KFQD 750 AM host Dan Fagan says he learned today from his general manager that his 2 to 5 p.m. show had been canceled after a representative of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s campaign called to complain. Fagan said he's not fired and that the status of the show will be "re-evaluated" on Monday.Nobody has ever confused John Tracy with Dan Fagan. I couldn't imagine John Tracy doing radio as does Dan. Fagan worked in TV news for a while, but moved on to radio, where he's thrived, and grown in stature.
The caller said “that I should be punished for electioneering and that I may have violated electioneering laws,” Fagan said.
The conservative radio host, a supporter of Republican nominee Joe Miller, rallied voters to register as write-in candidates to protest an order by the Alaska Supreme Court that would allow election workers to show voters a list of write-in candidates.
The decision was expected to help Murkowski’s write-in bid by making it easier for people to get her name right on the ballot. Fagan argues that it amounts to illegal electioneering on behalf of the state, rewarding candidates who failed to win a spot on the ballot in the primary elections.
Dennis Bookey, general manager for Morris Communications' Anchorage Media Group, could not be reached for comment this afternoon. The company includes six Anchorage radio stations such as KFQD 750 AM and KWHL 106.5 FM.
John Tracy, president of the Anchorage public relations and advertising company Bradley Reid, said he called Bookey upset about Fagan’s show at about 11:30 a.m. today.
Tracy said he first called someone at the Murkowski campaign – he wouldn’t say who – to tell them he was making the complaint. The campaign person didn’t object, he said.
“I’m not claiming that what (Fagan) did was illegal. I simply feel it was wrong,” Tracy said. “I feel it was wrong as a broadcaster to try and rig an election in this way by offering prizes.”
Tracy’s company produces television and radio commercials for the Murkowski campaign, and -- he assumes -- is an advertiser on Morris Communications stations.
I was asked to write a blog post on Thursday encouraging people to go down to the Division of Elections and sign up as write-in candidates. I was too busy to even contemplate whether or not that might be a good idea. Progressive blogger Steve Aufrecht did blog about it, with a post titled "You Have 90 Minutes to Be a Write-In Candidate for US Senate." I suspect the same friend encouraged both Steve and me. It wasn't Dan. It wasn't the Murkowski camp. Nor was it anyone tied to the McAdams camp or campaign.
Did Dan go over the line in the way he encouraged people to sign up? Probably. He goes over the line all the time. It strikes me as silly that a somewhat pompous fixture in Alaska journalism like John Tracy, who has slightly less charisma than Sean Parnell, was the one who is taking the credit or blame. This may be the most bold move John has taken in years.
What happened will only help Miller on the most basic level. Teabaggers will feel even more aggrieved than they already always do.
Hopefully, though, the silliness of these last minute negative postures will serve to further highlight the differences between Scott McAdams' positive, sensible campaign, and the negative blame games and power politics so tirelessly trotted out by Miller and Murkowski.
Update - 10:15 p.m:
Conservative activists encouraged backers of Republican nominee Joe Miller to file as write-ins over the past two days and dozens have heeded the call.
Along with the slew of new GOP write-in candidate, dozens of others filed to run as Democrats or independents, bringing the total number of write-in candidates for Tuesday's Senate race to 160.