It’s The Al Frank….OOPS!

OMW hears that noted liberal talk radio personality Al Franken disappeared from the airwaves of Air America affiliates across the country today – including Akron affiliate WARF/1350 “Radio Free Ohio” – for a portion of the first part of his show.

Is it a “right-wing conspiracy”? No, it doesn’t appear to be so.

We’re told that a technician for Air America’s satellite provider flipped a wrong bit or two during routine maintenance, and basically “decommissioned” all Air America Radio affiliates from being able to carry the network programming. The hour-long outage lasted until about 1:20 PM (ET).

Unlike the old days of “SEDAT”, where anyone with the proper receiver could dial up the channel and hear the feed, today’s receivers are “smart”. The StarGuide system allows satellite providers to authorize and de-authorize the feed for an individual affiliate. We hear the goof earlier this afternoon de-authorized every over-air affiliate of Air America Radio.

Since the programming is highly-charged partisan political talk, we’re sure some folks will come up with conspiracy theories. (You should hear what happens at a radio station when it does overnight maintenance which happens to pre-empt a Rush Limbaugh repeat! Not like we’d know first hand…) But from all appearances, this was just a technical glitch caused by an errant operator.

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