CBS Radio’s Sports Talk WJFK-FM and Churban WPGC-FM DC have decided not to air ads from The Oneida Nation condemning the use of the Redskins name. In an email sent to News4 and nbcwashington.com, the Oneida Indian Nation said they were told by WJFK and WPGC that their ads for the “Change the Mascot” campaign would not air as scheduled. The tribe was told the ads would not run “based on the amount of on-air debate” the team name has generated.
The Oneidas have been vocal opponents of the Redskins nickname – be it for NFL or high school teams. The tribe, which runs a casino and resort in central New York, this year gave $10,000 toward new jerseys to an area high school that changed its nickname from the Redskins to the Hawkeyes.
Steve Swenson, senior vice president of CBS Radio Washington wrote an e-mail that was provided by the Oneida Nation to The Washington Post: “The issue has been heavily debated on WJFK where we can provide a good balance of discussion, opinions and context to the issue through our programming. Our audience has reacted positively to that presentation, and we will continue to approach the situation keeping in-line with our audiences’ expectations.”
In May, 10 members of Congress sent letters to Redskins owner Dan Snyder and Goodell urging the team to change the name.
An Oneida Indian Nation representative called the cancellation of the ads, unfortunate and un-American: “The station permits the team to slander Native Americans on the public airwaves with the use of the r-word, but doesn’t permit Native Americans to use the same airwaves to object to the use of a racial slur. “We will not be silent mascots. This issue is not going away, as evidenced by the growing and diverse support this effort gains by the day.”
RBR-TVBR observation: Locally, the Redskins air on Red Zebra Broadcasting’s ESPN Radio WTEM 980 AM, WWXX 94.3 FM and WWXT 92.7 FM—so CBS Radio isn’t worried about offending over-the air rights deals with Redskins owner Dan Snyder. What they are likely concerned about is local advertisers’ and listeners’ backlash from potentially hearing these ads. How could they air these ads on a Sports Talk station where most fans are bashing any thought of changing the team’s name? Talk about bad for business…