MISSOURI - Missouri radio stations have stopped running ads for a white supremacist write-in candidate for the U.S. Senate after being advised that they were mistaken in believing that federal law requires them to do so, according to a lawyer representing the Missouri Broadcasters Association.
One of the ads from Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., 69, of Aurora, in rural southwest Missouri, is addressed to "Whitey." It says in part, "All you care about is your belly, pocket and genitals and watching the coons play ball on television."
In a story about the ads on KMBC-TV in Kansas City, Mike Shanin, co-host of the "Shanin and Parks Show" on conservative talk station KMBZ-AM, protests that legally, "not to play it puts the license of the station in a terrible position." Dan Weinbaum, the reporter covering the story, essentially agreed.
Not true, said Gregg Skall, Washington counsel for the Missouri Broadcasters Association.
"In April of this year, the Missouri Broadcasters Association joined by Chris Koster, Attorney General of the State of Missouri and Zimmer Radio of Mid-Missouri, Inc., filed a request for declaratory ruling with the Federal Communications Commission to determine whether Miller is a 'bona fide' write-in candidate for United States Senate entitled to mandatory reasonable access to Missouri’s broadcast airwaves," according to a statement issued in late June by the association [PDF] .
"On Friday, June 18, 2010, the Missouri Broadcasters Association was advised by telephone that the FCC’s response to its petition would be in the form of informal, oral advice. The advice was received from the Media Bureau’s Policy Division staff. The advice was that, on the facts and pleading submitted by all parties, including Mr. Miller, it would not be unreasonable for Missouri broadcasting stations to determine that Miller is not a bona fide write-in candidate and therefore, Missouri broadcasters may deny him access to broadcast [on] their stations."
It was Skall who spoke with the FCC. The broadcasters "seem to be very, very pleased" with the decision, he told Journal-isms on Friday. "Some started getting complaints from listeners."
Skall said that "not a great many" stations had been running the ads, but in a story Thursday by Cory de Vera of the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Miller said he had bought 257 ads on eight radio stations. Skall said in the story that one reason Miller's campaign for statewide office didn't seem bona fide was that nearly all of Miller's activities were limited to southwest Missouri.
An unhappy Miller was quoted as saying, "They leave me no choice but to file a lawsuit and get a federal judge to comply with the law, allowing me to campaign on the radio."
The ads remained on at least one station.
"Dewayne Gandy of Eagle Broadcasting in Aurora said his company has not had a chance to review the ruling, and he would like to review the FCC decision before deciding," the News-Leader story said.
Gandy "said his stations decided to run the ads because advice he received was that Miller was a legitimate candidate. His station did not receive any backlash from running the ads, which ran with disclaimers citing the parts of the law they were following both before and after Miller's ads."
According to the KMBC-TV story, Miller was a leader of the White Patriot Party in North Carolina in the 1980s. "Earlier this year he began submitting radio ads to stations around the state that urged white people to 'unite' and 'take our country back.' Various ads posted on his campaign Web site use language derogatory to Jews, racial and ethnic minorities," the News-Leader reported.
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