Clear Channel Will Air 'Divisive' Abortion Clinic Ads

Earlier this summer, KZSN, the Clear Channel-owned radio station for Wichita, Kansas refused to air ads advertising the South Wind Women's Center, calling the ads "divisive". On Wednesday, after almost two months, Clear Channel said that they'd reinstate the ads to their airwaves.

South Wind is the women's clinic that replaced Dr. Tiller's famous clinic; it's the only clinic in Wichita that provides abortions, though the "divisive" ads did not actually mention abortion. According to the Wichita Eagle, Clear Channel and the South Wind Women's Center met in early August to discuss the issue and had a "cordial" meeting. Clear Channel then said they'd take time to review the situation, but continued to push back the date for announcing their decision. South Wind's executive director Julie Burkhardt said she thought Clear Channel was "trying to run the clock out on us and get us to go away without really getting an answer from them." So South Wind announced plans to deliver a petition signed by almost 70,000 people asking for the reinstatement of the ads — suddenly, Clear Channel made up their minds.

Clear Channel denies that the attempted delivery of the petitions or anything other than "thoughtful discussion" with South Wind pushed them to allow the ads to air. Tony Matteo, the operations manager for Clear Channel in Wichita, gave the following statement:

“Based on a thoughtful discussion that we had with the advertiser, we believed that it made sense to take a closer look at the criteria by which we determine whether an advertisement should air. While we recognize that certain advertising may stir passionate viewpoints, KZSN has determined that as a responsible broadcaster, we should use our best judgment to accept and run ads that do not violate the law or FCC standards and which are not intentionally hateful and incendiary.”

South Wind has been supported by Women's Action & the Media, which is calling this a big win; according to the Washington Post, executive director Jaclyn Friedman says that the “vast majority” of the signatures on the petition were from residents outside of Wichita.

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