Story on Chafee's Talk Radio Ban Going National

ABC radio and Politico are among the national outlets that have picked up the story on Governor Lincoln Chafee's ban on talk-radio appearances. The administration is taking particular flak for spokesman Mike Trainor's comments that the governor does not want to offer succor to "ratings-driven, for-profit programming." From the ABC story: station executives are particularly stung by the notion that their programming is to be avoided by state officials because the stations are “for-profit.”  More than 90 years after broadcasters were first licensed to sell commercial time with a mandate that they serve the public interest, Chafee’s position strikes many in the business as novel and worrisome.

The "ratings-driven, for-profit programming" phrase does not do full justice to Trainor's position. In an interview with N4N, Trainor said it is the controversy-driven nature of talk radio - its aim for entertainment over news - that is of concern."These shows are what they are," says Trainor. "They are about controversy. And they are about pushing the boundaries of taste and propriety."

But Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers magazine, says in an interview with N4N that the governor is in no position to determine the line between news and entertainment. "To ban an entire sector of the media is an outrageous abuse of power," he says, "an outrageous infringement on the spirit of the First Amendment."

Harrison says Chafee will eventually be forced to retreat. "The people of Rhode Island won't put up with it," he says. "The media won't put up with it. And when word gets out across the country, the American people won't put up with it."

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