A prominent Georgetown Law professor
has concluded that a popular country music radio station “likely”
killed an interview with Pete Buttigieg because of the presidential
hopeful's sexual orientation.
The openly gay mayor of South Bend,
Indiana recorded an interview with Blair Garner, host of the Blair
Garner Show, which never aired. The radio show is heard overnight
on the Nash FM network.
Cumulus Media, which owns the show,
said in a statement that the interview did not air because of the
large number of candidates in the presidential race. It said that it
had considered the effects of the FCC's Equal Time Rule in making its
“Cumulus Nashville’s programming
managers made the decision not to air Blair Garner’s pre-recorded
interview with Mayor Pete Buttigieg because of the large number of
political candidates currently in this race,” the company said.
“The decision was made by local programming management based solely
on concerns related to the application of the FCC’s Equal Time
Rule. The effects of the FCC’s Equal Time Rule are widely
understood and considered whenever these types of issues arise.”
Andrew Schwartzman of Georgetown’s
Institute for Public Representation told Talking Points Memo
that as a “bona fide news interview” the Buttigieg interview most
likely falls within an exemption to the Equal Time Rule.
“This was almost certainly a bona
fide news interview,” Schwartzman
said. “If another candidate asked for equal opportunity, equal
time, the station could say no.”
“In practice, here’s the bottom
line – it is highly unlikely that any candidate that wished to
could successfully obtain time under equal opportunity…just to
request the time is a process that is complicated and probably not
worth it. And anyway, this interview is almost certainly exempt.”
“This is much more likely to be about
Cumulus not wanting to be seen as promoting a candidate who may not
be particularly consonant with the proclivities of country station
listeners since he is – how should we put this – gay,” he said.