FROM: Ilene Proctor or Angus Hsu
Sent: Sunday, February 19, 2006 7:48 AM
To: Ilene PRoctor
Subject: Re: Arnie Arnesen off air memo
As per our conversation I am writing to inform you that as of Jan 1, 2006, I, Arnie Arnesen, the ONLY progressive voice on radio in NH, was removed from the airwaves. Why should anyone give a shit??? Because the conservative Republican party looks to NH to regroup and rebuild in anticipation of the 2008 election. Now, unlike the 2000 and 2004 presidential primary campaigns, there is no one on the NH landscape that can or will test the message, challenge the factless rhetoric and explore the personalities of both republican and democratic candidates.
Why was I removed? Lack of audience? No talent? An inability to be fair? Hardly. They claimed that I was removed because I was too controversial for radio advertisers, horse manure, I was removed because I was effective. NH was the only state to go from red to blue in 2004 and we removed a one term (multimillionaire Republican) governor for the first time since 1926. If one looks at the geographic footprint of my radio program, you will notice a remarkable nexus between my voice and overwhelming numbers against the incumbent Governor and President.
NH is a small state. It so happens that the media agencies who control the advertising landscape for much of the state are the same ones who ran the Bush/Cheney campaigns for the state. They influence if not control where most advertisers will place their cash. One influential owner, for example, was named the Outstanding Republican Woman for 2005. These agencies are far from subtle. A partner of one of those “republican” agencies acquired an hour a day with Andy Card’s brother, on my flagship station “to rehabilitate the three hours of lies of Arnie Arnesen” (that is what he actually said to the audience virtually every morning).
Ilene, they were embarrassed. How do you muffle my voice? Cut the funding stream to my stations. These agencies told all their clients that I was too provocative. Without advertisers, the stations decided to drop me for either a right-wing talker (no surprise) or a sports format.
The worst part is that I had become the person who explained NH to the nation. Hardball, FOX, C-SPAN, CNN all come calling as NH takes the national stage. Add to that SBS Australia and TVOntario and you know I have an international reputation. Without my independent views, the party drones on both sides get to do the spin and you know what that means – no McCain, no Dean, no platform for vetting Sam Brownback, Dr. Frist or honestly looking at Hillary or giving Russ Feingold, Chuck Hagel or even the next Al Sharpton, a place to talk.
I have a history of political and media accomplishments. I was the Democratic nominee for Governor (first female) and Congress, a Harvard Fellow, a columnist for the Boston Globe, a six-year member of the national board of Common Cause, the list goes on. Go to the website at the Kennedy School of Government http://www.iop.harvard.edu/ and click on their book Skirting Tradition and select the excerpt. They highlighted the chapter about me. If you read Eleanor Clift’s book, Madam President, I am prominently noted. If you checked out Glamour magazine back in the mid 90’s, I was chosen as one of the 11 women who would change the world if they won. I have been sought out by every major newspaper in the country to comment on Presidential politics during the primary season. Am I opinionated and blunt? Maybe. Credible? Definitely!
Finally, Ilene, take a look at this letter sent to one of the station owners that had aired my show. This email was cc’d to me on Feb 15th, about three months after my show stopped airing on that particular station. The writer/listener describes me in a nutshell and further describes the passion of my audience:
Dear Mr. Vinikoor,
OK, I’ve given him a while to prove himself, but Bob — it ain’t happen’. This Gardner Goldsmith fellow is really the pits. I can take another right-wing, neo-conservative talk jock, but did you have to go get one with a sophomoric attitude and a 2-digit I.Q.?
Please bring back Arnie — PLEASE ! She was the brightest spot on your lineup, and I had to go to quite an effort to receive your station to hear her. Now I’ve moved further away, and paradoxically, I get the WNTK signal better*, and next thing you know, Arnie is booted from the lineup.
Arnie is definitely a liberal, but very often hosted far more conservative guests and callers with dignity, intelligence, real wit, and respect — not the sort of 10th grade, pseudo-intellectual condescension we get from Mr. Goldsmith addressing more liberal (and enlightened) points of view. I’ve heard the buzz that Arnie wasn’t good for ad. sales … but I must ask: ad.’s from whom ? There are plenty of businesses out there who can relate to her left-leaning, though balanced approach to news and events. Maybe you need advertising sales people who can stop in businesses that don’t have Bush/Cheney banners on display.
Hoping things get better soon,
* I used to have to climb up a ladder and put the radio up on the roof to hear Arnie — then I discovered a particular roof truss out in the garage where the reception was fair, so I put the radio up there for days that I worked at home — I still had to climb a ladder to turn it on or off. Why should you care ? Because there are listeners out there that are looking for her kind of message — and there must be an advertising base willing to pay for access to that audience.
The public rationale given by station management was that I was “too provocative” for advertisers. Political, informed yes provocative only if the facts are provocative.
I hope this gives you a sense of what happened and the tragedy of the events that unfolded. We will talk soon.