University of Alabama history professor David Beito is clearly no fan of what he calls “right wing talk radio,” but he was effusive in praise for Clear Channel’s four Tuscaloosa stations in the aftermath of last month’s devastating tornado. His commentary was published in the Wall Street Journal.
“Other than churches, much of the strength of Tuscaloosa’s extensive mutual aid comes from an unlikely source: right wing talk radio,” Beito wrote. He praised Market Manager Gigi South and her staff of only a dozen people for working “grueling shifts” as all four stations jettisoned regular programming to go wall-to-wall as a clearinghouse for tornado relief efforts.
“The higher-ups at Clear Channel have fully supported the local initiative to pre-empt normal programming and have provided generators and engineers to keep the stations on the air round the clock,” Beito noted.
“Although Tuscaloosa Clear Channel normally caters to a white, conservative audience, grateful listeners often make tearful calls from predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods like Alberta that bore the brunt of the tornado. No other radio or television stations in the community, public or private, have come close to matching this effort,” wrote Beito.
If you subscribe to the WSJ online service, click here to read the article.
RBR-TVBR observation: Why do people outside the business think this is so unusual? It’s just what radio has been doing for nearly 90 years.