Friday, April 29, 2005

Right-Wing Fundies SEIZE Air America Outlet in Warren-Youngstown

One of the minority owners, a Mike Arch, is a Fundie Christian, and this week provided keys to a group that occupied the station, changed the locka and began running Right-Wing Christian Talk. It took police and other city officials severasl hours to get them to surrender peacefully. In the meantime they were operating the station in violation of federal law, and putting Right-Wing posters and signs in the windows.

WARREN - Incidents Wednesday and Thursday turned WANR-AM into an off-the-Air America affiliate.
The downtown radio station was unable to broadcast its regular programming for several hours both days. Station manager Tim Continenza said a person known to management and one or more accomplices entered the studio on Courthouse Square after 9 a.m. Wednesday.

"We had a board operator (on duty) who, with permission, locked the building and left to run an errand,'' Continenza said. "When he returned, they were in control of the radio station ... They posted signs that Beacon Broadcasting was under new management. They changed the locks and changed the programming.''
The station switched its format earlier this month to programming primarily from Air America, a liberal/progressive syndicated talk radio network currently heard in 53 markets nationwide and on satellite and Internet radio.

Don Hanni III, whose local talk show airs on the station from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays, said they have a lease management agreement with license owner Beacon Broadcasting to operate the station, and Continenza said they are in compliance with that agreement.
Mike Arch of Beacon Broadcasting declined to comment Thursday.

Continenza said the station contacted Warren police, City Law Director Greg Hicks and Warren Redevelopment and Planning (which owns the building). Those occupying the station left peacefully and regular programming resumed about 12:40 p.m. Wednesday.

No charges have been filed in connection with the incident, but Continenza said they notified the FCC that they did not have control of the station for several hours Wednesday, and they have been in contact with Air America officials in New York.


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