WBEN: Fascism Advocacy

Over the next week, consider for a moment that the radio station that brings you the traffic and weather together in the morning, along with a roster of commentators whose extremism builds as the day rolls along. 

But in the last few months or so, the station’s operations director, Tim Wenger, has developed for himself something of a largely off-air personality. In some ways, it’s even more malignant than that of his top talkers. He conducts himself like the most deluded and hateful trolls on the WBEN Facebook page. 

Consider Wenger’s completely unprofessional and false attempt to shame WEDG’s Josh Potter, and this series of horrible, reactionary pronouncements from Wenger’s own Twitter account, as well as the control he obviously enjoys over the WBEN Twitter and Facebook accounts at various parts of the day.  

Whatever personality Wenger is trying to manufacture for himself, it’s horrible and repugnant. 

It culminated in these two Tweets from him, one of which was, of course, simultaneously posted to the WBEN Facebook page. 

No, actually, I’ve never felt like “throwing a shoe” at any American political figure. Mostly because I’m not a violent moron, but also because I feel secure enough in the political system and in debate and discussion that “throwing a shoe” or otherwise committing an assault and battery doesn’t enter into it.  Remember when an Iraqi reporter threw a shoe at President Bush? Did Wenger think that was acceptable? Reasonable? Rational?

I didn’t think it was persuasive or appropriate. People enter politics, and they should expect to be vetted, scrutinized, and questioned. They should not expect to dodge physical assault. They do not deserve battery – no matter how much you disagree with them. For everyone who thinks Hillary Clinton deserves to be hit by a shoe because of Benghazi, I can probably find you two who think that Bush should be behind bars for war crimes. 

So, there’s nothing at all funny or appropriate about someone throwing a shoe at George Bush or at Hillary Clinton. Anyone who thinks differently is no different from a fascist blackshirt, trying to do with violence what they can’t do with words. It is beyond un-American. 


The video Wenger loves shows a small handful of protesters minding their own damn business. They had in no way attacked, provoked, or otherwise antagonized the two servicemen who attacked them. You can see in the last few frames, one protester with his hands to his side – he’s asking to reason with them.

In response, they curse at him – this from Tim Wenger, who just can’t tolerate the profane blogs. It’s ok to say “fuck” if you’re a Marine intimidating, assaulting, battering, and robbing a couple of guys on a moped. 

That protest, by the way, took place in Albuquerque.  The people on the moped were protesting an epidemic of police brutality in that city, culminating in the homicide of an unarmed homeless man. The people on the moped were exercising their right to free speech, protesting police shootings. Their use of an upside-down flag wasn’t an act of disrespect – the upside-down flag is a distress signal, used in many protests as political speech indicating that the republic is in danger. Go look at the title card for “House of Cards”.  Should belligerent and ignorant young men throw shoes, perhaps, at TVs displaying it? 

There is nothing to love about what that Marine does to the protester, whether he’s an “ass” or not. (More profanity! Shock! Horror!). Engaging in street fights with political opponents is what the blackshirts and brownshirts did in the 20s and 30s. That is the only context within which this assault and robbery of a flag can be viewed. The only lens through which we can see this as acceptable or lovable behavior is the lens of fascism. 


So, understand that Buffalo: the guy who runs operations for the Entercom corporation locally is a proponent of violent, fascist behavior. He is an outspoken, unabashed fan of violence and intimidation for political ends. To say this is un-American is a dramatic understatement. But even more insidious is that – whether he holds these views sincerely or not – he is encouraging that sort of behavior from the malinformed people listening to WBEN who think Michael Savage is too liberal. 

Tim Wenger and WBEN are encouraging violence against people who hold different political views from them. I don’t know why this is not a big deal. 

If this was happening in the 1930s, this newsreel would be appropriate: 


  • The most telling part of this article is when Bedenko writes about Wenger “…whether he holds those views sincerely or not…”
    My guess is he holds those views because he sees (and rightly so) that the views and the message create income for the station and himself. He cultivates an airwaves mob mentality followed by many in this Western New York haven for extremist tea party discontents.
    That in itself is perhaps as bad as fascism, violence and anti-American values. How low to prostitute everything for a buck?

  • I encourage you and your friends to not buy from their advertisers. And if you happen to be driving by one of these businesses, stop in and tell them why.

  • Anyway to find out who their advertiser’s are w/out having to listen to the station, because I don’t.

  • Alan, of course it was acceptable, reasonable, and rational for Muntazer al-Zaidi to throw a shoe at George Bush, who had killed hundreds of thousands of his countrymen in an utterly illegal invasion. Even more acceptable would be for Mr. Bush to be tried for his crimes at the Hague and, if found guilty, to suffer an appropriate penalty (I don’t think they hang people there any more, but surely life imprisonment is an option.) Whether or not Senator Clinton would deserve the same punishment is a little more ambiguous, but since she voted for the invasion, my guess is, yes.

    As to Wenger: yes, scum, of course.

    • I disagree. I don’t think it’s appropriate to commit violence on any non-belligerent unless one is under direct physical threat, and only in proportion with that threat.

      • Really? So you don’t think a people living under occupation have the right to resist that occupation, using violent as well as non-violent means, including projectile footwear? And does this apply to everyone? If, say, Iraq were to occupy the United States and kill several million Americans, it would be inappropriate for you to hurl a brougham at a visiting Iraqi overlord? If so, how very pacifist of you. But international law disagrees.

  • A local radio station is EXTREMELY vulnerable to local sponsor boycotts. The last thing most local sponsors want is negative attention, as it can immediately and directly impact their bottom line.

    WBEN, for the sake of profit, allows the poisoning of discourse. Ever try to reason with the type of people they cater to? Good luck! Granted, many of their listeners already had conservative positions, which many people do in general (depending on the issue at hand), but WBEN guarantees to inject a lot of misinformation and confusion into the dialogue, making an even semi-intelligent debate all but impossible.

    WHEN are they going to have actual financial pressure put on them? It sems THAT is the only way to lance that abscess of a radio station and have that irresponsible and integrity-challeneged manager fired.

    • Yeah, boycott.
      Imagine if everyone who reads Artvoice boycotts WBEN advertisers. And everyone in WNY who is NOT a lefty moonbat makes a point to purchase ONLY from businesses who advertise on WBEN.
      The owners of Entercom would be richer than the Koch Brothers.
      Good luck with that.

      • What you’re painfully unaware of, is that many people who think WBEN has turned into an irresponsible wingnut misinformation machine, are not “lefties”. To a reasonable listenrer, WBEN no longer has any credibility—which is a masterful feet to accomplish after having built 80 years of credibility on the backs of responsible and honest broadcasters.

        Of course you and your malcontented ilk automatically assume anyone critical of the recklessness of the far right MUST be a “moonbat”. That’s how you sleep at night. Well, that and unskewing polls. lol

        • At this rate, Clint Buehlman and Jeff Kaye are spinning at Warp 9 in their graves-and Bill Lacy is thankful he’s NOT at WBEN.

      • Even for an anti-American scumbag you are remarkably dense. If you ever managed to stop jerking off to the picture of the Alaskan whore you’ve got over your bed, you’d notice there really aren’t that many of you.

        • Excellent ad hominem retort (but you did overlook the Race Card).
          And, as to “not that many” — whatever has become of Air America, whose format on WWKB (and nationally) went belly up for lack of anyone ever listening to it. Sounds like there may be “not that many” of you to move the ratings needle, after all is said and done.

          • Being a 40 year registered Republican, I just want to hear two things from a station like WBEN. Truth and both sides of an issue. Unfortunately you almost never get both sides of an issue (Dave Divo’s sunday show kind of does) and the warmed over talking points the other guys live by are often discredited via fact check.

          • That’s all most people want. For some reason, WBEN decided to go full tilt wingnut. Go to sleep with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

          • From What I’ve read, Michael Savage supplanted Hannity on many of his old heritage radio stations around the country, which means Hannity is now relegated to the same inferior signals that air america had to deal with—and he’s doing HORRIBLY on them. You can’t get ratings on a station nobody’s been listening to for years.

            Progressive talk was always put on the already-dead stations, like KB. It never had a chance.

          • Hahahahaha, “inferior signal”!!! Stop — you’re killing me!
            WWKB is a 50,000 watt “clear channel” station that can be heard up and down the East Coast and to the Midwest. And Air America had imperceptible ratings on that station.
            Really, really nice try.
            Good luck with your new buddies at al-Jazeera, too. Layoffs galore due to almost invisible ratings for that bunch, as well. And PMSNBC can’t budge the needle, either. It seems all the loony-left media are suffering the same fate.
            So — how is WBEN’s book?

          • Your ignorance knows no limit. I said inferior signal OR station that is already dead, KB could have ONE MILLION watts and it still wouldn’t have much of an audience. People stopped checking out 1520 on the AM dial 20 years ago.

            Regardless, MOST Americans don’t agree with far right wingnuts like yourself. Unskew that all you want.

          • Not to mention at night WWKB’s signal can be unlistenable in parts of the area it serves, never mind that it’s a blowtorch.

          • They’re still #2 to WYRK. And WBEN will stay there for a LONG time to come. Going full tilt loco is going to cost them in the long run. But apparently Tim Wenger doesn’t care about that.

          • More like they never had a good business plan to begin with.

            And you’re STILL willing to bring up that old canard.

            It just goes to show you have no argument at all.

          • Complaints about ad hominem attacks from a third-rate Limbaugh acolyte who refers to the Attorney General as “Geoffrey” Holder and rubs his thighs every time he mocks Nancy Pelosi’s looks? You are non-stop larfs, my man.

          • Ah, I see you have no clue what “ad hominem” means. What a shock. Keep relying on those ratings to save you. And remember, none of us lefties are armed at all. Nope, not a single one of us. You can relax.

  • Yes, WBEN is a wretched hive of scum and villainy. This is true.

    The rest of this piece is problematic. Yes, it’s fine for an Iraqi to throw a shoe at Bush, for all the reasons Jim Holstun outlines. But it’s not ok for an American to pretend that he can sit in judgment on the actions of the victims of our imperialism. We invaded them, we killed them, we tortured them. They have a perfect right to resist our violence and protest against our crimes. Bush deserved far worse than the indignity of having a show thrown at him.

    And we all recognize that the things Alan (correctly) charges WBEN with are also true of people like Hillary Clinton, right? She has a long track record of “encouraging violence against people who hold different political views” and of “trying to do with violence what [she] can’t do with words.” The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which she supported, are examples of politically-motivated violence in place of words on a grand scale.

    • This is really about the utter hypocrisy of the cowards at WBEN.

    • I disagree. Hillary Clinton isn’t an SS Totenkopf commander in charge of a prison camp. She is a former Secretary of State giving a speech in Las Vegas. There is no justification for anyone to commit an act of violence against her.

      • I don’t care about the Clinton incident. Whatever.

        The Bush incident is something else. To be clear: are you really going to cluck your tongue at an Iraqi for throwing a shoe at the man responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of his countrypeople? You — who weren’t invaded, killed, tortured, humiliated — are going to judge the actions of those who were?

    • Justifying and endorsing violence against public officials, no matter what contrived “reasoning” is used, is wrong, full stop

  • I’ll predict that Wenger will get recruited by Vladimir Putin as ‘Public Information Officer’ to promulgate his sinister ends, an assignment that Wenger will readily relish. Too much talent to squander on a 2nd string radio station in a 3rd rate market.

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