KIXE GM drops “Democracy Now!,” raising ire of local progressives

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KIXE in Redding, Calif., is “angering progressives” by dropping Democracy Now!, says the local Record Searchlight newspaper. General Manager Philip Smith arrived in July from KLRU in Austin, Texas, where he was oversaw engineering and programming. Smith told the paper he hadn’t seen the show, which airs on more than 850 pubtv and pubradio stations, until he got to the station. “If it were properly couched as a progressive informational or opinion show … that would be OK,” Smith said. “Then I’d probably line it up with something with an opposing viewpoint. … (But) they present it as newscast. It’s clearly not a newscast. That’s like calling [right-wing] Bill O’Reilly a newscast.”

Doug Craig, a member of the local progressive group Citizens for Responsible Government, disagreed. “Democracy Now! is a very highly professional and sophisticated journalistic organization,” Craig said. “To compare it to Bill O’Reilly is absurd.” The group had petitioned KIXE in 2004 to carry the program and was an underwriter when it began to air in 2005. That year the organization also sponsored an appearance by co-anchor Amy Goodman. “We sold over 700 seats at $10 a seat,” Craig said. “We used most of that money to pay KIXE for underwriting for next two to three years, I believe.” Craig admits, “we’re in a conservative community,” but adds, “it sure would have been nice if [Smith] had reached out to us first.”

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