Mega media conglomerate Clear Channel and progressive talk radio always seemed like a poor fit. Still, it was disheartening – no, make that thoroughly disgusting – to hear that Clear Channel is pulling the plug on progressive talk on Madison's Air America affiliate – WXXM 92.1 FM "The Mic" – in favor of Fox Sports Radio.
I love sports as much as the next guy, especially baseball and my beloved Chicago Cubs. And I bleed Badger red, particularly during the college basketball season. But do we need more sports on the broadcast airwaves, at the expense of passionate discussion of political issues and civic affairs no less? Of course not.
Clear Channel clearly is putting its bottom line ahead of the best interests of the citizenry and our democracy. You don't have to take my word for it. Listen to Clear Channel magnate Lowry Mays, who has been quoted saying, "We're not in the business of providing news and information.... We're simply in the business of selling our customers' products."
What Mays stunningly but deliberately overlooks is that his company has received a free license to use the public's airwaves on the condition that its programming must serve the "public interest, convenience and necessity." More sports at the expense of democracy does not meet that condition. This move should be reconsidered.
If you feel like talking back to your radio, contact the station (WXXM, 2651 South Fish Hatchery Road, Madison, WI 53701 Phone: 608-274-5450 FAX: 608-274-5521) and also Clear Channel corporate headquarters (Clear Channel, 200 East Basse Road, San Antonio, TX 78209 Phone: 1-210-822-2828). To sign a petition to WXXM's management, go here.