Keeping up the Pressure With Public Access TV

Brad Johnson is a former Clear Channel radio engineer, a driving force behind Partytown on-line radio and a public access TV programmer in his hometown of Modesto, CA. He’s raised a bit of ruckus by showing on his public access TV show a clip of Clear Channel shock-jock Bubba the Love Sponge slaughtering a live pig.

Showing that clip generated a number of complaints — enough so that it got coverage on the local paper.
Apparently the complaintants didn’t get the whole point behind showing the clip. Modesto’s mayor said,

“I’m a big advocate of free speech…. But I can’t make it stretch with that tape. I don’t know if graphic things involving animals is free speech. What kind of message is this, and to whom is it directed?”

But Brad makes it pretty clear what the message is, telling the paper,

“I’m just trying to let it be known what Clear Channel is doing…. That guy’s [Bubba’s] still working.”

Of course slaughtering a live board on the radio for no good reason except as an exercise in base exploitation is disgusting. But who’s to blame? The guy who did it and the corporation who profits from it, or the reporter who reminds us that this is the kind of crap the nation’s largest radio conglomerate engages in for ratings?

Obviously the mayor and other complaintants haven’t taken a look at Fox on a Saturday night –with hours of car chases, shootings and other “reality” crime TV–or NBC’s Fear Factor, where people dine on things like animal entrails. But the mayor doesn’t have any real power over Fox or NBC, or Clear Channel for that matter. So it’s much easier, and politically expedient, to get riled up over a brief clip on the public access TV channel, even though nothing’s going to come of all the hubub anyway.

Actually, it would be much better if the mayor would think for half a second and realize that he should be pissed at Clear Channel and the other media conglomerates that control his town’s airwaves and cable. But that would require effort, time and thought, something your average mayor is pretty reluctant to invest on anything that doesn’t result in immediate payoff.

Keep up the good work Brad!

(By the way, Bubba was tried on charges of animal cruelty, but acquitted by a jury. )






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