"Iíve had enough of the radical right, vote suppression and the
failures of our current government. For me, itís time to do something
WGY refuses to air area manís issue ads
Posted December 31, 2004
By: PHILIP SCHWARTZ
Publication:Schenectady Daily Gazette; Date:Dec 29, 2004; Section:Television; Page:20
Robert Millman of Glenville just wanted a voice, a venue to spout off his ideas.
His plan? Place seven radio adsó tackling everything from the national deficit to the war in Iraq ó on the air for a two-day campaign beginning Jan. 2 on radio station WGY, 810-AM. And it would be entirely self-funded, costing about $700.
But after recording and producing the spots himself, Millman received word on Tuesday from an advertising representative at WGY that the station wouldnít approve his ads.
A spokesman for the Clear Channel-owned WGY said the station had no comment. And when asked for a copy of WGYís ad policies, he said he could not meet the request. He would not say why the ads were turned away.
Millman had his own motives behind the campaign. "Personally, Iím fed up with a lot of bad choices by our government that I donít think are being addressed anywhere," he said. "I think the country is careening in the wrong direction. The lack of questioning is alarming."
Millman went to WGY to run his ads, he said, because of its large market share, but also because he wanted his spots to appear on Rush Limbaughís show, which the station features in the afternoon.
Itís hard to deny that Millmanís ads would run counter to Limbaughís conservative commentary. But Millman, a Democrat who ran for Glenvilleís town board in 2003, said he toned down the ads.
The entire text for the ad on the Iraq war reads: "The president assured us Sadaam had weapons of mass destruction, nuclear capability and ties to al Qaeda; Iraq could not be contained. We declared victory, but weíre still there. Weíve taken and retaken the same cities. Thirteen hundred American troops are dead, many more wounded, with no end in sight. Half truths got us in. Can whole truths get us out?"
Commenting on the rejection, Millman said: "I consider [the ads] pretty basic to fundamental American values ó the right to vote, the right to question the deficit," Millman said Tuesday. "And I wanted to present this in the most populous kind of way." He added: "If Iím willing to spend the money, why canít I go to the market I want to advertise in?"
At the Poynter Institute, Kelly McBride, who specializes in ethical issues in the media, said this subject arises all the time. "These organizations have the right to refuse any kind of ad," she said. But she added that this usually only comes up in cases of adult entertainment advertising and with messages that may be ethnically offensive.
"They may look at this and say they know their audience," McBride said, "and then say their audience may be offended by this politically."
Millman said he will shop the ads around in the hope heíll find airtime at another station.
Letter By: Robert Millman
Iíve had enough of the radical right, vote suppression and the failures of our
current government. For me, itís time to do something about it.
Starting in early
January, I am putting progressive issue ads on WGY, an AM radio
. Anyone who wants to do the same (in
or anywhere else) is welcome to use the ads Iíve created.
It isnít difficult
to put an issue ad on the radio. All it takes is an e-mail address, a credit
card, and access to a fax machine.
Issue Ad Topics:
1. DEFICIT SPENDING
3. JUSTIFICATION FOR WAR
4. RIGHT TO VOTE
5. SUSTAINABLE ENERGY
I believe that the ideas expressed in these 30 second recordings will resonate with anyone who values fair play and good government. And to repeat, they are available to anyone. My one condition for use is that any spot must be played in its entirety, other than that; I offer them for public use.
If this idea appeals to you, send me an e-mail and I will send all 7 audio files to you in mp3 format. Your return e-mail must be able to accept attachments totaling 3.25 MB. And if you like them I invite anyone to post them on a web site for public downloads.
We are in a war of ideas, and fair play is a potent idea.
Please forward this message,