Two more excellent reasons to get an Advocate New Orleans subscription.
Garland is lucky to have such an amiable and articulate "professional friend," as his defender. As someone I consider a professional friend, however, I still must disagree with Clancy. Start with the fact that 1) Lacking a $250,000 studio wasn't an obstacle for the vast majority of history's greatest artists. 2) A truly ethical media personality would have realized the appearance of partiality in exchange for money even if payment was received after the act of advocacy occurred. 3) One wonders if Mr. Heebe may have been quite that generous to anyone who didn't have access to state his views on a 50,000 watt station. 4) Far more and far better were the "heroes" who defended New Orleans in other forums than radio - the insurgent blogging community, in particular - but media consolidation and audience segmentation had, by the time Katrina struck, created a public affairs desert on the radio dial. Expanding on this last point, we should expect better than WWL's programming - duplicated, incidentally, on both AM and FM, a poor use of scarce public spectrum. WWL's parent company, Entercom, owns five stations in the New Orleans market, and hundreds nationally. WWL public affairs hosts are highly opinionated and repetitious while being astoundingly uninformed. Without having much to compare them to, it might be difficult for audiences to judge, but it's apparent how poor the hosts are at moderating informative discussions with the civil participation of people with diverse viewpoints when one listens to the comparatively far superior programming that other cities enjoy. We can wish Garland well without accepting such a fundamental error of integrity. Moreover, we should demand better programming than what we're getting in the FCC's assignment of station licenses. When paid product endorsements on WWL have almost become indistinguishable from regular content, it should perhaps come as no surprise that a host would take a quarter of a million dollar loan from a friend and forget about the appearance of impropriety. Conjuring John Adam's noble elevation of facts in defense of the liberty of accused soldiers in colonial America is a clever device, but it is overreaching in this matter. I respectfully disagree with Clancy, and hope that he will in the future examine the larger context in which media personalities operate.
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