Here's what happened from 1996-2003.
1949-1995 1996-2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
- Chuck Harder and co-host Pat Choate join the United Auto Workers to start a new for-profit radio network, the United Broadcasting Network; within three months, Harder is forced off the air and the UAW become the sole owners; network is later renamed "i.e. America Radio Network"
- February 8 - Clinton signs Telecommunications Act of 1996 into law
- February - Pacifica Radio launches Democracy Now!
- October - Peter Werbe and Mike Malloy join the i.e. America Radio Network
- United Auto Workers' network is renamed "i.e. America Radio Network" (for "information" and "entertainment")
- January - RadioPower.org begins streaming progressive talk radio; see also Liberal Talk Radio article
- Sirius Left satellite channel begins broadcasting, based largely on i.e. America Radio Network programming
- i.e. America Radio Network moves to Detroit and adds more liberal talk shows
- July - Chicago entrepreneurs Sheldon and Anita Drobny solicit help from Al Gore and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) with suggestion to develop a progressive talk radio network
- October - The Drobnys hire Jon Sinton as CEO of the new AnShell Media, and the three went about raising money. The first official fundraiser held at the home of Arianna Huffington. Sinton's brother, broadcaster Carey Bruce Sinton, suggested calling the venture Central Air, a name that stuck until just before launch.
- November - AnShell Media writes preliminary business plan
- December 3 - Thom Hartmann article "Talking Back to Talk Radio: Fairness, Democracy, and Profits" published by CommonDreams.org (later used by Sheldon Drobny to convince Al Franken to join the progressive talk radio network)
- Nancy Skinner, Thom Hartmann, and Peter B. Collins begin hosting their own shoes on the i.e. America Radio Network
- February 17 - Jim Rutenberg, NYT, writes article "Liberal Radio is Planned by Rich Group of Democrats"
- August 11 - Thom Hartmann writes Turn Your Radio On: The Unions' Answer to Right-Wing Static on Common Dreams
- October 10 - Rush Limbaugh admits to listeners his addiction to prescription painkillers and states that he will enter inpatient treatment for 30 days
- October 17 - AnShell Media becomes Air America Radio and is transferred to Evan Montvel-Cohen's Progress Media; as a condition of the deal Drobnys relinquish ties.
- November - Steve Sinton leaves Clear Channel's talk radio division to join Central Air as VP/Programming & Operations.