AlterNet has some history on Clear Channel, the mega-conglomerate dominating our airwaves…
Clear Channel has been the largest owner of radio stations in the U.S. since telecom ownership rules were relaxed by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The company has faced charges of censorship, and has consolidated its hold over radio in part by getting rid of local hosts and programs and syndicating national shows instead. It was bought out in 2008 and taken private by Bain Capital (founded by presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who still rakes in the cash from Bain and who has remained mostly quiet on the Limbaugh issue) and Thomas H. Lee Partners.
Limbaugh’s 2008 contract with Clear Channel goes through 2016, and was worth $400 million in total. Limbaugh broadcasts his show from a 24,000-square-foot mansion in Florida, and has a private jet that alone is worth $54 million.
Deregulating to allow one big player to buy all the toys is one thing, diverting our tax dollars to support them is another…
Iraq war veterans Miranda Norman, Kayla Williams and Robin Eckstein, and Katherine Scheirman, the former chief of medical operations for the U.S. Air Force, all with the organization VoteVets, released a statement calling for Limbaugh’s show to be removed from taxpayer-funded American Forces Network, which is heard by troops serving overseas. They wrote:
Rush Limbaugh has a freedom of speech and can say what he wants, but in light of his horribly misogynistic comments, American Forces Radio should no longer give him a platform. Our entire military depends on troops respecting each other – women and men. There simply can be no place on military airwaves for sentiments that would undermine that respect. When many of our female troops use birth control, for Limbaugh to say they are “sluts” and “prostitutes” is beyond the pale. It isn’t just disrespectful to our women serving our country, but it’s language that goes against everything that makes our military work. Again, we swore to uphold our Constitution, including the freedom of speech, and would not take that away from anyone – even Limbaugh. But that does not mean AFN should broadcast him. In fact, it shouldn’t.
The Pentagon, though, doesn’t seem interested in dropping Limbaugh yet.
Not in an election year. All of our politicians are afraid of him. It will come down to the balance sheet. Rush is expensive, if he’s a liability to Clear Channel and its stations he’ll be traded for another radio ranter.