Clear Channel lifted its ban 8/27 on radio ads purchased by Wichita’s first abortion clinic to open since 2009. CCME reversed course as supporters of the South Wind Women’s Center prepared to deliver a petition 8/28 with 68,000 signatures, asking the broadcaster to reconsider last month’s decision that yanked the ads, which promoted health care services.
Based on a “thoughtful discussion” with the clinic, Clear Channel said it made sense to take a closer look at the criteria it uses to determine whether an advertisement should air. The company said the petition did not play into its decision.
Tony Matteo, Clear Channel ops manager in Wichita, told The AP that while the company recognized that certain advertising may stir passionate viewpoints, it determined that “as a responsible broadcaster we should use our best judgment to accept and run ads that do not violate the law or FCC standards and which are not intentionally hateful or incendiary.”
Sarah Anderson, a spokeswoman for abortion rights group Trust Women, which opened the center in April, said South Wind was verbally notified late Tuesday afternoon of Clear Channel’s reversal and would likely cancel Wednesday’s event in which it planned to deliver the petition.
The center collected signatures in partnership with Women, Action & the Media, a national nonprofit that advocates for gender equity in media. The “vast majority” of the signatures collected came from outside Wichita, said Jaclyn Friedman, the group’s executive director.
South Wind began advertising on other Wichita stations in June without incident.
The ads on Clear Channel stations aired only 7/1 before they were pulled. The Clear Channel ad buy was for a month, costing between $1,500 and $2,000.
RBR-TVBR observation: CCME was right to “test the waters” here in this market to protect itself. Other stations running the ads in the market were not targeted by anti-abortion groups and instead the cluster got pushback from the other side for not running them. Being cautious and then reading the market’s reaction to change the decision was prudent here.