by David Norlin
Imagine having a compromised immune system. Your physician injects small, life-saving, pin-prick hypodermics every few hours for several weeks. Turns out later they weren’t immune boosts, but poison.
Believe it or not, this happened recently. And may still be. Not with needles through your skin. No, from radios through your eardrums. Not from your trusted family doctor, but from your trusted local radio station.
Your local monopoly radio station, that is.
KSAL and KYEZ, 104.9 (and reportedly many others) ran a ‘spot,’ recently and regularly, with approximately this message: “Our schools already get $14,000 per pupil. Isn’t this enough? Do you want activist judges to give them more money, deciding for you that your taxes, property and sales will skyrocket by 20%?” The inflated scare ‘statistics’ match the Kansas Policy Institute’s, and Americans for Prosperity’s think-tank ‘information’ funded by moneyed interests, including the Koch Brothers.
No identifying information appeared. No numbers’ source, no named sponsoring organization or group, just a ‘question.’ Its numbers and logic prove bogus when comparing them to facts. Like the Department of Education finding only about $1800 actual costs spent directly per child.
What a strange coincidence! At almost exactly the same time, Senate President Susan Wagle and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning held education funding hostage, demanding (like schoolchildren) that our reps vote first for a constitutional amendment taking away the Court’s right to hold the Legislature accountable for providing Kansas’ kids an equitable and adequate education.
Why did this opinion piece air and who sponsored it? Chris Miller and family own Rocking M Media. Chris replied, apparently with a straight face, “It’s not an opinion, it’s only that ‘the Family’ wanted to ask this question.” So, this was not an ad, exactly. What is it when the monopoly radio voice of your community is free to promote its opinions 24-7, using the stations they own, and the airwaves they don’t, and you have no equal time?
Bad enough that this is all of Salina. There’s more. Much more. Rocking M media now owns more than 30 stations, blanketing central and Western Kansas. They own most stations in Pratt, Dodge, Garden, Colby, and Goodland, plus Manhattan, Wichita, and Salina. Essentially, most of Kansas’ First House District. This includes its recent buyout of KSAL and sister stations “Y-93.7” KYEZ, “Classic Hits 104.9”, news/talk KSAL (1150), and adult standards KABI (1560). These, plus their existing stable of stations, “95.5 The Rock” KVOB, “92.7 The Zoo” KZUH, and “Country Classics 101.7” KDJM in the Salina-Manhattan, KS market.
The result? A stranglehold on what’s heard—and advertised– in the area.
And now, they run an opinion piece, “not an ad,” using their monopoly voice to pose “just a question” essentially proposing changing our Kansas Constitution. And just when representatives are voting regarding schools and children in KS.
As a non-ad, and because no constitutional change has yet been voted in, Kansas Ethics Commission says it cannot charge them, even though Kansas Statute 25-2407, section 4, on “Corrupt political advertising” says a violation involves: “Broadcasting or causing to be broadcast by any radio or television station any paid matter which is intended to influence the vote of any person or persons for or against any question submitted for a proposition to amend the constitution …… unless such matter is followed by a statement which states: ‘Paid for’ or ‘Sponsored by’ followed by the name of the sponsoring organization and the name of the chairperson or treasurer of the political or other organization sponsoring the same or the name of the person who is responsible therefor.”
So, Rocking M is responsible—and yet they are not.
The greater harm is not just to the Salina/Manhattan/Wichita area.
Ironically enough, Rocking M’s non-stop blanket propaganda throughout its “service area,” namely Central and Western Kansas, has the goal of penalizing and shortchanging the area’s very lifeblood—its children.
This is not service, but disservice. It deserves to be noted—and challenged.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the author. These views and opinions do not represent those of The Salina Post and/or any/all contributors to this site.