In Case You Missed It…Report: Cumulus Threatens Talkers


Some people look at what’s going on with Twitter, Facebook and Parler as a threat to free speech, while others believe blocking and banning those who claim the election was stolen are preventing future violence. Cumulus jumped into the action last week and a memo VP Brian Philips sent to talk show hosts is getting national attention.

Executive Vice President for Content at Cumulus Brian Philips instructed hosts to stop spreading any information that the election was stolen. He wrote that the company needs to help “induce national calm.”

Cumulus owned Westwood One’s talk roster includes Mark Levin, Dan Bongino and Ben Shapiro. Levin is a big believer that the election was stolen.

Philips put all hosts on notice that if they violate the new company direction they will be fired. “The company “will not tolerate any suggestion that the election has not ended. The election has been resolved, and there are no alternate acceptable paths. “If you transgress this policy, you can expect to separate from the company immediately.”

Our request for the entire memo from the company went unanswered by Cumulus.

The story has been picked up by The New York Times, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, National Review and many other national news outlets.



  1. “Free Speech”, contrary to too overly popular assumptions is not a digital (on/off) concept.
    Rather, it is an analogue position on a sliding scale – low, medium, high, really high. over the top.
    Apparently, a dangerous number of people have yet to make this distinction or come to this realization.

  2. If Trump had actually won the election (by popular or electoral), would there even be any discussion of fraud or a stolen election? Even the notion that Democrats have maintained for 4 years that Trump was not legitimately elected is bogus. He won 2016 fair and square – much to the surprise of many Americans – and after the shock, people moved on. It’s called “acceptance” and it’s the adult thing to do. The whole Russia collusion thing was unrelated to vote counting. Legit or not, he brought that on himself. Now, Trump supporters are simply behaving like childish sore losers. They cite as “evidence” of fraud the “fact” that “he just couldn’t have lost…” Sadly they are also following Trump’s narcissistic and anti-social example of always belittling their opponents and reducing them to objects and labels: Liberals are Socialists. Progressives are Communists. Democrats are coming for your guns. Oh and to be a Patriot you must accept the Trumpian fantasy narrative, and Conservatives have the exclusive on “liberty.”
    C’mon folks – the sky is not falling and the world will go on – God willing and the creek don’t rise.
    The BIG mystery is: Why is it that liberal talk radio just isn’t as entertaining as right wing talk? As liberal as I may lean, this is just a fact. Even I find Mark Levin (try Chris Plante…) much more entertaining than… uh… Outside of NPR, are there ANY liberal talk shows / syndies? If you’ve figured that out, I’d love to know.

    • Clearly you didn’t pay attention to the Democrats at all. Steele Dossier? Hillary continued to say that she was robbed just a few days before the election, and many D-voters agreed with her.

  3. What Philips has done is simply broadened the “For Cause” definition of employment contracts. Now, this notice will serve as the warning, therefore any mention of any idea that was outlined will trigger a “For Cause” termination (you don’t get paid).

    What’s interesting is where does the line begin and end? Can you interview President Trump? I mean, why not? If the objective is to retain/grow audience then I can’t think of a bigger content play, yet it seems it would get you fired. How about Rudy? Melania?

    When Hillary Clinton told the country that Russia interfered in our election, where were the warnings to not speak about it? Or, where was the mandate to push that narrative because Trump was not fairly elected?

    Here’s another “moment” where terrestrial radio has handed off yet another opportunity to a Podcasting company. Talent, REAL Talent, won’t spend their careers walking on egg-shells. Sure, Music DJ’s who are mostly scared to lose their jobs will continue to vanilla-down their content, mostly promoting the station website (snore), but those with a passionate audience will find safe places to create for their audience and advertisers.

    Cumulus stock is under $9.
    A Large 1-topping Pizza at Papa John’s cost $14. Source:
    Spotify stock is around $350.00.

    When you can’t buy a pizza for the price of your stock, yet you unleash a wildly un-clear, confusing and talent-limiting policy like this, it’s time to take a deep, patient look at what your company is all about, and what the future of your company looks like, possibly without your best content creators.


    • Cumulus has been a wreck of a company for years, now, going back to the Dickey brothers mismanagement.

      This is just the latest pathetic, tortured chapter of a terminal patient.

      Cumulus’s days are numbered.

  4. Free speech does not equate to hate speech. For too long, the radical right has taken the airwaves hostage and spewed undocumented lies and misinformation. And big consolidated radio did not stop them. Why? It was good for ratings and ratings bring revenue. Albeit late, kudos to Cumulus for finally waking up. The liberal leaning media has never engaged in or encouraged the egregious behavior that has ruined lives and resulted in deaths–unlike the propaganda machine on the right.

    • Your right. The liberal leaning media never called a riot a “mostly peaceful” protest while standing in front of a burning building. If that’s mostly peaceful, then more of the same must be okay.

    • “Hate speech” is covered under free speech. That is a fact, and the Supreme Court agrees. The liberal media has been doing non-stop egregious propaganda.

  5. The Left hates the message of free markets and free people. Cumulus is a disgrace to the First Amendment, which is for the very purpose of protecting speech that may be unpopular. Levin has a reasoned viewpoint. If Cumulus disagrees, let it put on competing ideas. But it’s action is the essence of evil: silence the speech.

    President Reagan fought too hard to assure full First Amendment rights for radio. Legally Cumulus can silence with its censor’s red grease pencil. And its talent can go elsewhere. And will.

    Whether it’s Big Tech taking down Parler on a Sunday night or Cumulus talent Monday, it’s all part of the Left’s plan to squelch free expression and free people.
    Kudos to Radio Ink for publishing all viewpoints on this here.

    • Well stated!

      The left calls for freedom to express themselves, whether it be through talk, threats, holding a severed head of President Trump, torching buildings, setting patrol cards on fire, attacking people, destruction, vandalism, looting and the list goes on and on.

      But, let conservatives try to express their thoughts through speech, and they must be stopped. This is censorship.

      Those who lose their positions due to censorship, need to sue and not stop until this nonsense stop. This is not a ‘do as I say, not as I do’, society. It’s a society where we have the freedom of speech.

    • The notion that “Cumulus is a disgrace to the First Amendment” demonstrates a fundamental ignorance of what the 1st Amendment says. Seriously – this is grade school stuff! What an indictment of our educational system it is every time we see these specious Constitutional claims. I swear, those who make them would flunk any basic citizenship test!
      The concept that Levin’s viewpoint is “well reasoned” is also quite laughable. It’s a load of hooey intended to provoke his audience – because an outraged audience translates to TSL. It’s an immature & mercenary approach to braodcasting that’s been tolerated for far too long because it’s cheap & profitable.
      But the bottom line is “You work for me, you follow my rules. Don’t like it? Leave.” THAT is the market.
      Radio has profited for far too long from the incendiary half truths of know-nothing hosts, ignoring any call for responsible behavior. It’s time to grow up.

      • “The notion that “Cumulus is a disgrace to the First Amendment” demonstrates a fundamental ignorance of what the 1st Amendment says.”
        Why did this correct concept not apply to NFL owners? This fact that NFL owners were not allowed to say, “You work for me, you follow my rules. Don’t like it? Leave.” confirms what Elvina Cunningham said in her comment.

      • Dear me. Rob,

        I wish you had taken care to read and understand. It was carefully pointed out that Cumulus has the legal right to censor the content of its hosts. But banning a particular subject is certainly contrary to the spirit of free speech for the marketplace of ideas. It’s a stupid business move, no doubt, but C. can do whatever it wants. Censoring hosts also censors what people hear; Cumulus might note this on every talk program, so listeners understand a certain topic cannot be discussed — by order of the company.

  6. @Len: there are limits to “free speech” like yelling “fire” in a movie theater when there isn’t one. This is not a 1st Amendment issue. Far from it. The far right radio echo chamber has been spreading hate and lies which in turn create physical violence. I have a real problem with that as do the majority of Americans. So please spare us your false narrative.

    • Silowitz, you paraphrasing Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’ quote that “free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic” (Schenck v. United States), is specious. Neither that quote nor that case criminalized speech. It criminalized the REACTION the speech directly caused. In that case, it violated the Espionage Act of 1917.

      If I went into a crowded theater and shouted “Fire!” but nobody reacted, I would not be charged with a crime (except perhaps for the overly ambiguous “disturbing the peace,” which would certainly be dismissed by the court). Legally, it would be no different than me yelling “Free Popcorn!” with no reaction.

      Further, Holmes’ opinion was largely overturned in subsequent Supreme Court rulings such as Abrams v. United States and Brandenburg v. Ohio.

      I do not understand why the concept is so difficult to grasp. SPEECH CANNOT BE CRIMINAL except for very narrow circumstances such as making a direct threat with the ability to carry out the threat.

      If Muslims gathered in the city park to denounce the United States and chant “Allahu Akbar!” and “Death to America!” it would be perfectly legal. And I would defend their right to do it. Maybe you would too. But if Republicans wanted to explain their perfectly valid opinions that the election was not legitimately conducted, you want to silence them. You are a disgrace. And so is Cumulus.

      “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” – Benjamin Franklin

    • You mean like when the media says the President caused the breach of the Capital when he explicitly said to protest peacefully? Listen to the speech then listen to the slanted commentary. Free speech must be for only one side!

    • The narrative was not false! When democratic controlled cities and states across the country were being burned, looted, destroyed (private businesses) deaths and assaults and the democrat mayors and democrat governors did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to stop the violence, where was the mainstream media then? AWOL!! Wake up!

      • Not true. Every mayor and every governor decried the violence, and arrested a lot of those who did it. The mainstream media covered all of it. I watched it on TV. I watched the violence, and then watched the arrests.

        But we’re not talking about some riots in some city. We’re talking about an armed mob attacking the Capitol while the VP is inside. Two very different things. These people wanted to lynch the VP, and they beat up police. They looted the capitol, not some private business. And they did it because the president told them to fight for him. So they did.

        These talk show hosts are using the federally licensed airwaves to preach the overthrow of the government. That’s what insurrection is. They have a right to their opinions, but not to our airwaves.

        • Wake up. Your being played! Let’s remember who said what…..
          “There will be blood in the streets.” ~Loretta Lynch
          “Who says protests have to be peaceful?” ~Chris Cuomo
          “There needs to be unrest in the streets.” ~Ayanna Pressley
          “Protesters should not let up.” ~Kamala Harris
          “I just don’t know why there aren’t uprisings all over this country. Maybe there should be.”~ Nancy Pelosi
          “You get out and create a crowd and you push back on them and you tell them they are not welcome anymore, anywhere.”~ Maxine Waters
          “Go home with love and in peace. Remember this day forever!” President Trump.

          • The last one also said “Lets go to the capitol right now and fight. I’ll be there with you.”

            Of all those people, the only one who told people to specifically go to the capitol and fight was DJT.

            Had they just stood outside with banners and chanted, no problem. The minute they broke down doors and windows and beat up the police, it was a crime.

  7. Too bad this policy wasn’t applied to other narratives such as Russian Collusion and “impeachable” calls to Ukrainian Presidents. We could get all the radio industry’s unemployed positions at CNN.

    • Another First Amendment hater. You either believe in free speech or you believe in censorship. There is no middle ground. Either you stand with Jefferson, Adams, and Lincoln, or you stand with Lenin, Hitler, and Mao.

        • You are correct about the First Amendment, Jack.

          However, it never ceases to amaze me when media companies, whether broadcasters, newspapers, or social media sites, so willingly stifle and trample all over the very freedom of speech that allows them to even exist and operate in this country.

          The recent actions of companies like Cumulus, Amazon Web Services, Apple and Facebook are morally repugnant. And, I am no attorney, but I wonder if there is a possible RICO case, here, given what really seems to be collusion among these glaringly leftist companies…and, the real kind, not the ‘Russian’ variety that was falsely used against Trump. (No, I am not an ‘AlwaysTrump’er. I fall somewhere down the middle regarding him.)

          Stalin, Mao, Castro, the North Korean Kims, and other totalitarians would be extremely proud of these companies. No American, of ANY political persuasion, should be…

          • One has to admire the consistency in principles that when a company’s decision goes against a Republican, it’s “morally repugnant,” but when it goes the other way, it’s “the free market at work.”

          • “I wonder if there is a possible RICO case”

            There isn’t. Private companies can do whatever they want. They all have terms of service that are clearly outlined in advance. When you use social media to plan and plot the overthrow of the government, those sites have the right to shut you down.

            Meanwhile, the president fired all of the people who testified against him at the impeachment. What happened to their freedom of speech?


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