I called TAN Talk (WTAN - AM 1340 on your radio dial) to discuss doing a show here in Clearwater. After all, I spent three years as the morning guy on a radio station back in the midwest. It's time to get back into action.
The reaction was startling.
I asked for prices. To do a one hour show between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. costs $150...evening hours are $100 and overnight costs $50. This is not the way most radio stations operate mind you. There are a few stations that sell time the way a TV station sells time for infomercials in the wee hours of the morning. TAN Talk is one of them.
I was assured that there were slots open during all time periods.
Dave (Wagonfort/Wagonport sp?) asked me what type of show I was interested in airing. I said I was here with The Lisa McPherson Trust and before I got any further he said "No! No way!"
His first argument was that he didn't allow hosts on that would be at odds with his other shows. Since the CCHR already has 17 hours a week on the air (and pays roughly $2000 for the time) that means they win the "we got here first" game.
That means if the KKK paid for a show then the NAACP would not be able to counterprogram. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me except in money terms. Why piss off the $2000 client for a $150 client?
When this argument wasn't satisfying me he turned to this: "You people are suing the church and we won't let anyone talk about ongoing suits."
I explained that we weren't in any way suing the church. Dave insisted that Bob was. I explained that the family was suing the church and Bob was funding the suit but that Bob wasn't suing personally. Not good enough.
He won't let the church talk about the suit and he won't let us talk about the suit.
Now, I wasn't even thinking about talking about the suit.
Dave made it very clear that we were not welcome at TAN Talk.
Welcome to Clearwater.
From: Tommy <Tommy_spemail@example.com>
Subject: My letter to WTAN (was:WTAN - TAN Talk refusing show)
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2000 21:01:43 -0600
I am writing to express my disappointment to refuse the Lisa McPherson Trust's request to purchase time on your station. I feel that your position that you "don't take on shows that would be at odds with other shows" is specious, as you have the (supposedly)rabidly anti-drug Scientology CCHR group on followed by "Hemp Radio With Bud Green".
The Lisa McPherson Trust is not suing the CoS, CCHR, or anyone for that matter. Nor do the Trust representatives wish to discuss the various suits brought against the CoS by Pinellas County and the survivor's relatives for its part in the death of Lisa McPherson.
These people have put themselves in harm's way to try to bring forward the other side of Clearwater issues - the ones that the CoS' well-oiled PR machine would like to drown out.
Please don't help them do this. I ask you to reconsider your decision as one journalist to another.