Recorded Pete Buttigieg Interview Spiked By Nashville Country Radio Station: 'My Employer Decided I Couldn't Air It'

A Nashville radio host revealed this weekend that his employer, Cumulus Media, blocked him from airing a recorded interview with 2020 candidate South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Blair Garner, who hosts a nationally syndicated radio program titled The Blair Garner Show, interviewed Buttigieg for roughly 20-minutes on Wednesday during the 2020 candidate's Nashville, Tennessee campaign stop. But now, the interview will not be aired.

"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," Garner tweeted on Friday, alongside a link to the interview on his SoundCloud and an image with Buttigieg.

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 here: @Lis_Smith

— Blair Garner (@blairgarner) July 19, 2019

During his interview on the country radio station, Buttigieg talked about meeting country music stars Brad Paisley and Tim McGraw, before then discussing how Democratic candidates should do more to reach out to conservative communities.

"I think that our base tends to be more conservative," Garner noted. "The fact that you, from the Democratic ticket, are the singular candidate to reach out and to say, 'May I please be on your show?' That you are reaching out to our listeners ― I think we all have to embrace that and be appreciative of that."

In a statement to HuffPost on Sunday, Lis Smith, Buttigieg's campaign spokesperson, explained the Democratic candidate's decision to appear on the station. "It's important to Pete to reach voters everywhere," she said. "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."

Garner "has a big audience," Smith added. "It's an audience that doesn't typically hear directly from Democratic candidates for president."

Cumulus Media, the third largest owner and operator of AM and FM radio stations in America, was behind the decision to spike Buttigieg's interview. In a statement on Sunday, a spokesperson for the radio broadcasting stations company explained that their programming manager's decision to pull the interview was due to "the large number of political candidates currently in the race."

"The decision was made by local programming management based solely on concerns related to the application of the FCC's Equal Time Rule," the spokesperson added. "The effects of the FCC's Equal Time Rule are widely understood and considered whenever these types of issues arise."

Kurt Bardella, creator and publisher of the country music newsletter The Morning Hangover, who was in the studio during Buttigieg's interview with Garner, called the decision "an incredible act of cowardice for a company who's slogan is 'Where Every Voice Matters.'"

"Music is about creativity, expression and expanding societal boundaries," he said, in a statement to Newsweek. "When I think about artists like Kacey Musgraves, Maren Morris, Brothers Osborne, the message in their music about inclusion and empowerment, I can't think of a better place for someone like Mayor Pete to participate in that kind of conversation than on country radio."

"I hope the executives at Cumulus reconsider their directive to censor Blair's interview with Pete," Bardella added. "Country radio should be on the front lines of breaking stereotypes and promoting diversity of thought."

Before it was pulled, the interview was scheduled to have been aired on Monday, a source told HuffPost.

Listen to Garner's interview with Buttigieg here.

Pete Buttigieg
Democratic presidential hopeful South Bend Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during the AARP and The Des Moines Register Iowa Presidential Candidate Forum on July 20, 2019 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Cumulus Media blocked a recorded interview with Buttigieg last week from being aired. In explaining their decision to spike the interview, the broadcasting company cited "the large number of political candidates currently in this race." Justin Sullivan/Getty