Broadcasting's Free Speech Responsibility | TALKERS magazine - talk media trade : TALKERS magazine – “The bible of talk media.”

Broadcasting’s Free Speech Responsibility

| December 2, 2020

By Ron Hartenbaum
WYD Media Management
Crossover Media Group Sales


NEW YORK — It is unfortunate that during these worst of times that we are all living through, we need to stop and spend time reviewing broadcasting’s free speech responsibility.

This week’s urgent need to review is based on Joe diGenova advocating violence against a former government official while a guest on “The Howie Carr Show.”

First, there is never a valid time when anyone on air should be advocating violence against another person. Never. Full stop.

Not for real. Not as an exaggeration. Not as a joke. Never.

Second, every talk show host is at the helm of their ship. It is that host’s responsibility to immediately cut off any caller, guest, or co-host who transgresses that line by dropping the call, ending the interview, or physically asking the in-studio guest to immediately leave their studio.

Third, that host then needs to immediately share with their listening audience that we can have disagreements, we can have debate, we can non-violently gather and protest, and we can vote. But, advocating violence is an idea and conversation terminator.

Fourth, management is ultimately responsible for the content of their station, their employees, and the environment that surrounds their advertising revenue. Management is responsible to their shareholders, but most importantly to the fiduciary trust that has been granted to them thru their ability to broadcast on the public airwaves.

This is not a debate about free speech or cancel culture.

Empowering anyone to advocate violence on broadcast airwaves isn’t about thinking or exchanging ideas and solutions related to our differences.

Advocating violence, or being complacent and allowing the advocation of violence on broadcast airwaves, is in fact an egregious action against free speech.

Ron Hartenbaum is president of WYD Media Management and Crossover Media Group Sales. He can be emailed at:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Opinions