Geov Parrish, a Seattle Weekly columnist — in advance of Al Franken’s live show in Seattle on May 9 (it’s sold out) — interviewed Franken by phone, and found out how “Seattle money saved Air America”:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usGeov Parrish: So I understand that your last visit to Seattle played a role in getting Air America off the ground, with Sen. Maria Cantwell introducing you to Rob Glaser of RealNetworks fame.

Al Franken: Kenan Block introduced me to Maria. I was in Seattle. I think Seattle is like Minneapolis. It’s essentially not that big a city, and people know each other. So Kenan [a public affairs consultant], who I know from his days as a producer at McNeil-Lehrer, is somebody I always see when I go to Seattle, and he wanted to introduce me to Maria. I met her, was delighted to, and she introduced me to Rob, who I was delighted to meet. We had dinner, and I sort of asked him to look at Air America and give me some advice on it. It was my clever way of luring him into it. I’m very clever. And extremely persuasive. …

I knew that Maria Cantwell, a former exec at RealNetworks (they make your Real Audio), used her fortune to help finance her 2000 defeat of Slade Gorton. But I didn’t know much about Glazer’s involvement in Air America, so I went looking
In 2003, according to blog:

Former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta met with ultra-rich progressives (notably entrepreneur Steven T. Kirsch, media mogul Haim Saban and CEO of RealNetworks Rob Glazer) to devise a plan for a liberal media come-back noting that the message of the left had been buried by the right-wing propaganda machine and that it was time for the progressive community to become aggressive in getting its message out to the rest of the nation. (Note: In seeming faint-praise, Podesta even notes the role of the progressive web in their efforts.)

Then I found this tidbit: After chair Evan Cohen and vice-chair Rex Sorenson were ousted — their demise is chronicled in the HBO documentary, “Left of the Dial” — Progress Media was renamed Piquant LLC.

Image Hosted by[T]he company was to be led by new CEO Doug Kreeger and Kelly as chairman of the board, drawing on his experience as a Shockley executive.

RealNetworks CEO Rob Glazer [PHOTO] has since succeeded Kelly as chair, and Kelly now leads the finance committee.

And that’s all I found. Glazer stays behind the scenes, I gather. I’ll bet, though, that he sees Al next Monday in Seattle.

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