On the radio


Geraldine Sealey
June 22, 2004 9:11PM (UTC)

According to Inside Radio, an industry newsletter, the White House has sent letters to radio station program directors on official stationery asking them "where the president's radio address can be heard." The letter and the questionnaire program directors are asked to send back to the White House "have at least one PD a little freaked out," Inside Radio reports.

From the newsletter: "Why is the White House asking stations if they're running Bush's weekly radio address? The letter is on White House stationery and says 'For decades, Americans have listened to Presidential radio addresses.' Actually -- not quite true. Franklin Roosevelt began the practice in the 1930s with the Fireside Chats, but it was discontinued by many of his successors. It took Ronald Reagan to revive the radio address in the 1990s (sic) and Clinton continued it. This new White House letter says 'These messages have been an informative review of current issues important to the American people.'"

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"As Inside Radio reported on June 3, 'In a fierce election year, more stations are dropping the president's weekly radio address.' They think it's too partisan. (They also aren't carrying the Democratic response.) The White House explains where stations can pick up the Bush radio addresses and notes that they're archived at 'WhiteHouse.gov.' Then comes the paragraph that jolts PDs: 'Please take a moment to complete the short questionnaire attached. ... We receive many calls from citizens across the country asking where the presidents radio address can be heard.'"

"It's signed by Trey Bohn, Director of Radio, Office of Media Affairs, the White House. Maybe it's just an innocent attempt to compile a list. But some will read it as something more like intimidation."


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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