North Carolina is a must-win for President Obama, and he’s getting a lot of help from supporters – in Boston.
In the run-up to the Democratic National Convention, Boston-based Greater Media Inc. neutralized the conservative line-up of talk radio show hosts it inherited when it bought top-rated Charlotte station WBT-AM (1110) four years ago.
First it ousted Rush Limbaugh sub Jason Lewis from the prime afternoon drive-time slot. Then it jettisoned popular local conservative Vince Coakley, replacing him with a liberal duo who routinely lampoon GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and even Rush Limbaugh, who precedes them in the noon-to-3 p.m. slot.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they pulled Limbaugh,” Coakley told WND, perhaps even before the election. He called the moves baffling in light of WBT’s overwhelmingly conservative audience.
Most recently, management unceremoniously told popular morning personality Keith Larson, a limited-government libertarian, that his contract would not be renewed.
Local bloggers and longtime listeners smell a conspiracy.
“Great timing, drawing back from (conservative) politics and all, right when the DNC is slated to hit town,” said Mark Pellin of PunditHouse.com, a conservative blog for Charlotte news and politics.
He says it looks like “a calculated move on the station’s part to curry favor with the left.”
Added Charlotte resident Marty Allen, who’s been listening to WBT since 1988: “They (are) trying to be ‘politically correct’ for the DNC.”
Greater Media bought WBT, which has long held the No. 1 position for news and talk in Charlotte, from Lincoln Financial Media in January 2008.
The new station owners say they are simply trying to get away from straight politics – the station’s bread-and-butter for years – and move to something “a lot more fun.” They explain that the lighter fare will “appeal to a wider audience.”
However, bringing in Brad Krantz, the more liberal half of “The Brad & Britt Show,” is hardly an apolitical move.
Krantz routinely parrots Democrat talking points. His parodies of Limbaugh – including tasteless references to the talk radio king’s past addiction to pain-killers – have offended many listeners, who have called into the station to complain. So far during the convention, Krantz has made appearances with union workers and other Democrat activists.
There appears to be more to the story than Greater Media is telling.
WND has learned that before the recent purge, Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth met with Obama administration officials in the White House to discuss “policy ideas.” The meeting, which lasted five hours, took place in March.
“I was invited to the White House,” Smyth said. “I was honored to be asked to participate in one small part of the policy-making process.”
Smyth, who federal records show gives more to Democrats than Republicans, says he agrees with the president’s agenda to “reinvent our country.”
WND has also learned that a key player in Greater Media operations – vice president Ellen J. Rubin – is a major Democrat activist who supports the leftist group Moveon.org and the Democratic National Committee, which is running the convention in Charlotte.
What’s more, Rubin, a Berkeley alumna, has contributed a total of more than $5,650 to Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012.