Several groups, including the National Black Media Coalition, are challenging the license of a Dodge City, Kan., radio station that airs tapes by two "reverends" who routinely urge listeners to kill Jews and who disparage blacks and other minorities.
In a petition filed this week with the Federal Communications Commission challenging the renewal of station KTTL-FM's license, which is up this year, the media coalition said the broadcasts inspired violence and abused the audience.
The station broadcasts two programs that run about 45 minutes each, station owner Nellie Babb said yesterday. One is by the Rev. William P. Gale of the "National Identity Broadcast" and the other by the Rev. James P. Wickstrom, a leader of Posse Comitatus (power to the county), a loosely organized vigilante group of tax resisters.
"If the Jews even fool around with us, or try to harm us in any way, every rabbi in L.A. will die within 24 hours," according to a transcript of one of Gale's show.
In another program he said: "And yet what do these judges and all of these officials of government, politicians, are telling you you have to do? Turn over your inheritance to the blacks and the Asiatics, and you must allow all the scum of the earth to come into your land by destruction of your immigration laws, and see which politicians are behind all that, see who is financing it. What is all this nonsense that the blacks are being deprived . . . These blacks haven't the capacity to rule and administer in your government."
"We ascertain the needs of the community and do something about it," said Babb, who said she subscribes to the beliefs of both men. She said she and her husband are persecuted for their political beliefs, noting they had spent three days in jail in December for, she said, refusing to tell a court where their bank account is. She said any revenue their station might get from advertisers is garnished by the court for nonpayment of taxes, an assessment she said was $36,000 over the last three years.
"It's very well-documented that the Jews were the ones that crucified Christ," she said. "It wasn't the Roman soldiers."
Dan Brenner, legal assistant for FCC Chairman Mark Fowler, said the next step in the license renewal process is a hearing and review. He said the license renewal probably will hinge not on whether the statements are offensive, but on whether Babb has violated FCC rules and regulations.
Concerned citizens in Dodge City--a city of about 18,000 where less than 1 percent of the population is Jewish, about 1 percent is black and about 6 percent is Hispanic--also are alleging that KTTL, one of the city's five radio stations, has failed to provide "service to the community," including broadcasting stale weather reports and the failure to allow advertising. The petition filed by the media coalition said that several community members feared violence and were reluctant to come forward with complaints.
"The fact we never do anything for the community is ridiculous," said Babb, who received her copy of the petition yesterday afternoon. "We have a call-in program three times a day. The only thing I don't allow is lonely hearts stuff and garage sales. We also give five minutes free air time to anyone."
Babb said that two people had used the free-time offer to rebut Gale and Wickstrom.
"How do you rebut a statement that says all Jews should be exterminated?" asked David Honig, the media coalition's researcher. "Implicit in the rebuttal rule is the idea that reply time will remedy the injury."
Hiawatha Bland, the only black commissioner in Dodge City and a former mayor, is one of the leaders in a group that wants to purchase the license. "One night I heard this guy . . . talking about how Catholics worship bathtubs and how we should kill all the Jews and send the blacks back to Mambo-Mambo land. I couldn't believe it."