Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 18th, 2006 at 2:52 pm
The storm around The Playhouse radio show is gaining strength by the minute. It is simply amazing to see what a concerned and active community can accomplish.
On the other side, employees and supporters of the show question our credibility because most of us have not heard the original broadcast. I also have a feeling that elected and community leaders are waiting for the orginal recording to surface before weighing in.
I disagree. Even without hearing the original broadcast I think we have every right to move forward and continue to put civilized, non-violent pressure on the station, their advertisers, regulatory bodies, our elected officials, and so on.
I listened to the show on Monday (the comments were made the previous Thursday) and heard callers eager to share their experience of “taking out” a cyclist. Of course the host quickly distanced himself from this, but to me that is all the proof I need that damage has been done.
Whether he admits it or not, the host’s comments desensitized his listeners and emboldened them to drive more aggressively around cyclists. This is simply unacceptable in Portland.
I have also heard from three cyclists that listened to the show live and they were all shocked and appalled at what they heard. None of them have axes to grind or any reason to express their feelings other than a willingness to make sure that what they heard does not go unaccounted for.
As cyclists we deal with disprespectful drivers all the time. We will not stand for someone who uses public airwaves to disrespect our right to the road.
As a community we work hard to make our roads safe. We will not stand for someone who decides to reverse that hard work by making inappropriate comments to thousands of impressionable, young motorists.
There is a dangerously thin line between a motorist listening to insensitive, anti-cyclist comments on the radio and the death and/or serious injury of a cyclist pedaling on the road just a few feet away.
Regardless of whether or not the original broadcast resurfaces, this story will continue to develop in the coming days and pressure will continue to be placed on the radio station from every angle imaginable.
I wish this could have been worked out in a more diplomatic way. I gave the host that option but he chose to close the door. Only time will tell if he made the right decision.