Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Broward County Florida, Petty to the Core

The Broward County Florida county council may cancel its contract with a local radio station, WIOD 610 AM, which has long been the station to carry official announcement regarding hurricanes (which hit Broward County with some frequency) because....

The station airs the Rush Limbaugh radio show.
Radio station WIOD, AM 610, has been the official channel for emergency information from Broward County government for the past year. The County Commission, all Democrats, balked at renewing the deal Tuesday, unable to stomach the station also being home to Limbaugh's talk show.

Commissioner Stacy Ritter said she did not want to support a station that's out of step with area politics. Ritter, a Democratic stalwart in the state Legislature before being elected to county office, cited talk shows hosted by Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and WIOD's partnership with Fox News.

"They have every right to speak, but we don't have to do business with them," she said.
While that may indeed be true, why not simply bid the matter out like any other governmental contract? What about all teh people in Broward County who are used to going to that station for official news? Linbaugh responded:
"They are politicizing the delivery of emergency news, which is non-partisan," said Limbaugh, who lives in Palm Beach. "They are making weather a partisan issue."

Limbaugh has long been a fixture on WIOD, but no county official raised an issue about him or the other shows when the deal was approved for the first time a year ago.

The deal with WIOD would ensure that news conferences are broadcast start to finish live from the county Emergency Operations Center in Plantation. Emergency managers became concerned during hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 that radio and television stations preempted their announcements in favor of news out of Miami.

Ken Charles, WIOD's director of AM programming, said Tuesday the station's talk show lineup has no relationship with its news coverage and that the county should focus on the benefits of teaming with the station.

"It's a shame that people would let politics get in the way of saving lives in a hurricane," Charles said.
Indeed, it seems to be a petty reason at best.

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