Lex & Terry under statehouse attack


University of Florida-owned WRUF-FM “Rock 104” Gainesville, FL is a commercial station programmed much like other Rock stations, including a syndicated morning show geared to young male listeners. Now two state lawmakers have complained to the Governor that the “Lex & Terry” show is too raunchy to be associated with a public educational institution.

Rock 104 is completely self-supporting and receives no taxpayer funds. It is, however, licensed to the University, and has been since it went on the air in 1948.

“It is not our intention to censor positions or views however; subject matter which is dehumanizing and/or degrading to the physically disabled or offensive to a specific gender or race is unacceptable. The private sector should enjoy a wide range of subject matters. Rock 104 however, despite its claims of being self-sufficient through the advertising dollars of its sponsors cannot be separated from its responsibility and relationship to the University of Florida and the ethic and moral standards we expect of that institution,” said State Reps. Joseph Abruzzo (D) and Erik Fresen (R) in their letter of complaint to University of Florida President Bernie Machen and Governor Charlie Crist (R). The entire letter is attached to this page as a pdf for download.

While WRUF-FM has a huge 100kw signal covering 16 counties, none of those counties are in the district of either lawmaker. Abruzzo’s district is in the West Palm Beach area and Fresen’s Miami.

The two, though, claim that as the station is managed and directed by U of F faculty and part of the University, it should be “held to an appropriate moral standard.” They point to such on-air bits as “Happy Birthday Bitch,” “Pick the Tard” and “Homeless Idol” as examples of inappropriate programming.

While the immediate battle is over the “Lex & Terry” show, some people in the Gainesville area have WRUF-FM in their sights for another reason. The University drew fire in August when it dropped Classical music from non-commercial WUFT-FM to go 100% News/Talk. It is the local NPR affiliate and one of the highest rated non-comms in the country. Classical was booted to an HD side-channel. Rather than buy HD receivers, some Classical music fans have been eying WRUF-FM as the place where the University should put the Classical format.

As for Lex & Terry, they’re going to keep on doing what they do for stations all over the country. And they expect to stay on Rock 104.

“We’ve got a great relationship with the City of Gainesville, with the University and the radio station. Ratings prove that over the past 10 year and I don’t see any reason for that to change,” Peter Welpton, Managing Director of the Lex & Terry Morning Network, told RBR/TVBR.  

RBR/TVBR observation: If this were a privately owned station, our call would be that politicians should keep their noses out of other people’s business. But since this is a government-owned station, the lawmakers are, in effect, members of the station’s parent company board of directors. It will be interesting to see where this goes.