Radio Station "DUMPS" Atheists for Christmas Music
OK...watch closely, my friends.
Fox News just posted this article by Todd Starnes about WXXM's nixing of its progressive talk format in favor of Christmas music. From the tone of the article, you'd think that Hitler had just been smart-bombed.
I spent 14 years in radio. Stations are bought, sold, re-formatted and generally flipped on their ears with regularity. We can all think of a favorite station that just disappeared on day, our expected playlists replaced with something else.
Corporations play with station formats like they collect baseball cards, assessing audience and profit margins and their own restless hands on the dials.
I'll admit that "Progressive Talk" is a tough sell, even in Wisconsin. It ain't sexy, it doesn't have shock-jock media darlings, it doesn't give away free cash, and it requires an attention span. So I'm not surprised that WXXM did a format change to Christmas music on the eve of Christmas, removing shows like Freedom From Religion Foundation with the rest of the lineup.
But check Todd Starnes' gleeful spin on the story. Those grinchy atheists "just got a lump of coal in their Christmas stockings." "Ho! Ho! Ho!" "If that doesn't curdle an atheist's egg-nog I don't know what will." "blathering atheists."
I don't always line up with FFRF's lawsuit choices, but they're doing unpopular yet often very necessary work in the fight against the unconstitutional imposing of Christianity on taxpayers and the government programs funded by a diverse nation of many religions (and none).
And if you know anything about radio, you know this: Todd Starnes' article is a non-story.
A radio station switched format to gain listeners on the holidays. They'll now get airplay in living rooms and department stores and gift shops and malls...wherever there's a Santa and a tree. STOP THE PRESSES!
WXXM, unlike NPR, is a for-profit station, so it's moving toward the masses, and in doing so, it joins countless other stations who have switched and changed and reformatted over the last century.
Starnes also ignores the bleeding of FM radio to internet radio, which allows so many to populate syndicated shows on their own terms without ever touching an Arbitron ratings book.
I had thousands of listeners on 100.9FM. I have hundreds of thousands of listeners on the web. The model for radio - and how it is used - is changing.
If Starnes had Clue One and allowed himself to speak beyond the Religious Right's caricature of atheists, he'd stop giggling like a child and take a larger look at the steady rise of the Nones...the non-religious...those comprising 21% of registered U.S. voters and growing. Those who - like me - may still love Christmas, but can enjoy the myth and merriment without lying to themselves or others about a debunked story involving a wizard who impregnated an unwed teen with himself to "save" us from the horrible fire pit that the wizard, himself, created.
Is this a message of peace and joy? Wouldn't the better message be to love each other, to promote goodness, to give and be charitable, to build for a better tomorrow, and to maximize every precious moment upon this earth?
Folks...that's not Christianity. That's Humanism.