The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

27 January 2006

Ed Schultz, Norfolk, Aberdeen, Fargo, Philly, Montreal


Lib Talker Schultz Loses Three, Quebec Hosts In Chirac Prank

For once not
involving Air America, liberal talk radio took a big hit this week, as Ed Schultz lost affiliates in three cities. In an especially significant blow, the syndicated talker was cancelled in his hometown of Fargo, North Dakota, from where his show remains based.

According to Perry Simon of entertainment industry trade publication All Access, Schultz was cancelled in Fargo to make room for local programming, the same reason the Aberdeen American News has given for his South Dakota removal. And his Norfolk, Virginia outlet is switching to sports.

While Aberdeen's KSDN is also dropping Rush Limbaugh for the same reason, it must be tough to lose two stations on one's home turf. Syndicated by Denver's Jones MediaAmerica and said to be backed financially by Democrat Party activists, Schultz has mostly stayed out of the headlines, content to watch Air America generate bad publicity while remaining focused on the show.

Schultz has generally remained off of our radar screen, since he rarely has Rhodes-ian meltdowns or becomes completely unhinged. Some on the left, however, don't trust him because they feel he's too "moderate".

That said, the Radio Equalizer has long wondered whether liberal non-Air America hosts are tired of being tied by association to the company and its self-inflicted wounds.

Norfolk's WTAR-AM format flip also hits conservative talker Tammy Bruce hard, as it has long carried her weekday show live. And Don Imus takes another hit in losing this station.

Also in All Access: another political prank from CKOI/Montreal's "Les Justiciers Masques" afternoon team, this time against French President Jacques Chirac:

They're at it again at CORUS French Top 40 CKOI/MONTREAL, where afternoon pranksters MARC-ANTOINE AUDETTE, SEBASTIAN TRUDEL, and RICHARD Z. SIRIOS (LES JUSTICERS MASQUES) took the occasion of the election of newly elected Prime Minister STEPHEN HARPER to fool French President JACQUES CHIRAC into thinking he was talking to HARPER on the phone.

"HARPER" was, in fact, AUDETTE, who drew CHIRAC into a conversation about relations between the countries and received an invitation to visit FRANCE.

The radio mimics have pranked everyone from STEVEN SPIELBERG and BONO to murderer KARLA HOMOLKA and mogul DONALD TRUMP with faux celebrity phone calls.

While it's one thing to trick a celebrity like Trump, it's long been puzzling how they've managed to fool so many world leaders. How do they get their phone numbers, or bypass presidential aides?

Why is it so easy for a team of disc jockeys to dupe such important people? Chirac's a particularly inviting target, making this stunt quite a coup.

Is Philly sports radio racist? Yes, according to a lawsuit filed there against CBS Radio and a relatively unpopular manager. From the Philadelphia City Paper:

Duane Lucas has a very important message for Philadelphia's pro athletes and fans: Your sports-talk radio station is racist. Lucas was inside the belly of his bigoted beast for eight years and says he can prove 610-WIP isn't the voice of the Philadelphia sports fan.

It's the voice of the white Philadelphia sports fan.

Come Feb. 3, as the station packs the Wachovia Center for—and rakes in mad advertising revenue from—its annual Wing Bowl glutton-and-stripper-fest, Lucas will march into the federal courthouse at Fifth and Market.

Hired as an advertising account manager in 1994, Lucas was promoted twice within four years to director of sports marketing. His job was to drum up advertising for high-profile slots during Flyers and Sixers games, and on NFL Sundays. He and his performance reviews say he was pretty good at it.

But his lawsuit, which seeks $1.2 million in damages, states that former program manager Tom Bigby and others "engaged in a racially-motivated campaign to destroy my career." Lucas says his fellow African-American employees often whispered about bigotry, that he should "watch out, there are certain people in the organization who don't like people like us."

According to his suit, Lucas noticed that higher-ups would call clients who'd booked ads through African-American salespeople to confirm they actually cut a deal. The problem? People who dealt with white salespeople didn't get calls. And when it came to extending credit, it was sign-and-go for those who dealt with whites, and no-go for those who dealt with blacks.

He felt minority employees were getting undercut in front of their clients. But Lucas didn't get really mad until the time he claims he asked Bigby where he could find African-American station manager Butch Forster and Bigby replied, "hanging from that rope," motioning to a window-washing rig left outside his office.

"An obvious reference to lynching," Lucas says. "There was something every day. It was a pattern with this company, but radio's such a small world, people are scared to say anything about it. Start crying racism and your career's shot."

Whether Bigby is a racist is uncertain, but in radio, he doesn't appear especially well liked.

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  • Air America wrecks stations ratings, should have kept Adult Standards format.

    Chattanooga, TN - WDOD-AM 1310 AM

    From a 2.3 to a .7

    By Blogger Lidsville, at 28 January, 2006 08:29  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Mr. Kite, at 28 January, 2006 10:20  

  • Well what did you expect for their first quarter there? Give it time.

    AAR seems to be doing well in smaller markets:

    Santa Barbara (207): 3.7
    Quad Cities (143): 2.6
    Eugene (150): 2.4

    By Blogger Mr. Kite, at 28 January, 2006 10:26  

  • But comparing Chattanooga to Santa Barbara is like comparing Parris Island to Cape Cod.

    Do you remember the outcry on the local websites there, and the letters to the editor when AAR went on the air?

    These folks are raging mad because the local NPR station, like so many others, wants to replace music programs with more news and talk. "Those NPR liberals are not part of Chattanooga culture!" is the paraphrase of one comment to the Chattanooga Pulse, an alternative weekly (they must have a hard time surviving economically in that town).

    By Blogger smedge, at 28 January, 2006 23:25  

  • Memphis: AAR 0.5, tied for last place and in danger of being beaten by out of market stations. This format has NEVER had an up book from the previous programming (adult standards).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 29 January, 2006 23:13  

  • I've checked All Access for the New Haven market (Fall '05)--no showing for The Voice 1300 WAVZ--owned by Clear Channel.

    In fact, in the college town, a college owned station, standards WQUN, run by Quinnipiac shows a 3.8. And Yale-run/Cox operated R&B AC WYBC-FM is number two in the market.

    By Blogger The Real Bob Anthony, at 30 January, 2006 20:03  

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