29,189 individuals signed a petition urging Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to boot Rush Limbaugh off of Armed Services Radio. However, his presence there was defended by DOD executive Bryan G. Whitman.
The White House has a We the People feature that allows citizens to start and sign petitions. The petition in question was entitled, “Sec. Panetta, Get Rush Limbaugh Off Armed Forces Radio NOW! No tax money for abusive, divisive, insulting language.”
In responding to the citizens who signed the petition, Whitman, who is in DOD’s public affairs wing, wrote, “AFN is charged with providing current information and entertainment programming to our Department of Defense audiences overseas, similar to what they could see and hear via the media in the United States. AFN acquires top-rated radio programs, as measured by audience ratings in the United States, and delivers them via satellite to our soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen stationed worldwide in 177 countries. AFN does not advertise on, provide any funding for, offer products for sale, or sponsor any of the programs (including the Rush Limbaugh Show) it relays to its audiences.”
Then came the defense of Limbaugh: “AFN does not censor content, and we believe it is important that service members have access to a variety of viewpoints.”
Joining Limbaugh as primary talent on AFN’s Power Talk offering are Ed Schultz, Sean Hannity and Thom Hartman. Each get a three hour block every weekday.
A mix of other talkers is heard on weekends, including Glenn Beck, Stephanie Miller, Michael Savage, Randi Rhodes and others.
RBR-TVBR observation: If anything, Limbaugh’s many detractors should be thrilled with the AFN lineup. Notice the 50/50 conservative/liberal split. Liberals can only dream of having this kind of parity on commercial radio stateside.
We will note that the AFN lineup would be difficult if not impossible to pull off in the world of commercial radio – Limbaugh will be at the mic producing music to the ears of his dittoheads – dittoheads who will suddenly be driven stark raving mad by Schultz. The Schultz audience will have the same thing happen to them when Hannity takes over, and the entrance of Hartmann completes the cycle.
In the world of political talk radio, the word “ideology” is virtually synonymous with “format,” and in the case of AFN, breaking format is woven into its core. The result would be the stark lack of commercial viability.