Three Suspended from WPEN-FM, Philly for ‘Dwayne from Swedesboro’ Bit. According to a report in Philly.com from writer Rob Tornoe, Greater Media management has suspended three WPEN-FM employees after the “Dwayne from Swedesboro” bit was revealed earlier this week to be phony. Serving three-day suspensions are program director Matt Nahigian, APD and PM drive personality Jason Myrtetus, and producer Pat Egan. In case you missed it, “Dwayne from Swedesboro” – who exhibited numerous black stereotypes – was a regular “caller” to WPEN-FM’s PM drive Mike Missanelli program. Turns out, though, that “Dwayne” was really white producer Pat Egan and that fact was kept from Missanelli (which is why he’s not been suspended). When the story broke earlier this week, it created intense chatter among Philly sports talk fans and discussion about broadcasting ethics and racial sensitivities among radio people. Crosstown rival Josh Innes was so incensed, he posted a photo of an old actor in blackface with one of his tweets critical of the bit. Innes was let go by CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM on Wednesday and only WIP management knows if that was the sole reason for his dismissal or if it was one of several factors. Regardless, the three will return to work on Wednesday (8/31) and, in the meantime, Greater Media has some damage control to do in Philadelphia.
It’s Official: FCC Releases 2014 Quadrennial Regulatory Review. For some time we’ve known what this review was going to say, but the FCC has now officially released the Quadrennial Regulatory Review with the subtitle “Review of the Commission’s Broadcast Ownership Rules And Other Rules Adopted Pursuant to Section 202 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.” Republican Commissioner Michael O’Rielly sums up his feelings thusly, “…rarely have I seen a proceeding take so long and a document say so much in order to accomplish nothing of value. I dissent.” Ouch! And referring to the release of the 2010 Quadrennial Review in 2016, Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai states, “What took us so long? Based on the ‘substance’ of this Order, I have no idea, for the agency essentially does nothing but stick its head in the sand.” Both commissioners chide their agency for sticking with the ban on Newspaper-Broadcast Cross-ownership, citing arguments with which readers of this trade publication are already very familiar. Pai also laments the commission’s unwillingness to update the Local Radio Ownership Rule, the Radio-Television Cross-Ownership Rule, and the Dual Network Rule. He accuses the agency of defying the courts with regard to diversity. Five years ago, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit vacated the FCC’s definition of “eligible entity.” Pai comments, “Earlier this year, the Third Circuit said ‘enough is enough’ and demanded that the FCC take prompt action on its ‘stalled efforts to promote diversity in the broadcast industry.’ So what does the Commission do here in response to the court? Precisely one thing: It re-adopts the exact same ‘eligible entity’ definition that the Third Circuit rejected in 2011!” Pai goes on to express disappointment with partisanship and procedure that hampers the agency’s ability to serve the industry. “Today’s result is all the more unfortunate because compromise was well within reach. For example, a bipartisan majority of commissioners was willing to repeal the outdated Newspaper-Broadcast Cross-Ownership Rule. But for some reason, we were told that this rule would not be repealed unless all commissioners agreed. And sadly, one chose to exercise that veto. As someone who has been on the losing end of more 3-2 votes than I care to remember, I am baffled by this new requirement for unanimity. We’ve been told for years by the FCC’s leadership that 3-2 votes are what democracy is all about. Except, I guess, when it isn’t.” You can read the FCC’s entire report as well as full commentary by O’Rielly, Pai and Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn here.
The Presidential Race Remains Atop the Talkers TenTM. The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton again this week were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, finishing at #1 on the Talkers TenTM. At #2 during the week of August 22-26 were questions about Clinton Family Foundation donors getting access to Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State. Coming in at #3 was the recent skirmishes between Iranian and U.S. naval vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, followed by the terror attack at American University in Kabul. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Odds & Sods. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III is taking part in a special Town Hall show at SiriusXM’s Manhattan studios on August 30. The program before a live, studio audience is being hosted by PGA Pro Bob Ford and SiriusXM’s Taylor Zarzour. Love will answer questions from audience members and discuss the U.S. team as it prepares for the 2016 Ryder Cup, being played September 30 through October 2 at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota…..Some people take it easy at work on Friday – not WHO, Des Moines afternoon personality Simon Conway. For a while now, Conway has also been hosting the morning show on iHeartMedia’s WMT, Cedar Rapids in addition to his afternoon gig. Today, Conway is also filling in for WOAI, San Antonio-based, syndicated talk host Joe Pagliarulo. The duo is pictured at right at the recent Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Conway on the left and Pags on the right…..“America Outdoors Radio,” produced and hosted by John Kruse and presented by Northwest Sportsman Magazine, the American Shooting Journal, California Sportsman Magazine and the Alaska Sporting Journal, adds new affiliates: KBYR, Anchorage; KBYR, Prudhoe Bay; and KBYR, Kuparuk in Alaska as well as WEMB, Johnson City, Tennessee and KBNH, Burns, Oregon.