Radio show update and thoughts

In my previous post about a phone call with apologetic program manager Tim McNamara, I asked all of you if we should try and cut a deal with the station and move on, or if we should continue to pressure them until the tape is heard.

The response was mixed.

There are all sorts of ideas about what the station should do to mend fences with the bike community; from showing up to Breakfast on the Bridges and running PSAs, to having the host bike commute for a month and issue a public apology.

Other people think that cutting a deal with the station is not sufficient and that pressure must continue to be applied until the FCC (or someone else) can hear the recording. One commenter put it this way:

“Regardless of what amends are made and what forgiveness is extended, FCC action is still needed–and lobbying the FCC (and securing release of the recorded broadcast) should not be negotiable. Why? Because federal investigation and any penalties that follow could set a precedent.

The outcome could help curtail shock-jock bullying of not only cyclists but other potentially vulnerable groups–not only here and now, but years in the future and across the country.”

It’s important to note that this program is heard in 13 other cities. Would the station pony-up for PSAs and donations for all of them too? I doubt it.

There are people who think this site has blown the situation way out of proportion. One comment said my handling of it has been “equally distasteful” as the host himself. Here’s an excerpt:

“I think needs to take a serious look at its role in this process.

What I am questioning is the way BikePortland handled this. The sense of urgency and daily updates that constantly pushed for some sort of action contributed greatly to the overall perceived problems.

You are not really any different than P.K. (as an entity) and you made some of the same exact mistakes that they did last week.

I lost respect for this site over the last few days, not gained.”

I appreciate that comment and believe me, I have questioned my role in this many times. While I don’t contend that I’ve done a perfect job, I have tried my best to both express my concern for the situation while allowing the community to act in the way they feel is most approriate.

Trust me, I could have been much more pro-active in leading a protest but I am trying to walk a very fine line between being a journalist and a concerned advocate for public safety.

I know I have not been 100% objective but that is not the purpose of this site. This site is the work of only one person (me). There is no staff, mission statement, or Board of Directors.

Now, onto the missing recording.

The broadcast of the July 13th show has still not surfaced. This comment echoes the frustration of many people in the community:

“I’d tell Tim that we will decide on the course of action once we hear the full broadcast. It has been said repeatedly that the bike communtiy is reacting to something out of context, so how can we give a proper response without hearing the whole thing firsthand?”

McNamara called me again yesterday and vehemently maintained that he does not have the recording. I have trouble discussing the issue with him because I don’t believe he is telling the truth. I simply cannot accept that a radio station does not have access to a recording of their own show. McNamara has been in the radio business for 30 years and I think he’s been around long enough to know that if the tape comes out, he could be in some serious trouble.

On the advertiser front, I have confirmed that Les Schwab has pulled all their ads with the station and that the American Red Cross is very concerned and waiting for the outcome to make a decision. I have unverified reports that PGE Park and the Clackamas Fire Department have either pulled out of partnerships or are considering doing so.

Plans to have cyclists show up to Grant Park during a Jammin 95.5 picnic tomorrow are also making the rounds. The Police are well-aware of the situation. They have met several times with the cyclist organizing the picnic and they have even paid a personal visit to program manager Tim McNamara.

While I appreciate and understand the intentions of having cyclists at the park, I also know it’s a very tenuous situation that might not go as planned. Regardless of the good intentions, the radio people will think we’re there for the wrong reasons. If you go, please be mindful and put your best foot forward.

Who knows, maybe we’ll all end up playing frisbee and eating hot dogs together. That’s a photo I’d love to take.

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