Today at noon, Air America, the liberal radio network, will go on the air, with Al Franken's daily show, "The O'Franken Factor." The Times looks at how the ambitions to bring a liberal voice to radio have outpaced the realities (Air America hasn't bought any stations yet - it's just bought time on five stations) as well as how the network's personalities have to remain enterataining as it competes with conservative voices Rush "Oxy-Contin" Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. The line-up includes former Daily Show-er Lizz Winstead, Chuck D of Public Enemy, and Janeane Garofalo. Times reporter Jacques Steinberg notes some of the humor thus far:

Among others, Ms. Garofalo and [nighttime host Sam] Seder poked fun at Mr. Bush's former spokesman Ari Fleischer ("Is he not shoveling coal in hell now?" Mr. Seder asked); Karl Rove, the president's senior adviser and political strategist (said by Ms. Garofalo to be pursuing "the elusive 18-25 Klan demo"); and Vice President Dick Cheney. (Mr. Seder said he felt sure that he could see Mr. Cheney's hand moving Mr. Bush's mouth on "Meet the Press" earlier this year.)

Ah, political joking.

In NY, the network airs on WLIB 1190AM (LA: KBLA 180AM; Chicago: WNTD 950AM). The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz looked at Air America a few weeks ago. Jeff Jarvis has been listening and says, "I'm tuning into the start of Air America and all I'm hearing so far is a medly of bad rock appropriate for rallies." Well, the station probably doesn't want to be confused with Air America, the airplane pilot "comedy" with Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr.