The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

22 May 2009

Talk Radio Faces Potential Venezuela-Like Future


Obamists Have Talk Radio Crackdown Plan In Place

For a glimpse into the future of American broadcasting, one need look no further than the systematic eradication of dissenting voices by Venezuelan thug Hugo Chavez. Closer to home, is American talk radio next to go?

This week, his regime continued its campaign to destroy the country's last remaining opposition news outlet. From the AP earlier today:

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Police and soldiers on Thursday raided a property belonging to the head of Venezuela's only anti-government news network amid a growing confrontation between the station and President Hugo Chavez's government.

Judicial police chief Wilmer Flores Trossel said authorities found 24 Toyota vehicles on a property in eastern Venezuela belonging to Globovision president Guillermo Zuloaga. They raided the property after receiving an anonymous tip.


Broadcast regulators are investigating Globovision for inciting "panic and anxiety" by criticizing the government for its slow response to a moderate earthquake earlier this month. Globovision is Venezuela's only remaining anti-Chavez television station on the open airwaves.

Chavez warned private media last week that they're "playing with fire." He specifically targeted Globovision director Alberto Federico Ravell, calling him "a crazy man with a cannon."

Human Rights Watch on Thursday criticized Chavez's government for investigating the station. The organization's Americas director, Jose Miguel Vivanco, accused the government of using the probe to harass critics.

Though it hasn't yet escalated into violent attacks here in America, the Obamist regime has certainly begun to take the country down the same dangerous path.

Here's their blueprint:

It begins with refusing to call on reporters from unfriendly networks during White House press conferences and then to creating faux "news" agencies to cover the Dear Leader glowingly.

From there, dreaded license procedures are changed to force stations into a mere three-year renewal cycle, subject to the whims of Obama's installed agents at the FCC:

Speaking at the annual Free Speech Summit in Washington, today, acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps said, "Reform breezes are blowing through the corridors of power all over this city."

One of the reforms Copps would like to see at the FCC, he said, is to have the commission "get serious about defining broadcasters' public interest obligations and reinvigorating our license renewal process." He said, "It is time to say goodbye to postcard renewal every eight years and hello to license renewals every three years with some public interest teeth."

The NAB quickly responded to that idea; EVP Dennis Wharton said, "NAB would respectfully oppose attempts to shorten license renewal terms. Congress wisely reformed license renewal terms to allow broadcasters to better compete against our pay platform competitors. Reducing a broadcaster's term of license would actually harm localism by injecting greater uncertainty into a business model facing the worst advertising downturn in decades."

Continuing their campaign of destruction, the new electronic ratings system that provides an accurate assessment of conservative talk radio's huge ratings is dismantled.

Next, once the licenses of talk outlets have been cancelled, making their stations nearly worthless as a result, pro-Obamist firms are cleared to purchase them with taxpayer funds through targeted "bailouts":

The congressmen suggest the Treasury Department could provide access to capital to minority-owned broadcasters, which they say represent less than 7 percent of full-power radio stations and a “negligible” ownership of television stations.

“They are looking for continued access to capital to continue their otherwise fundamentally sound operations,” the members write.

The letter suggests Treasury could set up a credit facility specific to the industry, similar to the government’s efforts to support auto suppliers, or possibly set up a program for bridge financing and government-backed loans until the economy improves.

For insight into what's next, your Radio Equalizer has interviewed longtime broadcast industry executive Brian Jennings, author of the new book Censorship: The Threat To Silence Talk Radio. From our discussion:

THE RADIO EQUALIZER: Do you see three-year license renewals as Obama's primary tool for removing conservative talk radio from the airwaves?

BRIAN JENNINGS: I see this is not only an assault on conservative talk, but all of radio. It's Big Brother, state control. It comes right out of John Podesta's playbook at the Center for American Progress, which authored the June 2007 report critical of talk radio in America.

Yes, it is a tool that puts conservative talk under the microscope and allows government to hyper-regulate content.

In addition to shortening license renewal, the FCC will re-define public interest obligations with the intent of homogenizing talk in America. If (Acting FCC Chairman Michael) Copps and his minions really believed in free speech, they would allow the free marketplace to determine what it wants to hear. This is about a listener's right to hear what they want and Copps doesn't like what the marketplace wants to hear, as our ratings verify.

TRE: If conservatives got their acts together, however, could this backfire if it results in tying up the licenses of other stations, a strategy of fighting fire with fire?

JENNINGS: Liberals better be careful of what they ask because we should be able to go back on them and put them under the same microscope. This is about government control of media and Copps should be embarrassed and taken to the woodshed.

TRE: Do you see Obama going as far as Hugo Chavez in directly targeting opposition outlets?

JENNINGS: Considering how Obama treated opposition media during his campaign (WGN), I have come to the conclusion he doesn't want opposition. The FCC can define "public interest obligations" pretty much anyway it wants and if we examine Obama's background, he wants his far left agenda to permeate America.

I have come to the conclusion that the far-left wants to destroy conservative values in America and they know the best way to do that is to destroy conservative talk in America. If they truly believed in free speech, they would let all alone. They would pass a Broadcaster Freedom Act through the House, but Pelosi won't allow that to happen.

They would not allow Senator Durbin to pass an amendment to "clarify public interest obligations". It would not have been in their 2008 platform unless they were serious about changing the media landscape to their benefit. The free marketplace of ideas should determine all this, but is is obvious they don't want listeners to determine that for themselves.

TRE: Is the FCC's PPM inquiry intended to hurt talk radio's strong performance under the new system?

JENNINGS: I think PPM is the future for measuring radio's audience. It measures real listening in real time. It holds programmers accountable for doing a good job. Any inquiry is just sour grapes.

Arbitron must make sure the sample base is representative and fair, but it seems to me that those who think PPM is unfair should take a look at their programming methods and step it up. I have no question this is part of an overall strategy to take talk radio down and redefine America.

While it may be too late for Venezuela, America can still be saved from oppressive government control of the media. What will you do to prevent Chavez-style tyranny here at home?

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  • Funnier by the second Brian

    in 8 years, when the wing nuts are still polluting the airwaves, with their lies, Anti-worker, Anti-poor and Anti-American opinions, the hysterical right wing predictions of Obamunism will be forgotten like Limbagh's operatino chaos. By the way how did operation chaos go?

    speaing of conservative theories being exposed as lies. Thousands of rigt wing sociopaths have blamed the demise of print media because the papers being "too liberal". We learn.... the newspaper demise is due to lack of CLASSIFIED advertising, because of free outlets like Craig's list.
    $10 billion lost a year as a result of classief advertising decline in print media

    everything the right says is always goofy, totally wrong and laughable

    once more, wing nuts are proven wrong and are silent.
    The 20%ers, always wrong, always insane, always anti-American, all the time

    By Anonymous wingNutstupidity, at 25 May, 2009 13:16  

  • (yawn)

    MOP, do you have a bunch of these things outlined and typed up before Brian posts? Your one-note, humorless screeds are tired and predictable. You need a new schtick to spice things up.

    Also, it's good to see that, in spite of (or is it because of?) teh Won's efforts to suppress us, we wingnuts have grown, in your estimation, from 12% to 20% in less than five months! At this rate, we'll be close to 80% of the electorate by the time the 2012 elections roll around! Obama won't have a chance!

    Unless, of course, you're just making numbers up as you go along...

    By Anonymous wingNutstupidity needs a new schtick, at 26 May, 2009 13:59  

  • You must be getting to the Brian; the Seminar Posters are out already. This one's not even imaginative enough to make up a plausible name; just parroting his line of B.S.

    Is it my imagination, or are the leftoid trolls getting lazy with Obama's coronation?

    Heh. Try again, toll-boy.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 26 May, 2009 14:42  

  • For 7 years now right wingers have repeated "newspapers are losing money because they are too liberal"

    In 3 sentences I discredited your lies. Classified advertising has dropped drastically in revenue resultiung in the failure of newspapers. I linked the facts, you chose to ignore them
    Once more another right wing myth has been exposed and debunked by reality. and you wingnuts tremble in fear as I expose your lies

    I back my facts. classified advertising loss of revenue hurt newspapers, not imaginary "liberalism"

    and you ignore the crux of the post.
    and in 8 years, the morons on talk radio will still be on the air babbling away with their lies, and I will point out, how paranoid and insane you were for comparing Obama to Hugo Chavez and expose the whole "censorship by Obama" was another right wing myth, and you will ignore this as well

    Again, this is why most of the country ignores and loathes right wingers, right wing radio and right wing politics, you are all little children, terrifedof the truths I bring

    I don't need a new schtick, the GOP does. Shrieking "socialist" no longer works, and again i never voted for Obama, I just hate wing nuts

    By Anonymous Mocking,exposig and humiliatingthe right, at 26 May, 2009 16:57  

  • You are correct about your Hugo Chavez connection, that's why the boot licks in the Democrat party all go down there and slobber on his boots.

    If you haven't watched it, Frontline has a video called "The Hugo Chavez Show" -- It's well worth watching. The czars are a Chavez invention to go around the Congressional approval process. So is the media circus of getting these confabs together and acting like things are getting done.

    Here is the link ...

    How would a leftard know Hitler, simple he would be their candidate. Ignorant people, the raw material of tyrants.

    By Blogger 10ksnooker, at 27 May, 2009 10:30  

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