Missouri radio station defends Russian state radio broadcast

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Jhe owner of a low-budget radio station in Missouri says he exercises free speech by running Russian state-sponsored programming on his station.

Peter Schartel said people have accused him and his wife of being traitors to the United States and of promoting propaganda and disinformation by broadcasting Russian government-funded Radio Sputnik programs on his Kansas City station, KCXL. However, Schartel says most people who call to complain have not listened to the broadcast, according to the Associated Press.

“Some will speak to me, but others will always call me a piece of whatever,” he said. “What I’m grateful for is that we still live in a country where they can call me. Even if they don’t think about free speech, they exercise that right.

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Alpine Broadcasting Corp. de Schartel is paid $5,000 a month to broadcast Radio Sputnik in two three-hour blocks each day, according to a Foreign Agents Registration Act filing from the US Department of Justice in December 2021. The station timetable shows Radio Sputnik broadcast for three hours at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily, with Fridays being the exception at 6 a.m. for three hours and 6 p.m. for one hour.

Schartel said he initially accepted the contract because he was having trouble keeping KCXL afloat. He also said he airs programs that are not commercially viable and not dependent on advertising, which he says promotes freedom of expression by providing a platform for people who otherwise would not. heard.

Other shows available on KCXL, such as TruNews and Dr. Tom Curran, are heavily religious, with some discussing conspiracies.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted the National Association of Broadcasters to publish A declaration on March 1 asking broadcasters to stop airing Russian-sponsored programs. Although the NAB has said it supports free speech and the First Amendment, that “does not preclude private actors from exercising sound moral judgment.”

“To that end, given the unprovoked aggression shown by Russia against the free and sovereign people of Ukraine, NAB calls on broadcasters to cease airing any state-sponsored programming with ties to the Russian government or his agents,” the NAB statement read. “While we know that the broadcast of such programs is extremely limited, we believe that our nation must be fully united against disinformation and for freedom and democracy throughout the world.”

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KCXL has not yet responded to the Washington Examiner request for comment.


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