As Clear Channel Signals a Flip to Sports, Only One Presidential Candidate Has Stepped up to Support Balance on the People's Airwaves in the Nation's 6th Largest City...
By Brad Friedman on 10/10/2007, 2:45pm PT  

In a letter sent to station management, as The BRAD BLOG reported in August, former Democratic Senator from Alaska, Mike Gravel, correctly wrote: "The increasing monopolization of the mainstream media today demands that we stand up for independent-minded, progressive voices out there like KLSD AM 1360 in San Diego."

He was the only Presidential Candidate, to our knowledge, to utter a word about it.

As reports emerge that progressive radio talker Ed Schultz' audience now matches Bill O'Reilly's, one has to wonder what the hell the Democrats --- specifically the rest of the Democratic Presidential candidates --- are thinking, as Clear Channel prepares to flip the only progressive talk station in the nation's sixth largest city over to an all-sports format any day now.

The busy Internet rumors suggest it could happen as early as this week. Station insiders have told The BRAD BLOG it's more likely to happen on November 1st "at the earliest", as the corporate bosses at Clear Channel get ducks in a row for what is currently seen as an "inevitable" flip.

It'll be one less major market for Big Ed, one of the Democratic party's biggest and most effective supporters. Though O'Reilly will, no doubt, remain on the air in San Diego, despite the damage and shame his irresponsible "reporting" brings to our Republic.

In late August, we detailed the first indications that corporate media behemoth, Clear Channel, was preparing to dump the progressive talk format at AM 1360 KLSD in San Diego. Citizens were outraged, signed petitions, wrote letters to station management, created websites and showed up at rallies to protest the imminent shut down of the station.

At the time, we suggested to both organizers of the protests and station personnel that they join with Air America (who has several shows airing on the station) to invite the Democratic Presidential candidates out to San Diego for an Emergency Debate focusing on one of the very reasons our country is in the mess that it is: Corporate Consolidation of the Public Airwaves.

It seems quite clear that such consolidation has not been in the best interest of the people who own the airwaves. And further, it seems clear that the corporate interests who lease access to that spectrum, from the people, don't give a damn about such interests.

And yet, to our knowledge, in the nearly two months since Clear Channel indicated they were preparing to flip the station format, only one Democratic Presidential candidate, Gravel, has understood the importance about speaking out against this outrage.

Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild told us in August of her concerns about what this move may signal. "I suspect they’ll be starting in San Diego and moving around the U.S. to shut down the progressives," she predicted.

There are already four other stations devoted to sports in San Diego. There are no other stations devoted to progressive politics.

Moreover, as Aldous Tyler spokesperson for NonStopRadio.com, an Internet site fighting to support the progressive talk format around the country, pointed out in a letter to KLSD management, of the 25 stations, in major markets around the country, to flip from progressive talk in the past 18 months, "not a single one has performed as well in their market as progressive talk did on that same signal."

If Democratic politicians wish to complain that they do not get a fair shake in the media (and they don't), they'd be well-advised to ban together and fight for the continued existence of those very few stations which do not tow the conservative corporate talk radio line twenty-four hours a day --- particularly in a Presidential Election Year. (Hello, people?)

A new rally is planned for this Friday in San Diego. (NonStopRadio has more details on additional efforts.) If the people of San Diego show up Friday --- at the ungodly hour of 6:30am --- in the same numbers they did last time, it'll be yet another important testament to the importance of such a station in such a large city, thought to be Republican-leaning. In a Presidential Election year. (Did we mention that?)

So where are those who wish to sell themselves as leaders to the American people? And when will any of those Presidential Candidates join Gravel by speaking out, standing up, and fighting to preserve balance on even the tiniest band of the people's airwaves on behalf of the people --- not the corporations --- who actually own them?

You want our vote, Hillary, Barrack, John, Joe, Bill, Chris or Dennis? Please start acting like it, and lead for a change, instead of posturing. San Diego --- and America --- need you now more than ever. Step up and fight for San Diego. We're quite certain the people will thank you for it.