Guest Blogged by Miriam Raftery
SAN DIEGO - “We believe dissent is patriotic. We believe in the constitution and we believe in the United States of America,” AM 1360 KLSD talk show host Stacy Taylor said on his morning show in San Diego on Monday, drawing cheers from a crowd of more than 500 listeners who showed up at 7am to rally in protest of Clear Channel's plan to convert San Diego’s only progressive radio station to an all-sports format.
Over 1,100 people have signed a petition calling on Clear Channel to keep KLSD’s progressive format since word of the planned format change leaked out late last week. Clear Channel executives have also been deluged with thousands of emails, virtually all in favor of keeping Air America on the air in America’s sixth largest city.
KLSD has received letters supporting KLSD progressive radio received from Senator Bernie Sanders, Democratic presidential candidate Senator Mike Gravel, and Ambassador Joe Wilson, husband of former CIA-agent Valerie Plame, whose identity was leaked to the press by a White House source.
“Clear Channel has no agenda to shut down progressive voices,” programming director Cliff Albert said at the rally. Consideration of a format change is motivated solely by falling Arbitron ratings and concerns over advertising dollars, KLSD insiders have disclosed.
But some expressed skepticism.
“I think this is another effort to shut down progressive voices where the message is most effective, especially here in a military town,” said Bree Walker, an Air America host in Los Angeles and former San Diego TV newscaster who recently purchased Cindy Sheehan’s ranch in Crawford, Texas.
Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild and author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law, shared that concern. “I suspect they’ll be starting in San Diego and moving around the U.S. to shut down the progressives,” she predicted...