Until They Reinstate the Fairness Doctrine

I coined the phrase “Hate Radio.”

I know this because I searched all the search engines when I started “Stop Hate Radio” in 2001. There was a single reference in a few places: in the mid-1990s a group of minority students in Florida used the term in protesting a Florida sports radio station whose host used disparaging and borderline racist characterizations on a regular basis. The fellow toned it down or was fired, and the term vanished into the ether.

In January 2001, I proposed a campaign at the Democratic Party of Lane County monthly meeting, and produced a brochure, which was adopted by the state Democratic party as a resolution at a meeting that spring that I didn’t attend.

Soon, there was a huge coalition of groups in Portland who issued press releases, and freaked out Michael Savage and Lars Larson, the latter of whom sent me a schoolyard bully letter “inviting” me to come on his show if I “had the guts.”*

(* I had the guts, but he didn’t have the couth, and I ignored Lars. Not difficult to do.)

From January 2001 to 2002, there was a lot a highfalutin’ talk, but no action. Finally, sick of waiting for anything to happen, I registered the domain stophateradio.org and created a webpage.

[* WHOIS: Created On: 29-Jul-2002 14:50:19 UTC ]

By that fall, Michael Savage was off the air, with the local station manager making a bunch of idiotic remarks that they’d been considering the move for a long time, etc. etc. etc. A college group* that was doing protests and media posturings — more noise than action — took credit and it wasn’t worth my time to fight about it.

[* RADIOACTIVE, they called themselves. Get it? Haw Haw.]

But the point was that Gerry Rempel and I had created a simple, workable model for removing hate radio from the local airwaves, and I left the page up as a model. People inquire, but generally they don’t DO anything, and I don’t do much other than refer them to the page anymore. If you want hate radio off the air, YOU have to take responsibility.

I received the following incredibly polite (not) email yesterday:

Stop Hate Radio — What can I do?

Please reply with legal suggestions or similar groups.

To which I replied:

This is a very simple concept that seems to escape groups seeking to stop hate radio.

You don’t have to pay to be insulted.

If someone is advertising on Rush or Hannity (keep it local, national boycotts are a waste of time), then they are paying to insult you, your values and your friends. YOU don’t have to pay for that. Which means that you politely inform local advertisers that you will not patronize their business as long as they’re advertising on …. PICK A SHOW.

Pick ONE show. (Start with the weakest and work your way up. Don’t start with the strongest.)

A friend and I did it without any help from a lot of highfalutin’ organizations and coalitions — who, we found, were more than happy to get all excited and hold rallies, but nobody had the stick-to-it-iveness to do the work for a week.

(Such organizations tend to be less than useless if they’re all talk and no show.)

Just two people. He would call and politely inform them that he wasn’t going to patronize their store if they were going to insult him. He could take his business elsewhere.

I ran the webpage, and monitored the show targeted (in this case Michael Savage). I put Savage’s most horrible comments on the webpage, and listed his advertisers.

Three months later, Savage was off the air.

In a recession, there are not a lot of businesses who can afford to blow off a significant number of their local customers, and they will pull their advertising.

There’s nothing difficult about this.

Only one word of advice. BE POLITE.

(Oh OK: TWO words.)

It was amazing how quickly the largest stores jerked their ads. It is very simple, takes not much of an organization, and requires no dramatic rallies, protests, etc. The most sensitive nerve in the businessman’s body is the wallet nerve, and it takes very little for the business to freak out and find SOME OTHER place to advertise. It’s just been that no one has held local businesses accountable.

A little bit of patience. A little bit of work, and you can make advertising on hate radio a toxic buy for your local businesses, and the hard core nuts can STREAM it on the internet if they want, but they’ll be off the air in your town. (But be careful, the sword cuts both ways.)

One last thing:

When the Righties start screeching that you’re against free speech (and they always do, trust me), reply that you absolutely believe in Hannity’s right to all the free speech he wants in the unemployment line or the street corner, but radio is *COMMERCIAL* speech, and you and your friends have a right NOT to patronize businesses that pay to insult you.

So simple that even a Republican can understand it.

Hope that helps.

I’ll never hear from them again. So I am telling you how to do it, here, in the hopes that knowing HOW to do it, you’ll WANT to do it, and get off your ass and DO IT.

But, eight years later, I’m not going to hold my breath.




crossposted from his vorpal sword

Bookmark and Share

About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Until They Reinstate the Fairness Doctrine

  1. Ken Jarvis - Las Vegas says:


  2. Hart Williams says:

    Unfortunately, there is not the political will to do so. There’s an outside chance, of course, but I think this is one of those occasions where We, the People are going to have to take point.