Meekest media in the state?

They've done it again. See this OP post from 2004 for the entire story of how WUNC refused to read an underwriting message because it contained the controversial term "reproductive rights." Now they have changed the word "rally" to "event" to appease the scary FCC bogey man that lurks in their closet.

Last week, WUNC edited an announcement from the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy about the group's April 14 rally, part of the national Step It Up day of global action on climate change. The word "rally" "raised a few red flags," according to an e-mail from a radio station staffer, because management felt it would run afoul of the Federal Communications Commission. "Rally" was changed to "event." WUNC received $500 from the group in exchange for the announcement. This isn't the first time the station has objected to sponsor's word choices. In 2004, the Chapel Hill-based international women's health organization Ipas pulled its underwriting support after management refused to allow the word "rights" (as in women's) to air. Station manager Joan Siefert Rose said it constituted "advocacy language," which goes against FCC guidelines, but a former counsel for National Public Radio, told the Indy he disagreed with WUNC's reasoning and knows of no similar case in which the FCC objected.

- Independent Weekly: News: Heroes & Zeros: WUNC; illegal immigrants; Secretary Carmen Hooker Odom; Gary Kueber, 4/18/07

I really have to wonder how this excessive fear of FCC prosecution might also be affecting the news and opinions they air on WUNC.




Not-So-Fresh Air was brought to you by obtrusive government regulations, neoconservative operative Kevin Martin, and listeners like you...

At some point NPR became much less trustworthy. I'm not sure when it happened, but you can hear the right-wing talking points being integrated into their new "fair and balanced" reports.

What happened to facts being enough?

Mayhaps they're not actually worried about the FCC?

I don't know what they're afraid of at WUNC. It's certainly not me.


These two incidents parallel a strong movement by Bush conservatives to radically alter the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Bill Moyers has spoken about this extensively.

I suspect that WUNC is covering their ass. But not only from the FCC. Could be they are under pressure from social conservatives that find NPRs programing too liberal. Sometimes folks justify these types of actions for greater causes... like saving an organization from disappearing due to lack of funding. i.e. We'll remove what may be perceived as "liberal" language to satisfy people. Is WUNC under such a threat?

You would think not with their on air fund raising going so well. I mean we can stop the hated begging if only we give more. Have you heard their enticement? "Give $80k and we'll shorten this annoying begging by one day!" Its now two days shorter... Is anyone else disturbed by this tactic?

I only ask these sincere questions because I care about free and Democratic media in North Carolina. Love what you do WUNC.

I don't think we need to look too far & wide to see who might be behind pressuring WUNC on this group's issue of clean energy. Two of our local Chamber of Commerce's heavy hitters - Progress Energy & Duke Energy - spread the bucks around. And they don't toss money around unless it talks.

A few years ago, Progress got NCWARN bumped from the United Way fundraising. They are like the Mafia. I have no doubt that their pressure - subtle and not-so-subtle - is behind this pusillanimous word change.

There are at least two offensive aspects to WUNC's action. First, the timid and unnecessary word change. Second, that it cost $500 for a public service announcement on the local "public" radio station. Maybe it takes $5,000 to get to say what you want. Or nothing if you put it in a commentary (90 seconds on virtually any subject with a local angle) or event announcement on WCHL-1360 AM, a private commercial station.

While we're bashing WUNC, it's worth asking what is up with the 'whites only' policy they have when picking up shows. Is there a single non-white among the hosts of the shows on their entire schedule--I can't think of one? Certainly many of the shows they book are aimed at a distinctly white audience (Prairie Home Companion, Splendid Table, etc), and nothing counterbalances this. And no point blaming this on the Bush administration; many NPR stations run shows like News and Notes and the Travis Smiley show. Does WUNC believe the public in public radio includes non-whites?

Can't non-whites listen and enjoy the Prairie Home Companion too?

When I listen to the radio, I don't care what the color is of the person talking... I would think minorities are the same way.


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