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The Pete Buttigieg interview that won't be heard on the radio

Blair Garner Pete Buttigieg.JPG
Posted at 8:18 AM, Jul 22, 2019

Blair Garner, host of a nationally syndicated radio program, taped an interview with 2020 Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg in Nashville last week.

The idea for it came from the Buttigieg campaign, and Garner was pleased at the outreach.

"Since Country music tends to lean in a conservative direction, I was surprised" to get the opportunity, Garner wrote afterward. "But more than surprised, I was EXTREMELY flattered. One of the few truly viable candidates in the race raised his hand and asked for a place at the table. I was willing to give him that seat. I would have also given a seat to any other viable candidate, from both sides."

But if you want to hear the interview, you'll have to look up Garner's personal SoundCloud page. Garner said he was told by someone at his employer, Cumulus Media, that he "couldn't air it" on broadcast.

This controversy has gotten a lot of attention -- via stories on HuffPost, The Washington Post and other new outlets.

Lis Smith, Buttigieg's senior communications adviser, thought the interview went well. "It was a great discussion, and we are obviously disappointed that Blair's listeners won't have the opportunity to hear it," she told CNN Business.

Cumulus said it didn't air the interview because of federal rules that mandate that radio stations provide equal time to political candidates.

"Cumulus Nashville's programming managers made the decision not to air Blair Garner's pre-recorded interview with Mayor Pete Buttigieg because of the large number of political candidates currently in this race," the company said. "The decision was made by local programming management based solely on concerns related to the application of the FCC's Equal Time Rule. The effects of the FCC's Equal Time Rule are widely understood and considered whenever these types of issues arise."