Tuesday, May 11, 2004

I just received the following letter in regards to my complaint to an Atlanta radio station that aired a show that bashed bicyclists and even promoted running them off the road and into trees. The League of American Bicyclists has a link that explains more.

Dear Mr. G,

Thank you for writing to me regarding the comments made on the Friday, April 23 Don Miller Morning Show on WNNX (99X) concerning cyclists in the Atlanta area.

Susquehanna Radio Corp. has a long and proud history of responsible programming in each of its markets. Neither the company nor any of its stations would ever encourage or support comments which would advocate hostile behavior toward cyclists. To the contrary, Susquehanna stations have supported cyclists in numerous ways, including a major promotion orchestrated several years ago by 99X for the Atlanta Bike Path at Stone Mountain Park.

The remarks to which you refer occurred during a discussion of traffic congestion in Atlanta. They were an unfortunate and ill advised attempt at humor and sarcasm, and both the hosts and management immediately recognized that they could be misconstrued. With this in mind, the following actions have already been taken:

1) The hosts responsible for the segment have been disciplined, and an on-air explanation and apology were made the following week. This apology was designed to ensure that listeners understood that the hosts were in no way advocating causing harm to cyclists.

2) All of our Senior Managers, have been apprised of the issues raised by this incident and directed to convey to the individual stations that such material will not be tolerated on our stations.

3) Our Senior Vice President/Programming has been directed to review this matter with the Program Directors of each station, making them aware of the potential danger of such content, the importance of preventing it from airing on any of our stations, and the potential consequences for lack of adherence to this direction.

4) A meeting was held on Friday, May 7, 2004 at WNNX with members of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, during which additional outreach and support options were discussed, in an effort to further educate and sensitize our listeners concerning responsible behavior by and toward cyclists. This discussion included promotional, public service and public affairs opportunities.

Please understand that Susquehanna Radio Corp. takes this matter seriously and will not tolerate advocacy of any behavior or content that could jeopardize the safety of cyclists. It is our hope that these measures will serve to properly and directly address the incident in question, prevent a similar occurrence in the future, and provide an opportunity for advancing the cause of safe cycling.

Again thank you for your input and concern.


Peter P. Brubaker
Susquehanna Media Co.
717 852-2302

>>> < > 05/10/04 04:08PM >>>
Dear Mr. Peter Brubaker:
I am writing to urge you to issue a clear statement to your radio station managers that Susquehanna Radio Corporation does not support or condone anti-cyclist messages, particularly those that encourage or condone physical harm or abusive and intolerant behavior towards bicyclists.

Recent broadcasts by presenters on your and other networks specifically the Don Miller morning show on WNNX-FM on Friday, April 23rd - cross the line of what is acceptable and responsible broadcasting. I understand that radio talk show hosts are deliberately provocative and employ a variety of techniques to gain attention, notoriety, and of course listeners. Humor, sarcasm, irony and other approaches all have their place in keeping listeners tuned in and entertained. Suggesting, condoning or even making light of forcing cyclists off the road does not have a place in broadcasts from your or other radio stations.

Equally, deliberately countermanding traffic laws and telling cyclists to get off the road and onto the sidewalk "where they belong" is misleading and potentially dangerous advice. Comments such as "don't ride in traffic", and "ride in the dirt where you belong" quickly lose any humor or irony when yelled out by drivers emboldened by hearing this attitude repeatedly supported, condoned and encouraged by radio talk show hosts and their listeners.

Therefore, I urge you take the following steps:

a) issue a statement to your station managers expressing your lack of tolerance for inappropriate content regarding bicycling and the safety of bicyclists;

b) request an on-air apology from the Don Miller show presenters, together with a correction of their misleading and potentially dangerous "advice" for cyclists to get off the road.

c) Air a series of public service announcements explaining the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists and motorists as they interact on the roadway.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.



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