Sunday, November 12, 2006


Madison, Wisconsin is the scene of the radio crime. The Wisconsin State Journal reports:
Just three days after Madison's left celebrated wins by the Democrats, broadcasting behemoth Clear Channel Radio delivered a stunning right hook Friday, announcing it would silence Air America in the Madison market and replace the liberal talk-show format on WXXM-FM (92.1) The Mic with an all-sports format from Fox Radio Sports.

So long, political debate and comment. Hello, serve, set, spike and point.

"I find it puzzling as to the timing given the election results," said Terry Kelly, one of the founding members of the Air America network and a longtime Madison businessman. "There is no business reason that is apparent to me (for the change), therefore, one wonders what the real reasons may be."

The move by Clear Channel, which operates 1,140 radio stations in the United States, comes after the radio station posted a solid gain in the Arbitron ratings, going from a 2.3 share in the summer of 2005 to 3.7 this summer, placing 11th in the market for listeners 12 and older. It also means that beginning on Jan. 1, one of the most liberal cities in the country will be without a commercial radio network of the same tilt.
In a perfect world, this would be followed by Springfield flushing the local talk-radio venereal disease out of its system.


John Stone said...

It prooves that li'bruls can be f***-ups just like everyone else. CC is in it for the money.. nothing more. Air America haiving to declare bankruptcy probably caught them as an unsecured creditor and will cost them a few bucks. Like all bankruptcies in early-on companies AA will survive it nicely, but there will be some blood on the sidewalk.

AA is already feeling a lot of heat. They fired Mike Malloy and got 20,000 emails pointing out that they were idiots. Mike didn't have any problem getting another job since he was back on the air in less than a month and can be heard streaming at or the archives of all shows are at

I have decided that *all* owners of radio stations are just freakin' nuts. Look at the local examples.

Anonymous said...

"I have decided that *all* owners of radio stations are just freakin' nuts. Look at the local examples."

I think that it's a safe conclusion that the morning host on one local station is nuts, putting it mildly.

Talking about Air America losing outlets I remember Malloy talking about one or two of their stations being purchased and converted to Christian radio stations. It sounded like someone with deep pockets took it upon themselves to censor the airwaves.

Anonymous said...

Well, Democrats hold the majority now... why not just use the bully power and *force* radio stations to carry liberal programming?

John Stone said...

Do you mean reinstate the "fairness doctrine" that was in place for the use of public property for over 50 years?

Betty B. said...

I received a long email from Thom Hartmann (Air America radio host and author of several books) in the midst of election frenzy. He points out that Rupert Murdoch lost an average of $90 million per year for five years on FOX news, and that the conserative Washington Times continues to be subsidized by the Rev. Moon after the loss of hundreds of millions.

It doesn't take a genius to draw the lines from the rise of these right-slanted media voices to the successful takeover of the Republican party by corporate interests who have been showered by an unending flow of favorable legislation, the conjuring of an illegitimate war for the benefit of Haliburton and like war profiteers, etc.

He also reminds us of that the "Fox News Effect" changed the votes of 3 to 8 percent of its listeners to the Republican side. Given the polarization of the electorate it is possible that it was the deciding factor in many races in the last few years.

I'm posting Thom's letter on my blog for those who are interested.

Busplunge said...

Could it be that most of the folks who would have a tendancy to listen and agree with Air America have a life and better things to do than listen to the radio all the time?

Anonymous said...

Let's see, venereal disease is abreviated with a V.D. Not if we add a J on the end we have the initials of you-know-who.

I have to post this here because they have appointed a censor over at Missouriradio who has it in for me. He works at another talk station and kisses whats-his-names behind.

John Stone said...

Shoot Des ... you need to go further ... I have been kicked out twice ... unfortunately for them, I still have a fishing hole of 10 aliases left at my yahoo account and gawd knows how many at gmail... plus 9 at sbcglobal ... I can keep 'em hopping for months.

The last time they threw me out it was for asking why a clip I saw on the BBC sure did look to me like a bunch of US soldiers murdering a prisoner and the US news was not reporting it. (The guilty party is now at Portsmouth)

Anonymous said...

How I believe Democrats view a new, "improved" Fairness Doctrine:

"Okay, this host gave exactly 3 minutes, 12 seconds to a conservative caller; now he MUST give exactly three minutes twelve to a LIBERAL caller..."

That, and for every hour a non-liberal gets of host airtime, a liberal gets an equal amount.

IOW, we're going to have government bean-counters with stopwatches, checking for content and enforcing fairness.

Repeat: enforcing fairness.

Hello, Speech Police. Fuk'um.

Anonymous said...

BTW, should the almighty FCC have jurisdiction over satellite TV and radio, and cable, and the internet, and... why does NPR want an exemption from the Fairness Doctrine?

And why not apply it to print media? Force the WSJ op-ed page to have an equal amount of column-inches for each "side". Make New Republic carry alternating pages of liberal and conservative material.

Hell, why stop there? Force bloggers to post equal-time for each opposing side. One liberal post, one conservative.

Wait, here's more... when you write a letter, on paper, to a friend, you must alternate between tax-and-spend and fiscal conservatvisim; equal time for "get out of Iraq" and "stay in Iraq"; et cetera.

And when talking politics in public, one must say the simultaneously hate AND love Hillary Clinton, and that they will *and* will not vote for her in 2008.

How far should we take it? When you put government in charge... the sky's the limit. By law.

Larry Burkum said...

"BTW, should the almighty FCC have jurisdiction over satellite TV and radio, and cable, and the internet, and... ?

"And why not apply it to print media?"

The FCC does have jurisdiction over satellite TV and radio and cable and the Internet. It is the Federal Communications Commission. It has jurisdiction over the telephone, as well. The difference in satellite and cable is that one chooses to subscribe to services, to pay a fee.

Terrestrial broadcasting (and satellite transmissions) use PUBLICLY-OWNED AIRWAVES, a limited resource. One can squeeze a finite number of signals into the finite radio spectrum. Terrestrial broadcasters lease the PUBLICLY-OWNED airwaves and are licensed to use them in the public interest, convenience and necessity.

Neither you nor I can just start a radio station. But both you and I could start a print publication if we have the money. That's the difference. The print media do not use a finite publicly-owned resource. Radio stations do. You own the airwaves being used.

The Fairness Doctrine was never about equal time. It was about balance. Limbaugh, Hannity, and Jerchoff may spew bile and tell lies without ever providing an opportunity for anyone to respond. The Fairness Doctrine merely required broadcasters to provide alternative points of view. No bean counters. No one timing anything.

A question for you, anon 7:36 -- if Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Al Franken, Michael Moore, and Molly Ivins were the only voices you ever heard on radio or people you saw on cable news, would you still think the Fairness Doctrine is a bad idea?

Anonymous said...

"The Fairness Doctrine was never about equal time."

The new, improved FD will be.

"if Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Al Franken, Michael Moore, and Molly Ivins were the only voices you ever heard on radio or people you saw on cable news, would you still think the Fairness Doctrine is a bad idea?"

They DO have voices. Giving government the power to decide "fairness" will only ensure bland, boring TV and radio. Although you gave some pretty sorry-assed examples of rational liberal thought, there... why not pick some sane, non-socialist liberals as examples?

"You own the airwaves being used."

Bullshit. The _government_ owns them. WE own bupkis. Zilch. Nada.

Put government in charge of "fairness", and we might as well be listening to golf on the radio.

Anonymous said...

Doclarry, the Fairness Doctrine IS about equal time. Sorry you're wrong, but let me clairify the "equal" part for you so you might understand.

The fairness doctrine was not based on whom but rather what. If, and use your favorite guy, Jericho. If he went on a show like KTTS' old crackerbarrel (this puts us in the height of the fairness doctrine), and went on a 15 minute rant against Affirmative Action and a listener, say a local supporter of AA and a member of the NAACP calls the station and complains about the comments and requests "equal time" to support their side, that station HAS to allow them their 15 minutes.

A perfect example of this is after a State of the Union address. Bush or Clinton or Joe Blow gives a 90 minute speech. What gives the out-of-power-party the right to follow with an opposing block of time? The constitution says "the prsident shall, from time-to-time address the Congress..." it says nothing about the other side addressing anything.

The Fairness Doctrine is crap. If you don't like what the other side is saying, change the station, the channel or turn the damn thing off. You don't own the airwaves, the FCC does and if a license holder gets out of line, they will remind them of that fact right away.

Anonymous said...

If we give government the power to arbitrate "fairness", then we also give them the power to determine what IT wants broadcasters to send over the airwaves. What if the gov't decides NOBODY gets to air their views, replacing it with programming determined to be safe and sanitized - sanctioned by a bunch of bureaucrats and speech police?

If liberals lament the lack of market penetration... change the product. What little liberal radio I've heard, is depressing as hell. Find a way to package it so someone will listen, and you'll make money and listeners. Just don't give Tom Daschle a radio show, and it might just work.

To previous anon post - way to sum it up. Thank you very much.

Larry Burkum said...

The Fairness Doctrine was not and is not about equal time. The language never included a requirement that an equal number of time units be devoted to each side of an issue.

There are many misconceptions about the Fairness Doctrine. For instance, it did not require that each program be internally balanced, nor did it mandate equal time for opposing points of view. And it didn’t require that the balance of a station’s program lineup be anything like 50/50.

Nor, as Rush Limbaugh has repeatedly claimed, was the Fairness Doctrine all that stood between conservative talkshow hosts and the dominance they would attain after the doctrine’s repeal. In fact, not one Fairness Doctrine decision issued by the FCC had ever concerned itself with talkshows. Indeed, the talkshow format was born and flourished while the doctrine was in operation. Before the doctrine was repealed, right-wing hosts frequently dominated talkshow schedules, even in liberal cities, but none was ever muzzled (The Way Things Aren’t, Rendall et al., 1995). The Fairness Doctrine simply prohibited stations from broadcasting from a single perspective, day after day, without presenting opposing views.

The Fairness Doctrine had two basic elements: It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest, and to air contrasting views regarding those matters. Stations were given wide latitude as to how to provide contrasting views: It could be done through news segments, public affairs shows or editorials.

In the Radio Act of 1927, Congress mandated the FCC’s forerunner, the Federal Radio Commission (FRC), to grant broadcasting licenses in such a manner as to ensure that licensees served the “public convenience, interest or necessity.”

As former FCC commissioner Nicholas Johnson pointed out (California Lawyer, 8/88), it was in that spirit that the FRC, in 1928, first gave words to a policy formulation that would become known as the Fairness Doctrine, calling for broadcasters to show “due regard for the opinions of others.” In 1949, the FCC adopted the doctrine as a formal rule (FCC, Report on Editorializing by Broadcast Licensees, 1949).

In 1959 Congress amended the Communications Act of 1934 to enshrine the Fairness Doctrine into law, rewriting Chapter 315(a) to read: “A broadcast licensee shall afford reasonable opportunity for discussion of conflicting views on matters of public importance.”

Response time was based on time of day, frequency and duration of the original perspective. If one view received a lot of coverage in primetime!, then at least some response time would have to be in primetime. Likewise if one side received many short spots or really long spots. But the remedy did not amount to equal time; the ratio of airtime between the original perspective and the response could be as much as five to one.

As a guarantor of balance and inclusion, the Fairness Doctrine was no panacea. It was somewhat vague, and depended on the vigilance of listeners and viewers to notice imbalance. But its value, beyond the occasional remedies it provided, was in its codification of the principle that broadcasters had a responsibility to present a range of views on controversial issues.

Read the Communications Act. Read the Red Lion case. Nothing in there about equal time.

Your illustration is false. I cannot now, nor could I under the Fairness Doctrine, demand equal time to respond to anything a radio station airs. I can/could request an opportunity to present an opposing viewpoint. I can/could complain to the FCC. But no person or agency can/could compell KTTS (or any licensee) to give me the exact same amount of time.

Why do the networks carry the State of the Union address? Beats me. Nothing requires them to do so. Why do they give the opposing party time following the speech for a response? Beats me. Nothing requires them to. It certainly can't be the Fairness Doctrine because it was repealed in 1987 by Ronald Reagan’s pro-broadcaster FCC.

And if KSGF could be compelled to provide equal time to respond to Hannity or O'Reilly or Jericho, don't you think us liberals would have done so by now?

Anonymous said...

"The Fairness Doctrine was not and is not about equal time. The language never included a requirement that an equal number of time units be devoted to each side of an issue."

Not the OLD one... the new, "improved" one, sure to be foisted upon Congress by some legislator with a loose screw.

Anonymous said...

Working on the assumption that liberals wouldn't run apeshit with a new, steroid-injected FD, is placing a lot of faith in our elected officials. It also assumes that, just b/c Dems have a sliver of a majority, that they won't let power go to their heads. It happened to the Repubs. Power corrupts; absolute power is kinda neat.

Give those bastards an inch, and they'll charge a billion dollars per eighth-inch. At least.

No, the way for liberals to crack the talk-radio market is to SELL a PRODUCT. A good product. AA wasn't quite on the mark, and paying stations to carry their programming had to be dreamed up by a bureaucratic-minded bunch of goobs.

Still, I want AA to live on. Even though I can't stand more than five minutes of liberal radio jabber - God, you people are depressing - if you duke it out in the marketplace, instead of by government decree... you'll feel cleaner and unsullied as a result.

Larry Burkum said...

I don't really care if there are liberal talk radio shows or networks. I simply want the misinformation spewed forth by anyone of any political leaning to be corrected. That's what I expect from those allowed to use my airwaves.

Anonymous said...

Well, at least you're willing to admit there's "misinformation spewed forth by anyone of any political leaning". Some liberals think they're all angels, and everyone right of center is a racist hatemongering crook with a Bible in their pocket.

Which is wrong... there's plenty of crooks on both sides. We've got a whole new crop of 'em starting their jobs in January.