FIRST-PERSON: A major lapse in moral judgment

by Tim Ellsworth, posted Tuesday, July 08, 2003 (17 years ago)

MULKEYTOWN, Ill. (BP)--A radio station in southern Illinois that broadcasts St. Louis Cardinals games has stooped to a new low, and in so doing the station's managers have demonstrated their belief that money is more important than decency.

WJPF, an AM station that bills itself as "the news voice of southern Illinois," is running ads during its baseball broadcasts for the Lion's Den, an adult bookstore. Here's what the ad says:

"When you think of America's favorite pastime, do you think of game-winning home runs, or the big names, like DiMaggio, the Babe or Shoeless Joe? Nah. Come experience America's real favorite pastime at the Lion's Den. You'll find videos, toys, DVDs, lingerie, enhancement products and more. For adults who like to play ball."

I can see it now. A young boy is listening to the game when this ad airs. "Daddy, what are enhancement products?" Is this really the kind of advertising we want children to hear? It's not even the kind of advertising I want to hear.

Station operations manager Brian Schimmel said the station allowed the advertisement because the Lion's Den is a legitimate business. That may be so, but it doesn't mean the store is the kind of business to be promoted to listeners, and it doesn't mean WJPF had no choice but to place the ad.

Whoever is responsible for this decision at WJPF made a serious lapse in judgment, and I would expect better from a station that sees itself as "the news voice of southern Illinois." This oversight casts a shadow on WJPF's own legitimacy.

If a station's personnel will compromise and set aside their sense of morality to make the station a few bucks, what's to keep the station from selling out when it comes to news coverage? Why should listeners expect to get thorough, objective news from a station whose owners and operators are morally bankrupt enough to air such offensive advertising?

It shows how much money drives everything in this country. We're willing to look the other way and accommodate -- even promote -- filth if it means a few extra bucks in our pocket. Smut peddlers like the Lion's Den are partially responsible for the destruction of countless families and the lowering of values in society as a whole, but that doesn't seem to matter much to WJPF.

I understand the need for a radio station to generate revenue, but that money shouldn't come at the expense of decency. If WJPF is so strapped for cash that they need money from the Lion's Den, maybe their ad reps should be more aggressive in securing advertising from other more reputable businesses.

Cardinals fans in southern Illinois (and sports fans anywhere else who hear such garbage where they listen to games) should do two things about this nonsense. First, call WJPF and tell Schimmel you don't appreciate the Lion's Den advertisements, and you don't want to be subjected to this smut while listening to a ballgame. You might even want to call some of WJPF's other advertisers and express your opinion to them.

Second, listen to the games on another station. A quick trip through the dial revealed about five stations where the game came in quite clear on my radio. From now on, I'll listen to the Cardinals on one of those stations.


Tim Ellsworth writes a weekly column for BPSports, at BPSports.net.

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