Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Media Action Center Calls Out Squawk Radio

I pointed out over the weekend that Milwaukee radio stations WTMJ and WISN were in violation of federal law.  Namely, they were in violation of the Zapple Doctrine, which requires a radio station, in the sixty days leading up to an election, to give equal time to opposing sides.

Anyone who listens to the programming of these two stations, which air various miscreants like Charlie Sykes, Mark Belling and Vicki McKenna, can tell in five minutes that they only spout Republican party talking points.

But to keep things honest, the Media Action Center has been formally monitoring these shows and asking the stations to follow the law.  The results were as one might have expected.

The two stations combined gave Walker and his fellow Republicans up to $680,000 worth of free air time.  And that was just within the first ten days of monitoring.

Regarding to the requests for the stations to follow the rules, WTMJ would respond with a form letter which didn't even address the concerns brought up.  WISN management didn't even bother to respond.

Given the clear violation and even clearer disregard for the laws they are supposed to follow to be able to use the public airwaves which they are given for free, the Media Action Center held a press conference Tuesday morning outside of WTMJ's studios.

Shockingly, WTMJ actually covered it, but in an off-hand, dismissive way.  Most notably, Steve Wexler of WTMJ, says that they have had Barrett supporters on the air.  But he completely misses the point on the imbalance of air time that they give to Walker.

Here is the entire raw video of the press conference:

It cannot be emphasized enough, even though the right wing will ignore it anyway, that no one wants to silence the conservative voice. We are only asking for them to follow the law on the last sixty days before an election.

If they don't follow the law, Media Action Center is prepared to take this to the FCC who could fine the station, order them to follow the law, or even deny their license which is up for renewal later this year.


  1. Here's a good guide to the "public file" of documents that a radio station must make available to the public.

    In the years to come, the Communications Act will be rewritten (again), in an effort started by Democrats, and no doubt the cash from media and telecom companies will shape the debate.

    You see lots of talk about all the money flowing into politics. You see very little coverage of where all that money is going... What fraction goes to postage? What fraction goes to television, to newspapers, to printers, to paying political ground forces? Do the political ads enrich media companies, or would they have sold the same space at the same price to some business? Do prices increase for a limited amount of ad space? A newspaper can add pages; a television station can only add so many minutes of local ads; a radio station is somewhere in-between.

  2. John and Capper can these questions (at least in general) be directed to business journals and trade magazines?

    With the vast amounts of money the Citizens United ruling has unleashed, commonsense tells me there is no way that the Koch & co moneychangers are not getting an immediate return on their money.
    Payola, bribery, money-laundering, extortion, blackmail, etc. must be a part of these "political" activities. There is just too much cash floating around.

  3. We have 9 days left. If they want to go to the FCC, they should do it yesterday.

  4. They can file all they want. Facts are there were no violations of either the law or FCC rules.

    1. Tell that to the radio stations in Sacramento who lost their fight.