SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A group of Mainers has joined the chorus of voices across the country, demanding that Rush Limbaugh be taken off the air.
Limbaugh had to apologize after calling a Georgetown law student who testified before members of Congress a "slut" and a "prostitute." Sandra Fluke was advocating that her school be required to cover birth control pills under the new health care law.
Thursday, petitioners presented WGAN, the South Portland radio station that airs Limbaugh's show, with 5,700 names of people who want him off the air.
Annie Finch organized the online petition drive on Facebook. She says what Limbaugh said was unforgivable, and far more inflammatory than his other comments that people felt were sexist in the past. She and the dozen demonstrators that joined her applauded local advertisers who have left the Limbaugh show. She says WGAN should not promote what she calls hate speech. "We don't like them profiting off this kind of hate speech. We're calling on them to do the right thing for Mainers and respect the dignity of all Mainers, especially Maine women," Finch said.
Meanwhile, Cary Pahigian, the president of WGAN's parent company, Portland Radio Group, said he's head from about 100 people via email and phone calls. He says reaction to whether Rush should stay on the air has been split 50-50, and recently, more people have supported keeping the program.
He said WGAN chooses its programming based on what people want to listen to. And people listen to Rush, so Rush is going to stay.
Pahigian said, "If Rush wants to destroy himself, he will. So far, for 23 years, he's done a pretty good job of gathering a large audience of people who are interested in what he says, disagree with what he says, but do listen to what he is saying."
Pahigian said the local advertisers who have left the Rush show have not left the station. And he said other advertisers have signed on to air during the show.