I do a radio show here in Asheville. However, the station where I work - while located in Asheville - is part of a massive communications company, called Clear Channel.
There have been a few folks who have called my show in the past, who have ended up "banned" from getting back on the air.
This can happen in a variety of ways. Number one, is to say a word on air that the FCC disapprove of. Hey - it happens. We have a 7 second delay button here for just such an emergency.
I've banned at least one person for having broken this number one rule.
Mind you, we also have at least one joker who is on the verge of getting himself banned from the 880 Facebook page, for having used racial slurs on more than one instance. He used to call a lot, then got his shorts in a twist when I called him out on some nonsense, and had Jim cut off the call.
I can do that too. It's my show, and I'm driving the content.
Another way to get banned is for being obnoxious and annoying. Mind you, that's relative, but when I also get tons of messages and emails from other listeners, saying that they found it obnoxious and annoying, that weighs into it too.
One case, specifically, cropped up several months ago, with a right wing caller who would not listen to the show, but just call in blind near the very end of the show, often running us right up to the final break. He would not engage in conversation, but rather just talk, without pause, spewing highly ill-informed, half-baked talking points.
So, after about a week straight of this, I decided to stop taking calls in the last half hour, to prevent this from happening. I don't want to do a 3 hour show, to only see it hijacked by someone, in the last 10 minutes, who leaves a bad taste for me and the rest of the listeners.
On the odd chance, this caller did call in earlier in the show at a couple of points after this, and showed the typical behavior, leading me to have to shout his name repeatedly, until he finally stopped talking over me.
So, I banned him.
Too much headache. More than it was worth.
Now, when people get told that they are banned from coming on the show, more often than not (and especially from the right wingers) they start spewing about their right to free speech being impeded by my choice to ban them.
You see, it is not free speech for someone to be allowed to talk on the air of a radio show, owned and operated by a major company.
Want free speech? Start a podcast, or go stand on a street corner.
The funniest/saddest part of this tale, is that one of the banned folks, keeps calling and trying to plead his case to be allowed on. Then citing free speech (again) when they are told no.
There are plenty of callers out there who are loyal, productive contributors to the conversations, and insightful with their calls. I have little to no room for people who are dragging down the show, and are actually detracting from the content, rather than enhancing it.
So, I drew the line. I may draw it again. You never know.
However, the doggedness of one banned caller in particular to cry foul, has served to only strengthen my resolve. So much so, that after another round of "I've got free speech rights!" yesterday, that Jim had to navigate on the phone, I decided that I'm even more resolved now to make sure that ban for that person stays in firm place.
My show. My three hours. And if you are trying to detract from that, or make that harder for others via your blather, then I have no use for you on the show.
Does that make me a bad person?