Cleveland political radio ad calling for texting comes under fire


Unions upset about services cuts for mass transit in the Cleveland and Lorain County OH areas have mounted a radio campaign urging outgoing Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) to break ranks with his party and support a bill that would provide federal supplemental transit cash. But it asks listeners to text the Senator, making opponents of texting while driving see red.

The labor organizations are the Amalgamated Transit Union and Transport Workers Union, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. They are hoping that their $50K radio campaign will convince Voinovich to support the spending measure.

The Plain Dealer says that the ads are being questioned since most radio listening takes place in cars, particularly during morning and evening rush hours when the roads are most heavily traveled, and many aren’t too happy about encouraging people to take their hands of the steering wheel and their attention off the road to send a symbolic message to a politician.

The unions told the PD they hoped drivers would remember the message and digits and send it after they were safely off the road. They also hoped it would inspire bus riders to act, but PD questioned how many of those who were plugged in were listening to the radio rather than an MP3 device of some sort.

RBR-TVBR observation: The campaign would be just fine for radio – in fact, radio would be an excellent place to reach commuters exasperated with road conditions and in favor of more mass transit. Just make sure that the call to action does not involve texting or even making a cell phone call right that very minute.