Radio callers: What you say may be used against you

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There are good topics for discussion in public, and on the radio, and there are others that are best shared only with close friends or, even better, kept to oneself. That is what one radio listener in the Pittsburgh area just found out the hard way.


The radio fan was a listener to Clear Channel’s The X, also known as WXDX-FM 105.9, which uses a Modern Rock format.

The fan called in to complain about a police citation for using a driver’s license with an incorrect address. According to an Associated Press report, the listener, a 25-year-old named Michael Hegland, went beyond a discussion of his minor driving problems, and joked that even as he was speaking on the air, he was high.

He showed up at a police station shortly thereafter to fill out paperwork to set his license matters straight.
However, the police had learned about his on-air discussion and searched his car. There they found both drugs and related paraphernalia.

According to the report, Hegland has waived his right to a preliminary hearing, not on a driver’s license infraction, but on drug charges.

RBR-TVBR observation: The First Amendment should protect the right of US citizens to discuss controlled substances on air. But as we see here, under certain circumstances it can establish reasonable cause for a police action (assuming that is indeed the case in this incident – for all we know there is a lawyer out there who will be able to get this caller off the hook). We have learned over the years that most kinds of trouble are best avoided, and to that end, we would not mention the use of alcohol or any other intoxicant or controlled substance, even as a joke, when working the airwaves.