The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

12 October 2007

Wikipedia Vandalism, Talk Radio, Entercom, Scott Allen Miller


Using Wikipedia, Company Trashes Host It Fired

Though hardly a mystery to those who've suffered through its typically miserable workplace conditions, radio is one mean business. And when it comes to honesty and ethics, used car lots usually offer a step up from what one experiences working in broadcasting.

Beyond radio's disturbing norm, however, are a handful of firms that crank the nasty knob up to "11", including Entercom (disclosure: your Radio Equalizer has worked for this firm twice), owner of Boston talk radio station WRKO, sports talker WEEI and a number of other outlets across the country.

Just in the past two years alone, Entercom has been embroiled in flaps over the death of a young Sacramento mother during one of its radio station contests, ensnared in a payola probe and generated anger after hiring a convicted felon to take over WRKO's morning show. And in New Orleans, a talk host it hired was indicted last year on murder charges.

In fact, it was that most recent controversy that brings us to today's story. When convicted felon and former Democrat Massachusetts House Speaker Tom Finneran was brought on board to host WRKO's morning drive talk program in January of this year, it meant termination for previous host Scott Allen Miller.

Though he knew his sacking was imminent weeks before it finally occurred, Miller kept quiet and played along. And even after he was unceremoniously dumped, "Scotto", as he is known, didn't badmouth Entercom, though he certainly had a good reason to do so.

But in the mean- spirited environment that passes for professionalism inside the company, it isn't enough to merely let someone go. Many months later, someone inside Entercom's Boston operation used a company computer to vandalize Miller's Wikipedia entry.

How do we know this? Easy: the insider left indisputable tracks all over his or her "work". From Wikipedia's edit page for his entry, take a look at the before and after passages:


Miller was born on October 9, 1970 in [[Muncie, Indiana]]. When his father died in 1986, Miller left his rural [[Daleville, Indiana]] home for [[Howell, New Jersey]] to live with his mother, who had divorced his father and remarried a few years earlier. In New Jersey, Miller attended [[Howell High School (New Jersey)|Howell High School]] with future CBS sportscaster [[Bonnie Bernstein]], who has appeared on his show several times.

While studying music at [[The College of New Jersey|Trenton State College]] Miller met his future wife. He dropped out of college and, after getting married in 1992, moved to western Kansas where his wife was teaching music. According to his resume, Miller began his radio career in March 1992 at 1420 AM KULY in Ulysses, Kansas, but soon moved on to High Plains Public Radio in Garden City, Kansas. In 1993, Miller took a hiatus from radio to return to college. While earning a bachelor of arts in social science from [[Kansas State University]] in [[Manhattan, Kansas]], he wrote extensively as an op/ed columnist for the award-winning daily [ K-State Collegian], which maintains an online archive of his writings.

NOW, AFTER Entercom's revisions:

Miller was born on October 9, 1970 in [[Muncie, Indiana]]. He is heavy into Satan worship, and often kills and eats wild boar after sacraficing the male testicles to an owl god. When his father died in 1986, Miller left his rural [[Daleville, Indiana]] home for [[Howell, New Jersey]] to live with his mother, who had divorced his father and remarried a few years earlier. In New Jersey, Miller attended [[Howell High School (New Jersey)|Howell High School]] with future CBS sportscaster [[Bonnie Bernstein]], who has appeared on his show several times.

Scott Allen Miller, more often than not, enjoys sex with wild pigs. The freedom, he says, he gets from the fight of the pig, is incredible.

How do we know the vandalism originated with Entercom? Because Wikipedia recorded Entercom Boston's IP address at the time of the revisions. And here's where that address leads us:

EntercomCommunications CTC-ENTERCOMCOMMUNICA (NET-67-158-110-8-1) -

CTC Communications Corp. CTC-ICN-5 (NET-67-158-96-0-1) -

Further research reveals the address corresponds to the entire Entercom Boston operation, so it is impossible to identify the individual responsible from our end.

Given that many of the talk hosts, board operators and producers who worked with Miller have since been fired or resigned, however, the list of potential culprits can certainly be narrowed down.

Interestingly, there's more to this story: Entercom insiders have been busy editing Wikipedia entries on all kinds of subjects, from articles on its own stations (dozens of revisions) to articles on Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Jimmy Carter, Adam Sandler, Michael Moore and Iran Air Flight 655. It's an odd assortment, to say the least.

At one point, an Entercom insider angrily insists detailed information about one of its stations be reinstated:

(there is absolutely no reason why ALL the air staff names were removed. This information is important about the station's programming! Equally inportant if not more so than the former jocks.)

Though we won't hold our breath, Entercom at the very least owes Miller an apology. Isn't it interesting what Wikipedia vandalism reveals about the mindset of its perpetrators?

HOW the mainstream media leaves the word "Democrat" out of stories featuring crooked pols

FOR Boston- area talk radio updates, see our other site.

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  • That's just really obvious vandalism. The more pernicious variety adds just a little spin, or adds a few facts that don't check out but sound plausible, or deletes things. The latter is the worst: unless you're familiar with a subject you don't know what Wikipedia isn't mentioning.

    Unfortunately, Maloney has made SAM's situation even worse by not just giving SAM's WP entry a link, but linking it to his name. That slightly increases that page's search engine "juice" for his name.

    So, for instance, a google search for his name in quotes shows the WP entry at third place. Links like the one provided in this entry will help it stay there and with enough such links it might even move to first place, before his own site.

    What I'd do is link his site to his name, and then provide the WP link in bare, non-HTML form. If you want to provide it as a link, at least put a nofollow tag on it.

    On a side note, Maloney does know he's been off Wikipedia's AAR entry for a long time, right?

    By Blogger LonewackoDotCom, at 12 October, 2007 14:51  

  • Wikipedia warns its users: "This article must adhere to the policy on biographies of living persons. Controversial material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately, especially if potentially libelous."

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 12 October, 2007 14:56  

  • Are you saying we shouldn't expose this just because it might show up in a Google search?

    The broader issue, a very important one, is that companies need to keep an eye on what their employees do on Wikipedia, especially using the firm's resources. The liability issue alone is huge.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 12 October, 2007 14:58  

  • No, I'm saying you should not link to Wikipedia. Any sort of link to Wikipedia should be avoided, even with nofollow tags. If you want to point to a Wikipedia article, do it like this:

    That is, just as bare text, not as a link. (That page is a wonderful example of issues with WP; the fact that he's a former leader of an extremist group has been frequently deleted from the article.)

    If you want to help someone, link their name to their site or to a friendly site; in this case you'd like SAM's name to his site.

    If you want to make someone look bad, link their name to a critical page about them.

    If you use Firefox, install the one-line script that shows nofollow tags; that's what I have and it shows me immediately if something has that tag on the link.

    The nofollow tag tells search engines not to transfer "juice" from the linking page to the linked page, but they may ignore it or play other games.

    Wikipedia puts that tag on all their outbound links, meaning that they'd basically ripping their contributors off: they get a lot of quality links and give (almost) no quality links back in return.

    Irony alert:

    By Blogger LonewackoDotCom, at 12 October, 2007 17:55  

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