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Air America Sold, Al Franken To Leave

Air America Radio, a liberal talk radio network, said Monday that it had reached a tentative agreement to be sold to the founder of a New York area real estate company. The network also said that Al Franken, its longtime headline personality, would depart next month.

The agreement with Stephen Green, the founder and chairman of SL Green Realty Corp., appears to rescue the struggling network, which has been seeking a buyer since last fall when it filed for bankruptcy reorganization after reaching an impasse with one of its creditors.

Any sale would have to be approved by the bankruptcy court. The company has signed what is called a letter of intent to sell itself to Green and expects to agree on financial terms soon, Air America spokeswoman Jaime Horn said.

Green is the brother of Mark Green, a longtime New York politician who has also appeared frequently as a guest on Air America Radio.

The network said in a statement that Franken's last day on the air would be Feb. 14, and that his noon-3pm ET time slot would be taken over by Portland, Ore.-based talk show host Thom Hartmann.

The network didn't specify why Franken was leaving, but Franken told the AP earlier this month that he had contacted Minnesota lawmakers to seek advice about a possible run for the Senate.

Green's company is a real estate investment trust that owns and manages office properties, mainly in Manhattan, with 27 million square feet of space under its control.

Air America launched with much fanfare in 2004 as an alternative to conservative radio talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh. But it ran into several tough spots, including a management shakeup just five weeks after going on the air that saw the departure of its chairman, Evan Cohen. Former music executive Danny Goldberg abruptly stepped aside as CEO last April. The current CEO is Scott Elberg.

By Seth Sutel

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