Sunday, June 3, 2007

I went to an event a week ago tha featured Stephanie Miller. She is, as you no doubt know, host of a nation-wide morning radio show. She is on the local Air America affiliate here in Flyover Country. The event was to honor the local activists that had saved the station from changing to a sports format. The local lefties had picketed, protested, and started an on-line petition to save 92 Themike from a fate worse than easy listening. It didn't hurt the cause that 92 is owned by Clear Channel Radio, octopus of the airwaves. The evening was complete with a video documentary of the activists endeavors and interviews with all involved. The air was rife with the sound of one hand clapping (Thats the sound of people patting themselves on the back).

The interesting thing about this whole story is that Clear Channel announced the format change in October of 2006. The change was to happen in December. Now I am not intimately familiar with the practices of radio broadcasting, but its been my experience that the way format changes are usually done is that they most often fire everyone at 5:00 PM Friday, play easy listening music all weekend, and then open Monday morning with "The Big Sound In The Big Town". Even more interesting is that the ratings for 92 were quite good, a fact that was repeated often by those dedicated to saving the station but that revenues were weak. The under current of the evening was that Right Wing Clear Channel was ending the format to censor the Left. By the end of the program everyone was being exhorted to advertise with 92 or buy the products advertised there and to let everyone know that you were.

The lesson of this whole episode is that while I applaud the Lefties for organizing and grass roots work, this a classic case of confusing Politics with Capitalism. While Clear Channel owners have consistantly supported the Repugs and the Bushies, they have shown their true capitalist side by not really caring what airs on their stations, right wing or left wing, if it makes them money. They don't really believe the content matters one way or the other. Their maneuver here cost them nothing and energised the political base to go out and generate revenue for them.

Oh, and by the way you got to love Stephanie. Rush is right she is a Babe!

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