THEY CHECKED BEFORE CHICKS CHUCKED : Although, to be honest, we imagine the Congress would be a bit confused as to why a media conglomerate forcing them Bush-baiting Chicks of Dixie off the nation's airwaves would be a bad thing, it's actually interesting to see the head of Cummulus concede that, whatever his claims about the independence of his company's 250 stations across the US, erm, the actual decision was taken at HQ. Giving evidence at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing, the splendidly named Lewis Dickey Jr suggested that all of his country stations wanted to stop playing the Dixie Chicks, but needed a "framework" from above to be able to do so. This we find fascinating: All fifty station managers decided spontaneously that the very mild rebuke Natalie Maines directed at Bush meant they should stop playing the band altogether? And these managers, running apparently independent stations, having come to such a conclusion were unable to merely drop the Dixie Chicks from their own playlists without a 'framework' from head office? How is that independent, exactly?