The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

25 October 2005

Latest Fodder

HOSTS FIGHT MUZZLING

Hosts, Management Dispute Situation, Plus: Roundup




Despite new management assertions
to the contrary, two KVI/Seattle talk show hosts believe a July court ruling now prevents them from discussing a key November statewide ballot initiative on the airwaves.

In a stunning decision, a Thurston County, Washington judge forced organizers of Initiative 912 to report, as in-kind campaign contributions, favorable comments made by KVI hosts Kirby Wilbur and John Carlson.

Backers of I-912, which seeks to repeal a statewide gas tax hike, were required to place a dollar value on talk radio's supportive statements.

Critics of the ruling say it's a judicial attack on free speech, especially when related to pre-election campaigning.

As the election has drawn closer, Wilbur and Carlson now feel they can't even mention the issue. Given the judge's bizarre ruling, who can blame them?

In a strange twist, station management no longer agrees with its own hosts on the issue's sensitivity. From the Olympian newspaper:


"Essentially it means my clients are in an extraordinarily difficult position. Carlson and Wilbur probably blew through that $5,000 already," institute lawyer William Maurer argued late this week, estimating that at a radio ad rate of $140 a minute, the limit would cover just over a half-hour of air time.

Maurer added that Carlson, Wilbur and station owner Fisher Communications have a choice to "face fines and penalties or shut up and not face fines and penalties."

But managers at Fisher strongly disputed that claim Friday, saying it simply is not true.

So did the San Juan County prosecutor who brought the original lawsuit against I-912 over Carlson and Wilbur's on-air promotions of it.

"On their part, I think it is an overstatement," Fisher vice president and general manager Rob Dunlop said Friday, referring to public statements that the talk-show hosts have made.

"We are not moving to modify their speech in any way. I shared that personally with John yesterday afternoon, and this morning when I had a chance to talk to Kirby.

"...They are free to talk about this initiative, any other initiative or any other matter facing the community we serve."

Carlson and Wilbur could not be reached, but Brett Bader, spokesman for I-912, said his campaign must report the on-air activities in order to follow Thurston County judge Chris Wickham's earlier ruling.

Because those activities likely will exceed $5,000 in value, the radio station and talk show hosts, as well as the campaign, are at risk of fines.


If you were in their shoes, would you continue to discuss the initiative, risking thousands in potential fines?



Despite the August sackings of its key participants, one of sports talk's most peculiar and maddening incidents still hasn't been resolved. It's now heading to a California courtroom.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:


Fired KNBR sports talk jock Larry Krueger and ex-morning show producer Tony Rhein have filed a pair of blistering lawsuits against their former employer -- saying they were fired after the infamous "brain-dead Caribbean hitters" flap, simply so the station could keep its deal to broadcast Giants games.

Had the Giants canceled their KNBR contract, they allege, the station's value might have plummeted -- in turn, putting at risk owner Susquehanna Radio's pending $1.5 billion sale of the team's flagship station and 33 other stations.

"After discussion with executives at Susquehanna, KNBR realized it would need to appease the Giants to sell the San Francisco radio station,'' lawyers for Krueger and Rhein claim in their lawsuits, filed late Friday in San Francisco Superior Court.

The suits are the latest salvo in the battle that broke out in August when Krueger, host of a nightly sports talk show, lit into the Giants for their poor play -- complaining about "brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop" and opining that Giants manager Felipe Alou's brain had turned to Cream of Wheat.


It seemed senseless to fire so many people over garden-variety sports trash-talk. Therefore, it's no surprise the hosts would take this to court.

Especially stupid: the idea you could offend a "Caribbean hitter", since there's no particular ethnic or national identity associated with the term.

Would "Pacific" or "Atlantic hitter" be offensive? The word Caribbean defines a sea and geographic region, made up of many countries, peoples, languages and cultures.

Some of these San Francisco liberals need to get out a little more often.



A Cincinnati Enquirer story about local ratings mentions Air America moving up to 16th place. Apparently that's reason to celebrate, even though conservative WLW-AM turned in a first-ranked, mammoth 10.5 audience share.
Springer on the Radio
One would think Jerry Springer could dominate his hometown, where he was once mayor.

Other Air America Summer 2005 market ratings so far are emerging generally flat, or down, with rare exceptions.


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20 Comments:

  • "...required to place a dollar value on talk radio's supportive statements."


    As you know, it's just an opener for the left's assault on conservative media.

    By Blogger Pete, at 25 October, 2005 00:54  

  • BEWARE! This i just the beginning Brian!

    McCain-Finegold also contains provisions that bloggers comments are in-kind donations, and that they do not qualify for what is called the 'editorial exception' that newspapers enjoy.

    So - by appearing on Blogs for McCain's Opponent - is that counted for Brownback, Rice, Romney, Guiliani, Huckabee...

    By Blogger Peter Porcupine, at 25 October, 2005 02:24  

  • I really liked how you spun the WKCY story, and totally ignored last night's results from Portland.

    KPOJ is now tied with KEX for the overall number 5 spot, and number 1 spot for talk.

    BTW, Franken's new book is now #8 on Amazon.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 25 October, 2005 09:48  

  • Air America has fallen off the charts here in Dallas (KXEB 910 am). They had a .5 share (36th of 39 stations, I think) but now don't even appear in the listing for October 20 2005.

    By Blogger Lokki, at 25 October, 2005 11:13  

  • Sorry, I couldn't say away, not with Brian continuing to lie about publicly-available ratings:

    AAR is up in Phoenix, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego, Seattle, Honolulu, Akron and elsewhere. Is 1.1-1.4 in Phoenix flat? How about Honolulu from 4.3-5.2? And what about some of the markets where it went down, like Portland from 4.5-4.4 (still highest talker in town).

    Sorry Brian, the trendlines are up, not flat or down. Do you really take for acolytes for idiots?

    By Blogger Justin, at 25 October, 2005 11:13  

  • Sorry Brian, the trendlines are up, not flat or down. Do you really take for acolytes for idiots?

    Of course he does. These are the same dunderskulls that are told what to think by a hillbilly heroin addict, who snarls himself into incohesion on a daily basis.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 25 October, 2005 11:20  

  • In terms of ratings, Portland is still the only runaway success in major (population ranked 1 - 10) or large (11 - 25) markets.

    The rest are struggling to crack the top 20, in almost every case.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 25 October, 2005 11:29  

  • In terms of ratings, Portland is still the only runaway success in major (population ranked 1 - 10) or large (11 - 25) markets.

    The rest are struggling to crack the top 20, in almost every case.

    Brian: The above statement is true. However your earlier one about most of the ratings being flat or down is not. The majority of AAR affiliates in Top 25 markets went UP in the summer books, not down or flat. They may not be huge ratings successes (as you correctly note), but the trend is UP, not down or flat, as you inaccurately asserted. On what did you base your statement? It obviously wasn't based on the ratings.

    By Blogger Justin, at 25 October, 2005 11:38  

  • Here's some "exceptions", Brian. They just show the Spring to Summer differences, and don't show the year to year growth. But since you're such an insider, you know that summer and winter ratings are usually ignored, and the fall and spring ratings are what takes you to the bank.

    #1 New York WLIB up .2
    #2 Los Angeles KTLK up .1
    #3 Chicago WCPT up .3 (this is a daytime only station, btw)
    #14 Seattle KPTK up .6
    #15 Pheonix KXXT up .4
    #16 Minneapolis KTNF up .2
    #17 San Diego KLSD up .1 (KOGO down .9)

    Brian, sooner or later you're going to be in so deep that it'll be impossible to admit that there actually is a market for liberal talk radio, and that market is growing. What will you do then? You've been predicting doom for so long and so hard, that you've painted yourself into a corner.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 25 October, 2005 12:15  

  • Here we see yet another attempt by the libero-fascists to silence the voices they don't agree with.

    They cannot win an argument, so they use thuggish tactics to eliminate opposition.

    Very Orwellian, indeed.

    By Blogger Crapdog, at 25 October, 2005 15:25  

  • There is nothing funnier to us in the industry than to read Dick and Justin's comments here. Their viewpoint on or interpretation of 12+ ratings are hilarious. Too bad even with respectable ratings in Portland and Seattle that advertising interest just isn't there. The downfall of AAR will be a combination of pathetic ratings in most their markets and the lack of advertising revenue even where there are minor ratings sucesses.

    By Blogger PeakLimiter, at 25 October, 2005 16:36  

  • I'm not a radio guy, but I've become interested in the Air America story, mostly out of curiousity to see if it would work.

    After all the right has been pitching this stuff for years, and some shows are very, very successful - why couldn't a left-handed pitcher be just as successful, or maybe more so?

    I do have to admit that, over time, I've come to dislike Air America rather strongly....mostly because it's hideous to listen to - both in the political sense and the entertainment sense.

    All this to preface the following remark:

    With the exception of Seattle, suggesting an upward trend for the Air America stations mentioned is sort of like describing a corpse twitching as looking like someone about to leap to his feet.

    By Blogger Lokki, at 25 October, 2005 17:01  

  • Brian,

    Either you didn’t read the judges ruling or you didn’t understand it (my guess is the latter).

    You must know these two Talk Show guys are on the air 6 hours a day, five days a week, talking up their little initiative. While their opponents would have to pay for the same time.

    It’s a question of FAIRNESS. Another concept you haven’t a clue about (i.e.: Air America Radio).

    Mick

    By Blogger mick, at 25 October, 2005 18:12  

  • Nothing makes me laugh as much as PeakLimiter and other wingnut radio freaks refusing to believe that Air America has a niche, is growing, and will continue to grow.

    Remember when Rush's schtick was mocking Bush Sr.? That was before his freebies in the Lincoln bedroom, and his seeking out hateful wingnuts as a solid core. It took Rush 10 years to find an audience, yet you knuckle draggers expect Air America to accomplish the same in a year and a half.

    As for the 12+ ratings, isn't that exactly the only ratings that Brian uses? Why? Because, like me, he's too cheap to pay for the full book. Why don't you mock Brian? After all, it's his blog.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 25 October, 2005 18:35  

  • Dick, Dick, Dick you blithering idiot. Your comments yet once gain show anybody with an IQ above 60 what a mindless, delussional and pathetic individual you are. Brian, like me, has access to demographics information, by daypart information, hourlies and qualiltive information that you as a ignorant and uninformed listener can't even imagine. We had this conversation before, but your short term memory clearly is also a handicap. Arbitron data is proprietary and while Brian is allowed by copyright law to develop informed opinions based upon his knowledge of the data, he can not sight it with out paying for it. As for being cheap, can you tell me what it would cost even for just the top 20 markets Arbitrons in the USA? Hmmmmm. No you can't because your opinions are nothing more than wishful thinking with no basis in reality.
    Which also explains your insane obsession with AAR.

    By Blogger PeakLimiter, at 25 October, 2005 18:58  

  • PeakLimiter, PeakLimiter, PeakLimiter, why don't you impress your friends and tell us about the 24-55 demographics in the key AAR markets. The last time I saw the New York book, Franken was not too far behind Rush, and O'Lielly had an audience of nursing home clients.

    Brian only posts the public book. So stop being a pretentious, shallow-end-of-the-genepool knuckle dragger. If you had the demographics, you'd know things like the Stephanie Miller/Al Franken time slot in DC, among 25-55 has a 1.0 rating.

    But let me get this straight, my misguided wingnut friend. You're telling me that Brian has the book, and still uses the useless public Arbitrons? Why? They do make Air America look in worse shape than they actually are. Could that be the reason? Are you actually admitting that Brian cherry picks the most useless data to mislead his readers? That would be very Rush of him.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 25 October, 2005 19:58  

  • Dick, Dick, Dick you blithering idiot. Your comments yet once gain show anybody with an IQ above 60 what a mindless, delussional and pathetic individual you are. Brian, like me, has access to demographics information, by daypart information, hourlies and qualiltive information that you as a ignorant and uninformed listener can't even imagine. We had this conversation before, but your short term memory clearly is also a handicap. Arbitron data is proprietary and while Brian is allowed by copyright law to develop informed opinions based upon his knowledge of the data, he can not sight it with out paying for it. As for being cheap, can you tell me what it would cost even for just the top 20 markets Arbitrons in the USA? Hmmmmm. No you can't because your opinions are nothing more than wishful thinking with no basis in reality.
    Which also explains your insane obsession with AAR.


    I haven't a real clue about ratings. Is there no acceptance of those with a different kind of taste than the mindless hordes?

    How many people enjoy listening to Ornette Coleman?
    How many people enjoy cross-country skiing?
    How many people enjoy reading Harper's?

    I've learned long ago that you don't have to blindly follow what the average populace does to get your jollies.

    So perhaps Air America doesn't get as many listeners as those who buy Olsen twin videos. I am so jealous that you have access to this magical radio bible that you speak of! To know what the average Joe enjoys; what priceless information you have at your fingertips.

    So what happens when the entire radio industry bifurcates, and we are left with a smorgasboard of satellite broadcasts, podcasts, WiFi streams, customized programming, and local micro-broadcasters (and pirates, as in Europe)?

    You will be left in your 20th century hovel, that's what.

    But there will always be something interesting for me to listen to, just as there will always be people that produce radio like AAR because that's what they enjoy doing with their lives

    By Blogger WHT, at 25 October, 2005 21:36  

  • Sigh - All this talk about magic books that we uninitiated can't see. So be it.

    All I can really say then is that Public Service Announcements are running in approximate 3 to 1 ratio compared to 'real' ads on AAR here in Dallas. Oh, and the 'real' ads are a combination of the Fort Worth Opera (seriously) and 'call now' ads... along with a smattering of Chinese restaurant and discount lumberyard 'come-on-down's'. They do have Oreck vacuums and a cold medicine, now and again... but haven't heard those lately.

    Doesn't seem like much revenue coming in here in Dallas.

    By Blogger Lokki, at 26 October, 2005 11:31  

  • Watch out, peak, you're about to drive tuck to incohesion.

    By Blogger smokevanthorn, at 28 October, 2005 13:01  

  • There are several updates to the KVI and Air America stories on the main page.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 28 October, 2005 19:51  

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