Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Standard To The Airwaves

Get ready folks...for at least a discussion of bringing "fairness" to the airwaves. Today on the progressive Bill Press Show, Mr. Press discussed the issue with Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow.

The senator suggests, "it’s absolutely time to pass a standard” to bring “accountability to the airwaves”, by holding licensees accountable." They are both upset that progressive talk stations have gone off the air in Washington, San Diego, Miami and other markets. She asserts it's not right and something needs to be done about it.

Oh really?

Neither Press or Stabenow suggest anyone be taken off the air, but it was quite clear she and Press believe if there are conservative voices on the air in a particular market it's only right that liberal voices have a station of their own. She then goes on to call the conservative voices liars. Hmmmm.

You can hear the entire interview here.

I support the basic premise that voices of differing viewpoints should have the opportunity to be heard. But should it be the role of the federal government to insist they be heard or if a station owner has a conservative talk station they must also have a liberal one? That is exactly what was suggested this morning.

Let me take a big leap here. Any station group or owner who programs a progressive talk station and was doing so successfully, both in sales and programming, would not take consider taking that station off the air no matter what their personal politics are. Period.

Let's encourage voices on all sides to be heard by creating compelling and entertaining programming that can amass enough of an audience to be profitable. That is what commercial radio is all about--to have enough money to support the cost of the programming and to make a profit for the owner.

Don't think something like this can't or won't happen. Think again. With the House, Senate, and the White House controlled by the Democrats, why couldn't it? This is not a partisan statement, just simple logic. If the Democrats want it to be it will be. When the Republicans were in control they same rule applied.

Simply stated, no matter what your personal politics, we do not need or want the government to start making programming decisions. Right?


Jeff Schmidt said...

Of course you're right Harve - but you're also wrong.

The Right conceded Government's role in "programming" with "Nipple-Gate".

"Fairness Doctrine" is the Left's "Indecency".

BOTH parties believe Government should regulate programming - they just disagree about the specifics.

HARVE ALAN said...

Jeff, you have a made a good point.

Nipplegate was also a joke. A joke that did/is doing serious long term damage to the radio industry. Making so much of such a short and fleeting moment was ridiculous.

How much and what type of oversight there should be is not a debate easily settled. I support basic guidelines and ethics on how a licensee must operate. However, both sides should stay out of the programming business. Radio has enough problems to deal with and adding additional regulation will not help--in fact only hurt.

Dan Kelley said...

Agree entirely Harve...and being a Michigan resident I just let Deb Stabenow know my point of view.

Thanks for all you do!