The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

10 April 2006

Phoenix, Illegal Immigration, KFYI, FCC, Arizona Attorney General


With Censorship In Mind, Officials Target Talk Radio

(Note: Your help is urgently needed! See below.)

After a fill-in host
pushed the envelope during an illegal immigration discussion, some Arizona officials are now working to eliminate conservative talk radio in Phoenix.

Under public pressure, could this seemingly heavy-handed and partisan action against Clear Channel's KFYI-AM backfire?

By demanding severe sanctions against the broadcast outlet, it appears to be a full-scale station shutdown attempt. What is more un-American than that?

Taking a highly unusual action, Democrat Arizona State Attorney General Terry Goddard joined with US Attorney Paul Charleton to demand a federal investigation into March 8 comments made by substitute host Brian James.

To get the point across, their official and very public campaign has been aimed directly at Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin.

On the date in question, James allegedly said this, according to KPHO CBS TV-5 in Phoenix:

According to a transcript, during one segment of his show, James suggested a solution to the immigration problem was to randomly pick one night a week to kill anyone coming across the border.

While we've seen no indication of where this transcript may be available for review, using their offices to demand punitive action on the basis of a fill-in host's comment seems unduly severe.

Friday evening, that's exactly what Goddard and Charleton called for, in an after-hours press release (read here, Adobe reader required for viewing).

And here's the actual letter sent to Chairman Martin. An excerpt of their statement:

This type of threatening and inciting speech is dangerous and totally irresponsible for anyone, particularly a licensed body using public airways.

We are deeply concerned that, given the intensifying conflict over immigration in Arizona, this speech may lead to violence. Tempers are short on both sides, and the situation in Arizona is highly volatile.

Why the odd timing? That's what KFYI would like to know:

The letter, dated Friday and distributed to the media after business hours that same afternoon, strongly urged the chairman of the FCC to impose sanctions against the station, but did not make clear what, if any broadcast rules the two prosecutors felt the station had violated.

A spokeswoman for Goddard said he was unavailable to comment on the matter. Attempts to reach Chartleton's office late Friday were unsuccessful.

At issue was a March 8 segment in which evening fill in host Bryan James raised the prospect of selecting one day a week during which anyone crossing the border illegally would be shot. KFYI Program Director Laurie Cantillo said the comment was a satirical characterization of the frustration felt by Americans over the issue of illegal immigration.

KFYI's point is well-taken: why is Goddard's office hiding behind the press release? And why go after this a full month after the broadcast air date? There's something fishy going on here.

And just how far will Goddard and Charleton be willing to take this matter? In order to pander to proponents of illegal immigration lawbreaking, is free speech ready to be sacrificed?

Instead of immediately going after KFYI's license to operate, clearly their goal, what constructive efforts did Goddard and Charleton make to get their own message out over the station's airwaves? No doubt the AM news/talk outlet would welcome them as guests.

Mr Goddard, however, is known to have ongoing political ambitions. Will this help?

In addition, we wonder if they were similarly outraged when Air America Radio (heard at the time on a local radio station) host Randi Rhodes aired a skit suggesting the President be executed 'Sopranos'-style?

We don't recall a press release in that instance.

While we don't believe random fire against illegals is a good idea, there are many situations along the Arizona border where lethal force is becoming increasingly necessary.

Clearly, our current enforcement efforts have been woefully insufficient.

For James, partisan Democrat opponents have allowed an obscure fill-in host to gain a great deal of publicity, good for a short-term career boost.

Since KFYI's early-evening time slot is up for grabs, he may now have the upper-hand.

For the long run, however, we believe James should revisit his rhetoric. To avoid giving partisan hacks free ammunition to use in their efforts to undermine America's justice system, sloppy thinking should be avoided.

Since conservatives will always win the illegal immigration debate, there's no need to feed the pro-lawbreaking camp's fire.

In addition, it's time for KFYI to make a sincere effort to recruit top-notch talk hosts from all over the country. Instead, the station and overall market have a terrible habit of using retreads who work cheap and don't require moving expense reimbursements.

The last early-evening guy lasted less than a few months. Since Phoenix is now one of the nation's biggest markets, that's format-damaging cost-cutting in action, so it's time to get a grip.

Against any form of government intervention into the political content of talk radio, however, The Radio Equalizer stands firmly behind KFYI.

Where authorities would likely welcome their views on media censorship, we also favor sending Goddard and Charleton to Communist China.

URGENT: please write to Chairman Martin to let him know how you feel about media censorship against KFYI. Please alert us to any response from the FCC.

EQUALLY URGENT: Our good friends at Powerline, who have been extremely supportive of the Radio Equalizer's investigative efforts, require your help:

Tomorrow (Monday 10 April), pro-illegal immigration demonstrations are planned to take place in around 60 cities. You can find the schedule of events here. If the past is any guide, conventional news coverage of the demonstrations is likely to be unilluminating. We think this is an opportunity for a bit of citizen journalism.

Anyone with a video camera (or most digital cameras) can attend one of the demonstrations and record what he sees. How many people are participating in the demonstration? What signs are they carrying? What flags? Who seems to be in charge?

We're encouraging our readers, and anyone else who is able, to attend the demonstration in your city and record what you see. Send your videos to us, and we'll put up a cross-section of interesting footage--assuming, of course, that we get some. It will be interesting to compare the first-hand observations of citizens with cameras to news accounts.

Please help Powerline, KFYI and others continue to circumvent the mainstream media.

UPDATE: Joe's Dartblog, affiliated with Powerline, has an interesting take on this story here. And more thoughts from Right Voices.

Thanks for your continued and vital Radio Equalizer support, via Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of what you ultimately order!

Images: Pete at IHillary for the Radio Equalizer. Photos: Michelle Malkin


  • "Since conservatives will always win the illegal immigration debate, there's no need to feed the pro-lawbreaking camp's fire."

    are you fucking kidding me? i'm absolutely at a loss for words on that one.

    you make a lot of absurd and unfounded claims.

    DON'T BE FOOLED PEOPLE - maloney is nothing more than an overweight, unemployed douche who is just angry because he resides in an overwhelmingly liberal part of the country, and none of his neighbors share his idiotic views.

    By Blogger liberal outlaw, at 10 April, 2006 10:04  

  • You've GOT to be kidding me...suggesting that Cheney and / or Bush should be executed for "treason" seems far worse than this comment...the hypocrisy is once again apparent...

    By Blogger Conservative PhD, at 10 April, 2006 13:23  

  • you see, Franken never said they should be executed. he said that "back in the day" that's what happened if you committed treason.

    i CHALLENGE anyone on here to give me HARD EVIDENCE of AL FRANKEN saying that Bush and or Cheney should be killed. show me where he said that he wants them to die. if you can't, then shut up, and start taking some responsibility for your party's actions. i know that's still beyond your grasp, but just give it a shot.

    By Blogger liberal outlaw, at 10 April, 2006 15:41  

  • So if I'm understanding correctly, Mr. Maloney has no problem with what this Brian James person said?

    Can I verify that? Do you want to join in on his crusade to shoot people? And would you be willing to go to prison to support this view?

    By Blogger Ben, at 10 April, 2006 17:04  

  • Ben has a good point, and it leads me to wonder the same thing. do you think that it is a good idea to shoot these people? and if so, what's next? why stop at illegal aliens? why don't you go ahead and shoot everyone who has a different viewpoint than you? or you could just shoot anyone who looked at you wrong. you conservatives sure are a civil group of people. i'm sure God just loves hearing you speak like this.

    save me a seat in hell so that we can argue for all of eternity.

    By Blogger hardcore conservative genious, at 10 April, 2006 17:59  

  • Yeah, nobody except Hollywood Halfwit Ben Affleck

    Oh and to L-O, re: your comments--"maloney is nothing more than an overweight, unemployed douche who is just angry because he resides in an overwhelmingly liberal part of the country, and none of his neighbors share his idiotic views."


    I take no qualms in saying I live in a bluer-than-blue state in The People's Republic of Connecticut--where we have no REAL Republicans, just RINOS!

    And in terms of what the KFYI host said--the matter of immigration is a major hot button issue in Arizona-I know having a family friend in Tucson joining in the fight against the illegals.

    Point blank, you knuckleheads on the left want the return of the Fairness Doctrine--AKA the Hush Rush Bill--it would FORCE radio stations to carry BOTH SIDES of the story or else switch formats! WELL IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN!

    By Blogger The Real Bob Anthony, at 10 April, 2006 18:02  

  • nowhere does Brian state that he approves of what the radio host said--he simply states that there was no uproar against radio hosts that wanted the president shot ( randi rhodes really pushed that)

    ---the idea of shooting immigrants is terrible in my oppinion, America is founded on immigration---even if was not, it is still horrible the idea of shooting immigrants...

    Brian's point is not about that horrible concept, it is about the coverage of it.

    By Blogger FYIFYI, at 10 April, 2006 18:22  

  • Punish the spanish language stations calling for a revolution? But, they won't!

    "Can't punish the underpriveledged Mexican invaders, their just ignorant because of no opportunities!" SARCASM or SOUNDS LIKE A POLITICIAN?

    By Blogger whataboutbob, at 10 April, 2006 21:16  

  • In all fairness, that may be the case. But still, given that the topic has come up, why would he not condemn the death threat?

    Also, if I understand the Randi Rhodes incident, what happened was that some soundbites of one of Bush's speeches were played over the dialogue for the Godfather,Bush was made to be Fredo, and one of the scenes was when Fredo was killed. Bad taste, of course. But I don't think the comparison is all that valid.

    By Blogger Ben, at 11 April, 2006 00:18  

  • FYIFYI said:

    "he simply states that there was no uproar against radio hosts that wanted the president shot ( randi rhodes really pushed that)"

    FYI, Randi Rhodes didn't "really push that". It was a pre-taped skit , which she hadn't heard before it aired. She later apologized for it, and took the blame because it was her show.

    Some people went on to claim that she was being investigated by the Secret Service, which apparently was NOT the case.

    By Blogger Ezsuds81, at 11 April, 2006 02:06  

  • I'm horrified by the radio host's statement, even though it was obviously just hyperbole.

    I doubt if anyone here approves of advocating violence -expressly or through implication - against others via the radio waves.

    I think that the point of Mr. Maloney's story is that nobody cared at all - until it became politically expedient to do so.

    Did it take a month to get noticed, or was it that radio waves were particularly slow moving that month?

    It's the cheap shot well after the fact that is the problem here.

    By Blogger Lokki, at 11 April, 2006 09:56  

  • KYFI is a great station. But, the loss of Liddy and Hill has hurt them a ton.

    By Blogger Brian, at 12 April, 2006 21:05  

  • What he said on air in my view was he wanted to start a rally of americans to got out and start killing people. you ever think that maybe he's done this before, I mean actually killed someone, it would'nt suprise me, he was very cold and calm about it with no emotion, as if it was appealing. watch out for this guy, he's DANGEROUS!!

    By Blogger mayoral1, at 08 May, 2006 23:22  

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