The War on Talk Radio (a New York institution)

"So to argue that what I'm putting in here is a dramatic change of the law, is going to somehow muzzle Rush Limbaugh, it's not the case. What we're suggesting is that it is best that we follow the guidelines already in the law to promote and encourage diversity in media ownership."
-- Illinois Senator Dick Durbin

This is not an effort to muzzle Rush Limbaugh? Gimme a break!

The war on (conservative) talk radio has just begun. The Fairness Doctrine was voted down in the Senate; that would have required some "talk police" to balance every conservative and liberal statement 50-50. However, Senator Dick Durbin's "diversity" proposal passed. In practice, it will be even more destructive of conservative talk radio--Durbin's one true aim.

Talk radio began in New York City. Barry Gray (1916-1996) began his talk on WMCA in the late 1940s, at Chandler's restaurant on East 46th Street. No plaque today honors New York City's past.

New York has talk ("all" or "some") stations such as WABC, WOR,WNYC, WMCA, WBAI, WPAT, WLIB, WFAN, and more.

There are no diversity barriers to entry in the New York City market. If Oprah wants to buy a radio station here (or anywhere), she could. If Michael Bloomberg wants to buy a radio station, he could. (Bloomberg Inc. already has some media outlets.) If Air America wants to buy a radio station, it could. But no one wants to listen to Mark Green!

There are no existing problems that require government intervention.

It's true that Rush Limbaugh has been highly successful. If you like him, you can tune in. If you don't like him, you don't listen. In America, we usually value someone who succeeds in the free market.

Senator Dick Durbin's attempt to muzzle Rush Limbaugh is through "diversity" and "localism" rules. The station that carries Limbaugh (WABC) also has local hosts, such as Curtis Sliwa. The owners of WABC might be black or white--no one should care. 

WFAN is devoted to sports talk. It doesn't talk a lot--if at all--about girls high school basketball in Staten Island. Nor should it, if people don't want to listen to that.

The local politicians in New York City are almost all Democrats.  If local radio rules and "diversity" were left up to the likes of Christine Quinn, you can bet that some objection will be made about Rush Limbaugh being on New York City's airwaves. How dare a Conservative speak in Democratic New York!

Buried in the Bill of Rights in the First Amendment to the Constitution is something called "freedom of speech."

Dick Durbin seeks to regulate it, at our peril.


Dick Durbin Introduces Backdoor Attempt at the Fairness Doctrine
February 26, 2009

Talk radio as a listener-participation format has existed since at least the mid-1940s. Working for New York's WMCA in 1945, Barry Gray was bored with playing music and put a telephone receiver up to his microphone to talk with bandleader Woody Herman. Soon followed by listener call-ins, this is often credited as the first instance of talk radio, and Gray is often billed as "The hot mama of Talk Radio."