The Keep Debate Alive On WVKR Petition sign now

Sign on to this petition if you agree that WVKR DJ/candidates for office should still be able to remain on the air now (as I myself was allowed in 2006, debating Joel Miller for two months straight)-- as long as equal time is provided to the opposite side (to provide for true democracy and debate, in keeping with current federal law.

The fact is that current federal communications law does not stipulate that a radio disc jockey/host running for office or re-election has to step down; the fact is that the law merely states that the radio station must offer equal time to the opposition (which I have not only always been willing to comply with-- but also encouraged).

[see: "What Is The Equal TimeRule?" (FCC History andPolicies):]

Note: I'd even be happy to literally share half my show with the opposition; more air time on the station wouldn't be necessary to deal with this; I've always felt that more information-- both sides of issues-- are crucial and vital to our democracy (even as the incumbent the past three elections I've organized debates against my challengers).

A little background-- I've hosted a radio show on 91.3 FM for the last 24 years now (one of the station's top fundraisers during annual marathons since 1987)-- and for the last eleven years I've hosted a call-in talk show ("The Real Majority Project") for most of that time on Sunday evenings, and for the last few years Fridays 5-6 pm.

Some of my in-studio guests over the years have included Pete Seeger, John Hall, Patti Rothberg, Salmon Finn, Brian Gallaway the Ikonz, Pitchfork Militia, and many other musicians; some of my call-in guests have included Bill McKibben, Greg Palast, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Goodman, Medea Benjamin, Jeff Cohen, David Cay Johnston, Stephen Zunes, and many other leading progressive lights on the national scene.

In 2006, when I ran for the Assembly, Joel Miller and I debated weekly (and civilly) for two hours every Sunday night for two months-- running right up to Election Day that November-- and the voters listening got a tremendous education on both perspectives on the issues that they would not have otherwise had from this.

Now, here in August 2011, I have been informed by WVKR Executive Staff members that, according to them, apparently I will no longer be allowed to host my radio show, because of my running for re-election (to a fifth term unopposed as county legislator for Rhinebeck and Clinton)-- and because I have declared my intention to run for Congress in the 20th Congressional District (even though I am unopposed in the current Co. Leg. run-- and even though it's impossible to even start to collect petition signatures for a Congressional run until literally next June-- 2012!).

I have asked WVKR Executive Staff members repeatedly this week to consider federal law on this-- and to consider making sure that WVKR's own rules and by-laws match it-- but they have refused to listen.

So again-- if you care about the future of WVKR, democracy, and debate here in the Hudson Valley-- sign on to this petition and pass it along to all you know; with enough pressure from the community, policies/rules can be changed-- because, frankly, without pressure from you all on this issue, WVKR will not change on this!

[why did Democracy Now eventually get played on WVKR Monday through Friday?...because of all of you folks out there who made it very clear that that type of programming would be supported!]

I have read the newspapers, watched the TV stations, and listened to the radio stations here in the Hudson Valley for decades now-- of course there are many excellent, valuable, and worthwhile programs (even on WVKR); however, the fact is also that nowhere else in the Hudson Valley (and no other time on WVKR besides Fridays) have Dutchess County residents consistently heard crucial censored truths I've uncovered through research and FOIA requests over the past decade or so (and nowhere else has such a window been provided into the inner workings of the Dutchess County Legislature); here are two, for instance:

Fact: Dutchess County's drinking water has been proven to be seriously contaminated-- all across the county: .

Fact: Dutchess County contracts all too often are allocated to large campaign donors-- pay-to-play: .

Those are just two important issues completely unreported by any other radio or TV station or newspaper in Dutchess County (trust me-- I know because I've sent the press releases out, done the press conferences-- and the rest of the local media has proven this year and for many years now they are not interested at all in getting these censored truths like these out).

Think about it: how radical is it, really, to expect to be able to drink clean water out of your tap?

And on that note-- here's one more-- three years ago (long before hardly anyone else here in the Hudson Valley was waking up to this issue) I exposed the dangers of hydrofracking; back in the summer of 2008, in fact I started ; there are now 1100 signed on.

Finally-- here and now in the summer of 2011, when even our Democratic President and our Democratic Governor (not just Tea-Party-beholden GOP) have made it crystal clear they are not interested in seriously advocating for the progressive taxation that poll after poll after poll it's proven that the vast majority of New Yorkers and Americans want (thus jeopardizing Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, funding for our schools, hospitals, libraries, parks, and literally everything in our communities we hold near and dear), is it not the responsibility of independent/alternative community-based media like WVKR to point that out (as most mainstream media looking other way)?
[ ; ;\%20SOS\%20release\%202011.pdf ; ; ]

[Especially right here in FDR's and Eleanor's Dutchess County-- we cannot afford to turn our back on their legacy!]

The truth is that there is hardly anyone else in the mainstream media here in the Hudson Valley interested at all in exposing the consequences of progressive taxation disappearing, the consequences of our drinking water right here in Dutchess being contaminated all over, and the consequences of legalized kickbacks/bribery rampant and ongoing in our county government-- et WVKR seems to be bending over backwards in an awfully big hurry to silence one of the few voices here in the Hudson Valley that has consistently and thoroughly researched and reported on these issues.

Your (polite, courteous, and respectful) letters to these seven key WVKR executive staff members can make a difference:

Station Manager Mike Henrich-- at [email protected]
General Manager Leander Brotz-- at [email protected]
Program Director Ben Cole-- at [email protected]
[other WVKR Executive Staffmembers Judith Kaufman, Nicholas de Leeuw, Frank Carbin, and Sarah Scott]

Pass it on!

Joel Tyner
Dutchess County Legislator
324 Browns Pond Road
Staatsburg, NY 12580
[email protected]
(845) 444-0599

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From ...

"What Is The Equal TimeRule?"
FCC History andPolicies
FromKathy Gill, Guide

The Museum of Broadcast History calls the "equal time" rule "the closest thing in broadcast content regulation to the 'golden rule'." This provision of the 1934 Communications Act (section 315) "requires radio and television stations and cable systems which originate their own programming to treat legally qualified political candidates equally when it comes to selling or giving away air time."

If any licensee shall permit any person who is a legally qualified candidate for any political office to use a broadcasting station, he shall afford equal opportunities to all other such candidates for that office in the use of such broadcasting station.

"Legally qualified" means, in part, that a person be a declared candidate. Timing of the announcement that someone is running for office is important because it triggers the equal time rule.

For example, in December 1967, President Lyndon Johnson (D-TX) conducted an hour-long interview with all three networks. However, when Democrat Eugene McCarthy demanded equal time, the networks rejected his appeal because Johnson had not declared he would run for reelection.

Four Exemptions

In 1959, Congress amended the Communications Act after the FCC ruled that Chicago broadcasters had to give "equal time" to mayoral candidate Lar Daly; the incumbent mayor was then Richard Daley. In response, Congress created four exemptions to the equal time rule:

(1) regularly scheduled newscasts
(2) news interviews shows
(3) documentaries (unless the documentary is about a candidate)
(4) on-the-spot news events

How has the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) interpreted these exemptions?

First, Presidential news conferences are considered "on-the-spot news" even when the President is touting his reelection. Presidential debates are also considered on-the-spot news. Thus, candidates not included in the debates do not have the right of "equal time."

The precedent was set in 1960 when Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy launched the first series of television debates; Congress suspended Section 315 so that third party candidates could be barred from participating. In 1984, the DC District Court ruled that "radio and television stations may sponsor political debates without giving equal time to candidates they don't invite." The case was brought by the League of Women Voters, which criticized the decision: "It expands the all-too-powerful role of the broadcasters in elections, which is both dangerous and unwise."

Second, what's a news interview program or a regularly scheduled newscast? According to a 2000 election guide, the FCC "has expanded its category of broadcast programs exempted from political access requirements to include entertainment shows that provide news or current event coverage as regularly scheduled segments of the program." And the FCC concurs, providing examples that include The Phil Donahue Show, Good Morning America and, believe it or not, Howard Stern, Jerry Springer, and Politically Incorrect.

Third, broadcasters faced a quirk in when Ronald Reagan was running for president. Had they shown movies starring Reagan, they would have "been required to offer equal time to Mr. Reagan's opponents." This admonition was repeated when Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for governor of California. Had Fred Thompson achieved the Republican Presidential nomination, re-runs of Law & Order would have been on hiatus. [Note: The "news interview" exemption above meant that Stern could interview Schwarzenegger and not have to interview any of the other 134 candidates for governor.]

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Finally, with all due respect-- one might ask what, exactly, is being taught and promoted at Vassar College these days-- as this year, apparently, not one of the 2400 Vassar students (nor any of their friends or professors) saw fit to step up to the plate to be (or find) a challenger to run against noted right-wing GOP County Legislator Angela Flesland, who now apparently truly does "represent" Vassar!

Angela Flesland-- who, together with the rest of the super-GOP Co. Leg. majority, repealed the independent redistricting and electrician licensing laws passed previously by a Democratic majority in our County Legislature-- and remains bent on prolonging the life of and expanding our county incinerator (instead of saving tax dollars by moving meaningfully towards zero waste), and killed off all county funding for the Dutchess County Human Rights Commission (though over 900 complaints made annually to it), our county's Office of Consumer Affairs, our county Health Department's senior home care program, our county Office for the Aging's Senior Friendship Centers in Millerton, Pawling, and Fishkill.

Angela Flesland-- who, together with the rest of the super-GOP Co. Leg. majority, continues to refuse to support the county-level campaign finance reform embraced by the Poughkeepsie Journal repeatedly in editorials-- and remains bent on wasting tens of millions of our county tax dollars unnecessarily on jail expansion-- while leading the way in eliminating county funding for BOCES GED program in our Jail (though endorsed by jail leadership), eliminating our county Youth Bureau's Project Return program, and ending county funding for the for Mediation Center of Dutchess County's juvenile delinquency prevention for troubled teens.

Angela Flesland-- who, together with the rest of the super-GOP Co. Leg. majority, still refuses to embrace cost-saving green-jobs model/examples set already in towns of Bedford and Babylon here in NYS-- and killed Democratic resolution/initiatives last year for a public jobs summit to turn our local economy around and a youth leadership summit as well, killed Democratic resolution/initiative last year for Dutchess to save $27 million annually for 110,000 homeowners every winter on home heating oil bills with a plan here similar to one already successfully run in Cortlandt, Putnam Valley, Somers, and Peekskill (saving $250 annually for each homeowner there), and killed Democratic resolution/initiative last year for our county government to save $3 million annually for local towns, cities, and villages on the cost of health insurance for municipal employees without cutting benefits (with a countywide consortium for this as is already successfully up and running in Tompkins County).

Angela Flesland-- who, apparently, truly now does "represent" Vassar College-- congratulations!

["Death of the Liberal Class", anyone?...(see -- go pick up Chris Hedges' latest book);
don't worry, Vassar powers-- rest assured, few if any at WVKR will expose these truths above now-- just as few in the local media have accurately or fully reported on these issues above as well]

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