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Pressure builds as story coverage escalates

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 19th, 2006 at 9:23 am

The community response over anti-cyclist comments made on a morning radio show continues to grow. The story has moved far beyond Portland and what the show host called "this little underground website."

  • Yesterday, my initial post was voted to the front page of Digg.com, one of the most highly-trafficked sites on the web. Since Friday it has been viewed over 9,000 times.
  • The situation has been noted in the KXJM Wikipedia entry.
  • The Willamette Week has chimed in, giving the story top billing in its just-released Murmurs column. We can expect several larger stories from the media in the days to come.
  • I have heard reports that the City of Portland, the City Council, and the Portland Police Bureau are very concerned about this situation will be making their feelings public in the coming days. They will also apply even more pressure to the station to make the broadcast available to the public.
  • Pressure is also building on the show's advertisers as people are contacting them and asking them to reconsider their relationship with the station. So far, at least two advertisers, The American Red Cross and PGE Park, have responded.

I think the radio station is making things worse for themselves by not releasing the tape. The longer they wait, the more guilty they seem.

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  • Curt Dewees July 19, 2006 at 9:35 am

    It is logical to assume that the radio station is witholding the archive of this particular show because they have reviewed the show and found it to be extremely embarrassing for them and perhaps incriminating to them legally and also in violation of FCC standards. In reasonable person would assume that if the broadcast in question had nothing in it for them to be embarrassed about, they would have made it publically available immediately as so to clear their names. The fact that they are attempting to bury this broadcast and keep it secret speaks volumes about how they feel about it.

    Go Jonathan! keep after them until they release the broadcast!

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  • Brad July 19, 2006 at 10:03 am

    Outstanding! Great work by all. Keep up the pressure as we are being heard!

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  • Dom July 19, 2006 at 10:03 am

    This is why Portland is the great city that it is...People speak and the proper people listen! Everyone thats been working so hard needs a pat on the back!

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  • Jasun Wurster July 19, 2006 at 10:08 am

    Hi Jonathan,

    I very much applicate your journalistic objectivity on this site. I know that it would be difficult for me as I daily hear more stories of friends and loved having the following done to them while riding their bicycles legally in this city:

    - bottles thrown at them
    - lit cigarette thrown at them
    - threatened by hostile drivers
    - violently forced off of the road by motorist

    Simply this needs to stop before someone gets killed.

    My goal is to get Jammin 95.5 stripped of their FM license.

    The following site is a clearing house and focal point for concerned cyclist nationally to do something:

    http://web.pdx.edu/~jasun/haters/index.html

    I am in the process of preparing a list of sponsors and coordinating with the stations other markets to apply more pressure. The best thing I believe that we can do is make the public aware of what has happened and apply pressure on the social, political and financial fronts.

    The worst thing to do is call or email the Playhouse morning show. We accomplish nothing by talking to them on the air.

    On the social front I am organizing a cyclists picnic in Grants Park on the 22nd of July. I have talked personally with the Commander of the traffic division. He relayed that the cyclists have every right to be in the park to peaceably educate Jammin 95.5 listeners. Furthermore, he shares my concerns of safety of everyone in the park and said that police presence will be appropriate for this situation.

    [Translation: The PPB are appalled at this and will have bicycle officers in the park during the event to prevent the Jammin 95.5 listeners from carrying out acts of violence to cyclists as incited by the Playhouse.]

    Together if we make our concerns known in a organized, tenacious, non-violent and intelligent way ... we will remove this threat from our streets and airwaves.

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  • Brett July 19, 2006 at 10:19 am

    By showing up at the park you escalate an already tense situation. Of course you have every right to be there but just because you can do something, it doesn't mean you should. By intentionally escalating this through direct confrontation with the stations employees in the field you are risking the positive progress being made where it counts.

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  • Matt P. July 19, 2006 at 10:39 am

    I too, have concerns about having an event in the same park on the same day, though it's obvious from Jasun's post that the cyclist picnic is intended to be educational and non-confrontational.

    What worries me is that some of the people who might show up will not be of that mindset. If they are belligerent, confrontational, and upset, it's going to reflect badly on cyclists in general, and undo the message we are trying to get across.

    Rubber side down,
    -Matt P.

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  • jason July 19, 2006 at 10:45 am

    this is terrifying.

    I've posted the story on platial.com as well.
    http://platial.com/place/103805

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  • Vino July 19, 2006 at 10:49 am

    Way to go trying to fight fire with nuclear warheads! You select few are so brilliant as you pursue "justice" with physical and confrontational means. If so many people are so jilted by a radio personality's opinions (not orders for citizens to attack innocent bikers), why not just fight to remove that amendment that says something like... the right to freedom of speech? Im guessing thats a little more work than you all want to undertake. Why not modify it so that every biker, is entitled to the roadway all the while ignoring big conspicuous signs and signals that say yield, stop or one way? Oh wait, the majority of cyclists and bike couriers in Portland already do this, and before you scream bike hater, Im not. Get off your pedal highhorse and look around one day from a cars point of view in traffic downtown. You might be surprised by what you actually see.

    The cycling community is full of hypocrites like any other group, say religion or government, and taking the holier than though stance is getting truly tiresome from all groups. Maybe a few of these cyclists "without a bone to pick" need to hear the broadcast like many others actually have. The obvious problem with the release of the broadcast, will be that everyone will hear what he or she wants to hear and interpret it as they see fit. In the meantime, it may be more effective if all you pro-bike activists start looking at how you and your fellow bikers ride and work on educating your own.

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  • Jasun Wurster July 19, 2006 at 11:11 am

    I very much agree with safety concerns mentioned above. My primary concern is that Jammin 95.5 morning show listeners will accost anyone with a bicycle as an act of hero worship to the DJ's. My Secondary concern is that enraged cyclists, as myself, my choose to vent their frustration in a way that alienates potential new riders and plays into the hands of the the morning show. As a community we can self police ourselves to prevent the latter from happening. More so, through pressure on all fronts we can eliminate my primary concern as well.

    I do not think that we should go to the park and be a part of their event. What I am organizing is for to set up approximately 20 yards from their event, Grant Park is huge and they will be only taking up a small part of it. Nor do I think that we should en-mass to talk to any of the attendees, staff or employees of their event.

    We are in the process of getting 'Share the Road' material and other bicycling safety related material to distribute to people that come over to see our more entertaining events such as tall bike jousting, Clowns and people having fun.

    More so the picnicking cyclists will provide a real human face to the Jammin 95.5 listeners who the morning show comments are placing in physical peril. Will media be there, most likely, this is an out let for us to tell our story how that archives for the 13th shoe are not being released and how we feel.

    I am not looking for a fight. With that said, I am NOT going to subjugate my rights as a citizen the use of public parks, roads and airwaves to corporations.

    Some methods are not a good fit for some people. This is one of them. I very much respect that and look forward to the bicycling community working together to make our streets a safer place.

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  • Clay Fouts July 19, 2006 at 11:20 am

    Jasun,

    These two intentions:

    - My goal is to get Jammin 95.5 stripped of their FM license.

    - to peaceably educate Jammin 95.5 listeners

    appear to be at least partially at odds with one another.

    If you want to use the picnic as an opportunity to educate people, that's one thing. But in light of your desire to see an end result nothing short of having the station's license revoked, I don't get the impression that you're inclined to the fine level of diplomacy required not to turn the whole event into a fiasco that will make cyclists look worse in the eyes of those who may already feel some hostility toward us.

    With all due respect for your fervor, please reconsider your tactics.

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  • Jonathan Maus July 19, 2006 at 11:21 am

    Vino,

    We are not pursuing justice by any physical or confrontational means.

    We are simply letting the community know that we will not stand by and let someone use public airwaves to make light of people being killed on the roads we all share.

    Do you really feel that it is O.K. to laugh about someone being killed (regardless of if they broke a law)?

    That being said, the thousands of responsible cyclists in this city agree with you and the host that riding irresponsibly and ignoring the law is a very bad idea.

    We are actively working to educate cyclists about this.

    I can only hope that you are telling your friends and neighbors that drive to slow down, always signal right turns, and to respect the presence of other road users.

    Thanks for your comment.

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  • Paul July 19, 2006 at 11:34 am

    Constiutional flag waving is cute but inappropriate here. Constitution protects individuals from government action, not from others actions. Your freedom of speech can be curtail for private reasons, not public ones.

    95.5 is not being restricted by the government when cyclists speakout against them. In fact, 95.5 is just having to face market demands. The market for safe cyclists just happens to be better and bigger than the market for sophmoric antics.

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  • Nathanael July 19, 2006 at 11:39 am

    Not ten minutes ago, near Citybikes at SE 20th and Ankeny, a fat bald man in a blue four-door sedan with washington plates ran me off the road, yelling how Bikes do not belong on the road and how i should get off before he tries to do it again. He then proceeded to get out and chase me, and make physical threats.

    Thanks, jock radio, for making my chosen mode of transportation more dangerous.

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  • Tomas-Co-Sauce July 19, 2006 at 11:49 am

    Why does ths sound like it's escalating out of control? By going to this picnic at all you are giving the station publicity. I already don't listen to their show, why should I boost their picnic attendance numbers even in protest?

    You know what I'm going to do? Contact their advertisers, express my concern, then move on with my life and ride my bicycle another 100-miles.

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  • patrick July 19, 2006 at 11:56 am

    I still think this whole thing would make a hilarious MAD TV or Saturday Night Live Skit.

    Does the TV station have a legal obligation to MAKE the broadcast public?

    Do it matter if they are guilty or not at this point? Let's say that they release the broadcast and it doesn't break any FCC laws? Are all the people who have fired off emails to everyone (heck I've had people encouraging me to submitt a complaint to the FCC based off what THEY heard) going to send apologies?

    I'm an avid cyclist but I'm not sure I like all the attention this is getting.

    BTW, I was cut off today by a Portland City Dumptruck today. I'm sure he was listening to 95.5!

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  • Nathanael July 19, 2006 at 12:07 pm

    Did the dumptruck guy get out of his truck and yell at you about how the radio was right? I highly doubt it, and neither would the police who took my statement.

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  • Paul July 19, 2006 at 12:13 pm

    Nathanael-

    The driver referenced 95.5?

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  • No Pets July 19, 2006 at 12:16 pm

    Tomas-Co-Sauce,

    I agree....with exception of 100 more miles....I plan on riding a lot more than that. ;)

    Showing up at the picnic is a bad idea, it brings us down to their level.

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  • Vigilante July 19, 2006 at 12:19 pm

    Can't we just say 95.5 FM or KXJM? The word Jammin really freaks me out.

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  • SKiDmark July 19, 2006 at 12:20 pm

    WHO is fighting fire with nuclear warheads ? US ? They are driving 2 ton machines at double and triple our speed and throwing stuff at us and we are on 30 lb. bicycles. If they would take the time to read Oregon Revised Statutes they would find out that in many situations when we are supposedly breaking the law (like taking the lane on narrow streets, or getting over for left turns) we are in fact obeying it.

    I drive too, and I am held up more by car drivers not paying attention when the light turns green cuz they are too busy with their phone conversation, than I EVER am waiting for a cyclist to make a left or take the lane for a 1/4 mile cuz the street is narrow.

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  • jordan July 19, 2006 at 12:25 pm

    I'd like everyone involved to think about how this all seems to be representing some kind of critical point where a lot of agression and organizing on both sides is coming out.

    I encourage everyone to keep the vision of a low-car world where people peacefully co-exist in mind. let's make sure that this ends in a good way. we don't want a mobilization of anti-bike people swelling up and removing our right to a full lane!

    Our experience of difficulty is a sign of potential for fast-approaching change

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  • Brad July 19, 2006 at 12:49 pm

    I can't tie this to 95.5 necessarily but on Saturday I witnessed a very strange road rage incident at the intersection of NW Skyline and NW Germantown Road.

    We were waiting to regroup at the abandoned restaurant when we see two riders approaching the intersection from the northwest. These two were on the brakes and slowing about 100 feet or so from the stop sign. A guy driving a charcoal colored Chevy Tahoe ( OR plate WHK-607...reported to the PPB) and towing a driftboat pulls into the intersection coming up the west side of G'Town. As the bikes are coming to a halt, he blocks the road and starts screaming, "I hate you motherf***ing c**ks**kers!!! You fa**ots don't own the f***ing roads! Mother..." and so it went for another ten seconds or so.

    I thought it really strange since there was absolutely no provocation whatsoever. No one ran the stop sign, yelled at him, etc. Why such anger? I shudder to think this is the sort of volatile nut that actually would take radio banter as a call to action.

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  • Paul July 19, 2006 at 1:06 pm

    I just stumbled across this from the Mercury - PK was interviewed yesterday by them:

    http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/Content?oid=45490&category=22101

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  • Nathanael July 19, 2006 at 1:09 pm

    Paul:

    He said "Th' radio's right 'bout you f**kers!"

    I can only assume he was referencing the show in question, unless there is another bike-hating radio show as well - which, considering how this is spreading about, I would not entirely discount as being a possibility.

    That makes me think about this from another viewpoint. Aside from the fan comments on the morning show's page - which, by the way, has removed the article about us as well as the hateful comments - and that guy Dean on another thread, have there been any other instances of actual support for the DJ and his comments?

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  • Paul July 19, 2006 at 1:14 pm

    On the Playhouse myspace pages.

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  • Brad July 19, 2006 at 1:38 pm

    Thanks for the Mercury link, Paul.

    Wow! What an incredible act of contrition on PK's part. I totally believe that he didn't attempt to offend cyclists nor is he hiding anything with the missing podcast when he refers to Jonathan (presumably) as "brainless dimwit" and "jackoff".

    Stay classy, PK! We cyclists intend to keep up the pressure until we hear a genuine apology...or would that hurt your "street cred"?

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  • zach July 19, 2006 at 3:10 pm

    Brad - the groups of road bikers who hang out in NW do engage in some pretty annoying behavior, blocking roads with their pacelines and things like that. They can be worse than your stereotypical scofflaw messenger. That being said, they normally follow traffic laws and do not even come close to deserving that kind of treatment. It's just what happenes when they let developers build hundreds of homes in a place like Forest Heights which is only accessible by long two-lane roads.

    I live on Cornell, and I've almost been knocked over by a wanna-be peleton.

    I also ride past at least a dozen cars stopped at the sign at 25th and Lovejoy every morning...

    Most of us (myself included) could do a better job sharing the road.

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  • A.C. July 19, 2006 at 3:20 pm

    Does anyone have a full transcript of the show? I've only been able to find snippets.

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  • John July 23, 2006 at 6:27 am

    Depends what you consider support, do I think it was a good idea for PK to have said those things? Probably not. Do I believe he put all bikers at risk of being assaulted? No
    There will always be some nuts who take everything to far like in nathaniels case but I don't belive he should have to censor his show so that he doesn't say anything that could potentially offend. I think the level that this is being taken to is rediculus. I believe if you have a problem with him that's fine, calling their advertisers is fine, but being confrontational and uttering death threats is extremely counter-productive and things like going to their barbeque is just a general all around bad idea. Whether it is legal or not is not an issue what is an issue is attempting to bait them by showing up. All in all I think this is being taken out of control by a few renegade bikers, and should be left up to the fcc and other organizations like them to decide the course of action.

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  • John July 23, 2006 at 6:32 am

    I think people like Jasun Wurster are showing all bikers in a bad light when he attempts to kick them when they are down and confront them when they cannot even get in an arguement with him. He is escalating this situation further and it is a VERY bad idea and he really should be ashamed at the way he is portraying bikers and I believe what he is doing will only raise tension between bikers and non-bikers and only make the situation worse for all bikers.

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  • Jonathan Maus July 23, 2006 at 7:05 am

    John,

    I was at the picnic and I think what Jasun did was admirable. He simply organized a non-violent, education based protest to inform the station how he feels about their actions.

    The station is hiding public information and the public has a right to hear what is said over our airwaves.

    At one point, a 95.5 employee even came over and picked up an "I Share the Road" bumper sticker.

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  • Tree July 23, 2006 at 10:37 am

    John,
    You said, "All in all I think this is being taken out of control by a few renegade bikers, and should be left up to the fcc and other organizations like them to decide the course of action."

    John, I think you may be projecting your prejudices. Renegade bikers? I'm 49-yrs-old, long past any renegade possibilities. I bike to work downtown every day, all year round, run most errands by bike. I am fully aware of the traffic laws in Oregon and abide by them. I even signal.
    I wonder how you would do on the motor vehicle test?

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  • BLDZR July 23, 2006 at 10:50 am

    I've heard about Jasun's appearance at grant park, and I applaud him for it. The best course of action is to simply show these blowhards that they don't scare you, and that you will continue to ride your bike, as you already do.

    Let the loudmouths like the boat-towing guy roll like water off a duck's back. I'm sure you've been called worse, by better. I know I have.

    However, in the event that a car driver threatens you, or the driver gets out of his car to approach you, you have the right to defend yourself. Of course, you should first announce your intentions to do so.

    During my tenure as a messenger in PDX and other-wheres, I've been threatened many times, even by jagoffs who think it's more threatening to get out of their cars. It's why I carry a pocket-lock or chain lock. I simply grab a hold of it, and ask them, "Just what the hell do you think you're gonna do? Get back in your car, and keep driving."

    You can't let these jerks think they have the upper hand.

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  • rocco July 24, 2006 at 9:49 pm

    I think BLDZR has a good point, stand your ground when you can. BUT, this kind of inflamatory rehtoric could cause a serious car-bike accident. Someone may eventually get seriously hurt or even worse, lose a life. There should be a non-violent solution to deal with PK's statement and PK himself.
    Unfortunately these are difficult times we face as a society. This problem feels emblematic of he larger issue of intolerance of one another. It isn't just Bikes against Cars. This is about people.
    Luckily, oil is trending to scarcity in the near future. Some of the hate filled speech and rehtoric can be attributed to a growing sense of concern for ordinary americans and protecting their way of life. Commuting cyclist are the broad exception in transportation in general in america. Isn't it telling how the "holier than thou" cyclist is put up as the strawman in a discussion with a driver.
    Change is occuring constantly within our society. In a rather short time oil will approach a price which tips the scales to limit consumptiom. An entire generation of people will have to alter their lifestyles to accomodate this reality. Right now, as alternative transportation grows, the resistance to it builds. Education may be the only answer. Unfortunately that takes so much time. This discussion will continue for decades, but eventually oil and petrodollars will be marginalized. Society will one day embrace sustainable transportation as a way of life.
    People like PK are talking on borrowed time. The hate and anger are misplaced, and we should recognize it and take the higher path to educate them through it. It's in every bikers best interest to SELF-PROMOTE by example and word of mouth. Living your lifestyle in a peaceful, sustainable way and sharing that with the people in your daily life will promote more good will than lashing out at a radio station or a DJ like PK. Yes he is a problem, Yes he is way F%&&*&*() wrong! But this is a symptom of something much larger. We should be smarter than the hate and anger and challenge ourselves to find patience and recourse to evolve the hate as an opportunity to educate.

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