Photo: Chris Ryan
We’re at a crossroads with the Jammin 95.5 situation and the community is choosing to venture down separate paths.
The choices are to either negotiate for a settlement and try to work with the station in good faith or to continue to protest by any means necessary until the tape is released and can be vetted by the authorities.
No matter how you feel, one thing is clear; the community response to this issue has already had an impact on the host and the station.
Judging from P.K.’s recent on-air tone and from today’s story in the Willamette Week, it seems he is sorry for what he did and that he has a new sensitivity to the safety issues and concerns faced by cyclists on the road. As for the station, they have come under pressure from advertisers, advocates, lawyers, and the community and they say they’ll do “anything to make it stop” (anything that is, except allow us to hear the tape of the July 13th broadcast).
Given all this, several people have advised me to just accept victory graciously and move on. Yet for some reason I don’t feel like this is over…and neither do many people in the community.
Some cyclists continue to demand and hunt for the missing recording. One of them told me she has posted a notice on Craigslist in each of the show’s 13 other markets hoping someone has it in their iPod. There’s talk of a special Critical Mass ride (this Friday) to the station where they will chalk, “Let us hear the tape” on the sidewalk and then have each rider sign their name.
And then there’s uber-activist Jasun Wurster. He’s leaving no stone unturned in his quest to organize the grassroots and to encourage the FCC to take a serious look at this issue. Wurster has published several pages on the web that include everything from details on how to file an FCC complaint, a list of the station’s advertisers, a list of media coverage, and even some telling audio snippets from the Playhouse show on July 17th.
The BTA wants to focus on the positive and work with the station to begin the healing. They are working to negotiate a settlement with embattled program manger Tim McNamara that would likely include some mix of cash donations to local bike groups, some PSAs and hopefully some sort of working partnership to promote sharing the road well into the future.
There has also been talk about the pros and cons of filing a lawsuit in order to force the station to cough up the tape. This lawsuit would potentially be filed by the two cyclists that heard the original broadcast and possibly one other party. However at this point it’s just an idea.
Questions linger around all these courses of action:
If the station agrees to PSAs and donations to local bike groups, what about the 13 other markets the show was heard in?
Are a few thousand dollars in PSAs and donations a fitting punishment to the dangerous on-air comments that were heard by thousands of impressionable, young drivers all over the country?
How can we negotiate in good faith with the program manager as long as he withholds the tape and lies about not having it?
Considering the potential PR spin, would a lawsuit to obtain the tape have a positive or negative impact on the safety of cyclists and our ability to work with the station as a future ally?
Should we continue to publicly protest and apply legal pressure until we get the tape to ensure that the station receives the official sanction it warrants?
Or should we cut a deal with them and just move on, hoping they make good on their promises and that they’ll never do anything like this again?
What do you think?