Monday, July 6, 2015

Rush Moves Today

Radio Constantly in Flux
Today marks a big change in Indianapolis radio as Rush Limbaugh exits WIBC's lineup and moves over to 1260 AM WNDE.

Garrison and the Dana Loesh Show will move into Rush's old time slot on WIBC as Indy's big news talker attempts to get younger.

The only thing constant in the radio industry is change, and this is yet another example of it.  Rush's move sent shock waves, but it really shouldn't surprise anyone.  Indy's radio industry is always in flux somewhere.  Recently, for example, we saw the market get turned on its ear by upstart WRWM, 93.9 FM.

The longtime also-ran in the market changed formats from contemporary hit radio to classic hip hop and it flew to the top of the market.  Since then, WRWM has been falling like a rock and is down almost two ratings points and is ninth in the market.

For years, you could almost set your watch by the Indianapolis radio ratings.  Usually, WFMS 95.5 FM or WFBQ Q95 were first in the market, and they remain reliable top performers.  Tastes have changed.  WLHK, HANK-FM, was number one in total listeners this last ratings book followed closely by 104.5 FM, WJJK, a variety station.  Venerable CHR station, WZPL was third.

Of course, the "devil is in the details" many times in radio.  Like television, stations can claim victories in a lot of different categories.  All of the ratings I've quoted have been in total listeners ages 6 and up.

While people will tell you radio is a dying industry, it's still the number one most-utilized mass medium in the United States.  Each week, 223 million people tune in and turn on radio stations across the country according to Nielsen.  That means it reaches 93 percent of the adult population.  Television reaches 87 percent each week.

Friday, July 3, 2015

In Memoriam: "Go Get 'Em" Wayne Townsend (1926-2015)

Wayne Townsend
We've lost a great man.

Former State Representative, State Senator and Democratic candidate for Governor, Wayne Townsend, has passed.

Elected to the Indiana House in 1958, Townsend eventually was elected to the Senate. Famously, Townsend changed his vote to break a 25-25 deadlock that allowed the Equal Rights Amendment to pass the General Assembly.  Townsend also known for his great run in 1984 that nearly unseated incumbent Governor Robert D. Orr.  His campaign featured the infectious slogan, "Go get 'em Wayne!"

In a four-way race and in a state Ronald Reagan carried handily, Townsend lost 52-47 percent to Orr.

Matt Tully writes a great tribute to him here in the Indianapolis Star.  He had done a longer tribute to Townsend in January.

Mr. Townsend was a lifelong farmer who was also long involved with his alma mater, Purdue University, as a trustee.  Before that, he was a trustee at Earlham College.  He was a veteran of the Korean War.

I never had the chance to meet, Mr. Townsend, but I know many that did.  Uniformly, they've talked about a warm man that was easy to talk to and get to know.

Wayne Townsend is gone at the age of 88.

Joe Hogsett responded to Townsend's death by releasing this statement:
“Wayne was a tireless champion for working families across our state, and I am saddened to learn of his passing. His legacy of leadership will live on through the generations who have sought to follow in his footsteps and work to give every Hoosier a shot at the American Dream. My thoughts are with his wife, Helen, and the entire Townsend family.”

John Gregg posted on his Gubernatorial Campaign Faceook page:
"Sad news. Wayne was a forward thinking leader who made a real difference. I will miss him. RIP my friend."

Purdue President Mitch Daniels also responded (to Matt Tully in the Star):
"Indiana just lost a great citizen and one of our greatest Boilermakers.  On behalf of the entire Purdue family, I offer condolences to the Townsend family and sincere thanks for a lifetime of unsurpassed service."

Indiana Democratic Party Chair John Zody said:
"On behalf of the Indiana Democratic Party, we all mourn the passing of Wayne Townsend. As a longtime state legislator, Sen. Townsend fought for what he knew could be a better state and nation. Whether it was equal rights, education, agriculture or sticking up for working families, Wayne Townsend was a quintessential Hoosier leader through-and-through. And although he was our Party’s standard-bearer for governor in 1984, he led by example during his entire career in politics - and for the rest of his life. He was a legend, and we will all miss him. We send our heartfelt condolences to Helen and all of Wayne’s family and loved ones."
Former Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson said on her Facebook page:
Many memories and many stories of Senator Townsend. Bill and I extend our thoughts and prayers to Mrs. Townsend and Wayne's family members. RIP Wayne.

It's Independence Day Weekend

The Declaration of Independence and some other content I found on YouTube.  Enjoy the weekend with family and friends.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Run Rev Run May Create Headache for Fledgling Harrison Campaign

Rev. Charles Harrison
Abdul-Hakim Shabazz reports on Facebook that Reverend Charles Harrison's supporters are just a few hundred signatures from getting him on the ballot.

It's unclear if he means that the work is continuing to verify signatures or if they ended up a few short.  It certainly has made an otherwise quiet time in the Mayor's race interesting.

As an independent candidate, Harrison's supporters needed to gather a little over 3,000 signatures to get him on the ballot by noon on June 30.  They could not just be signatures of anyone, but they had to be signatures of registered voters in Marion County.  That means if someone registered in Johnson County could not legally be counted as a signature.

I reported Tuesday through a source that Star Petition Group had been hired by someone to gather signatures for Harrison and that it's unclear who is paying the bill.

If Harrison becomes an official candidate for Mayor of Indianapolis, all of this mystery will have to stop.  It will have to become clear who footed the bill and who has backed the effort to draft Harrison.  At forums and debates, he won't be able to simply get out of the question or duck it.  He will have to answer.

If it is successful, the way the folks surrounding the Run Rev Run movement have handled the gathering of support for Rev. Harrison may have dealt his campaign its first controversy it must work through.  In politics, it's very unusual for a campaign to just show up on third base.  You have to work at it...gather support, raise money, and it's not easy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ballard Withdraws $6.8 Million from IMPD General Fund Without Authorization

Mayor Greg Ballard
While we were all waiting for the First Church of Cannabis to take its first toke, Mayor Greg Ballard walked out with $6.8 million of IMPD's General Fund.

That's what City-County Council President Maggie Lewis said in a news release yesterday. President Lewis said:

"Very recently I was informed that Mayor Ballard unilaterally authorized a withdraw of $6.8 million dollars out of the IMPD general fund without consultation or approval from the Council. This is not how good municipal government works. The Council recently overrode the Mayor's veto to add appropriations to fund critically needed pursuit rated vehicles and necessary upgrades to IMPD facilities. His decision means many IMPD officers will continue to operate substandard vehicles and train at outdated facilities. We have too few officers on the street to begin with and this action by the administration may put at risk the city's ability to fund this Fall's final recruit class of 2015. I call on the Mayor to immediately reverse course and follow both the letter and spirit of Indiana law by returning the money to IMPD now."

For a Mayor who has always said, "Public safety is job one," he does a good job of showing otherwise.

This is the sort of mess created by 2013's SEA 621 that redefined the Mayor's role in the budget and lessened the Council's role as a watchdog.  I read the statute closely, though, and I don't think it said the Mayor could  just take $6.8 million from IMPD for no reason and without any notification or justification.

Where did the money go, Mr. Mayor?  Are you using IMPD to get back at the Council for overriding your veto?

When questioned, Mayor Ballard always likes to say, "Show some respect!"

Show some respect for the taxpayers and your officers and tell us where did IMPD's money go?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

November Ballot Takes Shape

Depending on what happens with the campaign of Reverend Charles Harrison as an independent, you'll have either two or three candidates for Mayor of Indianapolis in the fall.

Republican Chuck Brewer
Democrat Joe Hogsett
Independent Charles Harrison (Depending on validation of signatures and acceptance of nomination)

Your November Council ballot has also taken its final shape.  Here are the combatants who filed in the three major parties.  Incumbents indicated with an asterisk.  (At-Large) means that the Councillor is currently an At-Large Councillor and not an incumbent in that district.

District 1 
Leroy Robinson (D)* (At-Large)
Brian Jones (R)

District 2
Kip Tew (D)* (At-Large)
Sam Goldstein (L)
Colleen Fanning (R)

District 3
Christine Scales (R)*
Pam Hickman (D)* (At-Large)
Christopher Bowen (L)

District 4
Mike McQuillen (R)*
Ray Biederman (D)

District 5
Curtis Bigsbee (D)
Jeff Coats (R)

District 6
Janice McHenry (R)*
Frank Islas (D)

District 7
Joe Simpson (D)*
Adrianne Slash (R)

District 8
Monroe Gray (D)*
Patrick Midla (R)

District 9
Duke Oliver (D)*
Chuck Madden (R)
Caitlin Young (L)

District 10
Maggie Lewis (D)*
Terry Bible (R)

District 11
Vop Osili (D)*
Remy O'Guin (R)

District 12
Michael Gunyon (L)
Blake Johnson (D)
Susan Marie Smith (R)

District 13
Stephen Clay (D)*
Terry Miller-Penquite (R)

District 14
La Keisha Jackson (D)*
Terry Dove (R)

District 15
Marilyn Pfisterer (R)*
Chris Wall (D)
Laurie Works (L)

District 16
Jeff Miller (R)*
Emily Shrock (D)

District 17
Zach Adamson (D)*
Sally Spiers (R)

District 18
Eddie Barnes (D)
Susie Cord (R)

District 19
Ben Hunter (R)*
David Ray (D)

District 20
Jason Holliday (R)*
Jon Easter (D)

District 21
Frank Mascari (D)*
Anthony Davidson (R)

District 22
Bob Lutz (R)*
Jared Evans (D)

District 23
Scott Kreider (R)
Douglas McNaughton (L)

District 24
Jack Sandlin (R)*

District 25
Aaron Freeman (R)*
Michael Jasper (L)
Jeff Wheeler (D)

If you live in one of the excluded communities or other locales within Marion County, you may have more on your ballot than just Mayor and Council.  Check the Marion County Election Board's website for those races at

Libertarians Won't Field Candidate for Mayor in 2015; Republicans Fill Slate, Dems Two Districts Short

Last minute filings came in, and the Libertarians DID NOT file a candidate for Mayor of Indianapolis.

The Libertarians did file candidates in seven City-County Council Districts.

District 2-Sam Goldstein
District 3-Christopher Bowen
District 9-Caitlin Young
District 12-Michael Gunyon
District 15-Laurie Works
District 23-Douglas McNaughton
District 25-Michael Jasper

Republicans filled seven City-County Council Districts meaning the GOP has a full slate of candidates in all 25 Council Districts.

District 1-Brian Jones
District 7-Adrianne Slash
District 8-Patrick Midla
District 9-Chuck Madden
District 10-Terry Bible
District 11-Remy O'Guin
District 14-Terry Dove

Democrats, according to the Clerk's Office, did not file a candidate in Districts 23 or 24. So...based upon information I have...

Congratulations on your reelection Jack Sandlin in District 24.

Source: Petition Company Hired to Gather Harrison Signatures

Rev. Charles Harrison
The "group of concerned citizens" behind, the website trying to convince Reverend Charles Harrison to enter the Mayor's race, claims in a Facebook post that it has gathered "thousands of signatures" to get the Reverend on the ballot as a candidate.

But the story gets mighty peculiar from there.

If Harrison is going to run, today is the deadline to declare his candidacy and then he would have until July 10 to pull out of the race.

Here's the bizarre thing.  It's unclear as to whether Harrison or anyone connected to him is actually behind the effort to get him on the ballot.  That's because a source tells Indy Democrat that someone hired Star Petition Group to help gather the signatures get Harrison on the ballot.

Star Petition Group pays individuals to go out and collect signatures for political or issue-oriented campaigns.  A simple Google search of this organization also shows that they are typically affiliated with Republican Party politics.  Some others don't speak highly of the company or its tactics.  To me, this smacks of someone that wants Harrison to run awfully bad and has hired out all the legwork.  A former State Representative, for example, tells me that there have been Harrison signature collectors outside Walmart on Lafayette Road for a couple of weeks.  It appears everything has intensified lately.

It's possible that this is part of some master plan to get the Reverend on the ballot, but I think it is what it is...a last ditch effort to get him to run.  It's a last ditch effort to upset the applecart and change the race in some way.

Fit me for a tinfoil hat, but I think this kind of thing has Kyle Walker written all over it.

Incidentally, Reverend Harrison closed out his exploratory campaign committee in April.  He had raised just $50 at the time his committee was disbanded.  We should know more by the end of the day what is plans are.  It's anyone's guess how he will respond to this effort in his name.

Abdul-Hakim Shabazz reports that there were around 7,000 signatures filed on behalf or Rev. Harrison who now has until July 15 to accept or decline and file necessary paperwork.  That's assuming that enough of the 7K signatures are valid.

HALE NO! Indy Lawmaker Won't Seek Senate Seat

Rep. Christina Hale
Baron Hill is breathing a sigh of relief as his main contender for the Democratic nomination for Dan Coats' U.S. Senate seat said she won't oppose him in 2016.

State Rep. Christina Hale said she's not going to run for Senate, but she will be seeking reelection to the Indiana House, according to the Associated Press.  That's the good news in all of this.  While Hale won't run for the Senate, her leadership is needed in the Indiana House, and her absence from the Democratic Caucus would be felt.

Hale has become a rock star in the Indiana House on the Democratic side of the aisle for her outspoken work on a wide variety of issues that have long needed attention.

She was first elected in 2012 defeating incumbent Cindy Noe by just a few votes.  She won reelection in 2014 by a wider margin.  District 87 remains one of just a handful of competitive districts in the Indiana General Assembly.

As for the Senate race in 2016, Hill is now the only Democrat in the race.  Eric Holcomb and Marlin Stutzman are running on the Republican side with Todd Young likely to enter.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Harrison Site Appears Online

Rev. Charles Harrison
A website encouraging Reverend Charles Harrison to run for Mayor has appeared online. is online now with an accompanying Facebook page.  It has no disclaimer, so it's impossible to tell who's paying for the effort.  Also, the site appears just one day before the deadline to get the necessary 3,000+ signatures to get Rev. Harrison on the ballot if he's running as an independent.

My feeling is that there probably has been an effort to get the Reverend on the ballot ongoing.  It's just very strange timing that this website would pop up just days before the deadline to get on the ballot.  You'd figure that any grassroots effort would have been up for weeks.

Instead, this appears more like an astroturf effort to get him on the ballot to me.  There's a very organized effort that's been going on, in my opinion.

I guess more shall be revealed by the end of the week.

I've said repeatedly that Rev. Harrison entering the race doesn't change Joe Hogsett's status as a frontrunner, but it will make everything a lot more interesting.