By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
Less than 24 hours after winning the Republican nomination for Oregon House District 25, Bill Post took to Twitter May 21 to air frustrations over electoral rules and voters.
Using his radio show’s Twitter account, @bpradioshow, Post sent out two “provocative tweets.” The first, at 9:20 p.m., read: “32.8 percent voter turnout in Oregon that is so disgusting I can hardly breathe, worthless lazy Americans get what they deserve.”
Half-an-hour later, Post returned to add: “‘Fairness’ cost me my job. What’s ‘fair’ about taking someone out of their job just to lose by 55%? I shall return to the air.”
Both have since been deleted.
In a phone interview, Post confirmed he controlled the account.
The second tweet referenced Post being let go by Keizer’s KYKN radio station. Post, who was a programming manager and on-air personality until his show was suspended in mid-March, planned to return to the airwaves the day after the primary, May 21, but said station management declined his attempt to return. Post suspended his show after a letter asserting Federal Communications Commission violations under the equal-time rules for political campaigns. The letter was sent by attorneys representing his primary opponent Barbara Jensen.
“It was a tweet of frustration. I was flat out ticked off because we didn’t sit down and negotiate,” said Post, when asked about the reason for the tweet. “I don’t have a job just because I was on the radio.”
Under the equal-time rules, U.S. radio and television stations must provide equal time to opposing candidates who request it. Post continued hosting his show after declaring his candidacy in January, but said he never used it to talk about his campaign.
“Once I became a candidate, I didn’t talk about my race. I talked about all the other issues out there,” Post said.
Post said he would have chosen another route to address the issue.
“I would have walked into that radio station and asked if there was some kind of deal we could make, that’s what should have been done from day one. If somebody would have sat down and negotiated this, I may not be out of the job,” Post said.
Post said he expects his opponent for the District 25 seat in the election, independent Chuck Lee, is the type of person he thinks would have taken alternative steps.
“I think Chuck is the kind of guy who would have sat down with me. I would have said, ‘Be a guest every day and we’ll do a segment together,’” Post said. Post is working on new plans to return to the air.
The earlier tweet addressing voter turnout, Post said, was meant in the spirit of his radio show personality.
“Bill Post the Radio Guy is passionate about this country, and the radio guy is saying to people: ‘Holy cow, folks, you not only have the right but the duty to go out and vote.’ We’ve made it very convenient to submit a ballot in Oregon. What I’m addressing in that tweet is the conservatives who are sitting around complaining about this country, and Obama and the NSA,” Post said.
Asked what he might do to increase voter turnout as a candidate and potential office holder, Post declined immediate comment, but said his radio show was well-positioned to help with that aspect of democracy.
“On my show every day for months, I encouraged independent listeners to register as one of the two parties to have a say in the primary, and then go back and re-register as an independent after the election,” he said. “I had 20 or 30 listeners get in touch and say they’d done it.”
Reached for comment about the tweets, Lee responded.
“I certainly would like people to vote and I will work hard through November to encourage them to do so,” Lee said. “I believe that all Oregonians deserve a good representative whether they choose to vote or not.”