O&A Fired???

Something was amiss during today’s episode of XM’s Ron and Fez show. Host Ron Bennington seemed to be a bit distracted, and a short break turned into a half hour without any programming other than a series of old promo songs. During the last hour of the show, Bennington excused himself a number of times.
Towards the end of the show, he announced the shocking news – XM had suspended star personalities Opie and Anthony for thirty days. The Paltalk room that R&F fans gather to listen to the show sat in shock. When the show ended, few people grabbed the mic to offer their opinion.
This silence didn’t last very long. Within a few minutes, the Opie and Anthony fan room had ballooned to over 500 people. Most were simultaneously on the phone with XM cancelling their subscriptions, while others were plotting other ways to protest this move that is more than likely a precursor to the service eliminating its most popular channel. (In fact, as of this writing the rumor is circulating that the axe has indeed already fallen.)
For those who aren’t aware of the circumstances surrounding this situation, last Wednesday the hosts encountered a homeless man named Charlie on their walkover from the FM studios to XM. He was invited into the studio, where he babbled his insane views on politics and politicians. When asked about Condeleeza Rice, he blurted out that he’d like to have sex with her (I was wrong in an earlier post where I said he fantasized about raping her). Less than a minute of this dialogue then appeared on a formerly obscure website (breitbart.tv), that is operated by Andrew Breitbart, who is described by wcbstv.com as a “longtime associate of Matt Drudge…and former entertainment writer who co-authored the book ‘Hollywood, Interrupted’”.
Once Drudge linked Breitbart’s post, all hell broke loose…for a couple of days. After a number of high-profile talk show hosts such as Sean Hannity and Shepard Smith defended O&A, the story seemed to lose its steam.
This is why XM’s move seems so shocking. The story was already falling off the radar. Why would XM knowingly bring it back to the front page of every major newspaper in the country?
According to many analysts, upcoming Congressional hearings on the proposed XM/Sirius merger are the answer. The combination of the subject of Charlie’s rant coupled with the skepticism of many in Congress about this merger possibly caused XM to make a bold move to look like one of the “good guys”.
Yet it’s the dumbest thing the company could have possibly done. Millions of American citizens subscribe to the service for the particular purpose of listening to this adult channel that provides blocks and warning to ensure that people whom are easily offended will not be subjected to their non-PC chatter. The statements were not made by neither the hosts nor an employee of the show, yet Opie and Anthony apologized last Friday. Both shows this week were free of controversy, despite XM’s statement that comments made by the pair Monday “put into question whether they appreciate the seriousness of the matter”. Trust me, I heard the show in question and they couldn’t have played it any safer.
What worries me the most is the precedent this firing sets. For the first time ever, special interest groups have succeeded in taking a program off a pay service. You can bet that some time soon you’ll see “offended” people go after not only other programming on both satellite services but cable television. If you think the aftermath of the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident was horrifying, this situation has the makings of a bloodbath going against anybody who creates anything even marginally edge-y.
As I said when I commented on earlier incidents involving other broadcasters such as Don Imus, it doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of the talent stuck in the crosshairs of the Al Sharptons of the world. I encourage anybody who is even mildly outraged to sign up to http://www.peopleagainstcensorship.com to help battle against those who want to dictate what we watch or listen.


M said…
Good job, Scott.
PP said…
If O&A is gone, so's my subscription. I already sent XM an unhappy note, and will continue to do so.

If they're yanking them for 30 days, I'm wondering if my subscription is going to be prorated during that time.
lanestew said…
Bravo, sir
Anonymous said…
i've read on the net that o&a, and howard stern don't get along. do you suppose stern might have had something to do with this?

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