“You’d be surprised how many conservative talk show fans there are here in the Deep Blue Hot Tub,” writes SFGate politics blogger Joe Garofoli.
Now a shakeup at KSFO has Bay Area listeners wondering: was veteran morning host Lee Rodgers unceremoniously fired after pressure from “ultra-left and pro-Muslim groups?”
That’s what Rodgers claims. In an open letter to fans, he said:
I was seriously considering retirement at the end of my contract in early July, and I certainly wouldn’t have left without saying goodbye. Instead, within one minute of the conclusion of last Thursday’s show, I got the word that it HAD been my last one; cut with no notice, in violation of my contract. (…)
I WILL tell you, in all candor, that thanks to [CEO Farid] Suleman’s Citadel management, I could no longer proudly say that the company had never told me what to say or what not to say. There was an obvious cave-in to some ultra-left and pro-Muslim groups, making it unlikely that I would have ever renewed my contract with the company, anyway.
Getting fired, sometimes abruptly, is a way of life for talk radio hosts, especially when they venture into “politically incorrect” territory. In Lee Rodgers’ case, he made Media Matters‘ “Most Outrageous Comments of 2009″ list for saying that, should a terrorist attack occur, a “few million dead Americans” will “wake up” public “to the fact that they have elected an anti-American President.”
So did these and other controversial outbursts really get Lee Rodgers’ fired? If so, why would KSFO replace him with someone like Brian Sussman, who promises to “give the Left a major headache” by spending “four hours daily on one of America’s most successful radio stations to expose” the “shenanigans” of “global warming, government tyranny [and] fiscal insanity.”
Speaking of which: Citadel — the nation’s third largest radio broadcaster — has troubles of its own, having filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December. Like Rodgers, broadcasting industry watcher Brian Maloney has nothing good to say about Citadel CEO Farid Suleman, who he says has “overseen the complete destruction of this once-promising company”:
Under Suleman’s rule, the company’s left-wing political bias became so unbearable that it convinced Sean Hannity to move his program to another syndicator.
Just last month, Citadel admitted that the loss of [#2 rated] Hannity caused it to lose millions in desperately-needed revenue.
So here’s where we stand:
Progressives and/or radical Muslims have tried, and failed, to take down big name talkers like Glenn Beck, Dr. Laura, Don Imus and Rush Limbaugh. Assuming Rodgers is being candid about why he was fired, are AstroTurf activists now setting their sights on more vulnerable local conservative pundits?
While monitoring threats to talk radio coming from “above,” (such as FCC “localism”), we need to watch for leftist AstroTurf campaigns, and worry about implosions caused by ideological incompetence — from within the industry itself.
I guess the price of liberty (and conservative talk radio) really is eternal vigilance.