Salem is a liberal-leaning city. But local radio stations, with the notable exception of KMUZ, tend to tilt decidedly rightward.
KSLM and KYKN seem determined to compete on who can air the most conservative craziness, as I blogged about last April in "KSLM is trying to out-right-wing-wacko KYKN."
A show featuring two local conservative commentators, Gator Gaynor and Denise Nanke (wife of Salem City Councilor Brad Nanke) has disappeared from the KYKN lineup. I emailed KYKN management, asking why this happened, but never got a response.
It could have had something to do with Gaynor and Nanke mocking the Parkland, Florida high school shooting survivors. And maybe the Capitol Auto Group cancelling its sponsorship of their show the month following the mocking made KYKN give them the heave-ho.
But I don't know for sure. Which is something rarely heard on right-wing talk radio, I don't know, because conspiracy theories abound on national programs such as the Alex Jones -- Infowars show on KSLM weekdays, 9 am to 12 pm.
Jones has been in the news even more than usual lately. Facebook, Apple, You Tube, and Spotify all have banned Infowars content from their platforms on the ground that Alex Jones promotes hate speech. The Vox story says:
Jones and his various sites are leading purveyors of violent and sometimes racist (and anti-Semitic) conspiracy theories. The tech companies say they blocked Infowars not because of the conspiracy theories, but because, in Spotify’s words, Infowars “expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics.”
Here in Salem there have been calls for KSLM to dump Alex Jones. Last month Salem Weekly drew attention to local right-wing shows in a story, "City and school district sponsor right-wing talk radio."
When right-wing pundit Laura Ingraham mocked a Parkland shooting survivor who was speaking out against gun violence she lost dozens of sponsors on her Fox television and syndicated radio show. Two that she didn’t lose were the City of Salem’s Center 50+ and the Salem-Keizer School District.
Both still appear as “Sponsors” of Ingraham’s show and the other far-right radio talk shows on local station KSLM.
Also sponsored by our City and School District is Alex Jones, who, like Ingraham mocked Parkland student David Hogg, calling him a “crisis actor.” Jones is being sued by parents of murdered Sandy Hook Elementary students for claiming on his radio show that the massacre was faked.
After Facebook and other social media platforms took actions to curb Alex Jones' reach, local activist Jim Scheppke called for the City of Salem and Salem-Keizer School District to stop advertising on KSLM. His August 6 Facebook post said:
Alex Jones was banned from most of social media today for "hate speech" but his radio show is still broadcast on KSLM radio M-F. KSLM is still "sponsored" by both Center 50+ (City of Salem) and the Salem-Keizer School District. When are they going to wake up and remove their sponsorship of hate radio in Salem?
Scheppke shared a screenshot of the KSLM sponsors page, which did indeed show the Center 50+ and Salem-Keizer School District as advertisers. There were a total of 55 sponsors at that time.
Now, though, KSLM only lists 48 sponsors. And the Salem-Keizer School District isn't one of them, though Center 50+ is. Of course, it's possible that some sponsors asked KSLM to take them off the web page, but are still buying advertising.
So far the City of Salem has been holding firm on its decision to buy advertising on KSLM for the Center 50+. (The City of Salem provides 40% of the Center's budget.)
Today Alice Harman called for the City Council to pull ads from KSLM. Here's her Facebook post:
We don't have to support something that we find reprehensible. Alex Jones' show is reprehensible. Any radio station that airs it is reprehensible. Anybody that buys advertising on such a radio station is reprehensible. We don't support that.
Let's ask our City Councilors to propose a Motion to require the City to pull its funding and never again buy advertising on any station that airs hate speech. Email the Mayor and Councilors here: <[email protected]>
I agree. City of Salem officials seem to feel that because their KSLM ads aren't being targeted to be shown specifically on the Alex Jones Infowars show, somehow this makes it OK to spend taxpayer dollars for Center 50+ advertising on KSLM.
But as Harman pointed out, KSLM has chosen to air hate speech. Every KSLM advertiser (shown above) is supporting hate speech by giving money to KSLM.
Free speech runs both ways. The entities that advertise on KSLM are free to do this. And citizens who object to the Alex Jones hate speech show are free to take advertisers' support of KSLM into account when they decide how to spend their own money.
Hopefully City of Salem officials will realize that taxpayer funds shouldn't be used to buy ads on KSLM. If this doesn't happen, then the Salem City Council should demand that the City of Salem stop supporting hate radio.
Email the City Council and tell them this: [email protected]