A grounded wire-medium slab has recently been shown to support leaky modes with azimuthally independent propagation wavenumbers capable of radiating directive omnidirectional beams. In this paper, the analysis is generalized to wire-medium slabs in air, extending the omnidirectionality properties to even modes, performing a parametric analysis of leaky modes by varying the geometrical parameters of the wire-medium lattice, and showing that, in the long-wavelength regime, surface modes cannot be excited at the interface between the air and wire medium. The electric field excited at the air/wire-medium interface by a horizontal electric dipole parallel to the wires is also studied by deriving the relevant Green's function for the homogenized slab model. When the near field is dominated by a leaky mode, it is found to be azimuthally independent and almost perfectly linearly polarized. This result, which has not been previously observed in any other leaky-wave structure for a single leaky mode, is validated through full-wave moment-method simulations of an actual wire-medium slab with a finite size. © 2006 IEEE.