From staff, AP reports
The owner of some Southwest Missouri radio stations believes he has no choice but to run controversial ads because the Aurora man who is paying for them has filed as a write-in candidate for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat now held by Christopher “Kit” Bond.
Frazier Glenn Miller, 69, is a former leader of a group called the White Patriot Party. His ads have been aired in Springfield, Kansas City and, beginning this week, on radio stations out of Monett.
Some of Miller’s ads have started running on radio stations KRMO and KSWM, AM stations that are part of Monett-based Eagle and Falcon Broadcasting. KSWM is a talk radio station, while KRMO is a country/agriculture station.
“It started yesterday,” said Dewayne Gandy, president of the Monett radio stations, in a Globe interview Wednesday. “I think there are a total of 18 (ads) over 90 days.”
While the ads focus on Jews, according to an Associated Press analysis, they also criticize immigrants and minorities. The ads also goad white voters to “unite” and “take our country back.”
“This is the second time we have had Mr. Miller on the station. He was here in 2006 also,” Gandy said, referring to Miller’s run for the 7th District U.S. House seat held by Rep. Roy Blunt.
Gandy said Wednesday that he consulted the Federal Communications Commission and thought that he had little choice but to run the ads. He declined to characterize the content of the ads.
The FCC requires broadcast stations to give qualified federal candidates access to airtime. Federal law also requires candidates to pay for the airtime and says the stations cannot censor or edit the ads.
Miller has registered as a write-in candidate with the Missouri secretary of state.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, identifies Miller on its Web site as a former leader of the White Patriot Party. The SPLC also alleges that Miller called for “total war” against the federal government, blacks and Jews in the 1980s.
Experts at the SPLC, based in Alabama, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Its Web site characterizes Miller as “one of the first white supremacists to use paramilitary tactics with his North Carolina-based hate group — the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which later morphed into the White Patriot Party. Glenn Miller went on the lam in 1986 after mailing a letter to 5,000 people calling for ‘total war’ against the feds, blacks and Jews.”
Miller also allegedly violated a court order, stemming from a lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, prohibiting him from continuing to operate a paramilitary organization. After a manhunt, authorities tear-gassed him out of a mobile home in Ozark, Ark., according to the SPLC. Miller served three years in prison after testifying against 14 other white supremacists in a 1988 Arkansas trial.
Upon his release, he wrote his autobiography, “A White Man Speaks Out,” and by early 2002 he settled in Aurora, publishing and distributing racist literature, according to the SPLC’s Web site.
Risk of lawsuit
An FCC official said Gandy and other station owners have some latitude on when they can run controversial political ads because the general election is more than seven months away. The federal law applies within 45 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election, unless the election is already in full swing.
But Gandy said this week that he didn’t think he could afford to risk getting sued by Miller for not airing his ads. He wanted a guarantee from the FCC that refusing to run the ads would not lead to legal action or put his broadcast license at risk.
“I’d be more than happy to not run his ads if the FCC could guarantee me that I could not be sued,” Gandy said.
“At this point, we are running what we call a doughnut. His message is in the middle of our message. We actually quote the FCC regulations.”
Miller, who could not be reached for comment by the Globe, also has asked for ad rates from KSD radio in St. Louis, according to Beth Davis, president and market manager for Clear Channel, St. Louis.
Radio stations KMBZ and WDAF in Kansas City recently ran Miller’s ads.
“I’m going to reach every nook and cranny in the state of Missouri because that’s where the votes are,” Miller told The Associated Press this week. In the 2006 election, Miller used the same platform and collected fewer than 40 votes.
The Missouri Broadcasters Association is seeking legal guidance on whether stations must run the ads.
The group asked state Attorney General Chris Koster on Wednesday for an opinion on whether Miller is a legitimate candidate.
Meanwhile, the company that owns the two Kansas City radio stations says it’s donating the revenue from the ads to the NAACP and a local Jewish charity.
A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, Jordan Clothier, said his office had received several calls about the ads by Glenn Miller. Bond finds the language and the ads “abhorrent” and has asked the FCC to conduct an inquiry, Clothier said.
U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt’s spokesman Rich Chrismer said the congressman considers the ads “disgusting.”
Secretary of State Robin Carnahan’s office did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Blunt, a Republican, and Carnahan, a Democrat, are the leading candidates to succeed Bond.
From staff, AP reports