January 21, 2021

‘Pro-Kremlin radio’ broadcasts in American cities by a company registered as a foreign agent

A broadcasting company receives money to broadcast Kremlin propaganda in Kansas City. It has also aired in Washington DC.

“Pro-Kremlin radio” is taking to the airwaves on three frequencies in Kansas City by a company that was forced to register as a foreign agent by a federal judge in 2019. The Kansas City Star reported that RM  Broadcasting LLC, a Florida-based company, is being paid hundreds of thousands to broadcast Radio Sputnik, Russian state-owned media.

“Florida-based company RM Broadcasting LLC has agreements to air Radio Sputnik on the Alpine Broadcasting Corp., which broadcasts on three frequencies in the Kansas City area. The agreement allows the Russia-backed programming to be broadcast from 6-9 a.m. and 6-9 p.m. seven days a week,” reported the Hill.

This outrage is happening even though the Office of the Director of National Intelligence found that Sputnik, as well as Russian television outlet, RT (formerly Russia Today), served as a “platform for Kremlin messaging.” The outlets contributed efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, disparaging Clinton and helping Trump.

According to the Star, the three frequencies used to broadcast the Russian media are KCXL 1140 AM, 102.9 FM, and 104.7 FM. 

“KCXL’s website, which says that it’s the radio station that will ‘tell you the things that the liberal media won’t (sic) tell you,’ lists Radio Sputnik in its morning programming.”

A year before a federal judge ordered RM Broadcasting to register as a foreign agent in 2019; the Justice Department said the company was acting as a “publicity agent” for a Russian government-owned news agency. That agency, called Rossiya Segodnya was aired to Washington DC on an AM frequency through RM Broadcasting.

A Florida man and over a million dollars

A Florida man named Arnold Ferolito runs RM Broadcasting and objected when the government forced the company to register as a foreign agent.

“Ninety percent of the programming is generated right here in the United States,” Ferolito told the Star.

“I just sell air time that’s all I do,” Ferolito said. “The government put a gun to my head and forced me to sign.”

Ferolito once complained that it cost him money to broadcast Russian propaganda on American airwaves.

“They don’t pay me for anything other than the air time,” said Ferolito. “It’s costing me more money than I’m making, that’s the sad part about it.”

However, the Star reported on earnings made by RM Broadcasting in the past.

“When RM Broadcasting first registered as a foreign agent, it disclosed that it had received $1.43 million in payments from Rossiya Segodnya to buy air time for Radio Sputnik from 2017 to 2019,” states the report. A filing reveals that RM Broadcasting received “$324,000 from Rossiya Segodnya to transmit shows in Kansas City.”

Run by an ‘anti-American’ ‘chief propagandist’

Al Jazeera reported in 2013:

President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to form the media conglomerate called “Rossiya Segodonya,” which translates to “Russia Today.” The decree stated that the outlet would report on “coverage of Russian state policy and public life in the federation.” Putin dissolved state-run news agency RIA Novosti, which had become one of the world’s largest international news agencies up until that time.

Dmitry Kiselyov

Putin then appointed an “ultraconservative” and controversial television anchor, Dmitry Kiselyov, to head the outlet. Kiselyov is known for anti-gay and anti-American views and anchored a show with “vitriolic attacks on opposition politicians,” according to the report.

At the time, there was confusion about any connection between Rossiya Segodonya and RT, another Kremlin-funded network.

“The name of the new conglomerate has caused confusion as there is no indication the new Russia Today will be affiliated with RT, the Kremlin-funded English-language television network formerly know by the same name,” reported Al Jazeera.

The BBC notes that Kiselyov has been called the “Kremlin’s chief propagandist” by critics. (see video below) He’s pointed out that Russia is capable of “turning America into radioactive ash,” according to the report.

“I believe the age of neutral journalism has passed,” said Kiselyov.

More about Dmitry Kiselyov from the BBC:

Featured image: Kansas City and Kremlin via Wikimedia Commons

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