“Did Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) really believe she could get away with calling for conservative talk radio censorship without revealing her husband's past ties to its troubled liberal counterpart?” the Radio Equalizer's Brian Maloney asked in a Friday night posting. “One day after telling libtalker Bill Press she was interested in pushing Senate hearings into the issue of regulating talk radio content, that's the jaw-dropping conclusion we must make.”
Maloney provided a rundown of “the Stabenow-Athans connection to 'progressive' talk radio” as he listed a “connect-the-dots recap....between her stance and the longstanding ties of Athans to the fledgling libtalk format.” Specifically:
- Athans first found a role in "progressive" talk radio back in 2004 as CEO of Democracy Radio, which preceded Air America and whose programming (Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller) was ultimately absorbed by Jones Radio Networks (now part of Dial Global).
- In November 2005, we reported exclusively that Athans had received a cushy (if not downright fishy) deal to establish a "DC office" for Air America Radio, at an annual salary of $165,000 once he went full time in 2006. His job duties were fuzzy at best and any real results even harder to quantify. At the time, we wondered if he was hired simply to gain political access to Stabenow.
- Lasting less than a year in that position, Athans left Air America once it could no longer afford him, departing to start yet another liberal talk radio network, Talk USA Radio. What ultimately became of that venture is anyone's guess.
- We next heard from Athans in 2008 as he was arrested as part of a prostitution sting in Troy, Michigan.