Cumulus Media blocks interview with Pete Buttigieg — but you can still hear it

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Cumulus Media blocked an interview with presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg from airing on its radio shows that carry the “The Blair Garner Show.”

Buttigieg sat for an interview during a campaign stop in Nashville, where the show broadcasts from.

His campaign staff saw the interview as a way for Buttigieg’s message to reach a non-traditional audience.

Cumulus stations that carry the show were first advised about the interview Friday, July 19, 2019 — including letting them know stations not wishing to carry the two-part interview segment would be provided with alternate content.

However, Cumulus ended up blocking the interview from airing, citing the FCC’s “equal time” rules.

Equal time requires TV and radio broadcast stations who air content from one political candidate give opposing ones the same opportunity, including equivalent pricing if the content is paid.

Garner noted that he would have welcomed any presidential candidate, including Donald Trump, if requested.

However, Cumulus apparently had concerns about opening that door due to the 20-plus democratic candidates in the race.

However, equal time has exceptions for documentaries, bona fide news interviews, regularly scheduled newscasts or “on the spot” news coverage.

One challenge, however, is that it’s not always clear if broadcasts fall under the “news” categorization — and this isn’t the first time an interview with a political candidate has been axed due to concerns, perceived or real, about the law.

On the other hand, many U.S. talk shows have taken steps to be classified as “news” programs so they are exempt from equal time concerns when having politicians as guests.

Garner, meanwhile, did apparently get the OK to post the interview to his personal SoundCloud page, where it is available for listening.

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