Jan 16, 2007

Democratic election success threatens liberal and progressive talk radio shows

Things are the same as they always are at the Great Right Wing Voice of the Great Lakes, AKA WJR Radio, with rightwing hate, insults and the official propaganda from the White House streaming out from its 50,000 watts.

I raised the question last month why the most powerful radio station in the state and one of the most powerful in the country is using the public’s airwaves free is allowed to ignore the political region they operate in and broadcast nothing but rightwing views. I still have not got an answer, but I did get plenty of personal attacks and name-calling from our conservative friends.

As I sit here at my computer and listen to my favorite radio show - the Stephanie Miller Show because I can only listen to on the radio on Ann Arbor’s WLBY 1290 when I’m near Brighton – I wonder why in a state that's solidly in the Democratic ledger with a radio station in one of the most liberal cites in America WJR continues to cling to the rightwing hate mongers?

I have found an excellent source of information on talk radio, and it’s an excellent example of what a blog can really be. It’s called “Liberal Talk Radio.” Not only is it an excellent source of information, but it also has links to all of the liberal talk show hosts, and there are a lot of excellent ones out there.

One disturbing trend they are pointing out is that many radio stations with liberal and progressive hosts or formats are flipping or, changing their formats, especially after the election where we saw the success of Democrats in taking control of both the U.S. House and Senate, and they are doing it despite good ratings. However, there is some good news.

Grassroots efforts in Boston, Columbus, Ohio and Madison, Wi. managed to stop the flip of the liberal talk formats there. Other grassroots efforts to stop this disturbing trend now have some help with a new web site called Nonstop Radio.

The web site assist grassroots movements in keeping liberal and progressive stations and hosts on the air, helps in re-establishing them where they have been canceled, set up new liberal talk show formats in new markets or stations, act as a clearinghouse for information for activists and to distribute tips and tricks to help in the effort.

With the success and organizing ability of Democrats, liberals and progressives here in Michigan I know we can get some parity and balance on the airwaves.


Republican Michigander said...

It's called business. Leftist radio doesn't sell. Besides, you don't need talk radio - you have the leftist media - which you represent yourself being a reporter.

Communications guru said...

You are correct, it is called business all right, but it’s called bad business when you ignore your audience. You are wrong again on two points. First, there is no Communist radio in the U.S. that I am aware of, and second, Liberal talk radio is doing very well.

You are wrong again, the liberal media strategy and smear job is exactly that, and what we have is conservative media with just a few large corporations owning most of the media outlets. When I was a reporter I was far too easy on the right-wingers trying to dispel that ridiculous lie of the liberal media, and that’s one reason why the strategy and lie has worked so well ever since Nixon and his crooks started it so many years ago.

You should stick to writing about things you know something about, but then again you would not have much to write about.

Red Or Dead said...

Typical liberals, just like Guru, If the American people reject them push it down their throats.

This blog is pathetic, your own party will not visit it. No wonder you spent so much time at Dan's blog. 0 comments on 95 % of your posts. But you want to force Michigan to listen to Air America. Get your head out of you butt.

Democrats' New 'Fairness' Push May Silence Conservative Radio Hosts, Critics Say
By Fred Lucas
CNSNews.com Staff Writer
January 17, 2007

(CNSNews.com) - Democrats in Congress are pushing for legislation that they say would bring more balance to the media, but critics say would muzzle conservative voices.

The Fairness Doctrine, a federal regulation requiring broadcasters to present both sides of a controversial issue, was enforced by the Federal Communications Commission from 1949 to 1987, when it was dropped during the Reagan administration.

Many in the broadcast industry credit the dropping of the rule to the rise of conservative talk radio that became a booming industry, featuring personalities like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.

Bringing back the regulation will ensure more even-handed coverage of political issues, said Jeff Lieberson, spokesman for Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), who has proposed the "Media Ownership Reform Act."

"The political interests of media owners can have a direct and indirect effect on the way news is presented to the public, so it's important that all sides are heard," Lieberson told Cybercast News Service Tuesday.

The Fairness Doctrine is a key component of Hinchey's bill, which also sets tighter limits on media ownership. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has proposed a companion bill in the Senate.

"This is not an attempt to muzzle them at all," Lieberson said of conservative talk show hosts who are opposed to the Fairness Doctrine. "They will still be heard. This will ensure that different views that are not theirs will also be heard."

But muzzling is exactly what such a law would do, charged Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in the Media, a conservative media watchdog group.

"Make no bones about it, they want to force the conservative media to hand over air time to liberals," Kincaid said in an interview. "When federal bureaucrats dictate the content of radio and TV shows, it's muzzling to tell them what to say and how to say it."

Many conservatives have long argued that the bulk of major newspapers, news magazines and network news programs tilt left and regard talk radio as an antidote.

"Liberals used to dominate the media, and they are irritated there are competing voices, so now they want to reign in the conservative media using the federal government," Kincaid continued. "There is no prohibition against liberal talk radio. Liberals tried talk radio and it was not successful in the market place."

Kincaid pointed to Air America, the liberal talk radio network started in 2004 that is now in bankruptcy but still operating with a limited audience.

The Fairness Doctrine was adopted by the FCC in 1949 as a regulation, never a law enacted by Congress. The effort now by Democrats in Congress is to codify the doctrine into law.

When the rule was in place, radio and TV stations could face hefty fines if their stations aired controversial statements on public affairs without providing equal time to opposing viewpoints. Critics said the result was self-censorship by timid broadcasters who avoided politics to escape any potential government retaliation.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1969 that the doctrine did not violate the First Amendment, because the airwaves belonged to the public and thus could face government regulation to which print media were not subjected.

After the FCC ditched the rule in 1987, Democratic lawmakers made several attempts to bring it back in statute. Those attempts were unsuccessful even when Democrats controlled both the White House and Congress in 1993 and 1994.

Despite the 1969 court ruling, Dennis Wharton, spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters, told Cybercast News Service Tuesday it was fundamentally a First Amendment question.

"It was not appropriately named," Wharton said of the doctrine. "It was unfair in inhibiting broadcasters' free speech rights.

"There has been an explosion of viewpoints and coverage of issues since the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine," Wharton said. "It's been a boon for free expression."

Hinchey, chairman of the "Future of Media Caucus" in the House, is among several
Democratic lawmakers who spoke at the National Conference on Media Reform in Memphis, Tenn., this past weekend.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), chairman of the House subcommittee on domestic policy, announced he would hold hearings on the media, which would include looking at restoring the Fairness Doctrine.

"We know the media has become the servant of a very narrow corporate agenda," Kucinich, a candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, reportedly told the Memphis event.

"We are now in a position to move a progressive agenda to where it is visible," he said.

Communications guru said...

Wow, communist; another long rant after a night out? It sure sounds like it. Americans rejected it? You must have missed the election in November where the American people swept the repubs out of power and gave control of the U.S. House and Senate to the Democrats. These stations are being flipped despite good ratings because they helped with that massive victory.
Saying 95 percent of the posts don’t have comments is a compete lie, but I’m not concerned with that.
There’s a lot of people’s opinions I care about, and yours is not one of them. The fact is, I really enjoy your lame insults, attacks and rants because it tells me I’m doing the right thing. This blog has only been around since Nov. 7, that’s just over two months, and your boy dan’s blog has been around for at least two years. I’m satisfied with the amount of traffic I received, especially on a liberal and progressive blog in a republican dominated county.
Comments are not everything. After all, I get wingnut rants like yours. What good is that? I’m more concerned with how many people read it, and since I have been posting on Michigaliberal that has increased significantly. More people read that blog than dan’s and my blog put together 100 times over. I rarely post or even read his blog anymore anyway. The only time is when I glance at the headline and it leaps out as one of his more outrageous lies or is particularly offensive, like the childish attack on Sen. Obama’s name.
No one is “forcing Michigan to listen to Air America, “ nor does anyone have to. They are already listening to it. They are listening to it on line and on low power stations in Ann Arbor and Detroit. They should have the option to be able to listen to it in their cars all the time, even at night.
Good for the Democrats for trying to bring back the Fairness Doctrine. If conservative talk show hosts are so great and do so well they will have no problem crushing liberal talk show hosts. But we both know better that’s why you are so scared.

barooosk said...

Good post. However, you got some facts wrong. Supporters of lib talk have stopped the flip of a station in Madison, but have not been successful in Boston, Columbus, Cincinnati and about a half dozen other markets. Keep posted on the latest development at talkingradio.blogspot.com...Barooosk