Country music station refuses to air interview with Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg

A Nashville country music host has revealed he was banned from airing an interview with gay Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg.

Nash FM country host Blair Garner, whose show is syndicated to more than 150 Cumulus Media stations across the US, had interviewed Buttigieg after the gay Democrat directly reached out and offered to speak.

However, in a tweet on Friday, Garner said his employer had taken the decision to block it from airing.

Pete Buttigieg interview blocked by country music station owner

Sharing a link to a recording, he said: “My interview with @PeteButtigieg. The only candidate who asked to be on my show. My employer decided I couldn’t air it – but I did get permission to post it on my personal Soundcloud.”

Speaking to Huffington Post, Garner said: “It is not, in any way shape or form, my intention for our show to become political, but because someone clearly saw the value of our listeners, I felt secure in affording him this opportunity.”

“I was very proud that a presidential candidate of any party valued our show to the degree that they would ask to be a guest.”

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg speaks during the AARP 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum in Council Bluffs.

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg speaks during the AARP 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum in Council Bluffs. (Jeremy Hogan/Getty)

He added: “Just to be clear, I would have also enthusiastically welcomed the opportunity to have any candidate, including President Trump, as a guest.

“It was simply that Mayor Pete showed up, and made the ask.”

Buttigieg’s team told the outlet it was “disappointed that Blair’s listeners won’t have the opportunity to hear” the interview, adding: “We’ve made it a point on this campaign to go outside the traditional political media bubble ― that’s why we reached out to Blair about an interview.”

Cumulus Media blames ‘equal time’ rule

In a statement, Cumulus Media blamed the Federal Communications Commission’s equal time rule, which prohibits bias in favour of one candidate.

The company said: “Cumulus Nashville’s programming managers made the decision not to air Blair Garner’s pre-recorded interview with Mayor Pete Buttigieg because of the large number of political candidates currently in the race.”

The rule stipulates that candidates for office must be given “equivalent opportunity” for coverage, but many radio stations regularly broadcast interviews with candidates.

Ironically, in the interview uploaded online by Garner, Buttigieg speaks about why he wanted to reach out to the conservative country station’s audience.

He said: “I think there are a lot of voters who just feel like maybe they haven’t heard much from my side of the aisle in a while.

“You know, I live in Indiana; it’s very similar. A lot of places where our message can resonate with folks of different political persuasions.

“A lot of people don’t really think in terms of party anyway, anymore. They’re more looking for the right kind of leadership and open to different types of ideas. But you’ve got to show up.”

Gay “Old Town Road” singer Lil Nas X previously spoke out about anti-LGBT stigma in country music, explaining: “Within the country and hip-hop communities, it’s not really accepting in either.”