals with its ongoing issues. In analyzing the business strategies that AAR might pursue, Political Calculations has accumulated the following very basic background information for AAR's top brass. The parent company with which the individual is associated is indicated in parentheses by their name below. Those whose names appear without a company are associated with both AAR's original parent company, Progress Media/Radio Free America, and its successor, Piquant LLC:

Evan Montvel Cohen (Progress Media/Radio Free America)

Co-founder of Air America Radio and former CEO of Progress Media/Radio Free America. Cohen's previous management experineces includes having served as the chief of staff for Republican Governor of Guam Tommy Tanaka, who was defeated for re-election by Carl T.C. Gutierrez in 1994. In a subsequent gubernatorial election, Cohen testifed on behalf of Democrat Governor Gutierrez against Republican Joseph Ada who challenged the election results.

Cohen is the main link between the Gloria Wise Foundation, serving as a director, and how Air America Radio originally received taxpayer funds that had been earmarked for the Foundation's community programs, including its Boys and Girls Club chapter and support programs for Alzheimer's patients.

Source: Wikipedia

Rex Sorensen (Progress Media/Radio Free America)

Co-founder of Air America Radio. Founder of Sorenson Pacific Radio Broadcasting Inc., a network of five radio stations in Guam and Saipan.

Served as Vice-Chairman under Evan Cohen with Progress Media.

Source: Wikipedia

Doug Kreeger

Served as Air America Radio CEO under Progress Media. Switched to become an investor with successor company Piquant LLC.

Jon Sinton

President of Air America Radio programming. Former CEO and President of Anshell Media, the precursor company of Progress Media. Also associated with Nova M, Sheldon Drobny's new AAR-related venture.

Source: Captain's Quarters

Terry and Mary Kelly

Madison, Wisconsin based investors in Air America. Former Madison-based broadcast meteorologist Terence F. Kelly is the CEO of Weather Central, Inc., which provides Internet weather reports and computerized graphic displays for televised weather reports. Married over 30 years to Mary Kelly.

Kelly played a key role in keeping Air America Radio afloat until new financing could be obtained in 2004, serving as the Chairman of company's Board of Directors through its transition from Progress Media/Radio Free America to the Piquant LLC. Mary Kelly also filled this role for a brief time.

Source: Universal Press Syndicate

Sheldon and Anita Drobny

Co-founders of Air America Radio. Chicago suburb Highland Park, Illinois based husband and wife who originated the idea to begin a "progressive" talk radio network, which later became Air America Radio. Primarily a venture capitalist, Sheldon Drobny is the Chairman and Managing Director of the Paradigm Group II, and is a leading stockholder in Illinois Superconductor, Cypress Bioscience, AnShell Media (the entity that later became AAR parent company Progress Media) and XML Global among others. Anita Drobny served as the Chairwoman of the Board of AAR's current parent entity, Piquant LLC, and now serves as the Chairwoman of Drobny's new venture, Nova M.

Source: Captain's Quarters and Paradigm Group II

Source: Wikipedia

Thomas Embrescia

Chairman and principal investor of Second Generation Television. Principal investor in several media and marketing related businesses, including Acme Communications of Santa Ana, California.

Source: Forbes.

Mike Papantonio

Trial attorney based in Pensacola, Florida. Known primarily for being the lead counsel in many major product liability cases against the pharmaceutical, industrial products, insurance and stock brokerage industries.

Papantonio also has served as an on-air personality for Air America Radio's weekend Ring of Fire program.

Source: Wikipedia.

Peter Durst

Denver-based, nationally-known artist, primarily known for his mixed-media sculptures and ceramics. Has a degree in law from New York University, and sponsors a scholarship at the University of Colorado.

Normain Wain

Owner of Norman Wain & Associates. Former media owner and operator. Currently an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University. Investor involved with transition between Progress Media and Piquant LLC.

Source: Chicago Tribune (via freerepublic.com), League of Women Voters, campaignmoney.com.

Sandy Koshkin

Founder, CEO and President of BiosPacific, a marketing and distribution company specializing in supporting biotechnology research, which was recently acquired by Techne Corp.

Source: Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.

Barbara Levin

Former spouse of former AOL Time Warner CEO Gerald "Gerry" Levin. Barbara Riley Levin has previously invested in vineyards and has served on the Board of Trustees of the New York Restoration Project (NYRP), as well as supporting academic and other charitable organizations.

Source: University of Vermont.

Rob Glaser (Piquant)

Left-wing political financier who notably employed current Washington U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell as an executive in the interval from when she lost her U.S. House of Representatives seat in 1994 to when she was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000. Current chairman of Piquant LLC (since December 2004.) CEO of RealNetworks, which develops and markets software for broadcasting audio information over the Internet. Provided and/or organized second major infusion of investment capital for Air America Radio, as well ongoing financial support.

Interesting tidbit: Should current Air America on-air host Al Franken run for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota, as rumored, and win, it would mark the second time that one of Glaser's employees moved directly from a payroll over which he has oversight and control to the U.S. Senate. That's no small thing - in 2000, Maria Cantwell was able to largely self-finance her senate campaign through her accumulated earnings from Glaser's RealNetworks.

Source: CNN.


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