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Crushing Of Dissent In Georgia

October 24th, 2006 - 7:10 am

Larry Wachs and Eric Von Haessler, better known as the Regular Guys on Atlanta’s 96 Rock, are apparently in danger of being fired by Clear Channel again. A couple of years back, they were let go for accidentally airing a (very) blue conversation with a porn star. This time around, they’re on the verge of being canned because of Political Correctness. From Wachs’ blog:

All of this current mess took root, to my knowledge, in March, when the first national Hispanic illegal alien protests were taking place. We were doing our show in Orlando, from Braves spring training. Listeners started calling us on the air to get our opinion of the boycotts that were going on throughout the metro area and in other major cities across America. As the calls increased in volume, it became the only topic that day as it was on many talk shows across the country.

At one point in the show, we asked a producer to go down the hall and invite Yogi and Panda from Viva 105.7, also owned by Clear Channel, on the air to discuss the issue since some listeners had told us that they were exhorting their audience to boycott and take the day off. They agreed to come on and were ushered into our studio with our board operator, and we had a spirited discussion on the air.

In subsequent days, they complained to local Clear Channel management that they had been “disrespected” and that we should be lectured and punished for being in disagreement and making humorous comments about their point of view, all of which occurred exclusively on the air. Clear Channel management told them on more than one occasion that the opinions we express on the air are fair game, as are theirs, and protected not only by CC company policy, but also the 1st Amendment, and that if they didn’t want to look bad on the air, perhaps they shouldn’t agree to come on our show in the future. Nonetheless, the complaints continued unbeknownst to me through the year.

Wachs goes on to recount how he recorded the Viva hosts yelling insults at him in Spanish in the company bathroom, and while he doesn’t say so in his post, I assume he played back that recording on the air. That’s not the kind of bathroom humor you’d normally expect to hear on a morning yuk-yuk show, but I still have a hard time seeing how playing it back would be a firing offense. However…

This sparked another round of complaints to the company, who offered reasonable solutions to satisfy their ongoing and baseless grievances, but, insisting it was about the “honor of their culture,” Mr. Tapia and Mr. Carias went ahead and filed the criminal charge in Fulton County Magistrate Court against me and then filed civil complaints in Superior Court of Fulton County, GA against the company for “negligent hiring” and harassment and invasion of privacy chargess against me personally, omitting in the affidavit the salient fact that all remarks made about them and immigration were on the air, never off the air.

I have been more than willing, at the company

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