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Questions linger around radio show saga

Posted by on August 22nd, 2006 at 11:33 am

It’s been almost a month since I last wrote about the Jammin’ 95.5 radio show story, but I haven’t forgotten about it.

Even though many people have thanked me for a job well-done and congratulated me on a “victory”, for some reason I still don’t feel like celebrating.

I have also heard from several of you, both in emails and in person, that you are curious about where things stand. Here’s what I know…

Bike Jammin picnic

A recording of the July 13th broadcast has still not surfaced. Local cyclist Jasun Wurster—the man behind the picnic event and website that organized much of the protest—has contacted affiliate markets where The Playhouse is broadcast. Wurster has also connected with bike advocacy groups in those markets to inform them about the situation.

As one concerned individual trying to do what he feels is right, Wurster is doing great work and we should all thank him for his dedication to this issue.

As for the FCC? Even though they’ve likely received hundreds of complaints about this situation, they don’t seem to be able to intervene. After this story was mentioned in a League of American Bicyclists newsletter (scroll down) I was contacted by a lawyer from Cincinnati who worked on a similar case involving Clear Channel in 2003. He got in touch with his friend who works at the FCC in Washington DC. He asked if the FCC can request the tape from the station and this was the response:

[About all the FCC can do]

“There isn’t any statute or FCC rule that requires broadcast stations to either keep or supply transcripts, tapes, podcasts, or anything else. We don’t even require program logs anymore. Lots of stations do keep tapes and transcripts for advertising purposes (to demonstrate, if needed, that they aired the spots bought and paid for) or if they want to collect and package the DJ bits. But there isn’t any way to force or coerce the station into coughing up any of those tapes or transcripts. We have this question come up pretty regularly, and folks are pretty regularly shocked by the answer.”

That’s news to me.

There was some talk about filing a lawsuit against the station, but without the tape the case is risky and complex. At this point no one has stepped forward to file. Although I think a lawsuit does have some potential, I personally have decided to not be named as a plaintiff.

And what about supposed negotiations with station manager Tim McNamara?

He told me on the phone he would “do anything to make it (the backlash) stop.” He mentioned possible donations, purchases of bikes for 700 kids, free airtime for bike-related public service announcements, and so on.

Since McNamara isn’t too fond of me, the BTA stepped in to do the negotiating. They enlisted lawyer and BTA board member Craig Bachman to do the talking.

When I asked BTA Director Evan Manvel what the results of those negotiations were, he said that he thinks they’re running some PSAs about the upcoming Bike Commute Challenge, but that he hasn’t heard them himself.

I wanted to know more so I emailed Craig Bachman. I said the bike community has a right to know the outcome of the negotiations. I emailed him over a week ago and as of this morning I still hadn’t heard back, so I gave him a call.

Bachman chose his words very carefully when speaking with me. When I asked what came of the negotiations he said he didn’t want to “perpetuate that situation.” He then questioned whether more “web chatter” was a constructive way to move forward.

Bachman refused to share the outcome of his negotiations with me (even off the record) and said he preferred to have lunch with Evan Manvel and I so we can have a “fuller discussion off the record” because “there are more moving parts to this situation than just the radio show.” He kept repeating that his goal was “to achieve a positive outcome,” and that “all of us have to look very critically at our actions.”

I’m not sure what all the mystery is about, but I hope to learn more soon. when Manvel, Bachman and I get together for lunch later this week.

So, at this point we have no tape, no known outcome to negotiations, and I feel like the station has wiped their hands clean of the whole thing simply by doing one very savvy PR move.

I know I should probably just leave the whole thing alone and move on but I remain frustrated because the situation still feels unresolved.

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Comments
  • joe August 22, 2006 at 12:05 pm

    it is and you are getting the run-a-round by people who are supposed to be there for the bike community

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  • natallica August 22, 2006 at 12:05 pm

    i had been wondering how things had been progressing on the BTA end of it, and i have to say this isn’t very encouraging. this was a community issue we took to them and now they want to keep it “off the record”? and what’s this bit about “website chatter” not being constructive at this point? it sounds like this bachman guy does not hold the same ideals as the concerned citizens that brought this issue to him.

    i’m not saying we need to blow this whole issue up again, but we need to be informed of what decisions they’re making.

    i look forward to hearing the whole story.

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  • Tankagnolo Bob August 22, 2006 at 12:31 pm

    Jonathan, you rule in keeping a cool head and trying to see all sides of the situations that present themselves on this site. That in itself is a true art.

    My advice is to work toward the future on this, get the radio station to back us as cyclists and attempt to make up for the error of their ways by giving us future good press and promote cycling.

    Donations to the bike community and maybe some free public service announcements about bike events would work for me.

    Tankagnolo Bob

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  • Donna August 22, 2006 at 1:16 pm

    It’s really too bad that there is such a cultural disconnect between the attorney and the community he is advocating for.

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  • Matt P. August 22, 2006 at 1:56 pm

    At the risk of butting by nose in regarding someone I’ve never met, and an organization I am not a member of…

    Donna, there may not be a cultural disconnect per se. Craig Bachman is a BTA board member, so the community he is advocating for is the BTA, not the cycling community at large. The aims and goals of the BTA are not necessarily those of the community at large, and given the size and breadth of opinion of that community, I don’t see how the BTA can be expected to represent or please more than a fraction of us all.

    Whether there is a cultural disconnect between the BTA and the cycling community at large is an exercise I will leave to you and everyone else – we each have our own opinion.

    Respectfully,
    -Matt Picio

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  • Eric August 22, 2006 at 2:00 pm

    I didn’t make a complaint to the FCC because I knew it wouldn’t have any teeth. I’m more interested in making my point with the show’s and station’s advertisers.

    Bauchman was hired (or agreed to work) for the BTA, and therefore is the only person(s) he legally needs to (or should) talk to about this matter, even off the record. Besides I think it would be ethically wrong for him to comment on things that aren’t finalized. Can we please have some patience and avoid making broad sweeping assumptions about this situation until it has completely unfolded?

    I’m with Tankagnolo Bob on the donations.

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  • Brad August 22, 2006 at 2:38 pm

    Mr. Bachman’s assumed loyalty to BTA is what frightens me about his silence. Rather than getting something for the cycling community at large, he may have sold us all out for a few PSAs and having Jammin’ 95.5 as a third or fourth tier sponsor of next year’s Bridge Pedal or Tour de Fat. (Both BTA fundraisers)

    Let’s hope the BTA didn’t trade cyclist lives for “PK’s Hip-Hop Rest Stop” on the Fremont Bridge next August.

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  • organic brian August 22, 2006 at 2:54 pm

    I was hoping that some PSA’s would air during the show for a few weeks, educating their listeners about cyclists’ rights to the road, etc. Many listeners, it’s obvious from the commentary on various message boards, don’t even realize that cyclists can legally take a lane, or that we’re permitted legally on streets at all. Why not take advantage of the opportunity to spread awareness? I don’t see what good token gestures like bike giveaways or ads for bike events would do.

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  • Mikee August 22, 2006 at 4:29 pm

    I think that PSAs are worthless given the show’s demographics and attitude. I know when I was that age, PSAs would make me want to do the opposite of what they preached.

    If we feel a wrong was committed, the best solution is to do what can be done to correct that wrong. If PK’s words encouraged listeners to act irresponsibly towards cyclists, then I think a show should be dedicated to PK saying he was wrong, and that trying to get along with cyclists is the right thing to do. It needs to come from PK, not some faceless announcer in sound-bite size chunks.

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  • Brett August 22, 2006 at 5:25 pm

    Every five seconds a child dies from listening to a radio show… oh, wait a minute. Sorry it’s not a radio show, it’s hunger.

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  • Jasun Wurster August 22, 2006 at 8:42 pm

    Brett,

    If there is something that you are doing to prevent hunger, especially in our city I am very willing to help out. I also know that Food Not Bombs has a few open days if you want to dedicate time to that worthy cause.

    jasun

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  • Randy August 22, 2006 at 8:48 pm

    Every ten minutes someone dies in an automobile accident in the United States.

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  • Jasun Wurster August 22, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    Since we are on statistics …

    Last month the Portland bicycle community along with 11 other communities across the US were sold out by the BTA thanks to Evan Manvel ( 503-226-0676 ext. 12 ) and Craig Bachman ( 503-778-2100 ).

    Really, call them and ask them what was the exact deal they negotiated with Tim McNamara because the bike community was placing so much pressure on him … which he still refuses to let us hear the show?

    Can we get dates and times the PSA’s were played? Recordings of the PSA’s? How much of a donation was given to the BTA from Tim McNamara or the radio station? Were any bicycles donated to the BTA and if so are they going to share that donation with other organizations? Was the BTA negation team able to listen to the tape before they made their deal with Jammin 95.5?

    Is it wrong for me to ask that a business be responsible? Am I out of line to know what the outcome for the BTA was since I was part of the bicycle community that had a part in applying pressure so that Evan could personally negotiate with the radio station?

    Being lied to, mocked and ignored by an irresponsible radio station owner is one thing. But having a bicycle advocacy organization do the same, make me wonder if the board of directors of the BTA are representing their members by not being transparent with what the terms of the agreement were.

    So I end this by asking BTA members that are reading this who want to know to call Evan Manvel ( 503-226-0676 ext. 12 ) and ask him what your membership money is being used for. Then if you could please share with the rest of the bicycle community his response. Like Jonathan did in this post.

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  • Randy August 23, 2006 at 2:11 am

    I agree with Jasun that the BTA owes us all a full explanation.

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  • Brett August 23, 2006 at 11:32 am

    Thanks for the pontification. But, I’m not some chronic malcontent searching for an answer to my existential angst in the self serving vicissitudes of these web pages. If you are serious, I’m flying to Africa in two months to build goat pens for a month. You can get my email from the site host.

    My point… let it go, move on. Pick the next task. Stop the paralysis by analysis and pick up a new torch. PK did something, the bike community came together and was acknowledged. Now try to be gracious about it.

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  • Jasun Wurster August 23, 2006 at 11:42 am

    Brett,

    Email and web comments are not very constructive at this point. Give me a call at 503-453-2235 and we can talk.

    jasun

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  • Brett August 23, 2006 at 11:56 am

    Thank you for the offer. In these uncertain times of I.T. it is not in my best interest to offer my phone number to you, and I have reached a point of diminishing return with this personal topic. My offer on Africa still stands.

    However, my comments about letting go are valid, on topic, and directed to ALL those still carrying the heavy weight of this subject on what must be tired shoulders. So perhaps Jonathan is right when he mentions that, in my words, is his still, small voice saying “move on”.

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  • Tree August 23, 2006 at 12:34 pm

    Brett,
    If you want to move on, why do you keep responding on this topic? You have been trying to pick fights ever since the beginning of the PK incident. I personally, would love to see you move on. Jason didn’t ask for your phone number. I think you’re just a bully (coward at heart).

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  • Brett August 23, 2006 at 12:58 pm

    Tree,

    I respond because it is my right, and my calling. “The proof against all knowledge is contempt prior to investigation” If we percieve an opposing opinion as picking a fight we close ourselves down to the possibility that there are other ways of thought. That, perhaps, “I” don’t have the answer- but we can come up with the best course of action together. Accepting like minded individuals as the only option is evolutionary suicide.

    As I wrote, with information technology as it is today, if I phoned him… well he would have my number. As for your name calling, well that never works now does it? But enough of being off topic-

    I must have a wrong understanding of the resolution process. I thought the BTA was to represent the bike community in resolving this issue. Is that true?

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  • Jonathan Maus August 23, 2006 at 1:11 pm

    Brett wrote:

    “I must have a wrong understanding of the resolution process. I thought the BTA was to represent the bike community in resolving this issue. Is that true?”

    Yes, sort of. The BTA came in and did the negotiations as the default representatives of the Portland bike community. I have no problem with that.

    However it seems to me that as representatives of the community they have an obligation to be forthcoming with the results of those negotiations.

    After all, it was the entire community (not just BTA members) that gave the BTA the opportunity to be involved with these negotations in the first place.

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  • Brett August 23, 2006 at 1:27 pm

    Thanks Jonathan. I guess the issue now is how are the reps handling the situation… which is of course much of what your original article is about. I understand Bachman’s position professionally… but if the voice of the BTA, and by default Portland cyclists, resorts to conflict resolution statements like you quoted and “weasel clauses” like “all of us have to look very critically at our actions”… well I wonder about the BTA’s choice in a representative.

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  • Jonathan Maus August 23, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    Brett,

    I think you hit the nail on the head. I had a hunch that Bachman was a poor choice in this situation and my conversation with him yesterday unfortunately confirmed that.

    At this point, it seems likely that we will never know what was discussed between the station manager (Tim McNamara) and Craig Bachman.

    Who knows, maybe he did a great job and the BTA really got something great out of this. I just don’t know why it needs to remain such a secret.

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  • Sean Pontificator August 23, 2006 at 4:09 pm

    Cyclists search for hit-and-run driver
    Posted by Jonathan Maus on August 22nd, 2006

    Ice throwers cause serious Zoobomb crash
    Posted by Jonathan Maus on August 21st, 2006

    KATU-TV covers Wilberding tragedy
    Posted by Jonathan Maus on August 15th, 2006

    I don’t think that our community should be satisfied with “letting go” hateful, violence-inciting broadcasts, especially given the sorts of problems we already have with the dominant car-culture. I’m willing to be patient, but if a whole lot of nothing is what we have to show for our justified outrage, I will definitely be calling BTA and reconsidering my longstanding membership. I believe I will also want to continue to put as much pressure as possible on 95.5 to make some real effort to repair the damage, not just give out free helmets or something.

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  • Steve August 23, 2006 at 5:53 pm

    It seems to me that people are attacking the BTA when they should be frustrated with the radio station. Clearly, it’s frustrating to not know what exactly’s happened (though sounds to me like people are creating conspiracy theories).

    But Mr. Bachman was able to talk to the station manager, when no one else was able to have real conversation with him. Why are you attacking him? The BTA apparently was able to get some PSAs out of the deal. If you think you could do better, go right ahead.

    Jasun and Jonathan’s efforts are noble, but what do they have to show for it? The BTA’s the only one the radio station will apparently talk to, and maybe part of that is because they don’t go off the handle and start publishing people’s work numbers all over everywhere.

    Attacking each other is not productive. Seems like we should move on — two minutes of radio hate isn’t worth fighting over.

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  • Tree August 23, 2006 at 7:04 pm

    I emailed the BTA at info@bta4bikes.org

    As a BTA member, I’d like to know what has transpired, if anything, between the BTA and Tim McNamara, Jammin’ 95.5′s station manager. Many of us bicycle commuters were very stunned and scared after PK’s broadcast, which incited violence against us. I did not hear it, but two people who did posted a tiny bit of what they heard on bikeportland.org.

    I am not the only cyclist who is not satisfied with Tim McNamara’s response, his empty promises, so-called apology and refusal to make the broadcast available to the public. It sounds like the BTA and attorney Craig Bachman made some kind of deal that nobody is privy to. There a lot of people who have spent hours phoning or emailing the FCC, station advertisers and the station manager, and others who have spent even more personal time seeking justice, while hearing nary a peep from the BTA. It is insulting that the BTA would leave we who felt very strongly about 95.5 paying some kind of price for their anti-social and harmful behavior out of the loop. You easily could share this information with bikeportland.org which broke the story.

    Personally, I have a friend who had a bottle of water thrown at him on Hwy 30, three days after the broadcast. I rarely ride scared, but I was very nervous for a few weeks after PK’s show. The broadcast incident has not been resolved in my mind.

    What kind of agreement was made, or partnership entered into, between the BTA and Jammin 95.5?

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  • Randy August 23, 2006 at 9:05 pm

    BTA reps seem to be noticeably absent from this discussion, the longer they remain silent the more I wonder WTF is up?

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  • Jonathan Maus August 23, 2006 at 11:04 pm

    Randy,

    The BTA is actually in the process of moving right now so they’re very busy with that.

    Steve (comment #24),

    From reading your comment, it is clear you are not familiar with the situation. I have had several conversations and a face-to-face meeting with Tim McNamara.

    As for what we have to show for our efforts. Again, I feel like you are maybe not getting the point here…It is precisely because of the efforts of the bike community on this site that Tim McNamara was even willing to negotiate with the BTA in the first place.

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  • Brett August 24, 2006 at 7:06 am

    Sean Pont…

    The three incidents you wrote of (#23) have not been linked to the broadcast. The displacement of your anger toward the station for other issues is not warranted. Issues that are seperate need to be approached one at a time.

    Because of the energy the bike community mobilized, the issue with the radio station was recognized, validated, and acted on. The station COULD have simply taken a fucUsueMe attitude, which is usually the case, but they didn’t. Allthough they didn’t do what a lot of folks in here would have liked… they did do some things. THIS IS A WIN. Now is the time to be gracious and to be a “good winner”.

    A new issue that has risen is how the BTA has handled the situation. One point I would like to make is just how much the BTA is involved in… check it ALL out before you demand the full attention of them on this one subject. That being said, it is the responsibility of the members of an organization to hold the “board” of that organization accountable for how they represent its members. At this point I don’t every BTA member should say “Why didn’t you get us free bikes from the radio station!!!!” I think it should be more on line with Jasun’s (#13) comment… minus some of the passion.

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  • Jasun Wurster August 24, 2006 at 8:12 am

    Hi All,

    I could use some help with the following:

    1) Sending postal letters to bike shops and NPO’s in affected areas. I did this 2 weeks to Santa Rosa, CA. Out of the 50 letters I sent I only got one back, which means Google rocks for getting addresses!

    I also got a response from the Executive Director of the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition that read:

    ‘ I called our local station and have spoken to the Program Director, who is
    trying to get a copy of the show before I make any moves. I’ll keep you in
    the loop.

    This station is part of the Wine Country Radio Group which has been very
    good to local cycling. Hopefully we can get something done from this end.

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

    A week after the broadcast date I had a guy yell at me to “get off the road”
    and “you don’t pay any taxes for the road, I should have hit you”
    Coincidence? ‘

    I will supply the addresses and a form letter. I figure I can send you a block of 10 addresses and you can print and send out the letter.

    2) The Playhouse list that they have 12 stations that broadcast the show. After researching contact info to all the stations only 8 of the listed stations broadcast the show. In other words since last year 4 stations have dropped the Playhouse.

    I need help contacting the advertisers and letting them know that if they paid for 12 markets they are only getting 8.

    The only way I found out about this is because someone took the time to send emails to the stations. If you want to help this is very effective.

    3) Someone to coordinate with BTA members and pick a specific day to call Evan Manvel ( 503-226-0676 ext. 12 ) and Craig Bachman ( 503-778-2100 ). I am not a member of the BTA but I think that them not even having the decency to use their resources or part of the donation they got from Jammin 95.5 to contact other bicycle associations in affected markets is representable.

    It is up to BTA members to collectively make your feelings known to the board.

    If you want to help me out I could really use it. I have a minor surgery today and will be off my feet for a about a week. Please feel free to email me at jasun@pnxcorp.com or call me at 503-453-2235 … don’t worry I will not copy down your phone number or sell your email to a spam list ;)

    Thanks,

    jasun

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  • Opus the Poet October 29, 2008 at 12:55 am

    So, 2 years later what has happened? Other than the station changing formats and the Playhouse moving to another station? And most of the links to the forums and other information about the show being broken also?

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