music and politics on radio

Donna Halper
Sat Sep 18 21:58:26 EDT 2004

First, a humble request:  please, please, please don't turn a serious 
question into partisan bickering.  I have a situation I want your opinion 
about, and I fear it's gonna quickly deteriorate into Republicans versus 
Democrats, but that is NOT what I'm asking about.  So with that having been 
said, try to reply as radio people first and fans of a candidate second. 

An announcer friend of mine in another market (not anywhere near New 
England) works part-time at an album rock station, and he asked me what I 
thought about Springsteen coming out in support of Kerry.  I told him that 
musicians historically have supported candidates, both right wing and left 
wing, over the years, and I named him a few.  He then asked me what I would 
think about a program director or group owner pulling all the Springsteen 
songs because that PD or owner was opposed to Kerry.  I said I thought that 
would be dumb-- I mean, you may not like his politics, but Springsteen is a 
core artist at a lot of stations.  My friend said when artists come out in 
favour of a candidate, it can polarize the audience and get people 
upset.  I said by that logic, we'd have to pull all sorts of artists from 
our playlist, and what would that accomplish?  He said he was certain that 
Springsteen was about to get pulled from his station, and anecdotally, he 
hadn't had any Springsteen to play in a few days.  Neither of us was sure 
whether this was just a coincidence (he's a jock, so he doesn't see the 
master playlists or know what got programmed for the week) but I thought 
I'd ask you programmeers and jocks.  Would you pull the music of an artist 
just because you don't like his or her political views?   

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