RE: Democracy Now!

Dear Listeners,

We have received several inquiries about the absence of Democracy Now! from summer programming here at WVKR. As many of you are probably aware, Democracy Now! is a program that, until recently, aired live on this station from 8 AM to 9 AM on weekdays. Democracy Now! is distributed by Pacifica Radio Network, and we here at WVKR have no control over the content of the program. It is our policy to require all of our own DJs—student and community—to run any programming which includes live guests on delay. This is a precautionary measure that we enact to avoid inadvertently airing material which the FCC deems indecent. Sanctions from the FCC range from hefty fines to loss of broadcast license. Unfortunately, Democracy Now! run at 8 AM EST is realtime, and not edited. Sanctions to be levied on WVKR on account of indecency airing during Democracy Now! is not a risk we are willing to take.

We have valued, and many of our listeners have valued, the inclusion of Democracy Now! in our schedule, but for the time being, airing the program live is a contradiction of our policies and procedures, and a threat to the legal and financial viability of the station. It does not seem fair to our student and community DJs—many of whom have been producing quality content for decades—to risk everything on programming that does not abide by the same rules with which we require their compliance. We would like to remind everyone that WVKR is in no way politically or religiously affiliated, and to stress that our decision has been primarily based upon the legal risks associated with possible airing of indecency during this live broadcast.

We would further like to stress that this hiatus will allow us to explore options for airing Democracy Now! in a safe offering. We understand that Democracy Now! is an appreciated alternative news & information source for many of our listeners, and often a regular part of their morning routine. We have every intention of revisiting the issue when our full executive staff returns to determine the station’s fall programming schedule. We thank you all for sharing your thoughts on this matter, and we will keep our listeners updated on this matter.

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