January 11, 2006
Motor City Radio Listeners Sue Station
WDET-FM, a public radio station in Detroit, held an on-air fund-rasing drive in October. Six weeks later, it announced that some of the local music programs would be replaced with nationally syndicated shows like "Fresh Air" and "Car Talk."
It seems that seven of the station's listeners who pledged money during the fund-raising drive did not think the Motor City needed "Car Talk," or any of the other nationally syndicated programs. Instead, they wanted the local music programs to be continued. So, the radio listeners, part of Save Detriot Radio, brought a class action lawsuit on theories of fraud and breach of contract. According to the New York Times, the listeners claim that they were duped into contributing money to the station to continue programs that the station had already decided it was going to cancel.
Apparently, a similar lawsuit in New Mexico in the 1980's resulted in public hearings before the station made any programming changes.
[Meredith R. Miller]
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