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Tuesday, 22 May 2012 02:58

FCC Violation: Milwaukee Radio Stations Accused of Giving Walker Free Air Time

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The Media Action Center has been monitoring the five local Talk Radio shows on Milwaukee, Wisconsin's WISN (Clear Channel) and WTMJ (Journal Communications) and has come up with some stunning results. Members of Media Action Center Wisconsin will release those results at a press conference Tuesday, May 22, at 10:00 AM, in front of WTMJ, 720 East Capitol Drive Milwaukee, and supporters of Tom Barrett will be present to demand comparable time throughout the remainder of the campaign.

The Media Action Center found that each of those radio stations are giving an average of 50 minutes every day to Scott Walker supporters to promote their candidate, while giving only seconds to Tom Barrett supporters. That's the monetary equivalent each of those radio stations giving between $70,000 to $180,000 in free airtime to the GOP - every week during the recall election.

Sue Wilson, Media Action Center founder, director of the media reform film Broadcast Blues, and author of the "Walker Recall Talk Radio Report," says this extreme imbalance in the 60 days before an election is not only unfair, it violates the law and FCC rules. "Radio stations must offer comparable time to candidates under Section 315 of the Communications Act, and to supporters of candidates under the Zapple Doctrine. WISN and WTMJ management are fully aware of this; even their own Wisconsin Broadcasters Association has warned them about it."

Supporters of Tom Barrett have been writing WISN and WTMJ asking for comparable time as the Federal Communication Commission requires. WTMJ has denied them time; WISN has just not responded.

Says Barrett supporter Randy Bryce, "We are now midway through this election cycle. We've watched WISN and WTMJ give away tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars in free airtime to Scott Walker's supporters. Now we find out that's not only unfair, it is against the law. So we are standing up for our rights and demanding that WISN and WTMJ immediately give Tom Barrett supporters comparable radio time - before the end of this campaign."

Wilson says the FCC is has been contacted to intervene in this case.

Wilson also says what happens in Milwaukee has implications for the entire nation come the Presidential election. "Whether it's Charlie Sykes or Vicki McKenna in local Milwaukee today, or Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity on the air nationally in September, the rules are clear: in the 60 days before an election, no radio station can use the publicly owned radio airwaves as a political hammer to promote only one major party. We just want the rule of law enforced for the sake of democracy."

The full report will be found at http://www.mediaactioncenter.net . Besides the press conference participants, the report's author is available for interviews from Sacramento.