The FCC held one of its media localism hearings (about a year too late, I’ll add) in Charlotte, NC yesterday. The Raliegh News Observer ran a story in anticipation of the hearing, with the headline, “Broadcaster wary of bias at hearing.” That broadcaster, Rick Jackson, president of the N.C. Association of Broadcasters, explained his wariness is because, “They [participants] don’t go to a hearing to gush. They come to complain.”
Buried at the end of the article, I can sure see some reason for Raliegh residents to complain:
One issue likely to surface at the hearing is complaints about WDCG-FM G105, which was criticized earlier this month after Bob Dumas of the “Bob and Madison Show” said he hated seeing bicycle riders on the highway and laughed at stories about motorists running cyclists down. After cyclists protested and two sponsors withdrew ads, the station manager promised to run a “share the road” education campaign.
But apparently there’s more to the story than that.
According to the North Carolina cycling website, TriangleMTB.com, the Sept. 23 morning show broadcast went more like this:
“The Bob and Madison morning show on G105 out of Raleigh was going on for awhile about how fun it is to run cyclists off of the roads, and how we don’t deserve to be there. One woman called in and said her Dad hit a cyclist on purpose on his way to church one morning (very Christian of him) when she was 12 or something. She said he just hated bikes being on the road. The intern said there is an old man that lives in her neighborhood that shoots a pellet gun at a group of 30 or so that ride by their house.she said. He tries to hit their tires to make them crash.
The host even joked of riding a motorcycle down said-proposed bike path just to piss off bike riders.”
While the News Observer makes it sound like the station quickly acted to try and make good, it seems like the truth is that the station was significantly more recalcitrant.
After the station manager made an e-mail apology to the North Carolina Bicyclying Club,
On 10/1 the Bob & Madison show aired a PSA spoof called “Men on Schwinns”. It was a spoof on the old “In Living Color” skits called ‘Men on Film”. Obviously, the station and its manager were playing the cycling community by agreeing to listen to us and air some PSA’s on cycling safety. Clearly their spoof PSA was a blatant slap in the face to the cycling community and they still think it is funny to throw stuff at cyclists.
In the end the offending morning show was cancelled for the day following the airing of the spoof PSA and the station manager aired an apology.
Which would be all fine and good, except that it seems to be part of a larger pattern of anti-bicyclist programming airing on Clear Channel stations around the country, including Houston, TX and Cleveland, OH.
So, is that what localism at Clear Channel amounts to? Making fun of bicycylists, revelling in their injuy at the hands and bumpers of motorists and egging on your listeners to take them out?
Let’s not fool ourselves, Clear Channel doesn’t give one shit about the local communities that it broadcasts in. Their stations are nothing but vaccuum cleaners for sucking out cash into their San Antonio, TX coffers.
Change the word bicyclist in those broadcasts to the name of some other minority group and I don’t think people would be letting Clear Channel off so easily. Or, better, how about we change “bicyclists” to “Christians,” especially in that passage about the caller who said her dad “her Dad hit a cyclist on purpose on his way to church one morning.” Every right-wingnut Christian group around the Country would be pouncing on that Clear Channel station faster than you toss a brick through an SUV’s windshield.
… or maybe that’s a bicycle through a Clear Channel window.