Tag: "Boston Marathon bombing"

Beck Loses First Round in Libel Case

| December 4, 2014

By Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS 
Legal Editor

 

weismanwriterBOSTON – In a significant ruling, Judge Patti B. Saris denied Glenn Beck’s Motion to Dismiss a libel lawsuit brought against him by a 20-year-old Saudi Arabian student, Abdulrahman Alharbi.  Alharbi was a spectator near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013 when bombs planted by the late TamerlanTsarnaev and his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is presently awaiting trial on numerous charges related to the bombing, were detonated.  Alharbi was not just a witness to the bombing, he also was injured in the bombing.  However, in the days and weeks following the bombing, Beck identified Alharbi on the air as an Al Qaeda “control agent,” “money man,” and co-conspirator involved with the attack.

Shortly after the bombings, Alharbi was indeed questioned by federal authorities and, with his permission, they searched his home.  Shortly thereafter, these same federal authorities concluded that he had absolutely no involvement with the attack and news reports about a possible connection with Alharbi and the Marathon bombing ceased with the major exception of Glenn Beck, who continued for weeks to describe him as an active participant in the bombing.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

| December 3, 2014

elderlarryLarry Elder Missing from KABC, Los Angeles Website.  Rumors in Los Angeles are that Larry Elder has exited Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles where he’d been hosting the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program.  No confirmation from KABC or Cumulus officials yet but Elder’s information has been removed from the KABC website and his name is missing from the program lineup.  Elder returned to KABC in 2010 to host afternoon drive after a two-year absence.  He’d been a personality on the station previously from 1994 through 2008.

beckglennJudge Rules Against Glenn Beck in Libel Case.  Tuesday’s ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris on Glenn Beck’s request to dismiss Saudi student Abdulrahman Alharbi’s libel suit against him has been denied and the case could move forward if not settled.  If you remember, Alharbi was initially questioned by police investigating the Boston Marathon bombing but was quickly ruled out by police as being involved in the crime.  However, for several weeks after that, Beck used his program to accuse Alharbi of potential involvement in the bombing.  Alharbi is suing for libel.  Beck’s attorneys argue that Alharbi was an involuntary public figure by virtue of his being at the event and, however briefly, becoming part of the story surrounding the event by being questioned.  But Judge Saris stated that simply going to a public event doesn’t make one a public figure and further that, even if Alharbi became an involuntary public figure during the time he was being investigated, that definition ended when he was cleared.  Whether Beck’s camp decides to settle or not may take time but Judge Saris believes Alharbi has a legitimate complaint.  She writes in her decision, “The facts alleged in Alharbi’s complaint easily permit an inference that the defendants were negligent as to the truthfulness of their reports after the authorities cleared his name.”

rosenbergsidSid Rosenberg and Lawrence Taylor to Host Show on WFAN, New York.  Former WFAN personality (and current WMEN, Fort Lauderdale “640 Sports” morning host) Sid Rosenberg and New York Giants great Lawrence “LT” Taylor will host a special sports talk show on CBS RADIO’s WFAN this Saturday afternoon (12/6).  News of the program was reported by the New York Daily news which says that Rosenberg and Taylor are working on a Florida radio project and that the idea was pitched to WFAN programmer Mark Chernoff who agreed to give the show an airing.  Taylor’s agent – Mark Lepselter – tells the paper that his client became interested in doing a radio show and that his failed attempt as an analyst with TNT 20 years ago was exactly that: 20 years ago.  Read the Daily News piece here.

floriomikeMike Florio to Take Over Midday Show on NBC Sports Radio.  Beginning Monday, January 5, NBC Sports Radio debuts a new three-hour football-focused program featuring host Mike Florio.  Florio is creator of ProFootballTalk on NBCSports.com and co-host of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN.  NBC Sports Group and Westwood One say the show “will feature Florio’s critically acclaimed NFL insight, all-encompassing coverage of the league with the most current news and analysis, and thought-provoking debate.  In addition, Florio will conduct interviews with a wide variety of NFL insiders, experts, players and coaches.”  NBC Sports Ventures SVP Rob Simmelkjaer adds, “We are excited to bring Mike’s unparalleled NFL insight to our NBC Sports Radio team.  The fan appetite for smart NFL talk is insatiable, and we are proud to bring them one of the most respected voices in the industry.”

smithmattBeasley Names Matt Smith to VP/Market Manager Post.  Promoted from his interim market manager position at Beasley Broadcast Group’s Philadelphia stations WXTU and WRDW, Matt Smith is upped to vice president and market manager for the company’s Wilmington, Delaware FM adult contemporary WJBR and three Philly AM properties – sports talk WTEL (formerly WIP-AM), religion WTMR, and ethnic WWDB.  Smith will report to Beasley Broadcast Group president Bruce Beasley.

price howardLessons Learned from Protests, Power Failures and Prolonged Snowfall.  Three recent emergency events in different parts of the country are timely examples of the need for station operators to have comprehensive plans to broadcast in these situations, says ABC Television Network director, business continuity Howard B. Price.  In a column published in TALKERS today (12/3), citing the unrest in Ferguson, the snow fall in Western New York and the major power outage in Detroit, Price writes, “If you wait for civil unrest to break out, wait until a blizzard is upon you, or wait until the lights go out before planning for and resourcing a response to these events, you have waited too long to make sure you can respond when your listeners and advertisers need you the most.  Delaying the implementation of a robust emergency action plan – and properly resourcing it – exposes you to the risk of being ill prepared to respond quickly, competently and meaningfully.  And a bad response – or worse, no response — may do irreparable damage to your reputation for reliability and service.”  Read Price’s comprehensive and important story here.

brennancharlieKMOX, St. Louis Talk Host Charlie Brennan Challenges Missouri Traffic Camera Laws.  The case of KMOX, St. Louis talk host Charlie Brennan is just one of three cases the Missouri Supreme Court heard earlier this week that are challenging the traffic camera citation policies in the state.  Here’s the background: Brennan was cited with unsafe supervision of a vehicle – not the moving violation of speeding – after his car was clocked going 11 mph over the speed limit.  He contested the ticket, insisting the city did not give him due process, violated state law, and could not demonstrate he was the driver.  Brennan won his case in two lower courts.  Now, the Missouri Supreme Court will issue a decision sometime in 2015 after hearing the three cases.  Brennan says, “I challenged the speed camera ticket on several grounds.  One of the big issues: the City of Moline Acres does not assess points, even though Missouri law requires such action for all moving violations.  Some of us suspect the city does not assess points because it can’t identify the driver of the car!”  Brennan is on vacation but says he’ll be back on Friday and his lawyers will appear on his show that day to talk about the matter that is irking many drivers across the country.

Odds & Sods.  Bakersfield news/talker KERN is now heard on the FM band as American General Media begins simulcasting the station on translator K241CI, Bakersfield at 96.1 FM.  AGM president Rogers Brandon comments, “The simulcast will allow KERN-AM and the excellent talent that we have on the station to be discovered by the vastly larger FM audience.”…..Ric Russo is named executive producer of the Bubba Radio Network – the syndication arm of the Bubba the Love Sponge program…..CRN Digital Talk Radio announces it is the new national radio home for Nancy Solari‘s radio program, “Living Full Out with Nancy Solari.”  The program makes its CRN debut on Sunday, December 7 at 5:00 PM Eastern.

smulyanbellKicking Off the Holiday Giving Season at Emmis.  On Monday of this week, Emmis Communications chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan (left) kicked off the holiday season at the Emmis headquarters in Indianapolis.  Smulyan is pictured here ringing the Salvation Army bell to initiate the Salvation Army Radiothon.  He was joined by Emmis COO/CFO Patrick Walsh (right).  This is the 20th year Emmis and news/talk WIBC, Indianapolis have hosted the Radiothon to support the work of the Salvation Army.

Ferguson Grand Jury Aftermath/Barkley Comments, Obama Amnesty Executive Order, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Extension of Tax Breaks, Sinking Oil Prices, and Bill Cosby Rape Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/2).  The issues of police-African American relations and Charles Barkley’s comments in the aftermath of the Ferguson grand jury decision; the executive order by President Obama outlining a path to amnesty for illegal aliens; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the passing of legislation to extend tax breaks to millions of Americans; dropping oil prices and the effect on how much Americans are paying at the pump; and the fallout from the renewed rape allegations against Bill Cosby were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

| April 3, 2014

wbzlogoWBZ, Boston and WBZ-TV Win Peabody Award for Marathon Bombing Coverage.  The CBS-owned television station and all-news radio outlet are being honored with a 2013 George Foster Peabody Award for overall excellence for their combined coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings.  The citation from the Peabody Awards states: “Out in force to cover the annual marathon, both WBZ-TV and Newsradio 1030 had a journalistic advantage when the bombs detonated.  Neither gave it up as their reporters spent hour after hour on the air providing wide-ranging, enterprising, non-sensational coverage of the casualties, the suspects and the intense, nerve-wracking manhunt.  They become crucial sources not just to their city but to a stunned nation.”  The awards will be delivered during the ceremony to take place in New York on May 19.

wabcWABC, New York Covers Final Four.  As the battle to claim the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship title continues this weekend, Cumulus Media news/talker WABC, New Yorkladennoam covers it from Dallas with Geraldo show regulars Noam Laden and Jared Max sitting in for Geraldo live from radio row on Friday and Monday from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.  They will also maxjaredproduce a special wabcradio.com only broadcast slated for Saturday April 5 at 10:00 am ET.  WABC also partnered with WestwoodOne for a series of March Madness promotions including the Greatest Moments in Tournament History vignettes and an exclusive fly-away promotion to the Men’s National Championship game.  Program director Craig Schwalb says, “Working with WestwoodOne on these opportunities is a huge win for our listeners and clients.  Our audience is into the excitement, the personalities, and the stories surrounding the Final Four, and so is 77 WABC!”

cowhead‘102.5 The Bone’ Tampa Personality Cowhead to Drop Nickname; Seek Syndication Deal.  In a piece in the Tampa Bay Times, WHPT, Tampa afternoon drive personality Mike Calta – who goes by the nickname Cowhead on the radio – says he will give up the sobriquet and begin the next phase of his career using his real name as of April 14.  In fact, he’ll host an on-air funeral for the moniker.  He tells the paper, “When I started at the ‘Power Pig,’ everybody had those types of names.  I was Big Mike for a while but that didn’t really stick.  Then they asked me if I ever had any nicknames in high school and I remembered that a few people called me Cowhead and it sort of stuck.  The minute I said it I immediately regretted it…I think times change.  Even the ‘Power Pig’ changed its name.  As times change and you age, it just gets silly.”  Calta also tells the Times that his contract with Cox Media is up in June and he’s looking to have a syndication deal be part of negotiations.

radiocom logoCBS Revamps Radio.com.  Calling it part of the evolution of CBS Local Digital Media, the company announces the debut of the new Radio.com.  The company says in a statement, “Four years ago, we launched our new digital media business, rethinking the way CBS’s radio and television stations operate online and in the mobile space.  Since then, we have evolved into the largest digital business in local broadcast media.  There are few companies that have the radio, television, digital, out-of-home, and events platforms we do, and as a result we’re able to better leverage our local market properties with national scale.  As leaders in integrating digital and traditional media into experiences that resonate with consumers, we take our next step forward in that regard with the debut of the new Radio.com website and streaming player.cbslocalmedia  More than just live audio and video simulcasts of our stations, Radio.com presents original programming, live webcasts, exclusive editorial features and storytelling, and interviews with some of the biggest artists and personalities in the world.  Indeed, we have taken a different strategy than others in the industry by recognizing that this ‘other’ content has tremendous value to our audiences.  The popularity of our programs has demonstrated our thinking is correct.”  Highlights of the new Radio.com include: a fresh look and feel, with improved interactivity; ability to be embedded on other sites; improved ad insertion capabilities; better-quality playback and streaming; program schedules available in real-time; expanded social media opportunities; play history; artist and track information integration; simple song purchase; and enhanced station guide and navigation experience.  CBS promises updated mobile apps in the coming months.

theblazetv logoBeck’s TheBlaze TV Added to Cable ONE Menu.  It’s another cable company addition for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze TV.  His 24/7 news, opinion and entertainment network channel is being added to Cable ONE.  A statement from TheBlaze says Cable ONE is America’s 11th largest cable operator.  This addition gives the TheBlaze TV “distribution on 54 television providers nationwide including seven of the top 30.”  Cable ONE serves customers in 42 markets in 19 states, including Biloxi/Gulfport, Boise, Phoenix/Prescott, and Sioux City, among others.  Cable ONE vice president of marketing Joe Falbab says, “We are very excited about adding TheBlaze to the Cable ONE lineup.  Our customers have requested this channel and we are happy to be able to respond to that request.  We are committed to listening to our customers and will continue to deliver to them the best possible programming.”

emmisEmmis Reports Q4 Revenue Up 11%.  Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corporation operates on a fiscal year calendar and its fiscal 2014 fourth quarter ended February 28, 2014.  The company reports that its Q4 revenue jumped to $32.4 million from $29.1 million a year prior.  If you cut out WEPN, New York (which is being operated by ESPN under an LMA), revenue was up 12% for the quarter.  For the full year fiscal 2014, net radio revenue hit the $145.4 million mark realizing an increase in net revenue of 5% over 2013.  In a press release this morning, the company reports “these results also outperformed Emmis’ local radio markets in which revenue growth improved 3% for the year.”  President and CEO Jeff Smulyan comments, “Fiscal 2014 marked the fourth consecutive year we have outperformed our local radio markets and the radio industry as a whole.  Our strong operating performance is the result of sound strategy and its execution by a phenomenal workforce that makes me so proud.  We are very excited about the addition of WBLS and WLIB in New York and the momentum behind NextRadio as we head into fiscal 2015.”

nab logoNAB Radio Board Election Results.  The results of the NAB Radio Board election are in and the members who will serve two-year terms beginning in June are: Pete Booker, president and CEO, Delmarva Broadcasting Company; Steven Cutler, EVP business development and corporate strategy, Clear Channel; Gary Exline, general manager, Eagle Communications, Inc.; Kim Guthrie, EVP, Cox Media Group; Erik Hellum, EVP, Townsquare Media; Deon Levingston, SVP/market manager, Emmis Communications; Margaret Perkins, president and CEO, First Natchez Radio Group; Mary Quass, president and CEO, NRG Media, LLC; Joe Schwartz, president and CEO, Cherry Creek Radio; Jose Valle, president, Univision Radio; Thomas Walker, president, Mid-West Family Broadcasting.

wint logoOdds & Sods.  The WPHT Speaker Series – produced by CBS RADIO news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia – continues this evening (4/3) as station personality Dom Giordano interviews Tea Party leader, former Florida Congressman and veteran Lt. Col. Allen West at Valley Forge Military Academy and College.  West is the author of the new book Guardian of the Republic…..Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington is sponsoring its “Click for a Cause” online contest that will give Washington, D.C. non-profits the chance to win cash and free commercial air time on WTOP.  There will be three grand prizes of $10,000 each with runners up winning $5,000 worth of commercials to advertise their cause on WTOP…..WELW, Willoughby, Ohio changes its calls and brand.  The Spirit Broadcasting-owned station is using the WINT calls and has branded the station “1330 WINTegrity Radio.”  Station president Ray Somich says the change comes ahead of a major expansion to take place this summer.  The station has served communities to the east of Cleveland for the past 50 years.

Deadly Fort Hood Shooting, ObamaCare Criticism, SCOTUS Campaign Donor Limits Ruling, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, Russian Aggression and House Benghazi Hearing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/2).  The shooting at Fort Hood that claimed the lives of four and the preliminary investigation; scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and criticism of the White House “victory” presser; the Supreme Court ruling killing limits on personal campaign donations; speculation about political power shifts after the mid-term elections and the possible candidates for president in 2016; worries over Russia’s plans for Ukraine and other former Soviet bloc nations and President Obama’s tactics versus Vladimir Putin; and the Congressional hearings on the Benghazi incident were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.