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What about a campaign against WOOD radio? They broadcast Rush Limbaugh 15 hours every week in West Michigan – Updated

March 2, 2012

There has been a great deal of online commentary in the past few days related to syndicated radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh’s misogynist comments directed at Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke.

Limbaugh’s comment about Fluke being a “slut” and a “prostitute” are just the most recent example of his long line of hate speech directed mostly at women, communities of color, immigrants and the LGBT community.

The national media watchdog group, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, has been documenting Limbaugh’s hate speech for years, with one of their reporters even producing a book entitled The Way Things Aren’t. A more recent book that documents Limbaugh and other talk radio hate speech offenders is Rory O’Connor’s book, Shock Jocks: Hate Speech and Talk Radio: America’s Ten Worst Hate Talkers and the Progressive Alternatives.

One of the responses from the progressive community so far was a petition to get Republicans to denounce Limbaugh’s comments, which has resulted in a few mild responses.

Others have been suggesting we target the companies that Rush Limbaugh sponsors, companies that he often promotes directly as a pitchman. There is an existing list we have seen on Facebook, where people are encouraged to contact these companies directly in order to hit the talk show host financially. This effort seems to have more teeth, but there is not much discussion so far about going after the radio stations that carry Limbaugh’s show.

In Grand Rapids, Clear Channel’s WOOD radio (106.9FM & 1300AM) airs Limbaugh Monday through Friday from noon til 3pm. What if we organized a campaign to target WOOD Radio and what could that look like?

First, people could contact the General Manager of WOOD Radio Tim Feagan timfeagan@clearchannel.com to demand that Limbaugh be taken off the air. This will not likely result in a victory, but it will at least let the local Clear Channel office know that people are pissed off.

Second, we could develop a campaign to target the companies that advertise on WOOD Radio by engaging in a boycott campaign until they pull their advertising dollars from the station. This will most likely be a more effective tactic since money is the only language that for-profit media entities understand.

Third, people could organize a protest of WOOD Radio right outside of their headquarters located at 77 Monroe Center Ave in downtown Grand Rapids. Such an activity would be a way to get people together who are pissed off at Limbaugh and potentially recruit them to get involved in other aspects of a campaign.

Fourth, WOOD Radio and all other Michigan radio stations must renew their FCC license this year in order to legally operate on the public airwaves. During this license renewal process the public can submit letters or e-mails of complaint to the station about Limbaugh. The FCC will take into consideration these letters when determining whether or not to renew the station’s license. Whenever someone submits a letter or e-mail, a copy must go into their public file and failure to do so can result in their radio license being terminated.

Fifth, a campaign to challenge the FCC license of WOOD Radio could also include a legal campaign with the assistance of the ACLU (something they have done in the past to challenge radio/TV license renewal).  Such an effort could argue that Limbaugh’s comments are not just his opinion, but a form of hate speech that has serious social consequences.

If anyone is interested in organizing any part of such a campaign right here in Grand Rapids, send me an e-mail at jsmith@griid.org.

Updated at 4:48PM on March 2nd

Several readers have shared with this blog that they have contacted WOOD Radio. Here is the response they are getting from station manager Tim Feagan. “Wood Radio is committed to providing its listeners with access to a broad range of opinion and commentary without condoning or agreeing with the opinions, comments or attempts at humor expressed by on-air talent.   The contraception debate is one that sparks strong emotion and opinions on both sides of the issue.  We respect the right of Mr. Limbaugh, as well as the rights of those who disagree with him, to express those opinions.”

Not only does this appear to be a canned response, it equates Limbaugh’s hate speech as opinion. The response also demonstrates that nothing short of a major campaign against the station, one that will have monetary consequences, is necessary to make change.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. March 2, 2012 10:14 pm

    Insane behavior is not news.

  2. March 2, 2012 10:19 pm

    Jake, I have to say I disagree with your comment. Limbaugh’s comment, while loathsome, is not insane. His contempt for women and particularly confident women is not insanity it is a reflection of his male privilege and wanting to keep women subordinated to men.

    I posted this story because if we don’t want this kind of hate speech on local radio stations like WOOD radio then we need to take action in the same way if Limbaugh was bashing gays, demonizing immigrants or slandering communities of color…….all of which he has done and will continue to do.

  3. March 2, 2012 10:57 pm

    This is so far beyond acceptable behavior….let me know what I can do to help!

  4. March 2, 2012 11:05 pm

    Thanks Jim, we will let you know if something gets organized, but in the meantime any and all letters or e-mails to WOOD radio are helpful. If we can generate lots of letters/e-mails it will help in any challenge to their FCC license renewal.

  5. Rick permalink
    March 3, 2012 12:56 am

    In reply to clear channel’s response I think it’s important to note they are declaring their stance as free speech but clear channel sells ads so its commercial speech and those who advertise with them need to know you are not going to pay to be insulted. Get the list and boycott the weakest. Clear channel wants to be innocent while picking the pockets of clients and listeners. Auto zone replied they didn’t advertise on political talk shows and I suggested they have no idea when their ads run on in any local area.

  6. Carol Ann permalink
    March 3, 2012 12:18 pm

    You’d have to listen to the a$$ on WOOD Radio, but post a list of the LOCAL businesses who advertise on his show. Then send letters/emails/FB posts to those LOCAL businesses telling them why you’ll no longer patronize them until they stop advertising on this show. Hitting local businesses is the best way to send a clear message to both WOOD and its advertisers.

  7. March 3, 2012 4:01 pm

    Carol Ann, this is our plan and we are gathering that information now………unless of course you have already done the work and could share with us that information.

  8. Carol Ann permalink
    March 3, 2012 4:24 pm

    I’ve tried, really I have, but I can’t listen to more than 3 minutes of his form of “opinion” without seriously barfing. Sorry …

    looking forward to seeing that list!

  9. March 3, 2012 5:21 pm

    I empathize with not wanting to listed to WOOD radio. I feel like I need to take a shower every time I do. Hopefully we will have a list of advertisers soon.

  10. March 3, 2012 7:21 pm

    Interested in the local ad campaign? I’ve already called WOOD and sent a comment to their FB page which is still there and to which I got a canned response

  11. March 3, 2012 7:57 pm

    Mary Alice, we will be posting something tomorrow for an action this coming Wednesday in conjunction with NOW GR. We will also be collecting information on advertisers on WOOD radio and will post that information as well. thanks for the interest.

  12. March 3, 2012 8:31 pm

    I have tried to be objective and listen but he is so mean, so unfair to so many, I just give up.

  13. lisa permalink
    May 22, 2012 12:15 am

    no one forces you to turn on the radio and listen. He has as much right to free speech as any american. If you don’t like it turn the channel

  14. May 22, 2012 1:42 am

    Lisa, I’m not really interested in having a debate with someone who appears to support Limbaugh. The issue is not free speech, but hate speech. When Rush or any other radio talk show host calls women sluts, that is hate speech. He can disagree all he wants with the Georgetown student whom he went after, but calling her a slut is unacceptable. This however, is not the first time he has engaged in sexist, racist or homophobic speech – https://griid.org/2012/03/15/calling-women-sluts-is-nothing-new-for-rush-limbaugh-why-we-need-to-widen-our-analysis-for-the-dump-rush-campaign/

    In addition, the airwaves belong to the public, not to private corporations or individuals, which is why they are regulated by the FCC. Broadcasters must serve the public interest, not engage in hateful attacks of people they disagree with.

  15. May 22, 2012 3:04 pm

    The FCC is worthless, bought and paid for by the greedy corporate engine and the main stream media.

  16. May 22, 2012 3:24 pm

    I don’t disagree that the FCC is bought off and answers to whichever administration is in power, but that is what the mandate is. More importantly, I was making a distinction between free speech and hate speech.

  17. May 22, 2012 3:54 pm

    The FCC is not going to go after hate speech, esp. from the conservatives and their ilk.

  18. May 22, 2012 3:58 pm

    I am not suggesting that they will. What I am suggesting and what the Dump Rush campaign is designed to do (besides get Limbaugh off of WOOD Radio) is to force the FCC to actually be an enforcement agency. This has happened before when broadcasters violate FCC guidelines.

Trackbacks

  1. Campaign to get Rush off WOOD Radio: Targeting Local Advertisers « Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

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