Justice Denied...


The facts about The Bone Conduction Music Show:

There are a lot of misconceptions going around concerning WEMU's decision to drop The Bone Conduction Music Show. Most of which come from WEMU management and personnel. When people call and/or write inquiring about the show, asking what happened to it, asking where did it go and why is the show no longer airing on Sunday evenings on WEMU, they receive a canned email response (if any response at all). The response alludes to my refusal to run news on my program and my "going against WEMU's station policy" as the reason for dropping the show. The email then goes on to compare me to Peter Arnett and runs down some gibberish concerning "journalistic standards". WEMU's less than stellar management team goes on to insult and malign my reputation as matter of course. Let me take this opportunity to set the record straight. Let me give you the real unbiased and unemotional facts concerning what happened on March 30, 2003 — the last date The Bone Conduction Music Show aired on WEMU and the real reason it was pulled off the air — against public wishes.

I own The Bone Conduction Music Show. I have service marked the show name and host name. WEMU does not own the show. The Bone Conduction Music Show airs in seventeen other radio markets nationally. The show has never been WEMU's to format or shape. I have fought against station manager Art Timko for almost 20 years, fought to keep The Bone Conduction Music Show fun, creative, fresh, and unique. At EVERY step of the way Art Timko has tried to kill the show and make it just another generic and for the most part boring public radio offering. The battle ended on March 30, 2003. Timko won. He unilaterally yanked The Bone Conduction Music Show off the air at WEMU. WEMU listeners now get "Timko Land Radio" — sans opinion.

The public lost — BIG TIME. You were robbed.

Here's the real reason Timko canceled The Bone Conduction Music Show. Art Timko told me directly via telephone on April 2, 2003 that he was "firing" me because I "stated an opinion on a controversial issue." The opinion: I support the troops and their Mission in Iraq. He said the same thing as a matter of public record in a press release and subsequent newspaper story that ran in The Detroit News on April 3, 2003. He stated that same reason clearly and unequivocally in a Channel 7 Action News interview on Detroit's ABC affiliate on April 3, 2003. I was fired for stating an opinion. I would argue that the public radio sector has no right to stifle any opinion. Public radio is bought and paid for by the public through tax dollars, both State and Federal, and by public contribution. Let's look at the facts.

FACT: I was NOT fired because I refused to run news on The Bone Conduction Music Show. I never ran news on The Bone Conduction Music Show. A half-baked attempt to put news on my show in the early '90s (by Art Timko) was shot down squarely by the listening public. The public (the real management in public radio) wrote WEMU in droves stating that they did NOT want news on my program. Timko likens me in his canned response to those that inquire as to where the show has gone, to Peter Arnett... I am not a journalist. I also am not a treacherous, liability-toting, headline-grabbing Englishman aiding and abetting the enemy. I am a rock and roll radio show host. I don't have to adhere to journalistic standards and practices. When I hit the airwaves running it's anything but journalism. I host the most successful MUSIC show WEMU has ever aired. The Bone Conduction Music Show is not journalism.

FACT: I voice opinion on my program. I have done so since show inception, January 8, 1984. That is in no small part why the show is as popular as it is. A real, live person does the show — me. Not a boring "title, label, and artist" parrot-like stereotypical public radio show announcer. The Bone Conduction Music Show IS personality driven. Timko publicly stated in The Detroit News (and told me via a telephone call to my home) that I was "let go" because I voiced an opinion on a controversial issue. Duh. That's what I do for a living, I'm an American. This was the "controversial" opinion that pushed Art Timko over the edge: The Bone Conduction Music Show on March 30, 2003 that I support our President, our Troops and their mission in Iraq, and their bravery. I went on to call for a broader consideration of several news sources as opposed to considering just one. Who is Art Timko to stifle that or any opinion? Think about that.

FACT: Public radio exists because of your tax dollars. It also takes your hard earned money in addition to those tax dollars in the form of contributions during fund drives. You vote with your money. You — the public — have overwhelmingly voted support for The Bone Conduction Music Show with my opinion intact. And just as importantly-PUBLIC radio is just that, PUBLIC radio.

FACT: The Bone Conduction Music Show raised between 15% and 20% of the total listener contributed dollar amounts to WEMU. These numbers would easily be backed up if an audit were requested. Those percentage numbers include all call-in pledges both on The Bone Conduction Music Show (between 9% and 14% just on my show call-ins during broadcast alone), call-ins in other day parts specifically mentioning the reason for pledge as support for The Bone Conduction Music Show, and mail-in pledges listing The Bone Conduction Music Show as reason for pledge. Timko is down playing this financial data greatly, he is diminishing completely the financial powerhouse The Bone Conduction Music Show was for WEMU. Timko was quoted as saying The Bone Conduction Music Show raised 9% of the fund drive dollar total. That is just not true. But even if it was — that is a STRONG financial vote. That is a strong statement telling Art Timko to stay out of the way and NOT abuse his role as custodian of a public radio station. That data is telling Timko to not get in the way of public choice and The Bone Conduction Music Show.

FACT: Eastern Michigan University is stone walling any and all complaints concerning the cancellation of The Bone Conduction Music Show. The president of Eastern Michigan University, Samuel A. Kirkpatrick, has yet to make a comment on this issue. Nor has Juanita Reid, Vice President of University Relations, commented. They hide from public outcry on this issue and send any and all complaint to...Art Timko. Every player here is a taxpayer-funded public employee. What do they not get about their responsibility to the community? Public radio should be just that — PUBLIC RADIO. If you hold a license for a public radio station you are responsible to the community in which it exists. The president of Eastern Michigan University needs to address this issue — the buck stops at his desk. He needs to answer this question: IS ART TIMKO ABUSING HIS CUSTODIAL RESPONSIBILITY AS A PUBLIC RADIO STATION MANAGER? I — and the voluminous calls and mail complaining to Eastern Michigan University — would argue 'YES'. Art Timko is completely out of touch with the community WEMU serves.

Are there grounds for firing me, yanking The Bone Conduction Music Show off the air? No. Emphatically no. WEMU is public radio. Radio bought and paid for by you, the taxpayers of Michigan and the United States of America. That and the fact that my show paid for itself with call-in and mail-in contributions donated above and beyond tax dollars make my firing the self-centered, counter public-support act of one man-Art Timko. Art Timko abused the custodial task he oversees and abused my right to speak openly and freely. Art Timko put himself above the public.

Now you know. Act accordingly.

We stand for truth, justice, and the American way,

Thayrone X