Doc Thompson’s speech at the Cincinnati Freedom Expo had for me a tinge of sadness even though it was electrifying in delivery. It was sad because before he spoke two men had stood on the stage for a moment as giants in the radio business, at least locally within the Cincinnati area. The man who introduced Doc Thompson was Brian Thomas of 55 KRC who is a wonderful person and has been with the liberty movement from day one. He does a show from 6 AM to 9 AM every weekday morning that has done much to fan the flames of freedom over the years. Doc Thompson just over a year ago worked with Thomas at Clear Channel Radio but as fate would have it is now part of a national show on The Blaze radio network that Glenn Beck has started which utilizes the Internet in ways that are innovative and pure from a moral standpoint. My sadness came as I thought of all the battery operated radios I have had over the years where I would listen to AM radio at all hours of the day and night learning infinite amounts of information from minds communicating over vast distances to be received in the privacy of my own home. Even as a young child of 8 years old as I turned on my radio to listen to WLW at 2 AM in the morning careful not to get caught by my parents for violating my sleep, I felt the privilege of being an American with access to such stores of knowledge passing over invisible airwaves. As an adult I have participated in radio as a frequent guest and used the power of debate to articulate complicated arguments that are most successfully framed in such a fashion. I love radio, and some of my best friends are radio people because we share the value of such thought freedom. Unfortunately the reality of knowing too much is the result of such relationships, and this was the cause of my sadness as I watched Doc speak during the following clip.
The radio as it is today is dying. It is being replaced with Internet radio, phone apps, and much more powerful and free means of communicating that stand to end the powerful rule of radio as controlled by the so-called public airwaves. My sadness is that I like Brian Thomas at 55 KRC a lot, and I feel that within the decade his job at Clear Channel will be in peril as the kind of leap that Doc Thompson has made with Glenn Beck will change the world in a way that has not yet been foreseen. Doc and his producer, long time friend Skip are truly on the cutting edge of technology with their all Internet radio show on the powerful Blaze Network. Doc’s style of radio is traditional American with copious amounts of humor. Doc like Glenn Beck likes to tackle stories that are very critical of the government, and it is the government who runs the FCC, Federal Communications Commission. Under the First Amendment this should be no problem. But radio people will testify privately that they have the same problems with the FCC as controversial figures often have with the IRS. It is well-known that when controversial, small government types put a light on themselves, the risk of being audited by the IRS goes up dramatically. The IRS is not shy about imposing themselves upon targets under the laws they helped shape to “inconvenience” the lives of the people they audit. The threat of IRS audits is enough to change human behavior to stay away from any conduct the IRS might not approve of. The same kind of performance goes on with the FCC. If a radio station does not do enough “balanced” content a radio station is often audited by a FCC regulator and this can spell big trouble for a station trying to stay in business with ad sales and any revenue streams they can manage offering free content over the airwaves. This is a hidden tyranny that few know about but those who are close to the business. For instance, hypothetically speaking of course—perhaps a radio station provided too much content attacking public schools as incompetent and that the government took notice deciding they wanted to crack down on the station for “unfairly” targeting public education. The concern is that public education is a shared government program, so the FCC activists seek to crack down on the violating station providing their government co-workers with a little help. They audit the station’s programming and determine that the program director needs to provide more opinions from both sides of a political debate even though only one side represents the truth, and is accepted by the listening public. Offering false progressive oriented information just to appear “balanced” has a negative impact on the listening audience whom the station seeks to appeal to in order to sell advertising space. But failure to comply can mean the revocation of the FCC licenses for the station. This is how the media has become so liberal over time is through this type of activism on behalf of the FCC. The same content challenges come on television, and producers of content have had to learn to dance around the regulations to appease auditors.
The government grabbed this control with the Act of 1927 where the Commissioners had total power over the fate of professional broadcasters. They did this in the fashion that they always do, by declaring that the airwaves where in the “public interest.” From the outset public radio waves as quickly as they were discovered, or rather invented as a means for utilizing through technology, was taken over by government statists like President Herbert Hoover who declared in 1924, “radio communication is not to be considered as merely a business carried on for private gain, for private advertisement, or for entertainment of the curious. It is a public concern impressed with the public trust and to be considered primarily from the standpoint of public interest in the same extent and upon the bases of the same general principles as our other public utilities.” Hoover was of course wrong and was being influenced at the time by the global push for communism which had infected Europe. To stave it off from the education institutions in America, Presidents like Hoover tossed sacrifices to the statist oriented big government progressive advocates in return for peace; much the way station directors do for FCC auditors in the present time. The result has been a gradual erosion of the First Amendment from day one in radio and this is why I was sad watching Doc Thompson speak. It wasn’t for Thompson that my heart went out, but for Brian Thomas and the station he works for that struggle with the FCC. Doc Thompson who is now working for Glenn Beck is totally free of that FCC drivel which should have never been put in place to begin with.
The Internet is driving big government types insane with worry, which is why there are constant attempts to tax and regulate the Internet which in its current state is the perfect example of laissez-faire capitalism. The government starting with Al Gore has tried to lay claim that it was he (government) who created the Internet so that they can hope to build in the minds of society the moral means to create some modern form of the Act of 1927 allowing the FCC to regulate Internet content and put a stop to all the free expression that goes on because of the unregulated content where competition crushes bad ideas, but encourages creativity. It is because of the Internet that blog sites like this Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom site can thrive and bypass the regulated controls of newspapers and television. It is because of the Internet that Doc Thompson now has the potential to reach listeners all over the world instead of the meager power of a radio station throwing information to the airwaves controlled by the government.
So far, the government has not been able to control the Internet with a moral argument that has duped the public, and it is driving them absolutely crazy. As of this writing the CISP (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) passed the House of Representatives by a 288-127 vote, receiving support from 92 Democrats. It will move to the Senate and then to the president’s desk. That bill has been proposed in the same spirit as the Act of 1927 and is a gateway for the government to regulate Internet usage and information exchange. The Internet powered by new media like blog sites, YouTube and Internet radio like The Blaze hosted by Doc Thompson has far more power than any FCC controlled business because good ideas will be accepted by the public, and bad ones will be flushed out the way capitalism is supposed to work under a laissez-faire system. The FCC has harmed the flow of information in an attempt to control the behavior of on-air content in the same way that the government has destroyed the economy, through tampering, meddling, and coercion. Because of the FCC Brian Thomas cannot say whatever he wants whenever he wants to, and put at risk his reputation to his listeners if he believes the risk is worth the reward. For him, the decisions are already made. He can discuss content in a certain way so that he does not violate the FCC license of the company he works for. If he crosses the line, because of the license renewal process, management can reel him back under control, and this is the direct result of government intrusion into broadcasting. CEO’s and other managers trying to keep their professional broadcasting companies operating, have learned to stray to the political left in order to keep auditors off their backs and keep advertisers secure. To understand how serious this situation is watch this broadcast between Doc Thompson and Matt Clark on WAAM radio in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Doc Thompson now on the other hand only has to worry about Glenn Beck. Doc is free to do and say what he pleases and the risks are completely on his shoulders. For instance, when Doc shared the hallways of Clear Channel with Brian Thomas during the fall of 2011, Doc would wrap up his show each day with a five-minute segment “What have we learned today.” It’s a fun segment that allows for a lot of humor, and is an aspect of his show that his audience enjoys. On The Blaze network Doc and Skip do over 10 minutes of the segment and have a tremendous amount of fun doing it. Most of the segment is deeply critical of modern government and the outrageous hypocrisy that is often associated with institutionalized sacrifice. Doc’s show has only been active since January of 2013 and is quickly growing in numbers. After listening to Doc now for a couple of months and noticing how it has evolved, the success of it is a foregone conclusion. It is successful because it follows the rules of laissez-faire capitalism and will soon crush the kind of radio stations that I have grown up listening to because the FCC will not allow direct competition. The government has declared itself owners of the airwaves and have put themselves out of the emerging market. It is because of the FCC that the Internet is a thriving, vivacious place of anything and everything at any time a day, the way the American economy is supposed to be. For instance, last week my Jacuzzi had a heating element that went out in it, so I took the removed part up to a pool specialty shop where they told me they couldn’t find a replacement. Discouraged, my wife went to Ebay and looked up Jucuzzi heating elements. She found a match for our tub that was $22, about $40 cheaper than I was expecting. She ordered it, it arrived by UPS and I installed it within a few hours. The tub was back up and operating again in no time at all while I was in attendance watching Doc Thompson’s speech. Ebay is a dynamic market driven supplier whereas the carefully controlled regulated pool store could not help me get what I needed. If not for Ebay, I may have had a really difficult time getting a new heating element. The same kind of flexibility is what is happening to the First Amendment in public broadcasting. The old radio business model is dying, whereas the new one represented by Doc Thompson is growing rapidly.
The sadness I felt at Doc’s speech wasn’t so much in that the old radios of my youth were becoming extinct. It was more like witnessing a young child who was born and immediately had its legs cut off so that it could never run away too far from mother government and had just now been seen for its handicap. Such a comparison was only noticed in a side by side analysis. The FCC put the clamps down on free thought in a direct reaction to the great communist threat coming from across the pond, and what America ended up with was broadcasting which reflects the mixed economy of our present society—full of diversity, and content, but always possessing a subtle reminder that America could do better, have more, and reach much loftier heights. It’s the thought one has who visits Disney World and sees that there are wheel chair ramps up the Swiss Family Robison House in Adventure Land which reminds viewers that the ADD had their input on the creative impulse of such capitalistic endeavors represented eloquently in amusement parks. More and more listeners of radio programming are switching to Doc Thompson on The Blaze radio network from 6 AM to 9 AM Monday through Friday to hear the unregulated truth separated gleefully from the long arm, and nanny state FCC. Shows like what Doc Thompson and Glenn Beck are producing on the Internet is what radio should have always been. But radio never had a chance, because of the government’s innate instinct to behave as European statists devoid of logic, encapsulated by a mask of goodness, only to discover the roots of tyranny were uttered in the well-intentioned words of Herbert Hoover which created the Great Depression prevailed. The Internet is all about laissez-faire capitalism and this has never been truer than the wonderful work Doc Thompson produces each day in thought, humor, and news delivery. His show can be heard anywhere in the world where the Internet can be received and is the future of America and the continuous pursuit of freedom.
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