NORTH CAROLINA — A talk show hosted by Central Carolina Community College has been pulled off the air and is “currently under review,” after hosts were critical of a state legislator.
The show, called The Rant, was not run by students, but was aired on the college’s radio channel. One of the show’s co-hosts, Billy Liggett, said the halt was directly tied to a complaint by a state representative who was dismayed with the show.
The show’s co-hosts recently discussed and blogged about Representative Mike Stone’s introduction of three bills they feel are “unnecessary,” Liggett said.
“We don’t understand why he’s doing it and so we simply just questioned it,” Liggett said. “We’ve been more critical in the past and we’ve said funnier and potentially more controversial things in the past but as far as this goes, we were surprised that of all the things we said, this would raise fear.”
Stone could not be reached for comment. Marcie Dishman, the college’s director of marketing and public affairs, said she could not comment, pending the college’s review.
NC Policy Watch, a nonprofit organization that seeks to “change the way elected officials debate important issues,” filed a public records request to get copies of emails sent from Stone’s office to the college shortly before the show was stopped.
The emails show that Stone initially sent a link of the blog about himself to the college’s president, asking if the show was affiliated with the college. The next day, Stone’s office sent another email asking for information regarding the show’s funding and format, among other information.
While the co-hosts “find it puzzling and humorous” that Stone took action the way he did, Liggett said they don’t feel the college has done them wrong.
“We don’t blame the college because again, we’re not students; they have no responsibility to protect us,” Liggett said. “What they did for us was out of generosity.”
Liggett said the show will now be podcasted, and he’s hopeful the podcasts will start this week.
The hosts decided to move on rather than try to keep the show affiliated with the college, Liggett said, because they “don’t want to go back to the show and feel like we have to muzzle ourselves.”
“We’re laughing about it but yeah we’re a little puzzled,” Liggett said. “We will be taking it elsewhere and we’ll continue to criticize him [Stone] when criticism is deserved.”
By Sara Tirrito, SPLC staff writer. Contact Tirrito by email or at (703) 807-1904 ext. 124.