Tuesday March 6, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A local radio station has yanked the Rush Limbaugh Show from its airwaves in response to remarks in which the controversial talk-show host called a female law student a "slut" and "prostitute" over her support of health insurance coverage of birth control.

On Monday, AM 1420 WBEC , along with KPUA in Hilo Hawaii, dropped the weekday syndicated program because of Limbaugh's offensive remarks last week toward Sandra Fluke.

"Certainly his comments were outrageous," said WBEC General Manager Peter Barry. "There's no reason to resort to derogatory comments."

WBEC and KPUA are the first of the 645 stations that air Limbaugh to cancel the show. In addition, nine national sponsors have stopped advertising on the program. Limbaugh apologized over the weekend for his comments.

WBEC first announced the show's cancellation just prior to its regular airing from noon to 3 p.m. The announcements continued throughout the three-hour time slot, temporarily being filled by a national sports talk program, according to Barry.

"We're covering with Fox Sports News until we can find an alternative for Limbaugh," he said.

Reaction to WBEC silencing Limbaugh has been mixed.

Barry said he's received dozens of emails from people around the country praising the station's action, while several loyal listeners of Limbaugh called WBEC Monday afternoon to criticize the move.

State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, D-Pittsfield, was among those thrilled that the station was taking a stand.


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"I'm proud of WBEC to make a decision like this," she said. "They apparently believe in civil discourse."

Two weeks ago, Fluke, a Georgetown University student, testified before Congress advocating that employers' insurance policies should cover contraceptives.

Last Wednesday, Limbaugh, known for his conservative viewpoints, unleashed a lengthy tirade on his radio show against Fluke. He claimed Fluke's having access to birth control through a business health plan means, "she wants to be paid to have sex."

"It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute," said Limbaugh.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.