Broward County Renews Partnership with Station Carrying Limbaugh

By Evan Moore | July 7, 2008 | 8:23 PM EDT

( - The Broward County Commission Tuesday approved the renewal of their partnership with local radio outlet WIOD following a demure retreat from one of the panel's most outspoken critics of the association.

Cybercast News Service had previously reported that the county council was considering terminating their emergency broadcast partnership with WIOD on the grounds that the station's conservative program line-up was "out of step" with the overwhelmingly Democratic makeup of the county.

Following the county's experience with Hurricane Wilma in 2005, a review board recommended that Broward partner with a radio station to help facilitate communications between citizens and the government during a crisis.

The terms of the agreement between Broward County and WIOD allow the broadcasting of emergency transmissions without interruption.

WIOD was chosen as the county's partner during the 2006 hurricane season because of the strength of its broadcasting signal and the large number of sister stations it has on the FM band. No county official opposed the decision at the time.

But Commissioner Stacy Ritter recently expressed dissatisfaction with continuing to work with the station, saying that "We don't have to do business with [Limbaugh and Hannity]."

At last week's meeting of the Broward County government, Commissioner John Rodstrom was critical of Ritter, saying, "When we start censoring what people write on radio, TV, or newspapers, that is a slippery slope." Following an intense public outcry, more commissioners voiced discontent with Ritter's proposal.

At Tuesday's meeting, Ritter backed down. A spokesman in Vice Mayor Lois Wexler's office told Cybercast News Service that Ritter moved the measure from the panel's regular agenda to the "consent agenda."

Items in the regular agenda are typically debated and voted upon by members of the panel, while those in the "consent agenda" are passed automatically. No vote, therefore, was held on the measure.

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