Is it time to boycott WTAM for airing Rush Limbaugh?

Submitted by Tim Russo on Fri, 09/18/2009 - 07:59.

 I first wrote a blog post on BSB in March of 2008 titled "Someone is going to get hurt".  It was in response to the veiled race baiting of the heated presidential primary.

"The unrelenting hatred that is now being spewed on conservative talk radio and on the internet…is being aimed at the most deep seeded racial divide in our country’s history, and is inevitably going to give the lowest forms of humanity in our country a permission slip to act out. In a bar after one too many, on a street corner, in the middle of the night, or in broad daylight…

It is inevitable, repeat, inevitable, that people are going to get hurt. It may be a few, it may be many. And no amount of begging them to tone it down is going to get these “thought leaders” to do so.


Conservative talk radio led to the environment that spawned Tim McVeigh, and I noted how we leapt over that line back in June of this year.  After months and months of this, conservative talk radio has dispensed with the niceties of coded race baiting and is now consciously inciting a race war.

Andrew Sullivan responded to this clip, in which Rush Limbaugh takes one stupid school fight and extrapolates it into "Obama's America," a place where black kids beat up white kids on a school bus,  yesterday ...

"Limbaugh will enjoy the scorn. But he's a disgusting opportunist and racist. And his acceptability - indeed total dominance - on the right is one reason decent people will steer clear of the GOP for the foreseeable future. There is no nuance or doubt here. This is a man who wants a race war."

In Cleveland, WTAM 1100, a Clear Channel owned station, known as "The Big One", airs both Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.   After Limbaugh, WTAM goes to Mike Trivosonno, who is a poor man's Glenn Beck - a conspiracist race baiter wrapped in a Cleveland accent.  It then moves on to Bob Frantz for another three hours in the evening - Frantz is simply a dittohead at night.  That is 12 solid hours of incendiary hate, every single day, in one of the most liberal cities in America, one of the most historically segregated cities in America, and a city that is 50% African American.

WTAM is an original Cleveland radio pioneer, begun in 1923, with a storied history.  Its 50,000 watt transmitter reaches for hundreds of miles, well into Pennsylvania, Michigan, and across Lake Erie to Canada.  I listen to WTAM for sports, as most Clevelanders do. The Cavs legendary radio voice Joe Tait is a joy to hear describe Lebron James.  People still turn off the sound on their TVs to hear the play by play from WTAM for the Cavs, Indians, and Browns.  Their sports talkers come from a long history that dates back to the original sports talk master Pete Franklin.  WTAM is a Cleveland institution.

That WTAM has become a sewer pipe of hate aimed into the ears of Northeast Ohio should be a crying shame to the managers there.  It's probably turning the founders over in their graves.  I don't have a problem with conservative talk radio dominating the AM dial, I have a problem when it wallows in hate, because there are real consequences in our communities.  I do not want Cleveland to be the place that conservative talk radio blooms into violence, and if it happens because of what is aired on WTAM, that will stick to WTAM forever.

So my question to Cleveland blog readers is this - should we organize a boycott of WTAM's advertisers?  We've all been watching as dozens and dozens of Fortune 500 advertisers have been chased off of Glenn Beck's Fox News TV program, a previously unthinkable outcome.  Well, WTAM is right down the street, folks.  Their advertisers are in our neighborhoods.  We know them.  If we make a stand locally, we could have real impact.  But should we?  Can we succeed?

Here's my case - if I know that a Cleveland business advertises on WTAM's airing of Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, I will not spend my money there.  Period.  If I start compiling a list of those advertisers, publish it, and ask people in Cleveland to contact them, informing the advertiser that they've just lost business, I think this will have a far more profound effect than the national boycott of Glenn Beck, because we are local.  We can have real impact on the daily sales figures of Limbaugh advertisers in our neighborhoods.

What do you think?  I've cross posted this at RealNEO, BLACKHEARTCleveland, and my own blog.  I'm also sending this to the WTAM contact info on their website which is below.  I'd like to think WTAM will take some action absent a full boycott of their advertisers, but I know better.  I'd like to know from our readership whether you think this can work, and if so, what you will do to help.  No boycott will work unless a lot of people organize, activate, and take action.

Here's WTAM's contact info...

6200 Oak Tree Blvd, 4th Floor
Independence, OH 44131-2510

The News Room:
news [at] wtam [dot] com

Contests & Promotions:
thebigone [at] wtam [dot] com

George Allen
General Sales Manager
Fax: 216-901-8151
georgeallen [at] clearchannel [dot] com

Michelle Hurst
Sales Assistant
michellehurst [at] clearchannel [dot] com

Sharon Moses
National Sales Manager
sharonmoses [at] clearchannel [dot] com

Having trouble with your WTAM MVP Club
Email us at rewards [at] wtam [dot] com

Having trouble with
Email us at webmaster [at] wtam [dot] com

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Fascism in America

  Awhile back I noted that AM radio reaches more people than the new media.  No surprise that fascists recognize the fact,too.

Maybe LeBron can influence WTAM/Limbaugh

WTAM may be mixing a cocktail that will leave them with a hangover.   As Tim Russo points out on his Blog WTAM is connected with Mr. James via their Cav's broadcasting - while off the court WTAM is cozy with Mssrs. Limbaugh and Beck.  


Maybe Mr. James could help tone down the ugly WTAM rhetoric with his powerful commercial influences.

Who are WTAM/Limbaugh advertizers?

Hello Tim,  
You are right, the ad money talks louder than Mr. Limbaugh.  
I don't listen to any of this stuff, (pro “sports” included) but I would avoid the advertisers if possible.   Perhaps you could report here with a list of those advertisers.   

that's where i'm asking for help, jeff

it's a big job to keep track of advertisers on WTAM, and that's why I'm asking what folks will do to help.  if there's enough sentiment to take this on, we will need to organize to do it.

OK, I'll listen to WTAM and report back

OK Tim, I will tune in.   Only for about a half hour...I find it very hard to be in the radio presence of these spewers.

a boycott needs more than one person

thanks jeff, but it's not just you that can help.  everyone at RealNEO can play a role in keeping track of advertisers, posting contact information, and pushing readers to take the step of making their views known to the advertisers. 

I'm sure I already do

I doubt they have an advertiser I would support in any case.

As a kid, I used to listen to the Indians on AM, before I became aware of racism and the poor identity of the Indians, and began boycotting them.

The only reason I've ever listened to any AM radio was for mindless noise to stay awake in the middle of the night driving through some place so remote that I couldn't get any FM, like central PA... and I think it was all about salvation.

Other than WCLV, I haven't listened to any commercial radio anywhere I've been in America since it became controlled by a few monopolies, and my music tastes evolved past mainstream. I barely listen to local public radio since it swam upstream. College radio is about the only reason to have a radio at all, in Cleveland.

I've never met a Rush fan I liked and from what I see they all live in a completely different world and reality from me, and buy and use completely different products and services, so I boycott the entire Rush world - from drugs to fast food - without even trying... including pro sports... especially the racist Indians.

I assume Tait et al are as racist and strange of human beings as Rush, for working with Rush and dedicating their lives to talking about Indians, and working for a monopoly. You should contact the people associated with WTAM who you still respect and see what they think - perhaps nobody there deserves your respect at al.

Go interview the old timers about Rush, on video. They have choices and show their character with the people and characters they choose to be associated with. Seems they chose racism as their platform.

Disrupt IT