Letter to CBS Radio and 92.3 The Fan re: The Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima
September 23rd, 2016
Mr. Andy Roth
92.3 The Fan
Dear Mr. Roth:
My name is Jacob VanSickle and I serve as Executive Director of Bike Cleveland, the bicycle advocacy organization in Cleveland, Ohio. In partnership with public and private partners, Bike Cleveland works to build livable communities by promoting all forms of cycling and advocating for the rights and equality of cyclists.
I am writing today to express my grave concern about a broadcast that aired on 92.3 THE FAN, a CBS Radio Station, on Friday, September 23rd during the The Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima. During this show (between 8:30am-9am), Mr. Carman and Mr. Lima expressed inappropriate and intolerable sentiments towards bicyclists.
This took place after news broke of an OSU assistant coach hitting a person on his bike on his way to work this morning. While this is not a sports story, it still somehow seemed an appropriate time for the hosts to opine on the “murderous” feeling they get when seeing a cyclist [legally] operating in a shared roadway space. They even acknowledged that cyclists don’t have anywhere else to go, since they’re not allowed on the sidewalk, and that they have to “be careful” not to offend any of the very vocal cyclist community.
Incendiary comments like this only serve to further inflame motorist anger towards a growing number of cyclists on Greater Cleveland’s streets. Such discourse puts the lives and safety of cyclists, already a vulnerable road user group, at even greater risk.
The broadcast in question left me, a number of local bike shop owners, and many cyclists who reached out to me deeply concerned for the personal safety of bicyclists who may have been on the road biking during and immediately after this broadcast.
Despite widespread public misunderstanding of the fact, bicycles are legal vehicles on the road. Given the level of misinformation which already exists about cyclists’ rights, riders already often find themselves riding in a very stressful atmosphere. By further pitting cyclists against 2500 pound-wrapped motorists, CBS Radio and 92.3 The Fan is increasing their danger.
Unfortunately, today’s anti-bicycle tirade strongly mirrors another unfortunate Clear Channel incident which happened back in 2003 and again in 2012. In response to the uproar which ensued at the time, Mr. John Hogan, Clear Channel’s CEO of Media and Entertainment, assured the bicycle community that he would make every effort to ensure “that anti-bicycle messages…are not repeated.”
While we understand that Anthony Lima did apologize after his comments we do not believe that is enough. On behalf of Bike Cleveland, I am writing to request that CBS Radio and 92.3 The Fan provide the following.
- Provide free radio time to Bike Cleveland during morning and evening rush hour through the end of 2016 to air our “We’re All Drivers” radio PSAs that aim to educate the public on cyclists’ rights as well as humanize people who ride bikes. It is important to note that these PSA’s are read by Cleveland Indians All-star and current first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr., a regular road cyclist.
- We would request that Mr. Carman, Mr. Lima, and members of his production staff arrange with Bike Cleveland to participate in a traffic skills class, to truly understand the issues cyclists face when they, either by choice or necessity, ride a bike to get to school or work or for recreation.
Cleveland is a city striving to become more bicycle-friendly and, over the past 10 years, we have seen an almost 280% increase in people commuting to work by bike. Just this week Bicycling Magazine rated Cleveland the #41 spot in best cities for biking. I hope that CBS Radio, and its affiliate stations, will join us in embracing this growing bicycle culture and take the appropriate steps to assume responsibility for the statements made today on 92.3 The Fan.
Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. I, along with Bike Cleveland’s board of directors, members, and the Greater Cleveland cycling community, look forward to hearing back from you soon.
cc: Landry Locker, Morning Show Executive Producer
Anthony Lima, Morning Show Co-Host
Ken Carman, Morning Show Host
Andre Fernandez, President CBS Radio