Thursday, March 8, 2012

Rush On

March 8, 2012
Years ago, my Radio ads contained the young voice of my daughter, Trinity.  My friend, Ron Alvarez, created them and they were very effective.  They were scheduled to be broadcast on KBND during the drive times in the morning which are generally between 7 and 9 am.  One morning, I happened to be out driving and KBND was on the air with Rush Limbaugh.  Rush was touching on a somewhat sensitive subject that I felt was rather adult when it broke to ad and my daughters sweet voice came on.
I immediately called my ad salesman and asked that my ads not be put on his show.  It was not that I did not agree with what he was saying but merely the fact that he addressed at times more adult subjects and I ran  a wholesome family restaurant with my young daughter as the spokesperson.
Fast forward to the recent firestorm of Rush's due to his remarks that he made last week regarding the young lady who witnessed in congress.  Evidently, KBND must have had some extra spots on his show and someone placed my ad on it.  I was not aware of this until I recieved the following email:
To whom it may concern:

Rush Limbaugh has on three separate days provocatively said that American women who receive contraceptives paid for by their health insurance are -----, -------, and ----------. He has suggested that they be required to film themselves having sex and put the videos on the Internet so the rest of us can watch them. He said this of Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student who had the temerity to disagree with Limbaugh and testify at a Congressional hearing: "She's having so much sex it's amazing she can still walk, but she made it up there". He said "she wants to have repeated, never-ending, as often as she wants it sex". He said these things about her because she supports the requirement that health insurance companies cover contraception.
By continuing to advertise with KBND and having your adds broad casted on the Rush Limbaugh show, you are implicitly supporting what he is saying. Unless you pull your ads, I feel your company supports this sexist, misogynistic, anti-women hate speech with your money. I personally will not support a company that supports such a person or ideals presented by Rush Limbaugh. I plan on calling at least 10 people to voice my concerns as to where your company spends add money and would ask them to call 10 people and them to call 10 people.
Please take some time and consider the buying power of Bend locals and what image you want for your company.
Kirk Barnes
I sat at my computer not sure how to react to this threat.  First off, I did not disagree with Rush's premise.  I do not want to pay for someone else's contraception.   But, I do once more disagree with his delivery.  I looked online and found that their was quite a bit of back lash regarding companies pulling their ads from his show and that he had apologised twice for his remarks.
The first thing that I did was forward the email to the owner of Combined Communications where KBND is.  I felt that he should be aware of this attack on his company's supporters.
I had just received my monthly bill from their company and checked the times of my ads and found none scheduled during Rush's show.  I know that if their are open times, that they are sometimes filled by random ads from other KBND supporters so I figured this must be the case here also.
But, after showing the email to Judy, I agreed with her that the email was a form of blackmail so I decided to email this person back with the following:
Dear Mr. Barnes,
I advertise on KBND, not on Rush Limbaugh.  While I agree with Mr. Limbaugh on specifics such as the fact that we should not have to pay for anyone's birth control, I do not agree with his delivery of argument.  That being said, I just received my bill from the radio station and checked my times and none of them were on his show.  That means any one broadcast during his time period were random extras that all businesses who support KBND can and do receive.
But, secondly, I would like to challenge you on your delivery also.  By the definition what you have written in your email is a form of blackmail.  Webster defines blackmail as extortion or coercion by threats especially of public exposure.  I have passed on your email to the owner of KBND or Combined Communication (KBND, KLRR, KTWS, and 99.7, the Mountain) as it seems to be more of his problem than my own.
If you do not agree with Mr. Limbaugh, maybe you should do just as I do.....don't listen to him!  If he has no listeners, then he has no program.  But obviously many do listen to him and many do agree with him.  Isn't it great to live in a country where we have the freedom to think and say what we wish?
Lyle Hicks
Feeling fairly confident that I had done my duty on both parts, I pushed the issue to the side and continued on with my work.  Towards the middle of the afternoon, my eyes became very heavy so I decided to drive home for a short nap since I still had quite a bit of paperwork to finish.  I lay down on my couch and dropped off.  My cell phone awoke me and I groggily answered.  The female voice on the line asked if she was speaking to the person who does the advertising for Jake's.  Annoyed that a salesman was waking me up, I stated that I was probably somewhat crossly. She asked who I was and I told her that I was the owner.  She said good and then began what somewhat sounded like a script informing me of my advertising on Rush's show.  Now awake, I decided to engage her regarding the issue.  I told her of the email that I had received earlier and of how I was not aware of my ad on his show.  I challenged her that what she and the emailler were doing were tantamount to what Rush himself had done.  She said that she did not understand so I said that Rush had figuratively punched them in the mouth so they were attempted to hit him back.  A sort of revenge mentality.
I told her a more favorable approach would be to not listen to him.  If people don't like what he said, then just turn him off.  I went on to tell her that I had done just that myself.  She stated that unfortunately, many were listening to him so I quickly countered with isn't it great that we live in a country that has the freedom to do so?
I asked her how she knew that my ad was on and she said that she had listened to him this morning just to see who had supported him.  So, I stated that by listening to him, it was kind of supporting him also.
We left our conversation friendly (at least on my part) and I wished her to have a good rest of her day.
The whole thing, however, has left me with many thoughts.  The email threat especially was to do damage to my business if I did not do what they requested thus attempting not only harm on my livelihood but that of my 30 plus employees of various backgrounds and beliefs.  Taking that one step further, if my business was hurt, I would not be able to assist others within the community and community programs would be thus harmed also.
The same could be said for Combined Communications who chooses to run the program that many obviously want to listen to.  They employ many people also and give back generously to their community equally.
I know that I might be taking this a bit to the extreme but the point to me is before you strike back at someone, you need to think of what harm your strike itself might cause.  The lady on the phone seemed like a nice lady and she stated that she wished me no ill.  But the email was another matter and I hope that the Reverend Kirk rethinks his strategy.

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