Friday, January 14, 2011

Talker Pulls No Punches In Wake of Shootings

Patriot-News photo
Harrisburg, PA conservative talk radio host Bob Durgin hasn’t pulled his on-air punches in the wake of Saturday’s shootings in Arizona, lambasting liberals for using the tragic event to slander conservatives like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, according to a posting at
“God, I hate the liberal media,” Durgin said Monday during his highly rated afternoon show on 580 AM WHP. “It’s like, if you don’t follow Obama and believe in Obama’s policies, then you are a potential terrorist.”
In talking about The New York Times, often seen as queen of the left by conservatives, Durgin added, “Somebody ought to burn that paper down. Just go to New York and blow that sucker right out of the water.”
Durgin now concedes that last remark may have been a bridge too far in an overheated environment.
“I don’t regret saying it, but I know I probably shouldn’t have,” he said this week during a telephone interview. “That’s just me. When I go on the air I announce my true feelings. What they hear is who I am.”
In truth, Durgin’s tirade may have just been a little ahead of the political curve in the wake of the Tucson attack, which left six people dead and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords fighting for her life.
America’s rancorous political dialogue already shows signs of returning to the status quo, a non-stop barrage of accusation and counter-accusation carried out on television, radio and online.
“Everything travels with the speed of light now,” said G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College. “We are constantly bombarded.”

Read more here.

No News, Please; It’s The Weekend

From Michael Getler, Ombudsman For PBS

It has always been so, and I guess it will always be so, but it is annoying nevertheless. I’m referring to the lack of any nation-wide coverage of news on PBS television during the weekend.

So, if you are a devoted follower of the news and of PBS, when horrific stories such as the one that unfolded in Tucson last Saturday, Jan. 8, you must go to the big three broadcast networks or cable for coverage. The PBS NewsHour will get around to it on Monday evening.

It happens, quite naturally, several times a year, by my unofficial accounting, that important stories break on Saturday or Sunday when PBS is nowhere to be found on the television news spectrum. It is especially true during presidential election campaigns, when important, fast-breaking events and turns get put aside for a few days.

Maybe the world is turning away from the tube and onto online news only, but you can’t tell that from the people who write to me about all kinds of things. They are television viewers and that’s what they depend on and that’s what PBS means to them.

There are no doubt impressive-sounding reasons, financial or otherwise, why there is no PBS NewsHour, or something similar, on Saturday and Sunday evenings. But it has always seemed to me like an abdication of duty that also has the side effect of sending regular PBS viewers to other networks. The weekday evening NewsHour is one of PBS’s flagship programs and Jim Lehrer is among journalism’s most respected figures. So it just seems inconsistent with a commitment to news and public affairs, and to promoting the NewsHour and Lehrer as something special and unique — as PBS officials do publicly to emphasize the importance of public broadcasting — that some new formula can’t, or won’t, be found to serve the public on Saturday and Sunday as well.
Read more here.

News Corp, Apple Delay The Daily

News Corp. and Apple Inc. are delaying the launch of the media conglomerate's tablet newspaper for the iPad while the two parties work out some kinks in the subscription platform for delivering the paper, according to people familiar with the matter.

According to Russell Adams at, the digital newspaper, which will be called The Daily, was supposed to be unveiled next Wednesday by News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs at an event at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. But the two parties have decided they need more time to test a forthcoming subscription service from Apple.

"The app and the service work, it's just getting them to talk to each other that needs more time," a person familiar with the matter said.

News Corp. confirmed the delay but declined to comment beyond that. Another person familiar with the matter said the launch is weeks, not months, away.

Apple has been developing a service that allows customers to sign up for a subscription to a periodical in its iTunes store and get the publication delivered automatically to their iPad each time a new issue is published.

Read more here.

Gov: Advertisers Should Shun Divisive Talk Radio

R.I. Governor Chafee says taking his criticism of talk radio one step further this week, Governor Chafee on Thursday called on advertisers to stop supporting talk radio that is divisive.

According to a posting at, “Those that pay — the advertisers — should shut them down.”

Chafee talk with reporters following an unrelated event Thursday morning in downtown Providence. “My view is that these people don’t even believe what they are saying, but they are making money off it. They’re selling this divisive and highly emotional [content] … because it sells. So the advertisers have to shut them down. That’s my view.”

The comments came during a week in which the independent governor faced criticism and a fair amount of national attention for his decision to ban all state employees, including himself, from talk radio during state work time.

(A Chafee spokesman on Tuesday clarified that the ban would apply only to state workers under the governor’s control, and would not apply to emergencies such as this week’s snowstorm.)

The policy made national headlines following the Jan. 8 shooting in a shopping center in Tucson, Ariz., that left six dead and a congresswoman critically injured. Some commentators suggested the massacre was a symptom of a “climate of hate” stoked by conservative talk radio.

Reflecting remarks President Obama made at a memorial service for the victims on Wednesday, Chafee said he hoped the tragedy served as a catalyst to bring the country toward a more civil public discourse. “It’s so tragic what happened. At a supermarket. At a public event to talk about congressional issues. It’s just so sad,” he said.

Chafee noted that he had experienced the “divisiveness of talk radio” on a personal level.

In 2006, conservative author Ann Coulter wrote a column in the weekly newspaper Human Events about the Republican primary fight between then-Senator Chafee and former Cranston Mayor Stephen P. Laffey.
Titled “They Shot the Wrong Lincoln,” the column criticized Republican President George W. Bush for backing Chafee over Laffey. Chafee won the primary, but wound up losing the general election and eventually broke ties with the GOP.
Read more here.

Mark Harmon Is America's Favorite TV Star

Jumps 7 Spots, Oprah, Hugh Laurie tie at 2nd

He was a lothario doctor on St. Elsewhere, another doctor on Chicago Hope and now he is NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Mark Harmon, and his piercing blue eyes, is America's Favorite TV Star, a jump from last year when he was number 8 on the list. Oprah Winfrey, last year's number one, drops to a tie for number two. Hugh Laurie, TV's Dr. House, moves up from a tie for the 4th spot last year to a tie for the number 2 spot this year.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,331 adults surveyed online between December 6 and 13, 2010 by Harris Interactive®.

Rounding out the top five are two late night talk show hosts - returning to the list after a three year absence with his new TBS show, Conan O'Brien is number 4. The Daily Show's Jon Stewart is tied for number 5, and even with some recent bad press, Two and a Half Men's Charlie Sheen moves up from number 7, to tie Conan at number 5.

The next three on the list all host their own shows: Ellen DeGeneres drops down from a tie for 4th place to number 7 this year, Bill O'Reilly moves up two spots from number 10 last year to number 8 this year, and making his own top ten, David Letterman remains at number 9. Returning to the list after dropping off last year is Steve Carrell of The Office.

While two people moved back to the list, two television personalities moved off the list. Last year he debuted at number 2 on the list but even after staging a large event on the National Mall, this year Glenn Beck has dropped out of the top ten. Another television personality was in the news this past year-yet despite his return to the Tonight Show, Jay Leno still dropped from number three last year out of the top ten.

There are different number ones for different groups. Men say Mark Harmon is their favorite, while for women it is Oprah. Generations also have their favorites. Echo Boomers (those aged 18-33) are happy he's back on television as Conan O'Brien is their favorite, while for Gen Xers (aged 34-45) it's all about Dr. House and Hugh Laurie. Baby Boomers (aged 46-64) have a tie for their favorite as both Charlie Sheen and Mark Harmon top their list. For Matures (aged 65 and older) there are also two on top - Mark Harmon and Bill O'Reilly.

There are definitely some partisan differences. Bill O'Reilly is the favorite for Republicans but for Conservatives he ties with Mark Harmon as the favorite. For Independents, Mark Harmon is number one and for Moderates their favorite is Oprah Winfrey. Number one for Democrats and Liberals is the same - Jon Stewart.

Each region also has their favorite. For the East it is Oprah, while Midwesterners say Conan is their favorite. Westerners are partial to Mark Harmon and Charlie Sheen is tops for Southerners.

KNST Pulls This Board Promoting Rush

Rush Limbaugh's affiliate in Tucson wasted no time Monday in having this Rush board pulled down by Clear Channel Outdoor.

According to co-owned Premiere Radio Networks, KNST had been using the board to promote Limbaugh's nationally syndicate show. 

According to Rachel Nelson PR manager of Premiere,  "This particular ad -- which uses the common expression “straight shooter” to describe Mr. Limbaugh’s candid and direct style -- was designed and contracted by the local station’s promotion department. In the wake of the tragic events that have unfolded in Tucson, the station elected to take down this ad on Monday, January 10 – believing that discussion of its interpretation would not contribute to the desire for healing in the Tucson community."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

'Money For Nothing' Deemed Too Offensive

"Money For Nothing", a classic-rock radio staple by Dire Straits, is too offensive for Canadian broadcasts because of its use of the word "faggot," the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has ruled, according to

The ruling, released Wednesday, responded to a complaint submitted to St. John's radio station CHOZ-FM over a Feb. 1 airing of an unedited version of the song, which mentions the word three times.

The complainant wrote that the song's lyrics were "extremely offensive" to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

The council is an independent body created by Canadian radio and television broadcasters to review the standards of their content.

Co-written in 1985 by Mark Knopfler and Sting, Money For Nothing takes the perspective of a working-class man watching music videos, which were still a new medium at the time.

The song, which was the first single off of Dire Straits' album Brothers in Arms, earned the British band a Grammy for best rock performance and topped the American Billboard modern rock chart for three weeks. The song's corresponding music video, widely known for its use of then-state-of-the-art computer animation, was the first music video aired on MTV Europe.

The council's Atlantic regional panel weighed the song's "legitimate artistic usage" against the Canadian Association of Broadcaster's Code of Ethics, which in part states: "broadcasters shall ensure that their programming contains no abusive or unduly discriminatory material or comment which is based on matters of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status or physical or mental disability."

The council concluded that "faggot," when used to describe a homosexual man, is a word "that, even if entirely or marginally acceptable in earlier days, is no longer so."

"The societal values at issue a quarter century later have shifted and the broadcast of the song in 2010 must reflect those values, rather than those of 1985."

The panel noted that Money for Nothing would be acceptable for broadcast if suitably edited.

Read more here.

Fairness Doctrine Return Doubtful

Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the third ranking Democrat in the House, and Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter of New York have both suggested in the aftermath of the Tucson tragedy that it might be a good idea to revisit the contentious rule.

Despite their standing in the halls of Congress, however, experts say the chances of the rule’s revival are slim to none, according to a story by Amanda Carey at

Practically speaking, bringing back the fairness doctrine could be done one of two ways: either by Congress passing legislation or by the commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voting on and passing a set of regulations.

“I’m very, very doubtful the FCC would reinstate it,” Jim Harper, Director of Information Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, told The Daily Caller. “If the FCC tries to, it will be hit with lawsuit, and it will lose much of power it already has.”

The day after the Tucson shooting that killed six people and injured 14, Clyburn called for new media standards to guarantee balanced coverage, along with the fairness doctrine. “Free speech is as free speech does,” Clyburn said. “You cannot yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater and call it free speech and some of what I hear, and is being called free speech, is worse than that.”

Rep. Slaughter promised to look into ways to better control language on the airwaves, saying that the FCC just is “not working anymore.”

Read more here.

How To Make Money At Music

94.9 KUOW/Seattle's Steve Scher snagged consultant Jaye Albright with a teaser to his show Wednesday:

"...industry analysts and executives have bemoaned the imminent death of the music industry ever since the birth of the Internet. In reality it's only the record business that's in peril. Album sales once built musical empires. Now touring is the cornerstone of an artist's financial success. Bands who make the road their home are not just insulated from the drop in record sales — they can be profitable! How can you succeed in the modern music industry? Tune in to find out."

The podcast is worth a listen as local booking agent Ali Hedrick talks about the end of record labels and the beginning of management companies/360 deals. Ali brags that she always tries to have tickets to her events available at venues so fans can buy them with no service charges as well (though of course the majority of tickets still sell including "convenience" charges).

Hat Tip to Jaye's Breakfast blog.

Albany Sites Ride Politics To Online Success

Online media is booming in the marketplace

Albany is the capital of the Empire State, so it’s a company town where politics are always hot and where government workers are deeply interested in what the legislature and governor will do next.

According to Linda Moss at, that’s why newspaper and TV stations feature politics and spotlight blogging pundits on their Web sites to lure local online audiences -- and booming ad dollars -- in the 58th largest media market.

“All the state workers are looking at our site Monday,” said Paul Block, executive producer of, which is part of Hearst Newspapers. “We’re definitely more in politics than a lot of other areas.” (Your News Now), the Web home for Time Warner Cable’s local news channels in Upstate New York, including Albany, last year launched a companion site,, for its nightly political show.

“It’s quite popular, as you can imagine, with our crazy New York State politics,” said Susan Bock, executive producer of online content for had one of its videos go viral last September, when it was the first media outlet to post a clip – taken with a cell phone -- of gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino threatening to “take out” out New York Post state editor Fred Dicker.

Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y., is a booming marketplace for local online media and is especially robust in terms of local online ad-dollar growth.

Local online ad spending in Albany was $71.9 million last year, according to estimates from Borrell Associates. The research firm forecasts that Albany’s local online ad revenue will increase 30%, to $93.9 million, in 2011, according to Larry Shaw, Borrell’s vice president of research.

That growth rate paces well ahead of overall local online ad revenue, which is expected to climb almost 18% from last year to 2011, to $16.1 billion.

In fact, Borrell ranks Albany-Schenectady as No. 2 among markets for top growth rates, at 22% or greater, from 2010 to 2011 for local online advertising. The market trails only Monroe, La.-El Dorado, Ark., and places ahead of Des Moines-Aimes, Iowa.

And for the Capital Region during the five-year period from 2010 to 2015, local online ad revenue is expected to increase 100.7%, to $144.4 million, according to Borrell.

Read more here.

Gallagher Invites Hate Church Members To Talk

Salem radio host Mike Gallagher announces the appearance of members of Westboro Baptist Church protesters on his radio show Monday and explains the reasoning behind it, in a video posted on his Facebook page.

Dr. Phil Talks Ted Williams Into Rehab

Honey-voiced homeless man Ted Williams is entering rehab -- at the urging of "Dr. Phil" McGraw.

According to the story, Williams got into a shouting match with his estranged daughter Monday -- and was briefly taken to a Hollywood police station -- will enter a "private" rehab facility after speaking to McGraw for an on-camera interview airing on today's "Dr. Phil".

It's the third consecutive TV sitdown McGraw has had with Williams this week.

Williams, an alcoholic and drug addict who descended into a life of homelessness, became an instant viral-video sensation when a newspaper reporter posted a video showing him speaking in his dulcet tones.

Since the story broke, Williams has been barraged with job offers but is having trouble dealing with his sudden fame.

His family members (ex-wife and kids), who are also interviewed by McGraw, say he's been drinking again, which caused his verbal dustup with his daughter.

There's no word on which rehab facility Williams will enter -- or when he'll go.

Read more here.

Talk Radio Rhetoric Is Hot Topic

From Nicholas Riccardi, Los Angeles Times

The caller's name is Avery, and as the call progresses he seems a case study in incendiary talk radio rhetoric.

In a slightly shaky voice, Avery reads from a book by Laura Ingraham, a syndicated conservative radio host whose show is on a couple of hours later on the local right-wing talk station, KQTH 104.1 The Truth.

The passage speaks about the need to emulate the country's founding fathers and fight back against the federal government. Avery says, "We have to say when enough is enough and we take up arms like our forefathers did —"

"You're certainly not justifying what happened Saturday," interjects Jon Justice, the host.

The rare conservative firebrand in a liberal town, the host of "The Jon Justice Show" has been dubbed, by admirers and detractors, Tucson's Rush Limbaugh. He's spent the days since the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords passionately arguing that heated political rhetoric on the airwaves does not cause violence.

Talk radio, which Limbaugh reinvigorated more than 20 years ago, is now part of its own conversation. There is no evidence that Jared Lee Loughner, the suspect in the shooting of Giffords and the killing of six others, even listened to it. But its daily dose of provocative rhetoric, mostly from conservative hosts, has taken center stage in the national debate over what has happened to civil discourse.

On Saturday, Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik issued his now-famous broadside against "vitriol" contributing to the attack. On Wednesday, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin took issue with him, saying in a Facebook video that crimes "begin and end with the criminal who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio...."

If an outsider wants to hear how all that is playing in Tucson, one way is to tune in to Justice.
Read more here.

R.I. Governor Defends Talk Radio Ban

Sez it may be temporary

With his talk-radio avoidance policy making the national news and rating the second-highest placed headline on the Drudge Report at one point on Wednesday, Governor Chafee is defending his decision, according to a story by Katherine Gregg and Tom Mooney at

In an interview Wednesday, Chafee denied speculation that the policy had anything to do with the harsh criticism that some of the state’s conservative talk-show hosts had been flinging his way in the wake of his move to rescind his predecessor’s executive order on illegal immigration.

“We just want to focus on the job at hand, getting the economy rolling again, and we can’t be diverted with all the nonsense on talk radio,” he told a reporter at the state Emergency Management Agency headquarters after the latest briefing on the snowstorm.

Chafee spokesman Michael Trainor said the policy had been under discussion for some time. But it caught national attention after the shootings last week at a meet-the-constituents event at a shopping center in Arizona that left six dead and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords critically injured. Some commentators suggested that the massacre was a symptom of the “climate of hate” stoked by conservative, right-wing radio programming.

Asked Wednesday if he personally believed that talk radio was corrosive to the political process to the extent that it thrives on divisiveness, Chafee said: “Perhaps, to an extent ... at least that is my opinion.”

At the very least, he said, “it’s more entertainment than journalism.”

But more basically, he said, it is time-consuming. If he or one of his department heads appears on the “John DePetro Show,” for example, they would feel obligated to give equal time to the Dan Yorke and Helen Glover shows and “you just get all caught up in it.”

But he also indicated that the policy first articulated by his spokesman on Monday, and then clarified on Tuesday, may not be permanent.

Read more here.

Piers Morgan’s Bill O’Reilly Story

Tuesday night TVNewser ventured to the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where Newsweek/Daily Beast editor Tina Brown hosted a party for CNN’s new 9 PM host, Piers Morgan.

In welcoming the guests, Morgan shared a remarkable (if it’s true) story about an encounter he had with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly at a recent New York Knicks game.

Morgan and O’Reilly were in the VIP suite, and having never met the FNC host, Morgan naturally wanted to say hello.

“Obvisouly I marched up, expecting him to shower me with praise about this glorious resurrection of CNN, and he comes up to me and goes, ‘ah, yea, I know you,’” Morgan recalled.

“So I shuffled off meekly,” Morgan said. “Not only is he #1 but he is intimidating, he sort of shooed me away.”

It was Morgan, however, who would get the last laugh a few minutes later, when O’Reilly returned with his teenage daughter:

“He has to walk even more sheepishly to me, and say ‘Ok, my daughter is an ‘America’s Got Talent’ Fan is there any way I can get a picture of you with my daughter?”

To which Morgan replied: “Of course Bill! nothing would give me more pleasure!”

While O’Reilly was snapping photos, Morgan says a security guard in the VIP suite blocked the camera, saying “sir, we need to safeguard the privacy of our celebrities”

Read more here.

Arianna Huffington's In-Flight Incident

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Shooter's Friend: "He Didn't Listen to Political Radio"

From Rush Limbaugh Show, Wednesday 1/12/11:

This morning on Good Morning America a portion of an interview Ashleigh Banfield did with Zach Osler, who is a high school friend of the shooter Jared Loughner.  Ashleigh Banfield: "What was his motive in Saturday's attack and what about the speculation that he may have been fueled by partisan politics and rhetoric in the media?"

OSLER: He did not watch TV. He disliked the news. He didn't listen to political radio. He didn't take sides. He wasn't on the left; he wasn't on the right.
RUSH:  He disliked the news. He didn't listen to political radio. He didn't take sides. He wasn't on the left; he wasn't on the right." He sounds to me like he's a candidate for membership in the new No Labels group.  This guy sounds to me like he's the model citizen for this bunch calling themselves No Labels and other political consultants who seek to identify the great undecided, the great independents, the great moderates and try to influence them to vote for the candidates that are paying them to get them elected.  This guy doesn't sound like a political partisan.  We know that his history with Gabrielle Giffords goes back to 2007.

We know that she had sent him a note thanking him for attending one of her public appearances, and he had written on the note. They found the note -- and I'm gonna quote accurately, so forgive me here if you're offended. 

The note says, "Die, bitch. Die, cops."

The note she wrote to him, that's his scribble on it.

The letter thanked him for attending an event of hers, was found in a safe in his Tucson home.  I have a New York Times story that I'll dig outta my stack here in mere moments about the Republican agenda proving how they hoped to profit from this, a tragedy.  In fact, one of the New York Times stories that I have today is almost a threat to John Boehner. (You better cancel what you were gonna do now that this happened; don't even think about repealing Obamacare now.  You better not do that!)  Don't try to tell me these people are not advancing their political agenda on the backs of the wounded.  They always accuse us of trying to "balance the budget on the backs of the poor," do they not?  They always accuse us of making the homeless homeless.  Here they are attempting to advance their political agenda on the backs of the dead and the wounded.  I don't know how else to describe it. It's exactly what's happening here.  So Ms. Banfield, another portion of her interview with Zach Osler.  After Osler said that Loughner wasn't on the left or on the right, never listened to political radio, Ashley Banfield said...
BANFIELD:  Instead he points to this online documentary series called Zeitgeist as the gas on Loughner's fire.  It's a documentary movement that rails on currency-based economics.

OSLER:  I really think that this is Zeitgeist documentary had a profound impact upon Jared Loughner's mind-set and how he viewed the world that he lives in.
Read more here.

Boston's WTKK Kicks Imus Out

WTKK stuck by Don Imus during the “nappy headed hos” scandal, but the Boston talk radio station is finally giving the cranky cowboy the boot - and expanding Jim Braude and Margery Eagan’s morning-drive show.

Jessica Heslam at report a station spokeswoman said in a statement yesterday that WTKK-FM (96.9) axed “Imus in the Morning” because it has decided to go with “live and local programming.” WTKK plans to add another hour to Braude and Eagan’s show, which will start earlier at 6 a.m. and run until 10 a.m. beginning Thursday. The station also plans to extend Phil Hendrie’s syndicated show to 6 a.m.

“Don Imus is a legend and we are very grateful for the many contributions he has made over the years on the station,” said WTKK spokeswoman Heidi Raphael.

Read more here.

Meanwhile in Atlanta...

Michael Savage moves to WGST (Rodney Ho

Palin Accuses Media Of 'Blood Libel'

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) on Wednesday accused the media of "blood libel" by looking to assign blame for the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).

According to Michael O'Brien at, Palin offered a pointed defense of herself and other political leaders who used sometimes heated rhetoric on the 2010 campaign trail — rhetoric some Democrats say created an environment that fueled the assassination attempt against Giffords.

"After this shocking tragedy, I listened at first puzzled, then with concern, and now with sadness, to the irresponsible statements from people attempting to apportion blame for this terrible event," Palin said in a lengthy statement and accompanying video on her Facebook page.

Palin lashed out at the media, one of her traditional targets, saying they fueled the notion that rhetoric played a role in the Arizona attack.

Also read here:

Palin's Words Reach Back To Sordid History (

Poll: Most Feel Rhetoric, Shooting Unrelated

Nearly six in 10 Americans say the country's heated political rhetoric is not to blame for the Tucson shooting rampage that left six dead and critically wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, according to a CBS News poll.

In the wake of the shooting, much focus has been put on the harsh tone of politics in Washington and around the country, particularly after a contentious midterm election. Rhetoric and imagery from both Republicans and Democrats have included gun-related metaphors, but the majority of the country isn't connecting the shooting to politics.

Overall, 57 percent of respondents said the harsh political tone had nothing to do with the shooting, compared to 32 percent who felt it did.

Read more here.

Clyburn: Words Can Be Danger

Congressman wants to guarantee 'balanced' media

U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in Congress, said Sunday the deadly shooting in Arizona should get the country thinking about what's acceptable to say publicly and when people should keep their mouths shut, according to a story by Yvonne Wenger at

Clyburn said he thinks vitriol in public discourse led to a 22-year-old suspect opening fire Saturday at an event Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords held for her constituents in Tucson, Ariz. Six people were killed and 14 others were injured, including Giffords.

The shooting is cause for the country to rethink parameters on free speech, Clyburn said from his office, just blocks from the South Carolina Statehouse. He wants standards put in place to guarantee balanced media coverage with a reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine, in addition to calling on elected officials and media pundits to use 'better judgment.'

Clyburn also commented Monday on NPR's 'All Things Considered' program:

In the Poster & Couriers story, Clyburn said,  'Free speech is as free speech does. You cannot yell ‘fire' in a crowded theater and call it free speech and some of what I hear, and is being called free speech, is worse than that.'

Clyburn used as an example a comment made by Sharron Angle, an unsuccessful U.S. senatorial candidate in Nevada, who said the frustrated public may consider turning to 'Second Amendment remedies' for political disputes unless Congress changed course.

Clyburn said the man accused of shooting Giffords did just that.

'He saw a Second Amendment remedy and that's what occurred here and there is no way not to make that connection,' Clyburn said.

The Fairness Doctrine has been a controversial subject during the Obama administration. The Federal Communications Commission in 1987 stopped enforcing the policy that required the media to present both sides of an issue. Now, with the popularity of partisan cable news, some want the FCC to use the policy to inject balance into heated media discussions.

Clyburn's daughter Mignon Clyburn is an FCC commissioner. She took a stand on the matter during her confirmation hearings, saying she opposed such a policy in 'any way shape or form.'

Read more here.

Is It All Dr. Phil's Fault?

Ted Williams Detained by Cops

Someone's voice didn't seem quite so golden last night—at least not to whomever phoned the cops on homeless-man-turned-YouTube-sensation-turned-showbiz-catch-of-the-day Ted Williams.

The 53-year-old was picked up by Los Angeles' finest last night when police received a call reporting a disturbance caused by Williams, who at the time was engaged in a decibel-raising argument with his daughter.

So what's Dr. Phil McGraw got to do with all this?

Well, according to,  in addition to making the media rounds, one of the primary reasons Williams is in Los Angeles this week is to appear in a two-part episode of Dr. Phil.

In the second episode, airing Friday, he is reunited with his estranged wife and five of his nine daughters, whom he walked out on 20 years ago.

Sounds like the reunion didn't go as smoothly as Phil might've hoped. At least not once the cameras stopped rolling, according to Gina Serpe at

While the family-reuniting show airs Wednesday, it was pretaped over the weekend. And the fallout certainly seems to have lingered on.

Read more here.

Comcast Faces Conditions for NBC Deal

Comcast Corp. may have to provide television programs to online competitors and wouldn’t be allowed to interfere with subscribers’ Web traffic to satisfy regulators vetting its planned purchase of NBC Universal, people familiar with the deal said, according to Todd Shields at

The requirements were among those proposed by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski on Dec. 23, three agency officials in Washington said in interviews. They declined to be identified because the conditions haven’t been made public.

Genachowski, a Democrat, asked his four fellow agency members to approve the acquisition of the General Electric Co. unit on condition the combined company meet his proposed requirements.

Critics have urged the commission to keep Comcast from unfairly withholding NBC content from the growing market for online video and to ensure Comcast’s 17 million high-speed Internet customers have access to Web content not controlled by the company.

Genachowski’s colleagues -- two Democrats and two Republicans -- could accept, reject or modify the conditions. The agency hasn’t set a date for its vote on the deal.

Comcast, the largest U.S. cable company, announced in December 2009 it would gain control of the NBC television network, broadcast stations, cable channels such as MSNBC and USA Network, a library of more than 4,000 movies, and part ownership of the Hulu online video service.

The transaction is being reviewed separately by the Justice Department.

Read more here.

RI Governor To Issue Talk Show Ban

Calls radio 'profit-driven'

Steven Portnoy at reports:
State officials in Rhode Island will soon be ordered to stay off the airways, provided the interviewer happens to be a talk show host.

A spokesman for Gov. Lincoln Chafee tells the Providence Journal that talk radio is essentially “ratings-driven, for-profit programming,” and “we don’t think it is appropriate to use taxpayer resources” to have state employees use work time to “support for-profit, ratings-driven programming.”

Chafee intends to stay off the air, too, reversing something of a trend.  His predecessor, Republican Gov. Donald Carcieri, was a frequent talk radio guest, as are many current and former governors and big city mayors across the country.

A former mayor of Providence, who happens to be one of the biggest talk show hosts in the state, sharply disagrees with the governor’s stance.

“Chafee is – I don’t want to be critical – but he’s not exactly Demosthenes,” says Buddy Cianci, who hosts the afternoon drive program on WPRO-AM.  “The fact is that he’s got some issues that he maybe doesn’t have the answer to [on the air].”
Read more here.

Tom's Take: I suppose the business model for newspapers is NOT to make a profit.  What is the newshole vs. ads percentage balance?

Also read here:

Wonder why Chafee so dislikes talk radio? (WRNI, Rhode Island Public Radio)

Lincoln Chafee radio ban may be missing the point (

Walmart Makes Big PR Push On NYC Media

Days before the City Council is expected to pillory Walmart at an oversight hearing, company officials launched a counter attack Monday in print, online, on the air and via direct mailings that focused largely on jobs.

According to a story by Daniel Massey at,  New Yorkers woke up Monday morning to a radio advertisement by Walmart blasting “special interest” groups for pressuring the City Council to derail its efforts to open shop in the city.

“Turn down new jobs and stop people from paying lower prices to satisfy some special interest?” the 60-second spot asks. “That's everything people hate about politics.”

That ad, and a second one that zeroes in more on the retailers' low prices, will run for a week on 14 city radio stations, including WFAN, WCBS and WINS. A print ad that trumpets the results of a recent Walmart-sponsored poll showing 71% of New Yorkers favor the retailer's entry into the city will run in 30 community newspapers, plus the Daily News and New York Post.

Walmart also said it will start sending direct mail to residents of 10 City Council districts, including that of Councilman Charles Barron, an outspoken opponent who represents the East New York neighborhood where Walmart is considering space. All of the mail will go to voters in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn, which fits in with Walmart's stated strategy to focus on opening in areas where unemployment is high and fresh food options are low. “Some New Yorkers have plenty of options when it comes to shopping,” the mailer reads. “We think you should too!”

All of the ads direct New Yorkers to, a website launched Monday that seeks to build a community of supporters. The site includes various facts and figures about Walmart, a petition and select media coverage of the retailer. The site is patterned after one the retailer built in Chicago, where it engaged in an extensive battle for permission to open a second store. Potential supporters can also call a hotline to register their backing.

Read more here

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ted Williams Detained By LAPD

Ted Williams, the former panhandler who became an overnight star because of his silky smooth radio voice, was briefly detained by the Los Angeles Police Department at a Hollywood hotel on Monday night.

According to the, cops responded to a disturbance call at the Renaissance Hotel around 9 p.m. after Williams and his daughter got into an altercation.

An LAPD spokesman told Gossip Cop that the two "were transferred to the Hollywood station."

Williams -- a recovering alcoholic -- was eventually released, and sources said the investigation is ongoing. No one was charged with any crime.

The 53 year old is in the Golden State to shoot a number of television appearances, including one for "Entertainment Tonight." On Monday, he visited the L.A. Lakers and met Kobe Bryant.

Read more here.

Radio Hosts: We Won’t Back Down

Talk radio hosts in Boston and across the nation lashed back at media attacks blaming them for the Arizona rampage that left six dead and U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in critical condition — insisting they won’t be silenced by a campaign of “intimidation and smear,” writes Jessica Heslam at the Boston

From Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck to local radio hosts Michael Graham, Jeff Katz, Howie Carr and Todd Feinburg, right-wing gabbers have come under fire from liberals and others for “violent rhetoric” that some claim incited deranged loner Jared Lee Loughner, the suspect in the massacre.

“If you’re going to accuse me of being an accessory to murder, it would be nice if you had at least some small evidence — and no one can present it,” Graham, a WTKK-FM (96.9) host and Tea Party organizer, told the Herald yesterday.

Katz, the morning-drive host on “Rush Radio” WXKS-AM (1200), said Loughner, 22, is the only one who should be held to account for the slaughter.

“I don’t think radio or TV is responsible in any way,” Katz said. “I don’t think this guy got messages from Sarah Palin or talk radio. He might very well have been listening to his cereal in the morning and he interpreted ‘snap,’ ‘crackle,’ ‘pop’ as instructions.”

Herald columnist and WRKO-AM (680) host Howie Carr also called the liberal blame-game a “real stretch.”

“This guy is a pot-smoking, lunatic liberal with a shrine to skulls in his backyard,” Carr said last night. “I went to a lot of Tea Party events last year and I never smelled marijuana once — and this guy smoked marijuana every day of his life, apparently.”

Read more here.

Report: Ailes Says FNC Will Tone Down

Fox News Chief Roger Ailes says the network will tone down fiery rhetoric

According to a story at by Nina Mandell, Fox News President Roger Ailes had some new marching orders for his conservative host troops in the wake of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' shooting: tone it down.

In a discussion with Russell Simmons posted on the Def Jam founder's website on Monday, Ailes said he wanted to change the tone of fiery rhetoric in the country, which many critics attribute to anchors on his network.

"I told all of our guys, shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually," Ailes said. "You don't have to do it with bombast. I hope the other side does that."

Calls for a more civil dialogue rang out from all sides after the shocking shooting in Arizona left Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in critical condition and 19 others dead or injured. The attack made many politicians, pundits and even Giffords' family call for a more thoughtful discussion of the issues as many blamed harsh rhetoric for the assassination attempt.

Read more here.

Also read here:

ABC News prez discusses Ariz. shooting reports (Ellen Gray, Philly Inquirer)

Barbara Walters: Don't blame Sarah Palin for Tucson

Sarah Palin has an unexpected ally over criticism that she influenced the tragic Tucson, Ariz. shootings: Barbara Walters.

According to a story at, the legendary television news personality defended the former vice-presidential candidate on ABC's "The View."

Walters argued that while Palin's map depicting Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords -- who was shot in the massacre -- in cross hairs was wrong, the mental state of alleged gunman Jared Lee Loughner was to blame for the tragedy.

Read more here.

O'Reilly Slams Left For Exploiting Massacre

After the horrific events in Tucson, Bill O’Reilly on FNC came out swinging in his opening segment last ngiht, condemning those on the left, particularly Paul Krugman and MSNBC, for what he called the exploitation of a national tragedy.

Rush: "This Is All Abouting Shutting Down Opposition"

In his own words:
Don't kid yourself.  What this was all about is shutting down any and all political opposition and eventually criminalizing it. Criminalizing policy differences, at least when they differ from the Democrat Party agenda.  One of the more disturbing things about this incident is that someday the left will finally get their wish.  One of these days it's going to happen.  This is all setting the table for it.  Groups are large.  Many people populate groups -- and within any group of people, a sample is gonna find those who are unstable, deranged, and so forth like this kid.  You are eventually, at some point, going to probably find somebody who could be more closely identified with a particular political movement.  This kid is just a nut, and they've done their best...By the way, they're already moving off of this, folks. They're now talking about gun control.  That's the indication that they're preparing to move off of the fact that I, the Tea Party, Palin, and all these other people are responsible for this. They're now moving to gun control.  That was also predictable.  What that happens, you know that they're beginning to change course on this.  Now, I guarantee you that somewhere in a desk drawer in Washington, DC -- someplace in an FCC bureaucrat's office or someplace -- the government machinery will be in place to take away as many political freedoms as they can manage on the left.  They already have it in place, just like the health care bill, Obamacare, was already written years ago. It was in a desk drawer waiting for the moment that they could begin to implement it.

The same thing here. I wouldn't be surprised if somebody in the Obama administration or some FCC bureaucrat or some Democrat congressman has it already written up, such legislation, sitting in a desk drawer somewhere just waiting for the right event for a clampdown.  They have been trying this ever since the Oklahoma City bombing. They have.

And the first thought, the desperate hope that the losers in November of 2010 had, was that they could revitalize their political fortunes because of this unfortunate shooting of a congresswoman in Arizona.  That was the most important thing to them -- and that, to me, is sick.  You know that they were rubbing hands together.  You know that they were e-mailing and calling each other on the phones saying, "A-ha, this might be the one!  This might be the one where we can officially tie it to these guys and shut 'em up and shut 'em down."  They want you to believe that sadness was on the order of the day, and I'm sure it was, but the opportunity! They couldn't help themselves.  They just couldn't help themselves.
Their first objective and first priority was to try to make an association between this nut and Sarah Palin. What? That's absolutely... You talk about insane? This guy doesn't know Sarah Palin.  She doesn't know him.  The really weak, flimsy, balsa wood-type attempts to link this guy to Sarah Palin?  The difference is that a majority of the American people don't buy it.  The difference today and 15, 20 years ago is these people on the left are now seen by a majority of Americans for who they are and what they are.  They can't sell what they have to sell.  Real question: Who are the parents of this kid?  What kind of a job did they do raising this kid?  Are the parents derelicts?  So what?  This guy spends time on the Web surfing and so forth.
Read more here.

Also read here:

Albuquerque Host Discusses Talk Radio's Impact (

Storm Clouds Form As Viewers Give TV Station Hail

WTNH fires 26-year weather veteran Geoff Fox

Ronald Reagan was elected to a second term as president, Michael Jackson won eight Grammy awards for the song "Beat It" and News 8 was known as "Action News" the year Geoff Fox began forecasting the weather for WTNH.

Fox's tenure is ending next month — 26 years later — after the station declined to renew his contract, a move that instantly prompted an outcry from Fox fans statewide, according to Kathleen Ramunni at

Internet sites such as Twitter and Facebook were flooded with messages  criticizing the decision and calling on WTNH bosses to rethink the move.

And probably no one was more surprised by the decision than Fox himself.

"Twenty-six years is a long time," he said Wednesday afternoon shortly after learning of his boss's decision. "It's going to take some time to sink in."

Almost immediately after news leaked of the firing, fans began to mobilize, starting a "Keep Geoff Fox on Channel 8" Facebook page. And WTNH's Facebook page is filled with messages criticizing the decision and imploring the station to reconsider.

The firing is a sign of the times, another journalism professor said.

"Everyone who works in traditional television news and whose salaries skyrocketed in the go-go days of the 1980s and 1990s should be concerned as stations across the country recalibrate their budgets to reflect diminishing audiences and advertising revenues," said Rich Hanley, Graduate Journalism director at Quinnipiac University.

"The concept of the evening news team of superstar anchors, weather forecasters and sports announcers is lodged in a period whose time has past," Hanley said.

On his own blog, called “My Permanent Record,” Fox wrote that he plans to work through the end of his contract, and that General Manager Mark Higgins has assured him he’ll be allowed to do that, adding, “That’s unusual in TV and so I’m grateful.”

He may not stay in Connecticut, Fox hinted on his website,

Read more here.

Is Apple Killing Radio?

From Kym McNicholas, Kym's Faces Of Tech blog at
I’ve been under the impression, while living and working in Silicon Valley, that radio is dead. You have to almost think that when you’re in Apple country!!! Everyone’s either listening to their iPods or Pandora.  Especially the Gen Y’ers — the ultimate latest and greatest in technology adopters — they don’t listen to radio. And as for the Baby Boomers? Of course, they’re fading away, right! Wait in minute! Aren’t we jumping ahead of ourselves? Isn’t there still room for innovation and opportunity for everyone?

I opened my eyes to the possibility that radio may have a longer shelf life than previously thought, after my intern, Laura Jones, who’s in her first year of college, expressed excitement when I told her I was interviewing Doug Harvill, Senior Vice President of CBS Radio in San Francisco recently about how to sell radio in today’s tough market. She loves Alice 97.3, one of the company’s stations. I was a bit surprised because I was under the impression that Gen Y’ers don’t really listen to radio. I’m now not so sure about that. She may not listen to as much radio as she used to, but she still loves the local DeeJay’s, concert news, and of course hearing the latest music the moment it hits the market –sometimes even beforehand.

Radio is not dead yet, and in fact, CBS Radio is expanding and taking advantage of more than just radio waves to distribute their content…which means, they do have the ability to gain market share not only in the San Francisco Bay Area, but more importantly, worldwide, if it continues to leverage all multi-media platforms. Take a look at these interviews with CBS Radio’s Senior Vice President, Doug Harvill:

Monday, January 10, 2011

10 “Men of Radio” Finalists Named

From 100 down to 10, “Regis & Kelly” suits have named the finalists for ther Men of Radio” competition. The winners will each have a day on the syndicated TV show with Kelly when Regis takes some time off.

The finalists are:
  • Todd Pettengill, WPLJ New York Scott & Todd Show
  • Mike Greenberg, ESPN’s Mike & Mike Show
  • Psycho Mike Catherwood of KROQ Los Angeles
  • Kidd Kraddick, Dallas
  • Johnny Magic, WXXL Orlando
  • Jeff Mauler, Hot 89.9 Ottawa
  • Eric Ferguson, 101.9 Mix Chicago
  • Fitz, 100.7 TheWolf Seattle
  • Bobby Bones, 96.7 KISS-FM Austin
  • Bert Weiss, Q100 Atlanta
Click here to see their videos and to vote. Voting ends Sunday evening, with winners announced on Monday’s (1/17) “Regis & Kelly.”

Tucson Talkers Reject Blame

During Tucson’s first rush hour since a weekend shooting left six people dead and 14 wounded, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, talk radio hosts pushed back against arguments that their heated political rhetoric had played a role in the tragedy, according to a story at

Phone calls poured in to stations across the AM dial to denounce Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik, who said at a news conference over the weekend that Arizona had become “the mecca for prejudice and bigotry” and that local TV and radio hosts should do some “soul-searching.” “I would say that his comments have incited stupidity around the world,” said Garret Lewis, host of The Morning Ritual on 790 AM KNST. “People have the image now that we’re a bunch of racist bigots and there are shootouts in the streets. Again he has absolutely no proof that any of this is true.”

Steve, a caller on the Jon Justice Show on 104.1 FM KQTH, said Mr. Dupnik’s statements “showed him for the buffoon he is.” Later, a caller named Lee called the sheriff “a blithering idiot.” Caller after caller came up with their own colorful descriptions.

In the incredulous language of the AM dial, Mr. Justice defended his show, and dismissed the notion that Arizona’s heated political culture served as the backdrop to the shooting or an inspiration for the suspect, Jared L. Loughner.

“This is a crazy person!” he said. “Politics is out the window — you’re a nutbag! No amount of controlling talk radio is going to change that!”

“People need to go and point fingers,” he said. “It’s unfortunate but some people do. They have to find somebody to demonize.”

Some callers however made it clear that they believed the state’s conservative-leaning radio hosts bore responsibility.

“You ought to be ashamed,” said a caller named Dale to Mr. Justice’s program. “You are part of the problem.”

Mr. Justice, his voice cracking, responded: “There’s nothing I have said on this radio station that could have inspired” this guy.

Read more here.

Radio's Roeper Tries TV Game Host Role

Richard Roeper’s on top of his game

You’d think that being the star columnist for a daily newspaper, the co-host of a top-rated radio talk show, and a movie critic whose reviews are seen by millions on cable and online would be more than enough work for anyone, writes Robert Feder at

Unless you’re talking about Richard Roeper.

In addition to juggling all of the above, the 51-year-old Chicago media icon has set his sights on yet another role: game show host. Roeper recently produced and hosted a pilot for a TV quiz show in which teams of ordinary moviegoers compete for prizes — ranging from giant tins of popcorn to trips to Hollywood red-carpet premieres — by answering film-related questions. (Sample query: “In which movie did Harry Potter share his first romantic kiss?”)

Holding down multiple jobs is nothing new for the south suburban Dolton native, who’s been an award-winning columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times since 1987. A three-year contract renewal last fall paved the way for Roeper’s column to hit the 25th anniversary mark, which would be a noteworthy achievement for any newspaperman these days.

That deal came on the heels of his radio partnership with Roe Conn on news/talk WLS-AM (890), where they hold forth from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Michael Damsky, president and general manager of the Citadel Broadcasting station, calls Roeper’s hiring “the single most important programming change we have made in the past year,” and points to an 83 percent increase in year-to-year ratings since “Roe & Roeper” rejuvenated afternoon drive.

“Richard brings out the best in Roe, and vice versa,” adds Damsky. “When you hear them together, it is easy to understand why they’re the most listened-to talk show on Chicago radio.”

Read more here.

Report: CNN Mulls Parker-Spitzer Shake-Up

Amid Ratings Struggle, May Replace Kathleen Parker

CNN is considering replacing Kathleen Parker, co-host of its new evening program "Parker Spitzer," according to people familiar with the matter, as the network struggles to reverse a steep slide in its evening audience.

According to a story by Sam Schechner at, the conservative columnist could be replaced by a new co-host to serve alongside former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, as executives mull a shake-up of the show, the people said, adding that no decision has been made. "Parker Spitzer" hasn't been able to significantly build its audience since its debut just over three months ago.

Any change could represent a course correction in CNN's larger reinvention of its flagship U.S. network's evening hours, which lost more than one-third of their audience in 2010.

CNN hatched "Parker Spitzer" as the first step in a turnaround effort. The second major step will come Jan. 17, when CNN is set to debut a new interview show hosted by former British-tabloid journalist Piers Morgan, succeeding Larry King. Mr. Morgan said Thursday that his first guest will be Oprah Winfrey. CNN is expected to announce the remaining guests for Mr. Morgan's first week on Monday.

Read more here.

Shooting Spurs Calls to Temper Political Heat

The mass shooting in Arizona that killed a federal judge and gravely wounded a Democratic congresswoman tripped a heated debate over political rhetoric and violence on Sunday.

Jonathan Weisman reports at, a spokeswoman for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin denied that targets superimposed on congressional districts on during the fall congressional campaigns were meant to be gun sights. The district of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat who was shot in the head Saturday and who remains in critical condition, was included on the map.

The actions of an unstable individual shouldn't be blamed on a political movement or group, several Republican lawmakers said Sunday. "Of course, we want civility instead of incivility and, of course, we don't want violence. But, in all of the talk about this we have to be careful about imputing the motives or the actions of a deranged individual to any particular group of Americans who have their own political beliefs," Sen. Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.) said on CNN Sunday.

Conservative group Tea Party Nation in a statement Saturday decried the shooting.  "Congressman Giffords was a liberal, but that does not matter now. No one should be the victim of violence because of their political beliefs," it said. The statement added that, "no matter what the shooter's motivations where, the left is going to blame this on the Tea Party Movement."

But some Republicans, Democrats and those close to Ms. Giffords, said the shooting should yield a national moment of reflection after a season of political heat and violent imagery.

"This talk did not cause this crime. But this crime should summon us to some reflection on this talk. Better: This crime should summon us to a quiet collective resolution to cease this kind of talk and to cease to indulge those who engage in it," David Frum, a Republican and former speech writer for President George W. Bush, wrote on his website.

Newly elected House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said Saturday he was "horrified by the senseless attack" and called the shooting "an attack on all who serve."

One of the focal points of the debate has been the use of what looked like cross hairs from a gun sight imposed over congressional districts, including Ms. Giffords's, by Ms. Palin's political action committee during the election campaign.

Palin spokeswoman Rebecca Mansour in a radio interview refuted allegations that the imagery was an incitement to violence.

Read more here.

Also read here:

Giffords Story: A Lesson In Leaping To Conclusions (